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Tech: Sorting out monitors!

WyoWoman 11 Oct 09 - 10:14 PM
GUEST,Ralphie 12 Oct 09 - 02:00 AM
GUEST,Ralphie 12 Oct 09 - 02:05 AM
treewind 12 Oct 09 - 02:53 AM
mandotim 12 Oct 09 - 02:57 AM
GUEST,Richard Bridge on the Dell 12 Oct 09 - 05:09 AM
GUEST,Ralphie 12 Oct 09 - 10:52 AM
Howard Jones 12 Oct 09 - 03:15 PM
treewind 13 Oct 09 - 03:21 AM
treewind 13 Oct 09 - 03:27 AM
Brian Swinton 13 Oct 09 - 02:14 PM
treewind 13 Oct 09 - 02:29 PM
mandotim 13 Oct 09 - 03:18 PM
DonMeixner 13 Oct 09 - 03:27 PM
DonMeixner 13 Oct 09 - 03:39 PM
Brian Swinton 13 Oct 09 - 03:47 PM
mandotim 13 Oct 09 - 06:06 PM
WyoWoman 21 Oct 09 - 07:42 AM
Richard Bridge 21 Oct 09 - 08:52 AM
GUEST,punkfolkrocker 21 Oct 09 - 09:54 AM
Bernard 21 Oct 09 - 10:15 AM
Bernard 21 Oct 09 - 10:20 AM
GUEST,Ra;phie... 21 Oct 09 - 12:25 PM
GUEST,Baz Parkes 21 Oct 09 - 12:40 PM
DonMeixner 21 Oct 09 - 04:18 PM
mandotim 22 Oct 09 - 03:55 PM
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Subject: Tech: Sorting out monitors!
From: WyoWoman
Date: 11 Oct 09 - 10:14 PM

Hi Saddle Pals!

My band has been using a couple of Gem speakers as our monitors, but have recently realized that we are not hearing ourselves well enough in performance and have decided to upgrade. We have several options and are interested in hearing what some of the other performing or sound-engineering Mudcateers choose for their monitoring needs.

Some basics:
There are five of us and we play, variously, guitar, flute, standup bass, fiddle, mando, and, if he asks really nicely, occasional banjo. We all sing, often at the same time.

We could:

Buy a couple more speakers and have four monitors;
Buy spot monitors that fasten onto our individual mic stands;
Get ear bud monitors (however, the concern for being deafened by spikes in the sound level makes us worry about this option);
Or maybe something else we haven't even considered.

What's your experience and/or what do you recommend?

Many thanks,

WyoWoman


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Subject: RE: Tech: Sorting out monitors!
From: GUEST,Ralphie
Date: 12 Oct 09 - 02:00 AM

FWIW. I always use In Ear monitoring. Would never ever go back to wedges.
I use a Trantec Radio system, and it sounds wonderful (in spite of my playing!). Get the monitir mixes right and it's like listening to a CD.
Your concern re transients (spikes), is understandable, but it's safer than an I-pod if set up correctly. Most In Ear systems have a Compressor or Limiter built in to smooth out the spikes, and the fact that you have such clarity means that you tend to listen at lower sound levels anyway.
Having been a professional sound engineer for 35 years, believe me, I would't put stuff in my ears if I thought it would cause damage.

I would recommend that you have some personally moulded ones made. Even with no signal feeding them I can hardly hear the drummer acoustically! (Don't just use some cheap 5 dollar things from the local store)
Also it means that you are getting your own dedicated mix, and it's not swamped by other band members mixes.
If you work in clubs or festivals with a full time FOH guy...Just see him smile and kiss your feet. It removes all the hassle of spill from monitors into the mic chains. Obviously you've still got Backline and Drums maybe. But with acoustic instruments Howl round is a thing of the past.
Yet another advantage is no big boxes of wood to hump around!
All I need now is a Radio system for the instruments and I could do the gig sitting in the bar!

The one disadvantage is that you can hear what the band really think of you when you're in the loo!!!

Whichever route you take Good Luck!! (But remember those gigs on 4th floors of buildings with no elevators? And you've got to carry half a tree up the stairs. Mine is simple. Onr transmitter, one belt pack, and the ears themselves. Done deal.
Regards Ralphie (London Town)


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Subject: RE: Tech: Sorting out monitors!
From: GUEST,Ralphie
Date: 12 Oct 09 - 02:05 AM

Hi Wyo...(again!)
Have just looked at your band set up again.
No Drums no Backline. In ears are perfect for you. I don't know your style of music, but I guess it'e pretty gentle stuff being all acoustic...Oh!! Just thought of another advantage...You can get rid of the banjo in your mix!!!! Hurrah!


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Subject: RE: Tech: Sorting out monitors!
From: treewind
Date: 12 Oct 09 - 02:53 AM

I like the "small monitors on stands" approach, which would work well for a band like that without a heavy-duty back line. We use JBL Control 1's; they can easily be adapted to fit on a mic stand, they sound really clean, they're hard to break and they don't cost an arm and a leg. Beware that they are 4 ohms when choosing an amplifier to go with them.

I have no doubt in-ear monitoring would work well too.

Anahata


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Subject: RE: Tech: Sorting out monitors!
From: mandotim
Date: 12 Oct 09 - 02:57 AM

There is a range of small monitors called 'Galax' which include a powered version. Good reports about these.
Tim


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Subject: RE: Tech: Sorting out monitors!
From: GUEST,Richard Bridge on the Dell
Date: 12 Oct 09 - 05:09 AM

There are things called a "flea" that clip to the mic stand and are driven from your front of house. That way you hear what the audience hears - often an advantage methinks.

If I am driving the desk - I only have two foldback channels - I take a feed off the desk output of each channel to a small stereo amp and use that to drive a pair of cans - that way I am hearing what the monitors are producing.

In-ear is ultimately more accurate, but do be careful with the limiters, and it does not enable you to hear the front of house.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Sorting out monitors!
From: GUEST,Ralphie
Date: 12 Oct 09 - 10:52 AM

Richard.
You're quite right saying that it's hard to hear the room, living in your enclosed little world...You can get around that by having a mic pointed at the thronging masses(?) and feeding it into the monitor mix (to Taste!)
As for Limiting...I've never had any problem with my ears....(I don't listen loud anyway, don't need to!)
If you wanted to go down Anahatas JBL route...Have used them, and clean crisp sound indeed.

Anahata old bean ...remind me of those wonderful German hand made cube speakers....(individally powered, so jolly expensive). AMC?? or AMT??... something like that.

Horses or courses really. But I know which road I travel!!!
Ralpie


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Subject: RE: Tech: Sorting out monitors!
From: Howard Jones
Date: 12 Oct 09 - 03:15 PM

Ralph, if in-ear monitors block out all the acoustic sound, how do you communicate with the rest of the band, or the caller?


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Subject: RE: Tech: Sorting out monitors!
From: treewind
Date: 13 Oct 09 - 03:21 AM

Hi Ralphie!
[waves manically, blows kisses]


AER?
(bloody expensive though)


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Subject: RE: Tech: Sorting out monitors!
From: treewind
Date: 13 Oct 09 - 03:27 AM

Er, specifically This one, I think

Or bigger choice at Thomann
(who are also the place to get the little JBL's perhaps?)

Anahata


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Subject: RE: Tech: Sorting out monitors!
From: Brian Swinton
Date: 13 Oct 09 - 02:14 PM

Having used all kinds of monitors over the years I've found increasingly that less is more and whenever I can I place muscicians to hear each other on stage and rely on their skill to hear and interpret the front of house spill back to them. In most small venues monitor mixes rapidly overcome the front of house balance and are really unnecessary. I have on occasion set up complex monitor mixes for bands then gradually "lost" them, ultimately turning off the monitors completely. 99 times out of a hundred the performance has actually improved as the monitor mix disappeared. Obviously this can't always work but for small venues and semi pro bands buying their own gear its a cost effective approach that avoids building barriers between performers and audience. The Bose personal PA is another very neat way round the problem that I wish I could afford but I'd rather spend my cash on a Weber mandolin than a bunch of electronics.

Sorry for going on a bit but I feel quite strongly about the growth of mega big systems in our kind of music.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Sorting out monitors!
From: treewind
Date: 13 Oct 09 - 02:29 PM

How to make a sound man happy: "No, we don't need any monitors"

We rarely do as a duo, but we like them for the ceilidh band because two of the instruments need on-stage speakers and the other two don't, and that's naturally unbalanced.

Anahata


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Subject: RE: Tech: Sorting out monitors!
From: mandotim
Date: 13 Oct 09 - 03:18 PM

I use the Bose L1 personal PA, and for solo/duo/small band work I reckon it's unbeatable. No monitors necessary, you just hear what the audience hears as clear as a bell. Not cheap; but when you add up the cost of amps, mixer, speakers and decent monitors, it starts to look reasonable.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Sorting out monitors!
From: DonMeixner
Date: 13 Oct 09 - 03:27 PM

We use Shure in ear monitors. There are three of us and we hear just what goes out front. I am deaf in one ear and have a 30% loss in the other. My hearingologist likes the ear monitor because I can control the volume at my belt.

The down is the good ones are expensive.
They eat one 9volt every other job.
The ear buds are around $100.00 to $150.00 to replace when they break and they will.
If you get the buds in your ear a little sideways they muffle a lot.
The slightest cold or bit of earwax in the way creates sounds that you won't believe.

The upside is I hear everything clearly.

I would never go back to a floor monitor or a hot spot on the stand.

Don


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Subject: RE: Tech: Sorting out monitors!
From: DonMeixner
Date: 13 Oct 09 - 03:39 PM

The Bose "Smoke Stack" is neat technology but.... To get good upfront volume and use it as a monitor it is deafening on stage. Also I find that they create sound shadows for the audience when the performer is between the column and the listener. We noticed this when my band did a Guitar League meeting. The guitar club I belong to planned to use the Bose for a Tommy Emmanuel show but he didn't like it at the time and we changed to a traditional set up for sound. We later on found we'd need to use two to avoid shadows. And to lessen the ear damage we cut back on the individual volume.   For me I still needed to use ear monitors. The Bose system is incredibly expensive for one, two were impossible to afford.

Don


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Subject: RE: Tech: Sorting out monitors!
From: Brian Swinton
Date: 13 Oct 09 - 03:47 PM

Interesting to hear your input Mandotim. As well as bands using them as personal PA I've also come across DJs using them as they would a conventional PA only much lighter, less intrusive etc. The acoustic theory is spot on but not new, think back to the 60s when every big club had its columns of 6 or more 8" drivers on the wall at each side of the stage! Those system worked incredibly well despite their very low power ratings by todays standards.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Sorting out monitors!
From: mandotim
Date: 13 Oct 09 - 06:06 PM

Hi Don; I don't usually follow the Bose idea of having the stack behind me; most places I play there isn't room to get it far enough back. I put the stack to one side, level with the mike, and 'toe it in' a little towards me. I get the edge of the sound as monitor feed, but most of it goes out front. This set up is discussed on the Bose forums, and quite a lot of people use it. The issue of volume is complicated; I've found you don't have to turn it up very loud at all for it to be heard at the back. For some reason this design tends to 'throw' sound particularly well. I was skeptical about this at first, but doing sound from the back for other people has convinced me.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Sorting out monitors!
From: WyoWoman
Date: 21 Oct 09 - 07:42 AM

Thank you for all the great advice. I'm going to steer my band mates who know more about this to this thread.

We do a lot of festivals and outdoor gigs--art fairs, rallies, etc.--so mostly we can't hear each other even if we're standing very close together. So we have to have some sort of monitor system -- and then actually listen to each other through it. :=]

I appreciate the information.

Cheerios,

WyoWoman


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Subject: RE: Tech: Sorting out monitors!
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 21 Oct 09 - 08:52 AM

There used to be some great English cubes (self-powered) made by Malcolm Hill.

I have heard the Bose in use once and I didn't like it.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Sorting out monitors!
From: GUEST,punkfolkrocker
Date: 21 Oct 09 - 09:54 AM

I've been considering these multi-instrument 'audiohub' combo amp/monitors
from Laney

http://www.laney.co.uk/show_type.php?tid=4

I'm mainly interested in the AH100 which sells for about £170.
For me, it might be a very useful multipurpose tool
for amplifying various instruments and guitar preamps/modelers [eg Line 6 POD, etc],
at sensible stage volume levels;
and mixing and routing the combined signal to any PA mixer.

Only difficulty is I've not found any local shops that stock them for demo purposes,
or know anyone who's ever used them.

If I can find the spare cash to risk buying one off the internet,
and it worked as well as I anticipate..

then I'd consider persuading other band members to get another,
so we could use them to suppliment our guitar & bass combo-amps
as combined self-contained backline and monitoring.

any views ?


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Subject: RE: Tech: Sorting out monitors!
From: Bernard
Date: 21 Oct 09 - 10:15 AM

Off on a slight tangent...

I've noticed a recent trend for performers to ask for a sound system in even fairly small folk club rooms...

I try to avoid using amplification for my own performances, because I find they distance me from my audience. Whilst I appreciate that some groups (for want of a better word) may use an 'electric' instrument and need a way of balancing vocals and acoustic instruments... but an entirely acoustic group should not really need amplification.

Yes, I've heard the argument for soloists who 'need to preserve their voices' for a tour. It's pathetic! I can do a 'folk train' which involves unamplified singing and playing on a noisy train for around 45 minutes in each direction with over an hour in a pub in the middle... you have to pace your performance. It's called 'being professional.

Anahata (Treewind) knows what I mean... when Mary and he play our club they don't use (or need) a sound system, but they use a sound system in larger venues when needed.

I really don't understand why a solo performer would need a sound system unless it's a large concert hall - if their audience skills are on a par with the fee they ask, then the audience will listen. They do at our club, anyway. I understand even less why they think they would need foldback in such intimate surroundings!

I entirely support the use of sound reinforcement for a ceilidh band and caller (I'm part of one myself and sometimes call), but that's a different thing altogether... and a ceilidh band normally provides its own system.

Okay, this is really a topic for a different thread... maybe it has been covered before... I'm just having a rant because performers are expecting me to provide my services free (it's my day job, too) when they are being paid an agreed fee which didn't include an adjustment for a sound system, and it wasn't specified at the time of agreeing the contract. Before anyone has a go about the contracts, bear in mind I'm not the club organiser... that's a different issue.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Sorting out monitors!
From: Bernard
Date: 21 Oct 09 - 10:20 AM

Sorry about that rant...!! Hah!


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Subject: RE: Tech: Sorting out monitors!
From: GUEST,Ra;phie...
Date: 21 Oct 09 - 12:25 PM

Stepping back a bit to Howard Jones' question...
In Housewives....Mr Rennie (Our esteemeed leader) has a chat mike that only feeds to the In Ear system. So, instructions/abuse are readily on tap!...(But you can always turn him off!!)
As for caller directions...Arms, Legs, Pointed fingers seems to work most of the time!!!
Anahata....AER....Yes, the Dogs B******s!!! Don't need to take on another mortgage just yet!


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Subject: RE: Tech: Sorting out monitors!
From: GUEST,Baz Parkes
Date: 21 Oct 09 - 12:40 PM

Having worked with the chocest of housewives, I do find the opportunity for inter-dance banter a little limited by the in ear jobbies....


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Subject: RE: Tech: Sorting out monitors!
From: DonMeixner
Date: 21 Oct 09 - 04:18 PM

Hi Tim,

Thanks for the info. Does the owners manual mention the shadows of sound and what to do wityh them?

D


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Subject: RE: Tech: Sorting out monitors!
From: mandotim
Date: 22 Oct 09 - 03:55 PM

Hi Don; I found that if I was using the Bose 'ideal' setup, i.e. with the stack behind the performer, it was best to have the stack slightly to one side of the perfomer and behind. Reflections from walls etc. meant that shadows weren't really noticeable with this setup; they only really come into play if the stack is not far enough behind the performer. Bose recommend at least 8 feet, as this allows enough sound to disperse before the 'cone' of sound hits the performer and reflects back. Many venues don't have this much depth to the stage area, so that's when I use the 'level with the performer and off to the side' approach. I usually use two stacks for a four-piece band with banjo, guitar, mandolin, bass and four vocals, but one stack is fine for solo, duo and trio work. I've used one for a trio in a marquee (notoriously difficult for sound) and it worked very well indeed. I have a full monitor setup that I use with my big conventional rig, but I've never needed them with the Bose. That said, I would love to try this setup the way it was intended; one stack for each performer, no mixer and each musician mixing themselves from the remote control.


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