How do i hook up stage monitors

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Stage monitor system

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Role[ edit ] This small venue's stage shows monitosr example of a typical monitor speaker set-up: The drummer has both a subwoofer cabinet for monitoring the ii drum and the electric bass and a "wedge"-style cabinet for monitoring vocals and mid- or high-frequency sounds. Without a foldback system, the sound that on-stage performers would hear from front of house would be the reverberated reflections bouncing from the rear wall nonitors the venue. The naturally reflected sound is delayed and distorted, which could, for example, cause the singer to sing out of time with the band. A separate mixed signal is often routed to the foldback speakers, because the performers may also How do i hook up stage monitors to hear a mix without electronic effects such as echo and reverb this is called a "dry mix" to stay in u and in tune with each other.

In situations with poor or absent foldback mixes, vocalists may end up singing off-tune or out of time with the band. For live sound reproduction during popular music concerts in mid- to large-size venues, there are typically two complete loudspeaker systems and PA systems also called sound reinforcement systems: Each system consists of a mixing board, sound processing equipment, power amplifiers, and speakers. The two systems usually share microphones and direct inputs using a splitter microphone snake. This distinction is important in some regions or markets, while in other regions or markets the terms are interchangeable.

A coffeehouse or small bar where singers perform while accompanying themselves on acoustic guitar may have a relatively small, low-powered PA system for the "mains", such as a pair of two watt powered speakers. A large club may use several power amplifiers to provide to watts of power to the "main" speakers. An outdoor rock concert may use large racks of a number of power amplifiers to provide 10, or more watts. The "monitor" system reproduces the sounds of the performance and directs them towards the on-stage performers typically using wedge-shaped monitor speaker cabinetsto help them hear the instruments and vocals. The monitor system in a coffeehouse or singer-songwriter stage for a small bar may be a single watt powered monitor wedge.

In the smallest PA systems, the performer may set their own "main" and "monitor" sound levels with a simple powered mixing board. The simplest monitor systems consist of a single monitor speaker for the lead vocalist which amplifies their singing voice, so that they can hear it clearly.

In a large club where rock or metal bands play, the monitor hooi may use racks of power amplifiers and four to six monitor speakers to provide to watts of power to the "monitor" speakers. In large venues, there are often separate monitors for stags vocalists and instrumentalists. In most clubs and larger venues, sound engineers and technicians control the mixing boards for the "main" and "monitor" systems, adjusting the tone, sound levels, and overall volume of the performance. Larger clubs and concert venues typically use a more complex type of monitor monitoes which has two or three stqge monitor mixes for the different performers. Each monitor mix contains a blend of different vocal and instruments, and an amplified speaker is placed in monitorw of the performer.

This way the stsge vocalist can have a mix which forefronts their vocals, the backup singers can have a mix which Ho their backup vocals, hookk the rhythm section members can have a mix which emphasizes the bass and drums. At an outdoor rock concert, there may be several thousand monitofs of power going to a complex monitor system that includes wedge-shaped cabinets for vocalists and larger cabinets called "sidefill" cabinets to help the musicians stag hear their jonitors and singing. In the s, major professional bands hoook singers How do i hook up stage monitors use small " in ear "-style Hoe monitors rather than onstage monitor speakers.

History[ edit ] A rock band satge clearly shows the stage monitors. In the early s, many jp and rock concerts were performed without monitor speakers. In the early monifors, PA systems were typically low-powered mnitors which could only be used for the vocals. The PA systems during this era were not used to amplify the electric instruments on stage; each performer was monitkrs to bring a powerful moniors and speaker system to make their electric guitar, electric bass, Hammond organ or electric piano loud monitorw to hear onstage and to fill the venue with sound. Since many early s PA systems did not have monitors, singers could only hear their vocals by listening to the reflected sound from the audience-facing "front of house" speakers after it bounced back from the rear wall of the venue.

This was not an effective way to hear one's vocals, though, because the sound you hear bouncing back from the rear wall of the venue is late. Because singers could not hear their vocals, it made it hard to sing in rhythm with the band and in tune. At this time, many professional live sound engineers were wrestling with the problem of how to give singers enough volume of their own voice to stay in tune and in time during a performance. The use of performer-facing loudspeakers for foldback or monitoring may have been developed independently by sound engineers in different cities who were trying to resolve this problem. Today these would be called "side fill" monitors.

Bill Hanley working with Neil Young of the Buffalo Springfield was the first person to combine putting the speaker on the floor angled up at the performer with directional microphones to allow louder volumes with less feedback. He also designed the first stage monitor loudspeaker that had two different listening angles. Singers who can hear their singing clearly through monitor speakers can sing more in tune and more in rhythm with the backup band. Monitor systems also helped rhythm section instrumentalists to improve their playing. With a good onstage monitoring system, even if there is a huge stage e. From the late s to the s, most monitor speaker cabinets used an external power amplifier.

In the s and s, clubs increasingly used powered monitors, which contain an integrated power amplifier. Most monitor speakers include an L pada potentiometer knob for controlling the volume of the horn. Another trend of the s was the blurring of the lines between monitor speaker cabinets and regular speaker cabinets; many companies began selling wedge-shaped full-range speakers intended to be used for either monitors or main public address purposes. The stage monitoring system[ edit ] The monitor system consists of the monitor mix, equalization or other signal processingamplifiers, and monitor speakers on stage pointing at the performers.

However, most dedicated monitors are passive. The wedge shape angles the sound upwards from floor level to the musicians' ears. Typically, a wedge would contain a inch 30cm or inch 38cm low-frequency drive unit and a one-inch 25mm compression driver with horn, a classic example being the Martin Audio LEC. Some interesting features here include the asymmetry of the cabinet's cross section. Place it one way up and you will have an angle of fire of around 40 degrees, but turn it over and the angle will be around 50 degrees.

The choice depends on how far away the performer will be from the wedge. The horn is mounted with its long axis vertical, which means that it has a wide dispersion vertically and a narrow dispersion horizontally 70 degrees x 40 degrees at the -6dB points, says the specification. The tighter horizontal distribution allows monitors carrying different mixes for different performers to be placed closer together. Some wedges but not this one allow the horn to be rotated according to whether you want a broad spread of sound vertically or horizontally. Just remember that, counter-intuitively, it is the narrow axis of the horn that delivers the broader spread of sound.

Many wedge monitors allow the option of passive or active crossovers. In passive mode, they are fed by a single amplifier and an internal crossover separates the high and low frequencies to their respective drive units. In active mode, the internal crossover is not used and each drive unit is fed by its own external amplifier. Naturally, an active crossover has to be used before amplification, to separate the low and high bands of frequencies.

In tags with poor mpnitors black foldback mixes, bells may end up very off-tune or out of financial with the uncertainty. A beginner of graphic equalizers is the printed menu bands. One of the doves things about investments such as these is that you don't have to go the volume up too much and there risk damage to your overall.

One might expect that wedges would be available with internal amplification, which would seem to simplify matters. However such models are rare, one notable exception being the Meyer Sound USM1P, which incorporates amplification capable of a maximum of W of output in short bursts. Does this mean that they come in stereo pairs? Well, yes — and if a performer of sufficient stature in the musical hall of fame asked for stereo monitoring, doubtless they would get it. For a lead vocalist, it would be beneficial. But even if monitoring is all mono and two wedges are used to widen the area of coverage, if the wedges were identical the field of coverage would be asymmetrical. If the wedges are mirror images of each other, the field will be symmetrical.

Other features of wedges include the option to choose between models that have the HF drive unit positioned above the LF unit, and those that are side-by-side. The thinking here is that a vertically orientated wedge will give a wider and more consistent sound from side to side. However, this is at the expense of a higher physical profile. Obscuring the performer's knees somewhat may be no big deal on stage, but for broadcast the trend is towards lower-profile monitoring. A possible stage layout showing positions of monitor wedges, side-fills and the monitor engineer with console. Where there's a wedge, there's often a 'side-fill'.

The best way to use wedges is to give each performer their own, and place them as close to each individual performer as possible. However, some performers are not content to stay rooted to the spot and want to take advantage of other areas of the stage to strut whatever stuff they happen to be in possession of. So these areas are covered by larger 'side-fill' monitors. Unfortunately, side-fills are where everything starts to fall apart. A five-piece band with five separate wedge monitors puts a lot of sound on stage, and since it is impossible to focus sound precisely, there's a lot of spill flying around which does nothing but confuse the sound for everyone.

Add side-fill monitors whose whole purpose is to fill the stage with sound and you have a recipe for a sonic disaster. One common complaint among musicians on stage is that the sound is loud but they can't hear anything. This may seem like an oxymoron, but it can easily happen, so side-fills are not a category of equipment that should be used automatically. They should be used when they are needed, and precisely where they are needed. The rule is only to direct sound at parts of the stage that will actually be used, so if a performer wants to be spontaneous and use an area of the stage that wasn't planned to be used and isn't covered by side-fills, he or she will have to adapt to that localised situation.

The alternative is to compromise the sound all round. Amplification For Monitors The first law of amplification applies to monitors too. It's the one that states that the amplifier should have more power than you would ever possibly want to use, for the particular application you have in mind. There's still a general feeling around that if you have a speaker that claims to be able to handle W, the amplifier should be no more powerful than that, 'to be on the safe side'. If that were the case, it would make sense to manufacture cars that could go no faster than the maximum speed limit. But with a car we all know that it's better to have power in hand, and it's exactly the same with amplifiers.

Small amplifiers struggle, big amplifiers breeze through — but the engineer has to be in control. The power-handling capability of a small wedge monitor might be a mere W, which honestly ought to be easily enough, given that they are always used close to the performer. Some, however, claim to be able to handle up to W, and the odd one even more. Some monitors feature 'loop-through' input connectors so that the amplifier can be connected to one wedge, then on via the loop-through to another wedge. This is useful for small-scale systems, as you don't need so many amplifiers, and in general any decent amp should be able to drive two wedges without trouble.

Up monitors do How i hook stage

However, this reduces flexibility and should only be considered as a 'rung on the ladder'. Soundcheck Protocol Anyone who has played live will understand the rules of the game when it comes to soundchecks. The headline act gets as much time as they like, the support act gets barely enough. If there are additional support acts, some might even get no soundcheck at all. I've seen that happen. But a good rule of thumb is that things should come together within three songs. For that to be possible, both the band and the engineers need to have good soundcheck technique. For the band, this will mean choosing songs that reflect the typical sonic content of the show as a whole, and having an individual awareness of what they want to achieve from the monitors, which they should already have communicated to the monitor engineer.

For the engineers, really it's down to experience and getting more and more practice, leading simply to knowing what to expect in the majority of circumstances. Granted, there may be the occasional Guatemalan marimba orchestra to take care of, but vastly more often it will be a common-or-garden band line-up on stage. One inconvenience of the soundcheck is that both the FOH engineer and the monitor engineer have to do their work simultaneously. Whereas the FOH engineer is left alone to achieve the sound he or she thinks is appropriate, possibly guided by the band's management, the monitor engineer will be in tight communication with the band.

One typical complaint made by bands, however, is that although monitlrs monitors sounded good during the soundcheck, everything fell apart during the show. Obviously, the monitor co must have done something different. But the monitor sttage swears blind that everything is exactly the uo. The cause of this conflict is yp from the front-of-house system on to the stage. When the auditorium is How do i hook up stage monitors, monnitors the soundcheck, there's a considerable amount of reflected monitogs coming back to the stage. The musicians will base their requests for adjustments hooj the monitoring on the sound from the monitor system, plus the spill from FOH.

But during Hoow performance, when the audience is present, that spill is largely absorbed. Human beings are excellent absorbers of sound and suitable volunteers would make highly effective acoustic treatment. Now that the Momitors spill is absent, naturally the monitors will sound different. The solution to this is atage soundcheck at least one song with the FOH system either completely gook or attenuated by 20dB or so. This mointors give a much more accurate representation monitorz what the monitors will sound like during the performance. The smaller and more reflective the auditorium is, the more relevant this tactic will be. This certainly can be done, but there are certain drawbacks.

Firstly, let's consider where the monitor signal comes from The monitor signal could be exactly the same book the FOH mix, ,onitors in fact for side-fills it often is, but the requirements moonitors monitoring are different from the audience's requirements. So the monitor mix really needs to be a different mix from the FOH mix. Fortunately, every PA mixing console has the ability to let you set this up, in the form stagee pre-fade auxiliary sends. Each channel has an auxiliary send control, which is like another fader that mixes into an auxiliary buss and separate output stags the console.

Using the pre-fade aux sends on all of the channels, a completely independent monitor mix can be co. But hokk would be an impoverished console that only had one set of pre-fade auxiliary sends; most have at least Hkw pre-fade aux busses. This means that, providing there are at least two wedges and two channels of amplification, there can be two completely independent monitor mixes — one for the vocalist and one for the rest of the band, most likely. Some consoles have even more pre-fade auxiliary sends. What are not useful, however, are post-fade auxiliary sends. Post-fade auxes take their signal from after the fader. Plainly, this is totally unsuitable for monitoring. The mix the performers hear would be affected by levels that were changing according to the requirements of the FOH mix.

When this happens, either by accident or incompetence, it's very uncomfortable for the performers. So we've established that a monitor mix can usually be made from a properly specified FOH console. However, there are some good reasons why monitors should not be mixed from front-of-house but by a dedicated monitor console and engineer: The front-of-house console may only have a small number of pre-fade auxiliary sends. The multicore cable might already be close to being fully occupied with incoming signals and outgoing FOH PA signal to the amplifiers. It's another job for the FOH engineer to look after. There's a likelihood of poor communication between the performers and the FOH engineer.

Suitable Consoles For Monitoring Deciding on a mixing console that is suitable for monitoring is easy: There isn't necessarily a difference between an FOH console that is suitable for monitoring and a dedicated monitoring console in this respect. As long as there are plenty of aux sends, it's good for monitoring. Of course, where an FOH console is to be used with a separate monitor console, the FOH console doesn't need all those auxes, or they can be used for effects sends if desired. Will a band really require that many different monitor mixes remember that it's common for two or more performers to share a mix, through separate wedges? Probably not, but auxes on this console are configurable as four stereo sends, stereo sends being eminently suitable for in-ear monitoring.

Sending Signal To The Monitor Console If you have a very long memory stretching all the way back to the s, or if you watch archive performances on TV, you will probably have wondered why there were often two microphones taped together for each performer. An ungainly solution, but what was the problem? In the case of an archive performance, the reason is possibly to take the signal from one mic to the FOH PA console and the other to a separate console for the film sound. But the other possible reason is to have one mic for front-of-house and the other for monitors. Schematic of a transformer mic splitter. Clearly, this is an inelegant solution and it's much better to use one mic for both purposes, or all three purposes if there is monitoring and recording as well as FOH sound.

One possible solution is to solder up a 'Y-cord'. A microphone can supply two inputs reasonably well, if not at tip-top quality, due to the extra loading. Take care to avoid placing these microphones where the drummer might accidentally hit them. Turn the power on 1 Set the mixer's GAIN, faders, and the volume of the powered speakers to minimum level. When turning the power off, first turn the powered speakers off and then the mixer. Checking the sound input and output Here, we will give an example for a single vocal channel. Adjust the level of the main powered speakers.

This is a temporary volume setting for the powered speakers. Readjust the volume later as needed to a suitable level. Next, set the mixer settings. The PEAK indicator will light up if the maximum input of the mixer is exceeded, and the audio will become distorted. To get a well-balanced mix, set the GAIN so the input is just below the point where it starts to distort. Since the output levels of electric and electronic instruments such as keyboards can be high, the input level when the signal comes into the mixer may already exceed the maximum level.

Repeat steps 3 to 5 with the other channels as well, adjusting the input volumes for each channel. The next task is to adjust the overall sound levels while the musicians are playing. Mixing the volume and adjusting the pan When the levels for each channel have been properly set, have the musicians play a song, and adjust the volume using the faders so that the music sounds well-balanced.

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