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Keyboards: Live - Using small mixer to control onstage volum


Rambo66

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I could use some help. I know next to nothing about live keyboard set-ups but here goes.

 

A good friend of mine is playing a couple of reunion concerts with his old band (one was on Wednesday night, the other is tonight) and I'm acting as his tech for the shows. Wednesday night the monitor guy had the wedges BRUTALLY loud caused my buddy a lot of problems getting his volume onstage and in-turn out in the house.

 

I've seen keyboard players use a small mixer onstage to control volumes, would that work with our set-up? He's using two keyboards into a direct box that goes to the house and to the monitor guy.

 

How can I make this work? What would I need to get to pull this off? A separate monitor amp and speaker?

 

Thanks

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Rambo66 - welcome to the Keyboard Corner.

 

Why can't you just tell the guy running sound to turn down the stage monitors? Yes, this can be easier said than done. I understand.

 

Another option is to bring your own keyboard amplification so that you can control the volume level yourself.

 

Marcia Ball uses a mixer onstage to control the mix in her monitor, but I don't know how this connects to the rest of the system.

 

http://www.nojazzfest.com/gallery/2004/5_01/22marcia_ball.jpg

 

Good luck.

 

Tom

 

 

"Music expresses that which cannot be put into words and that which cannot remain silent." - Victor Hugo
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I take my own amplifier which has all the channels & EQ settings I need, then run a line to the board from an XLR (d-i) on the back of the amp. So what I send to front-of-house is pre-mixed levels for the keyboards (good idea anyway).

 

EQ, Effects are POST output anyway, meaning the board gets just the raw keyboard sounds, so your FOH person will hopefully make it sound good in the room.

 

Only caveat is the keyboards will be sending out a mono signal unless it's a stereo amp with L&R outs. But in many band situations, mono is just fine.

 

Another way to do it would be to use the amp as a powered monitor and get a line in from the monitor feed off the board, control your own on-stage volume from there - but that only works if there's a separate keyboard mix possible.

 

The best way? Play at the lowest possible level onstage. Bring just enough kick and hihat into the monitors from the drums, and balance your stage level almost acoustically. This works best if the guitar player has a small enough amp to get tone without too much onstage volume. Front of house people love this scenario - and a happy soundguy means a happy audience & band.

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Rod

Here for the gear.

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I usually run three boards on a gig.The boards being a Kurzweil 2661, Roland rd700sx and a hammond xk-3 with a vintage leslie 145 that is miked with two mikes. First I do a sound check to set my levels for the house mix and then using either a in-ear monitor or a EV-sxa360 I set my own monitor mix that good for me and mind you I only am monitoring myself and none of the other instruments and that woks very well for me. Good Luck!
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The volume issue will continue to be an issue whether or not you submix the keyboards... that's because the volume is controlled by the monitor tech.

 

The only way to remove that fact, is to bring your own on-stage monitoring for the keys.

 

Of course, if your friend sings as well, then he'll have a monitor, and the tech will probably run keys through that as well, and you're back at square one.

 

I concur with ITGITC above, when he asks why you don't just communicate this to the monitor tech? You can be standing over his shoulder being 'persuasive' if it's an issue. :)

 

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The whole stage monitoring deal is a matter of communication whether it is a monitor tech and/or being responsible for your own stage volume.

 

Stage monitoring works great if the monitor tech has good ears, is objective and also understands the group dynamics, music, etc. Like anything else, it can get political very quickly.

 

If the monitor tech is also musician, guess who gets the best sound on stage (providing the tech likes the way they play? ;) )

 

Beyond that, it pays to have a personal monitoring system of some kind and a good rapport with the tech....just in case. :):cool:

 

 

PD

 

"The greatest thing you'll ever learn, is just to love and be loved in return."--E. Ahbez "Nature Boy"

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... and a good rapport with the others in the band. Most musicians I work with will do their best to keep their stage levels under control if someone's having a problem hearing themselves, or eachother.

 

Should be a matter of respect, and it begins with the people you play with, before you can expect anyone else to care.

____________________________________
Rod

Here for the gear.

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Ditto to what everyone said. The key is good communication with FOH and the monitor guys to keep levels on stage reasonable. It never HURTS to walk over and introduce yourself to both of them and call them by name when you need some assistance. Remember, you want to be in the band that are NOT jerks to the sound guys.

 

Same goes for your other band mates. I've incorporated a small mixer into my setup and it works well. Learning the dynamics of each other will help to keep things sounding good from start to finish.

Yamaha (Motif XS7, Motif 6, TX81Z), Korg (R3, Triton-R), Roland (XP-30, D-50, Juno 6, P-330). Novation A Station, Arturia Analog Experience Factory 32

 

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If he's getting his own monitor mix it's just a matter of working it out with the sound providers. They should be willing to give him a mix he likes.... hopefully if they're not total jerks. If it's a common monitor mix shared with others onstage, the only solution is a separate keyboard amp and positioning the monitors farther away from his keyboard station. It could be a self contained amp, or mixer amp and speakers, but it should have direct outs for FOH.
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Well, the best case scenario for a keyboard player is controlling his own stage volume, but for this he has to have separate outputs to monitors and to FOH, because if you let your monitor volume be controlled by the soundguy, then adjusting levels on the keyboards (or on the small mixer) will also affect FOH sound, and we dont want that (because we don't have any idea what the audience hears).

 

This is why you'd need to connect your keys monitor to aux sends, and control the monitor volume by adjusting send levels, and send the main signal via 'main' outputs. Or another way - get a mixer with direct outs, connect the direct outs to FOH output, and the main outs to monitor.

 

 

The downside is having to bring another monitor, for keys. I have a medium-powered keyboard combo amp for this purpose, but almost never use it, because it's too much gear to handle for me.

 

 

Also, I think that mixing your ouwn keyboards by yourself and giving the soundguy a final result woudn't be the best idea, because different sounds need to be treated differently. For example, if your Hammond sounds to harsh through FOH PA, the soundman will reduce high freqs. and, if you have your keys premixed - also make the piano from your Digital Piano sound dull and boxy.

 

I always provide the soundman with two separate signals ( I use one keyboard, with separate outputs for primary and secondary parts). By doing this I enable the soundman to treat my pads separately from the leads.

Stage: MOX6, V-machine, and Roland AX7

Rolls PM351 for IEMs.

Home/recording: Roland FP4, a few guitars

 

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