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Hello, We've just had our first "real" gig (besides some of drink parties with "music" before :D ) and it was quite terrible (for us, not so much for public :confused: ) because we had only vocals and a bit of keyboards in monitors... So now I'm asking... what stuff is usually put in monitors? probably not everything in every monitor, but... as far as rock music is concerned (2guitars, keyboard/piano, bass, drums) what works best for you? Thanks, Matej PS yeah I know we could have told the engineer to add sth into monitors but we had absolutely NO tone rehearsal (or how do you say that when you try the set-up before gig btw?) [ 12-22-2001: Message edited by: mte ] [ 12-22-2001: Message edited by: mte ]
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mte...Monitors were initially used for vocals,beyond that...it is customary to put some kick drum in the monitors(absolutely necessary if you're spread out more than you're used to). If the stage-spread thing is going on you may also want to add some snare. If you're combining sequences with the live stuff you'll want the keyboards in there as well. If not,most bands are trying to find a reason to get rid of the keyboard player anyway so I wouldn't give them any ammunition(such as keys in the monitors). :D Seriously,after that,everything else is a matter of taste,equipment limitations,and band politics. The pre-gig thing is called a sound check. If you enjoy playing out as much as I do this will all be second nature to you in a very short time. Luck! later, Mike
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Thanks, well our main problem was the lead guitar. The guitarist has a 100W valvestate marshall which should be quite enough not to put it in monitors, but it started to give too much feedback (not the harmonics or that nice feedback you can have use of) (well we think it was because of too much gain + bad pickups on squier strat) and if we lowered the volume we didn't hear anything... that's why we would have rather had it in monitors, especially when he had solos... otherwise we're not giving up, this was our first experience what not to do next time :cool:
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mte, The first thing you'll learn about monitors is, what you want and what you get are about as far apart as Spam is from Filet Mignon. That's not to say you shouldn't strive for the best sound possible, but lets look at this in a realistic manner. Many well respected clubs continue to offer only two monitor mixes. Very often the equipment or the mixer behind the board are of questionable quality. Add to this the fact that several acts may be playing each night and (as you say this was your first outing) you're not likely to be the big act on the gig for some time. Your vocalist(s) is(are) the first priority concerning monitors. Without ample vox in the mix, they will not be able to perform at all. If they nix guitar or keys from the monitors, you'll have to figure something else out. You don't want the focus of your band to be out of tune! Second priority.. If I'm correct about the system/sound mixer, the more instruments you put in the monitors, the worse it will get. No one will be able to comprhend the mix. Your best bet under these circumstances is: Vox only mix, if possible. Guitar amp pointed at the rest of the band. NO drums in the mix. (Questionable monitor gear will not adequately reproduce the kick, and it will waste valuable power for a louder mix of the other vox or instruments. In a good situation, you can put any or all instruments in the mix, but the simpler the monitor mix is, the more easily your band can accomodate changing venues and gear.

It's easiest to find me on Facebook. Neil Bergman

 

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Hello mte, Between 1988 and 2000 I played many gigs with my band Hazy Hill, nearly every kind of venue you can expect, from small clubs to arenas. We were a four-piece band, me (vox + guitar), guitarist, bass player and a drummer. In the clubs where the stage is rather small you just need vox in the monitors and that's all because drums, amps all right behind you; though generally drummers still want bass and guitars in their monitors as well. For the larger venues with larger stages I prefer my vox, kick, snare and little bit of guitars and bass. If you have the luxury tell the engineer to mult the kick channel, feed it into another channel, roll off below 80 Hz, crank up around 5-8 KHz and send this kick channel to monitors via aux (not to mains). Many monitors, even 15", have hard time reproducing kick's low frequency content. Plus now the kick will have a more "click" sound which is easier to hear on stage. As a musician and an engineer I know that monitor mix is always a problem. On stage you will never have that perfect monitor mix that you dream of but if you are a well rehearsed band and you know what to listen and how to listen while playing on stage, you will walk off that stage happily. Good luck! Cheers!

Ufuk Onen

www.UfukOnen.com

Ankara, Turkey

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Matej, Well now you've heard from two different Nashville guys and(not surprisingly)gotten two different opinions. Neil was pretty emphatic about not using any drums but brought up the importance of having the tunable instruments be able to hear each other(which honestly I hadn't thought of). This led me to rethink my original post and attempt to delve a little deeper into the subject. So why do we need monitors anyway? There's a variety of reasons we [i]want[/i] monitors. The most famous one is "if we sound good to ourselves then we'll be inspired and play that much better" reason. To me this line of thinking doesn't qualify as a [i]need[/i] however desirable it may be. In fact,I can only think of two legitimate needs that serve as criteria for including any particular element in a monitor mix: a. Will it help me stay on pitch? (or in tune) b. Will it help me stay in time? Vocals obviously will always need to be in the monitors. Beyond that,I think it's a good idea to be aware of what everyone in your band [i]needs[/i] to hear in order to be able to do his or her job. In a lot of cases,careful stage placement can prevent problems before they start. Both Neil and Ufuk correctly pointed out that,on a small stage,you're better off with only a vox mix. I played Sundays for about 8 mos. on a small club stage in Nashville and that was all we ever did. In fact,vocals and a tiny amount of kick was all that was in the mains. I got to go out front several times and it sounded great. What's more it sounded great on stage too. That was in contrast to my ongoing(9 yrs.)gig on a much larger stage in another club. Our core group was the same lineup that you had at your gig. We had a soft-hitting drummer that I had trouble hearing hence the drums found their way into the mix. We had two guitarists that couldn't always stand together for tuning and duet purposes. When they did stand together,then I had to be in the monitors so they would be in tune with the keys(tuners don't always tell the whole story). To be honest I can't recall one night in 9 years in which everbody in the band agreed that the monitor mix was good that night. (and we had several very good sound men) Neil is right. When it comes to monitors,what you want and what you get are almost always two radically different things. Anyway...here's a few things I learned that IMHO are pretty reliable generalizations about monitor mixes. a. An overly loud monitor mix will compete with the mains and make your sound man's job more difficult if not impossible. b. Overly-loud vocals in the monitors will inevitably drive up the overall stage volume. c. That great tone your guitarist gets is probably(to a certain extent)level-dependent. Finding the lowest level at which his rig can still support the sweet-spot is not a bad place to start setting overall stage levels. (Remember,he will almost certainly bullshit you about how low he can really play.) Also,if your drummer is a heavy hitter this probably won't work. d. [i]Always[/i] go for the simplest monitor mix possible. Each new solution you add will probably create another problem(or problems). That notwithstanding.... e. Do whatever you have to do to improve your performance. Monitors may not be the ideal solution but they're often the only one you've got. Don't hesitate to use them if you have to and don't be afraid to try work-arounds like the one Ufuk suggested. Well that's it for me. It's really late and I've got to get up early and wrap presents. Hopefully Neil,Ufuk,or others will weigh in on the subject of good monitor mix generalizations they know about. Good luck Matej and Merry Christmas. later, Mike [ 12-24-2001: Message edited by: coolhouse ]
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Hi Mte, I've been doing live sound for ...16 or so years. Big tours, small clubs, trax acts, big (jazz) bands, an orchestra + band or two. Everything and anything. What I've found is that personality comes into play more than anything else. Some musicians do NOT want to hear the vocals. They'd prefer to hear the keys or guitar or snare or drum machine or...or ...themselves. It's going to take time (and patience) to figure out what works for you...some of the time, because it won't always work. gotta go, more later NYC Drew
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Great points, Coolhouse and NYC Drew. The basic questions are (restated): [list] [*]What do you and your band need (and desire), in the monitors to play well? [*]Can the system and sound mixer provide it? If not, what can they provide, and is it enough to play the gig? [/list] Most of the acts, artists, and certainly sidemen I've had the pleasure of working with will realize how good/bad the monitor situation is early on, and play anyway. If I can offer one gem of advice, when you find a decent situation, early in the show, KEEP IT! A constantly changing monitor system will upset you (and in turn, your playing/singing) more than dealing with a static, mediocre sound. (IMO, based on the comments of many bands.) At some point, stability will be preferable to an ambitious soundman, who believes he can tweak your monitors to perfection.

It's easiest to find me on Facebook. Neil Bergman

 

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