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OK here’s what we do when using one desk for FOH and monitors. This isn’t specific to A&H, it applies to any mixer, digital or analogue.
As has already been said, the crucial thing is to get a proper gain structure through the desk, so setting the input gain sensibly for each channel is the most important thing you will do.
We always put in the channel HPF starting at between 90Hz up to 120Hz on ALL vocals, and most instruments with the exception of Bass DI, Keys DI, kick-drum, floor toms and any other instrument that heads towards the subs – tenor sax, for example.
It’s a total waste of space to keep loads of LF in channels that don’t need it – anything there is usually junk and it’s sucking masses of power from the amp rack.
So, in the sound-check we start with the drum kit, as that’s usually the most complicated,, getting the drummer to give us each element individually.
We begin with the basic engine of rock and roll, kick/snare/hi-hat, getting a level from each, setting the drummer’s monitors as we do so, then balancing them on FOH while adjusting gates and compressors.
Then we balance rack and floor toms, again individually for level and tonality, and then get the drummer to play them in cadence so we can tweak them to the same level. This is often the point that we find it’s the drum that needs attention rather than the desk!
Now we ask the drummer to batter the whole kit while we add the stereo overheads and balance the whole kit for FOH.
While it seems horrifically complicated we usually get this sorted in about 5 minutes.
Next is bass guitar, then keyboards and then lead guitar.
The concept is the same, engineer the FOH balance, reverb, compression and any gates, while also tweaking the monitor mixes for each musician.
Apply the same principle to other instruments.
Vocals is where the hard work begins.
Most vocalists sing at least 6dB louder on the night than they do in sound-check – allow for it!
The same principles apply – set gain structure then tweak your FOH and monitor feeds.
DON’T add any reverb to the monitor mix unless it’s IEM – it’ll screw you up royally.
Remember that monitor feeds, especially on most digital desks, should have graphic EQ available to stomp on individual howl-round resonances.
The RTA function on A&H (and other) desks can help you here.
If any channel needs more than a subtle EQ tweak for something other than artistic effect, then might I suggest that you need to look at a different microphone or some other means of acquisition?
Keep the sound as pure as you can and you will find that it naturally falls into shape by itself.
While most modern mixers offer enormous amounts of EQ, it’s a bit like fire extinguishers – nice to know it’s there for an emergency but you’d rather not have to use it on a daily basis.