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What goes through the stage monitors?

Discussion in 'Live Sound [BG]' started by Hevy T, May 28, 2017.

  1. Everything

  2. Just vocals

  3. Carrots and Peas

  1. Hevy T

    Hevy T Supporting Member

    Jan 11, 2011
    Lethbridge, AB Canada
    I know guys that put everything through the monitors and others like my guitarist who insists on just vocals through them!

    Is there a correct answer?
  2. monkeyland


    Jul 1, 2008
    Ft Myers, Florida
    Endorsing artist: Curt Mangan Strings, JH Audio
    Whatever you need to do your job well is what should be in your monitor. Other than that, there are no rules. Guitar player can have as little as he wants in his own and you can have as much as you want in yours.

    For me, I'm on ears, so I take a pretty full mix.
    Mugre, Will_White, Gearhead17 and 4 others like this.
  3. Biggbass


    Dec 14, 2011
    Planet Earth
    No. Whatever works for everyone is the way to go. If you have a set up that allows individual monitor mixes then everyone can be happy. Otherwise a compromise has to be achieved.
  4. walterw

    walterw Supportive Fender Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 20, 2009
    typically nothing below like 100Hz.

    otherwise it's all one big "it depends".

    as a rule you want just what you need to track the band and no more; too much stuff in the wedges leads to louder stage volume.

    don't start with "just put everything in there", figure out what you need to hear and only put that in.
    Omega Monkey likes this.
  5. DirtDog


    Jun 7, 2002
    The Deep North
    1. Vocals
    2. Unamplified instruments (excl drums)
    3. Amplified instruments, if needed
    4. Drums, if needed

    We run separate monitor mixes to IEMs in our band. Everyone likes something a bit different. Since I also do sound, I like a mix that's as close as possible to FOH.
  6. Pretty much what all they ^^^^ said.

    Whatever is needed for you to get a good mix on stage.
  7. ubernator


    Oct 30, 2004
    lost angels
    I will say this, PRO bands on decent sized stages generally take vocals, kick snare and hi hat, any acoustic/horn/keyboard instruments that don't have a big amp on stage, and sometimes the guitar from the other side of the stage.

    When in doubt, vocals only.

    I was a house monitor engineer for many years, but I was not smart enough to document the preferred monitor mixes of the stars. I could have written a book and would have just sold a copy today.

    The hardest was Jerry only of the misfits, mainly because he is standing in front of like 5 cabinets all dimed vintage acoustic heads mostly midrange, and still wants to hear his vocals clearly.

    When the showtime came, I can see why though, the crowd is pretty loud singing along. Guitar side was similar, 3 triple rec heads 6 cabinets, and cranked up. Not just for show. Insane stage volume.

    Yes, I blew a few horns in the jerry zone of 4-5 wedges I gave him. It was 15 years ago I don't remember exactly.

    What I do remember was marky Ramone's drum tech painstakingly tuning the toms to Do- Ray mi during soundcheck, and marky never using more than kick snare and hat for like 99% of the show. This was the Jerry, Dez and Marky lineup for the 25th anniversary tour 2002. For the most part it was really an all star punk covers jam.
    nolezmaj likes this.
  8. ubernator


    Oct 30, 2004
    lost angels
    As a player, I like to hear the vocals, especially the lead singer, and that's about it. If the club is stickler for stage volume and I can't hear the guitar clearly, I ask for that. I don't ask for bass in the wedges, but if there are mondo side fills, I might.

    I used to plug my Warwick into the system and play through the drum monitor, which was a big sub with a full range cab on top, when we had dead time waiting for the band to arrive.

    Drummer mixes are an entirely different story, most want solid bass in the mix and guitars, many don't want to hear the vocalist.
  9. kalle74


    Aug 27, 2004
    IEM's: everything. Everything will also be miked, no matter how small a gig. This is the only way to make sure your mix stays constant (the point of having in-ears, to me). To really get constant mixes from night to night, I would recommend getting your own monitor desk, and possibly an engineer, if you like changing stuff mid-show.

    Wedges: Only the things that absolutely have to be re-inforced, and nothing else to not clutter up the mix, or go unnecessarily loud with SPL. Depends on stage size, too... On smaller stages it could be vocals and keyboards. On larger stages it might be almost everything on dual mixes (and side-fills).
  10. DD Gunz

    DD Gunz

    Jun 18, 2015
    Anything you want and nothing you don't. I take some guitar in mine if it's a large stage where I can't hear the guitar from my side. I always take vocals. My guitar player likes bass in his.
    back4more likes this.
  11. john m

    john m Supporting Member

    Jan 15, 2006
    I did some fill in work for a band that had too loud of stage volume--- their answer--- "turn me up in my monitor".

    So the horn section could hear themselves in their monitors, the vocalists in their monitors.......... wrong approach.

    Certainly the vocals need to be heard well by everyone on stage, but if the stage is spread out, having instruments on the opposite side of the stage from you helps "keep the band together". Sound travels faster through wires than air, so I like to hear instruments in my monitor if it is necessary.

    As others have said--- do what works best for you and the band. Multiple monitor mixes help to achieve this, but that luxury is often not an option.
    If one monitor mix is all that's available, start with vocals only (and lead instruments such as sax or trumpet)---- then try to work out stage balance by using old fashion musicianship.

    Side note--- true story via Elvis's drummer:
    We usually had one mic in the old days---- that was for Elvis; If we were lucky enough to have a second mic--'
    in went in front of (drum roll)--- the upright bass.
    back4more likes this.
  12. flam


    Sep 20, 2010
    Tempe, Arizona
    Rhythm guitar if it's on my side and drums are about the only thing I want. We've been switching members quite a bit lately, so I usually just take everything. That way in case somebody screws up I can hear to cover for it if I need to.
  13. Session1969


    Dec 2, 2010
    Yes, whatever is necessary to be able to hear everyone. It's different for everyone because of where they are on the stage. A person with a monitor should want to be able to hear everyone onstage.
  14. Thrillhouse

    Thrillhouse Supporting Member

    Jan 21, 2009
    Chicago, IL
    I tend to ask for vocals and some guitar in mine. Last band I was in had a very loud drummer so I usually had more guitar than I would normally need. It also depends on the stage/venue size and the ratio of monitors to band members.
  15. Phalex

    Phalex Semper Gumby Supporting Member

    Oct 3, 2006
    G.R. MI
    I usually have my bass rig behind me, and the drums about 3' to my right. I do not need drums or bass in my monitor. Other than that, anything else I may not be able to hear, but would like to hear should be in my monitor.
  16. JTE

    JTE Supporting Member

    Mar 12, 2008
    Central Illinois, USA
    Depends on the monitor system. Full-range (non bi-amped) floor wedges, one or two mixes only, smallish gig? Only VOX, and any acoustic instrument that doesn't have onstage amplification (which eliminates most "acoustic" guitars). So that's most gigs. I've just about never had any need for kick drum (obliterates the low end, and sucks power from the critical mids that convey the vocals), guitars ('cause they're too loud already most of the time), and generally don't need much keys. Big stages with bi-amped monitors and multiple mixes, then it's still vox as the critical part, perhaps some snare and high-hat (because THAT's where the groove is), and some keys as long as it's not bottom heavy.

  17. el murdoque

    el murdoque

    Mar 10, 2013
    Basically, what all the others said.
    Our IEM mix comes from a Behringer X-air 18 where i can control my own mix with my phone.
    I have everything in my mix, basically what FOH gets only my bass is a little louder.

    Wedges: Kick, Snare, HiHat and lead vocals. Sometimes the guitar that's on the other side of the drums if i can't hear it that well because our lead guitar made it a habit to always stand on the right and i stand by the HiHat on the left. We play some lead parts together and I need to hear him then.
  18. nolezmaj


    Sep 22, 2011
    That is my experience/preference too, with small deviations. Sometimes drummer will ask for a little bass guitar in his monitor, because I try to be descrete with my stage volume.
    I am sure in one thing though - less is always better (less volume and less instruments)!
  19. Omega Monkey

    Omega Monkey

    Mar 8, 2015
    Whatever is necessary and nothing more, but when you keep asking the sound guy to turn your vocals up and up and up and up and up and meanwhile your guitar is f'ing CRANKED and you don't think to tell him to turn down, you are an a-hole and the sound guy will hate you.

    And honestly, everyone needs to learn to get by with less on stage. I've worked with bands where I can have the mains OFF, be mixing from 50 feet back, and the damn vocals are too loud in the wedge to sit in the mix ALREADY, and they're asking for MORE.
  20. DavC

    DavC Supporting Member

    May 17, 2005
    Tallmadge , Ohio
    when i ran sound on stage , which was a lot , ... i did mainly vocals , with a small touch of other stuff , plus a touch of the fx ... never ran the Main mix back thru , like you might with side fills ...

    there is no right or wrong ... whatever helps everyone hear best , works best . !

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