Aux Monitor Mix Advice Needed

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This topic contains 10 replies, has 4 voices, and was last updated by Profile photo of Chris93 Chris93 5 years, 6 months ago.

Viewing 11 posts - 1 through 11 (of 11 total)
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  • #51787
    Profile photo of Joe Hinkens
    Joe Hinkens
    Participant

    GLD80 v1.5 fw
    I’m looking for some recommendations on the best possible aux monitor setup for our situation.
    Our band is made up of 5 players, drums, 2 electric guitars, bass guitar, and lead vocalist. The drums are acoustic shells fitted with mesh heads and triggers running through Superior Drummer 2.0 on a MacBook connected to the GLD80 via a Dante card. The two guitars are each running through Fractal Axe FX modelers and the bass guitar is running through a Tech 21 bass modeler. We are all on IEM’s so with no wedges, no amps, no acoustic drums, so we essentially have a silent stage. We mostly play local winery and bar gigs so we almost always run without a mix engineer and simply run the GLD80 from the stage. We typically do a virtual sound check using an iPad (GLD Remote) with playback from the DAW loaded on the MacBook. So for the most part, we have a ‘set it and forget it’ configuration.

    For our aux monitor setup, we each have a stereo aux feed running ‘Post’ fader. This way if there are minor adjustments to the FOH, we all hear them in our own aux mix. To set up each individuals aux mix, we simply set all of the vox and instrument faders (in the aux mix) at an equal position with the exception of a slight ‘lift’ on their own instrument and vocal. So for example, the bass player’s ‘aux mix’ might have all the faders in his mix set to say -5dB with the exception of his bass guitar and vocal which might sit at unity. The idea is to precisely replicate the FOH mix with the exception of a slight lift of the individual’s instrument and vocal. (The one exception to all of this is that I simply patch my in-ears to the headphone jack and listen to the FOH mix which gives me a little more confidence in hearing what the audience is hearing.)

    But the issue I’d like to resolve is that sometimes the aux mixes don’t accurately replicate the FOH mix. The differences are subtle but enough to cause some concern. For instance, the lead vocals seem to be at a lower level in our aux mixes than in the FOH mix. I understand the easy fix would be to simply raise the level of the lead vocal in each of the aux mixes. I’d just like to learn why the difference is there in our aux mixes vs our FOH mix. We each enjoy such a great monitor mix, we just want to make it as perfect as we can.

    Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
    Thanks,
    Joe

    #51788
    Profile photo of SDCyclist
    SDCyclist
    Participant

    Joe,

    My first question would be… are you running the lead vocal through any FX? And if so are both the FX sends and returns for each Aux mix to those FX channels set to exactly the same levels as they are in the main mix? I’m sure there are several other possibilities but that is probably the first thing I would check.

    Lee

    #51789
    Profile photo of Joe Hinkens
    Joe Hinkens
    Participant

    Hi Lee,
    We are running each of the four vocals through FX. But I set the returns in the aux mixes at a lower position than FOH so the FX fader positions would equal the positions of the other faders in the aux mix, which is basically a straight line. The logic is I didn’t want the FX to be louder than the dry signal. Maybe that’s where the problem lies? Should I restore the FX sends and returns to the position that matches FOH? I’ll be in front of the GLD in a couple hours so I can try it.
    Thanks,
    Joe

    #51791
    Profile photo of beartech
    beartech
    Participant

    Joe,

    It is important to understand that the primary function of your Aux mix is for the performers to hear themselves and other key people well enough to play or sing. The Aux mix is not meant to in any way reflect an accurate FOH mix. For this reason Aux sends should most effectively be places in a pre-fader mode. The only case I would ever use post fader is if I were attempting to represent FOH mix in a recording or broadcast.

    #51795
    Profile photo of Chris93
    Chris93
    Participant

    What is the pick off point for your auxes? Select an Aux and go to the “routing” tab under the “processing” button. For your stated purpose you’d want these to be set to “post comp” so what you’re hearing is after all the channel processing. (You’d choose “post delay” because it’s at the end, but this won’t cause a gain change and you might want to use if for something that you wouldn’t want affecting monitors.)

    If you had a compressor with make up gain, or an EQ boost, this would explain your issues. Also, any processing you do on subgroups or your Main LR mix will also change FOH without being heard in your mixes.

    Chris

    #51805
    Profile photo of SDCyclist
    SDCyclist
    Participant

    Joe,

    I wasn’t really suggesting that you “do” anything. I was just trying to help answer your question about why they might sound different. I think that your usage as others have mentioned above is a bit atypical. But if you and the others performers can hear what you need to hear in order to perform well this way (and no one is overly sensitive to any changes you have to make during the show to keep the FOH mix sounding good…), then I think it likely represents a creative solution that suits your needs. I mentioned the FX send and return levels first because I thought that it would be the most likely to have been overlooked or misunderstood. There are of course other things that could make them sound different. All EQ and dynamics processing (and graphic EQs) would also need to be set identically between the Main and each AUX in order for them to sound identical. Hope that helps…

    Lee

    #51807
    Profile photo of Joe Hinkens
    Joe Hinkens
    Participant

    Chris wrote:

    What is the pick off point for your auxes? Select an Aux and go to the “routing” tab under the “processing” button. For your stated purpose you’d want these to be set to “post comp” so what you’re hearing is after all the channel processing. (You’d choose “post delay” because it’s at the end, but this won’t cause a gain change and you might want to use if for something that you wouldn’t want affecting monitors.)

    If you had a compressor with make up gain, or an EQ boost, this would explain your issues. Also, any processing you do on subgroups or your Main LR mix will also change FOH without being heard in your mixes.

    Chris

    That was it Chris. After following your suggestion I found that the pick off point for each of the five auxes was ‘post EQ’. There was a substantial amount of make up gain on the compressor so once I changed the pick off point to ‘post comp’ the aux mixes came to life. I never realized that routing tab existed. Thanks for your help.
    Joe

    #51818
    Profile photo of Joe Hinkens
    Joe Hinkens
    Participant

    Joe,
    I wasn’t really suggesting that you “do” anything. I was just trying to help answer your question about why they might sound different. I think that your usage as others have mentioned above is a bit atypical. But if you and the others performers can hear what you need to hear in order to perform well this way (and no one is overly sensitive to any changes you have to make during the show to keep the FOH mix sounding good…), then I think it likely represents a creative solution that suits your needs. I mentioned the FX send and return levels first because I thought that it would be the most likely to have been overlooked or misunderstood. There are of course other things that could make them sound different. All EQ and dynamics processing (and graphic EQs) would also need to be set identically between the Main and each AUX in order for them to sound identical. Hope that helps…
    Lee

    Lee,
    Your suggestions make good sense. I understand that our ‘post fader’ aux setup is a bit unconventional, but as you picked up, it does seem to work well for us. We’ve spent a lot of time carefully listening to recorded playback to really fine tune our mix so that we can show up to a gig and play knowing our FOH mix is dialed in consistently, night after night. If we had a mix engineer working with us, we probably wouldn’t fuss with it so much. With each of us running a stereo aux mix, we’ve come to appreciate a full mix that closely matches the FOH mix. With a slight lift on our own instrument and vocal, it’s a really good mix in our in-ears.

    Thinking over your other suggestions, we tend to run a flat EQ on the aux mixes, and with Chris’ suggestion in a previous post, I’ve set the routing of the auxes to ‘post compressor’. I do need to do some investigation on your suggestions on FX send and return settings. I think that will put the finishing touches on things. This is all ‘trial by fire’ for us, so thanks to you and the others for your comments and suggestions. They are very helpful.
    Joe

    #51819
    Profile photo of Chris93
    Chris93
    Participant

    Good to hear that sorted it. 🙂

    Now you just need to be aware that what you’re hearing in your ears is not necessarily an accurate representation of how dynamic you are into your mics. 🙂 I wouldn’t assume that it will be a problem, but it’s something to be aware of.

    If this turns out to be an issue you might actually be better to put the routing back the way you had it, then remove the make up gain from the compressors and replace that make up gain with a fader boost. That’ll give you the level you’re expecting without you hearing dynamics processing in your ears.

    Chris

    #51841
    Profile photo of Joe Hinkens
    Joe Hinkens
    Participant

    Good to hear that sorted it. 🙂

    Now you just need to be aware that what you’re hearing in your ears is not necessarily an accurate representation of how dynamic you are into your mics. 🙂 I wouldn’t assume that it will be a problem, but it’s something to be aware of.

    If this turns out to be an issue you might actually be better to put the routing back the way you had it, then remove the make up gain from the compressors and replace that make up gain with a fader boost. That’ll give you the level you’re expecting without you hearing dynamics processing in your ears.

    Chris

    Chris,
    I hadn’t given any thought to the possibilities you mentioned but most of it makes sense. I’m curious why we wouldn’t want to hear dynamics in our in-ears? I’m also a bit confused on the make-up gain on the compressors. If simply raising the fader level is the equivalent of using the make-up gain in the compressor, why would the make up gain adjustment be there in the first place? Compressors have always been a bit of a mystery to me. I like the results of compression, but I’ve never been overly confident in whether I was setting things optimally. Generally, I’ve used compressors primarily on the vocals and I’ve made a habit of setting the gain reduction at no more than about -6dB and then simply set the make-up gain at +6dB give or take. I’ve usually kept the ratio at 3:1 or sometimes up to 5:1.

    Apologies for these questions on fundamentals but I’m a self-taught rookie a lot to learn and I find your posts extremely valuable and well written.

    Thanks,
    Joe

    P.S. I just remembered that I also put just a touch of compression on the Main mix as well. It just seems to make things a little more punchy, especially on the drums. I don’t know if that’s right or wrong. 🙂 Thanks.

    #51846
    Profile photo of Chris93
    Chris93
    Participant

    Hi Joe, thanks, that’s nice to hear.

    The make up gain is not really part of the actual compression process, even though it is in the compressor “processing object”. It’s just a fixed (but user adjustable) gain adjustment. Normally you’d use it as you have, to replace the signal level lost at the compressor so the same sort of average loudness is maintained even though the dynamics have been compressed. In some genres you might have a snare drum doing 10dB of compression on every hit because it sounds good, but you don’t actually want it to get 10dB quieter when you turn the compressor on.

    Generally, I’ve used compressors primarily on the vocals and I’ve made a habit of setting the gain reduction at no more than about -6dB and then simply set the make-up gain at +6dB

    As it is now, when your vocal is below the threshold it is 6dB louder than it would be without the compressor (0 reduction +6dB make up). When you sing loud enough to hit 6dB of reduction your vocal is the same level as it would have been without the compressor (-6dB reduction +6dB make up). If you get up close and shout into your mic it might hit 12dB of reduction, it this case your vocal is 6dB quieter than without the compressor (-12dB reduction +6dB make up). The point is that the make up gain is independent and can be arbitrary.

    The make up gain basically does do the same thing as raising the fader, it’s just nice to have have it in the compressor so you can maintain loudness while reducing dynamics and do it all in one “device”. Some EQ’s also have level controls for the same reason, you want to make a tonal change but you don’t necessarily want to change the overall signal level so there’s a gain adjustment to compensate for the gain change of the EQ.

    One occasion where the compressor make up gain might really come in handy is if you were working with a very dynamic input signal like maybe a stand-up comedian who talks quietly and then suddenly shouts. You need to leave enough headroom at the preamp to accommodate the shouting, but this means that the talking is really quiet even with the fader all the way up. Say at the input to the compressor the whispering is coming in at -10 and the shouting is +15. You set the threshold to 0dB with a 10:1 ratio and now the loudest sound at the output of the compressor is only +1.5dB (assuming zero attack time). This means that you could apply up to 16.5dB of make up gain without clipping anything in the desk, which is plenty to make the whispering audible. If you’d applied that gain at the preamp the shouting would have clipped by 13.5 dB. Now you’d wouldn’t really use all 16.5dB of gain, but it illustrates the point.

    I’ll get back to you later on the dynamics in IEMS thing 🙂

    Chris

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