Monitors from FOH

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Monitors from FOH

Postby Lucas » Fri Aug 19, 2011 10:20 am

With small acts I like to split channels into seperate FOH/montor channels, this way I can insert dynamic processing on the FOH channels without worring about it on the mons. This also gives me an option for parrallel compression for the FOH mix.

My question:

Is there a disadvantage in using the pre insert direct outs on the FOH input channels to send the signal to the monitor channel? Mon channel is padded down for line level and set to unity gain.

Would I be better off with split leads? What is the effect on the impedance that the mic sees when it is presented with two preamps?

Thankee
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Re: Monitors from FOH

Postby Lucas » Fri Aug 19, 2011 4:33 pm

Echo, echo , echo, echo...


mmm sounds like a 2290...
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Re: Monitors from FOH

Postby gigpiglet » Fri Aug 19, 2011 7:23 pm

hi gents

personally i think you are better off using XLR split cables (simple Y-split easy to make yourself)
reasons are

1st (and most important) this gives you completely separate gain control. what is the point of splitting post gain, if (say) the gig starts and you need to gain up your channel, you have just changed your mons if its post gain!

2nd not all consoles have a direct out (or you might want it for recording or something else) so if you have the XLR cables to do the split properly, you will never run into the problem

any disadvantage (and there really shouldnt be any, there are plenty of situations around the world where a mic sees 2 pres, including the passive split multicore in venues all over the world) is far outweighed by the advantages above.
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Re: Monitors from FOH

Postby Lucas » Fri Aug 19, 2011 8:09 pm

yeeees, thanks Gareth all makes sense. Shoulda figured out that myself really.....
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Re: Monitors from FOH

Postby Lucas » Fri Aug 19, 2011 8:34 pm

I have far more years under my belt as a monitor engineer than out the front and am having confidence issues with my monitor mixes from FOH. I've considered a listen wedge but am concerned that it will be a distraction to the punters. Headphone monitoring just doesn't tell me what I need.

Any words of wisdom?
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Re: Monitors from FOH

Postby obutcher » Fri Aug 19, 2011 10:57 pm

I like to use the XLR Y cable trick on vocals and use the EQ on the monitor channel to provide the overall tone for the monitors, then use the graphics to kill any feedback. Works well and the singers are usually very thankful.
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Re: Monitors from FOH

Postby Lucas » Fri Aug 19, 2011 11:26 pm

monitor system is tuned with graphics - oneday - with DSP/biamped.

How do you go about determining your EQ? H/phones? Feel like I'm mixing blind.. well deaf really...
Last edited by Lucas on Mon Aug 22, 2011 10:26 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Monitors from FOH

Postby obutcher » Sat Aug 20, 2011 12:02 am

I talk to the singers and ask them. Do they/he/she want the vocal brighter, duller etc and go from there. Sometimes a listen wedge is helpful.
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Re: Monitors from FOH

Postby gigpiglet » Sat Aug 20, 2011 12:08 am

lucas
you are totally correct - and if you are doing monitors from FOH you are at an extreme disadvantage in that you cant have a listen wedge. so you cant here anything post EQ.
really... i think that if its mons from FOH, then the venue is probably small enough that you can hear any issues FROM from FOH. and aside from any feedback problems, the artist gets what was set in scheck

having said that, both dave mccormack (custard) and brooke fraser i have mixed their mons POST FADE from FOH for years.. they like to hear what i do.
ill be mixing a custard reunion show in september... its been a while.
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Re: Monitors from FOH

Postby Lucas » Sat Aug 20, 2011 11:45 am

obutcher wrote:I talk to the singers and ask them. Do they/he/she want the vocal brighter, duller etc and go from there. Sometimes a listen wedge is helpful.



Unfortunately I do mostly, "one-offs". Sound checks are usually rushed so I don't get much of a chance to build rapport with the artists. I need to become more systematic - time to write a checklist.

I'm constantly puzzled by artists that tell me their monitors are good/great, when they've not asked for anything specific and I've just given them a standard basic mix. Give me real feedback dammit!

Me thinks a monitor wedge at sound check only might have to become a new standard..
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Re: Monitors from FOH

Postby Lucas » Sat Aug 20, 2011 11:47 am

gigpiglet wrote:
having said that, both dave mccormack (custard) and brooke fraser i have mixed their mons POST FADE from FOH for years.. they like to hear what i do.


Was that an explicit request from them or did you suggest it as a solution to a discussed issue?
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Re: Monitors from FOH

Postby ChrisW » Sat Aug 20, 2011 12:09 pm

Lucas wrote:
I'm constantly puzzled by artists that tell me their monitors are good/great, when they've not asked for anything specific and I've just given them a standard basic mix. Give me real feedback dammit!


Really? I wouldn't complain.
Artists are notorious for taking their frustrations out on the monitor person.
If most seem happy with the way you're doing it, count it as a blessing. You must be doing it right.
These days, after many years, I've centered on having as little as possible in my monitors. My next goal is to leave them alone for the whole show. I'm not expecting a superb mix or sound (I'm not a vocalist), but if I can hear enough of what's going on to perform, that's fine.
After the hundreds of shows I've played down the years, if a member of the band is constantly adjusting their monitor mix throughout the show, through all the songs, there is something radically wrong - the band member is a jerk, or the monitor person has no clue, or maybe a bit of both.
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Re: Monitors from FOH

Postby Lucas » Sat Aug 20, 2011 12:20 pm

ChrisW wrote:
Lucas wrote:
I'm constantly puzzled by artists that tell me their monitors are good/great, when they've not asked for anything specific and I've just given them a standard basic mix. Give me real feedback dammit!


Really? I wouldn't complain.
....
I'm not expecting a superb mix or sound (I'm not a vocalist), but if I can hear enough of what's going on to perform, that's fine.


Ahhh yes, but just as you would want to provide a superb performance for the audience, my motivation is to (at least try) to give you a superb mix. I know my first focus as a monitor engineer is to satisfy the needs of the artist, but I also want opportunities to develop my craft. So why settle for fine when better is available?

I don't do monitors very often anymore, just a couple of festivals a year, but I'd still like to keep my my standards up when mixing mons from FOH or a least use those previous standards as a goal to reach.
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Re: Monitors from FOH

Postby ChrisW » Sat Aug 20, 2011 6:02 pm

Fair enough.
I totally take on board your attitude. Good. :-bd

I'd just say for me the definition of a good monitor engineer is someone I forget is there during the show.
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Re: Monitors from FOH

Postby gigpiglet » Sat Aug 20, 2011 7:40 pm

lucas -
the post fade thing was a "solution to a problem" rather then them asking for something
they are both artists that dont really know what they are asking for (if that makes sense)

i do always like to have my monitor sends post EQ when doing them from FOH though (no matter who the artist)
i find that in small rooms, if something is (say) booming in the low mids, you want to take it out of the PA, AND the wedges - you can probably hear as much boom off the back of the mons cab as you can off the FOH.
so running post EQ makes that happen.
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Re: Monitors from FOH

Postby Lucas » Sat Aug 20, 2011 9:13 pm

ChrisW wrote:Fair enough.
I totally take on board your attitude. Good. :-bd

I'd just say for me the definition of a good monitor engineer is someone I forget is there during the show.


I agree. Its really the feeling that you're left with after SC that I spose I'm trying to influence. Surely a geat monitor mix makes you look forward to the show.
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Re: Monitors from FOH

Postby Lucas » Sat Aug 20, 2011 9:15 pm

gigpiglet wrote:lucas -
the post fade thing was a "solution to a problem" rather then them asking for something
they are both artists that dont really know what they are asking for (if that makes sense)

i do always like to have my monitor sends post EQ when doing them from FOH though (no matter who the artist)
i find that in small rooms, if something is (say) booming in the low mids, you want to take it out of the PA, AND the wedges - you can probably hear as much boom off the back of the mons cab as you can off the FOH.
so running post EQ makes that happen.



Have you ever made wedge tuning decisions based on what you can hear from out front? Hmmmm, me thinks I want a digital graphic with a wireless remote now....
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Re: Monitors from FOH

Postby gigpiglet » Sun Aug 21, 2011 11:49 pm

Lucas wrote:
gigpiglet wrote:lucas -

Have you ever made wedge tuning decisions based on what you can hear from out front? Hmmmm, me thinks I want a digital graphic with a wireless remote now....


absolutely. once the show starts you have to!!!
i mean. you dont want to. but in a room up to (say) the size of the annandale, you can def still hear the wedges (maybe you cant hear the box so much, but you can hear what is coming out of it and into your vocal mic)

a quick "flick up" of a fader on the graphic can certainly reveal the problem that you are looking for.
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Re: Monitors from FOH

Postby Lucas » Sun Aug 21, 2011 11:52 pm

I've usually got my monitor graphics side of stage....

I'll have to make sure I remember to think monitors when I can't seem to find the answer in FOH.
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Re: Monitors from FOH

Postby Lucas » Mon Aug 22, 2011 10:24 am

Makes tuning a pain in the arse, but I can see the benifit during the gig..
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Re: Monitors from FOH

Postby Chris H » Mon Aug 22, 2011 11:06 am

For this reason, when the graphics are at the preferred FOH position, I face the all the monitors forward towards the FOH position so i have a better chance at hearing a direct sound to aid tuning. Once they are tuned and all the band's gear is on stage and miced up, I push up the gain for each mic to hear what frequency takes off first and get an idea how much gain i have to work with. I do this especially for any condenser mics onstage and cut the offending frequency's either with the monitor and / or FOH qraphics if the area is common to most mics. Normally though I use the desk eq for this other than the vox mic and mostly it's the only eqing i need to do on condenser mics IF the system is well tuned and well designed. Also for many reasons.... split beer being one, the monitors in most pubs i work in never sound the same even when they are the same make and model with same signal path. Inevitably, speakers get replaced with anything that's in the PA co's warehouse rather than the original make etc etc.
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Re: Monitors from FOH

Postby Lucas » Mon Aug 22, 2011 1:17 pm

I'm not sure I like the idea of tuning wedges with them facing FOH. A huge part of both the tone and GBF of the wedge is going to be influenced by the reflections off the ceiling and the back of the stage - not to mention open mics.... It would probably be fine for lower frequencies, but definately not for mids and highs.

I don't think I'm ever going to be able to provide the same quality of monitoring from FOH as I have in dedicated monitor systems, but thankyou for everyones input - it all helps.
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Re: Monitors from FOH

Postby Kurt » Tue Aug 23, 2011 12:51 am

I own and run a small PA in a pub, I do FB from FOH, I get few complaints and most are about volume rather than sound/mix. Volume I can fix with bigger amps, one day.. If I was to decide I needed to do FB from sidestage I would need to spend a fair bit of money on another desk, split etc, then give up half or more of my income. f@#$ that, money's tight enough as it is. Every small venue I've been to runs the same way.
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Re: Monitors from FOH

Postby gigpiglet » Tue Aug 23, 2011 8:35 am

Lucas wrote:I've usually got my monitor graphics side of stage....

I'll have to make sure I remember to think monitors when I can't seem to find the answer in FOH.



mons graphics side stage when monitors are from FOH is one of my pet hates!!! please dont do it! (i remember writing about it in my audio tech tour diary)
it makes it impossible to make any changes during the show

it does mean that tuning in the first place is easier with a second person.
but i have trained many a stage tech to sit on the graphic for me.
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Re: Monitors from FOH

Postby nado1969 » Tue Aug 23, 2011 8:46 am

Hate doing Monitors from FOH, but it seems with budgets the way they are these days, it's the norm for small to even medium sized stuff! Even as a player, it's only at festivals and bigger events that I ever get a dedicated FB engineer. Even then sometimes I'd prefer a dude doing it from the FOH who actually give a rats arse than some of the tossers I've scored at the stage end! Not all mind you, I've just had a few negative experiences. Soundie's must really hate doing sound for other soundie's....LOL!

When I'm doing FB (that's Foldback not Facebook) from FOH, if there's time during sound check, once it's tuned and levels are close enough, I'll actually go onto stage and stand next to each player as they're playing to get a feel for what they're hearing / need. Only takes a couple of minutes, but makes a HUGE difference, particularly in the band's confidence in you. Never tried the split thing - interesting! Re. eq, I hate Monitors that are post channel eq - I had my desk modded so all the AUX sends were pre-eq. Nothing worse than having the stage nicely tuned, only to start messing around with the FOH eq's once the band is playing and suddenly you've got stray freq's taking off or weird shit happening on stage that wasn't happening before! Ok, should have got it right at soundcheck, but often it's very rushed, gotta get the stage sound right first, bands on the the FOH mix evolves over the first few songs.

Sadly, (or not as the case may be!), after breaking the same ankle twice now (yes motorcycle related...) I don't really do much PA work any more, I just play. It's funny though, I'm not as quick or accurate at picking frequencies any more! (Or maybe like many guys in their 40's and 50's, and not just audio related, I actually WASN'T as good as I thought I once was....LOL)
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Re: Monitors from FOH

Postby Lucas » Tue Aug 23, 2011 10:16 am

gigpiglet wrote:
Lucas wrote:I've usually got my monitor graphics side of stage....

I'll have to make sure I remember to think monitors when I can't seem to find the answer in FOH.



mons graphics side stage when monitors are from FOH is one of my pet hates!!! please dont do it! (i remember writing about it in my audio tech tour diary)
it makes it impossible to make any changes during the show

it does mean that tuning in the first place is easier with a second person.
but i have trained many a stage tech to sit on the graphic for me.


Graphics are now at FOH

This is all gold!
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