Foh or Mons first?

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    Profile photo of

    Sorry I should have added those posts were from Andreas so I was agreeing with him
    I also should have said that I always sound check the vocal Mic’s into their respective wedge’s BEFORE any Band arrives if there is time.

    Of course there are situations where the monitors have to be sorted ‘before’ FOH
    and also where there is NO TIME OR NOT ALLOWED TO SOUND CHECK FOH Like they do at some Festivals which have multiple stages.
    However I don’t think that is what this original post here was inquiring.

    So to quick some up as I see it.
    To have the vocals ready first for when bands / acts walk on stage is really a necessity.

    hope this helps
    Thanks Andreas

    Profile photo of Andreas

    Guys, you’re so kind to me… 🙂
    Sure, vocal mics should be prepared on stage before band arrives, and details in procedure may need to be adjusted from venue to venue.
    How do you professionals handle FOH soundcheck? Over the years I’ve personally dropped the idea having a fine FOH sound when the show starts and be prepared for some intense minutes at the desk then. For me “Soundcheck” is only little more than a line- and monitor-check and can be done rather fast.

    Profile photo of gilly

    Thanks guys for your time and input. But just to clarify, i never suggested using 2 mics for vocals, that surely would be absurd and silly looking. I only suggested this for feedback prone instruments such as the double bass.
    Btw the sound for the concert i did on Saturday worked out really well…no feedback issues during gig as i sorted out during soundcheck via EQing and mic and monitor positioning. During last weeks practice we were getting feedback between double bass as he liked the SM58 pointing just to the left of the f soundhole (the sweet spot as he called it) but every now and then he would move and mic pointed right towards hole causing boomy feedback. So on Saturday he marked a position on floor to place his bass support pointer and it was grand all night. Happy days !!

    Profile photo of Hercules123

    I don’t have a separate monitor engineer so I’ll stay on stage after micing up the band & take care of gains & monitors. First off my monitor mix is post eq in not so friendly acoustic environments & pre eq in good acoustic environments. I always take care of monitors first cause I can take care of FOH on the fly. I also use subtractive eq mostly.
    I find some engineers don’t zero the board or have a good pre set programmed in a scene & that can throw a curve ball at you if your not prepping for that next gig. I know my mic chacateristics & my monitors so that always helps when mixing in different environments.
    There’s an infinite amount of ways to approach your mixing. I just happen to mix lots of events with multiple bands with not much tear down time & set up time. I always have a stage hand micing up the band & helping in every way. What I do know is making the band happy with there monitors is the upmost importance. I’m a sax player also & it’s frustrating when I get a crappy sounding monitor. If you want the band to give a 110% you must give them great monitors.
    There’s 6 engineers within the company & everybody has a different approach.

    Profile photo of Hawk

    Can we copy LR to other mix? It could be very useful to give the monitor mixes a good foundation to work on.

    Profile photo of Hercules123

    What exactly are you trying to accomplish sending the LR Mix to the monitor mix? It is a separate mix. You have Matrix Mixes you can use that can be the LR Mix.

    Profile photo of Lee7

    I have all our monitors set to “Pre” eq so any adjustments that have to be made to the channel fader do not alter the monitor mix. I have GEQ activated on all monitor mixes were I genrally roll off the high frquencies to avoid feedback and I also cut around the 100/125hz range to minimise any bass boominess. However, the latter part isn’t always an issue.

    Your mic of choice can contribute to any feedback that you maybe experiencing, SM58’s being one the worst offenders, I use an Audix OM-7 that is great for feedback rejection, and for my money, has a better all round tonal quality.

    Also think about were you have your monitors placed on stage in conjunction with your mics, very important.

    Profile photo of ian.hind

    1) Set up the Foh mix first with main LR and channel faders at unity (or some like -5) and adjust chan gain to suitable hearing level (and not overdriving into the red). Then mix the stage wedge monitors using the faders and EQ, not touching the gain.
    2) Set up the stage wedge monitor mixes first,keeping the channel gain as low as possible to reduce feedback and adjusting the monitor mix faders to suit the musicians level requirements. Then attend to Foh mix,adjusting the chan faders for the required listening level.

    Like many things, everyone has their own way of working. But generally you get your gain stage good, at the LOUDEST peak you should be hitting the +6 LED on your Qu. Since it’s a digital console, clipping is BAD! And your noise floor doesn’t really suffer with a tad lower gain.

    Your wedges should all be PRE-fader, PRE-eq, PRE-compression, PRE-everything. You will run into singers who want reverb for comfort, but generally speaking the monitors should be as dry as possible.

    If it’s a small room, do your FoH first since the bleed from it will cause possible low and low mid feedback issues. Also, this will affect monitors since the musicians will have a lot of FoH bleeding back to them causing the monitor mix to change if setup first.

    Your gain doesn’t have anything to do with feedback, whatever is loudest at the mic will win (voice or monitor). If you set a very low gain and push your faders up high, then that’s no different than your gain up high and faders down low which theoretically will come out the same volume at the wedge.

    Once you have your FoH going, push it up to it’s limit and see if you’re having problems with your low/low mid’s with feedback. If you are, use your PEQ or GEQ to ring it out (I prefer PEQ, unless it’s being used to sweeten the mix)

    FoH is rung out if needed, then move onto monitors and do the same. Put the vocals up to the point of feedback and start pulling back your offending frequencies. Push them further up until the next frequency rears it’s ugly head and ring that out as well. You can only go so far as feedback is inevitable and too much pulling will really start degrading your signal. I usually stop after about 3 pulls.

    After one channel is rung out, go onto the next and LEAVE ALL CHANNELS OPEN! This is important!

    Try and keep your gains steady, since up/down will affect your monitors.

    Longer reply than I expect, but hopefully that helped

    Profile photo of croydon_clothears

    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.

    Profile photo of Hawk

    How can you setup the monitors while you are setting the gain? since other channels are not set yet.

    Does it mean you only adjust the send level of the channel you are setting? If so, all the individual channels may have a proper volume in a monitor, but then there is no chance to balance different channels in a monitor when they start to play altogether, right?

    That’s why I still think one should set a good FOH mix first and then set all the monitor mix the same as the FOH mix, and finally tweak each monitor mix to match who ever is listening to that (typically more of the player in that monitor mix).

    That’s why I need the function to copy LR to monitor mixes! Thanks.

    Profile photo of Lee7

    But if you copied your LR mix to monitors you would end up with everything that is mic’d coming back at you, in my experiance less is best.

    Although we mic everything, we only have a dry vocal mix coming back through the monitors, only when we play on really big stages will the drummer have a little bit of his kick, snare and bass guitar in his monitor mix along with just his vocal. The bass player will a touch of kick, his vocal and the vocals of the other members, but at a reduced level in comparison to his own.

    I think you coukd be heading for trouble if you start putting the whole FOH mix back through your monitors as it will become uncontrollable.

    Profile photo of Andreas

    Copying FOH to monitors may be a starting point if you’re using IEMs only. But for wedges I would only feed those channel(s), which are required by each musician for orientation (i.e. Bass may need HiHat/Snare, Singer may need keyboards plus a little guitar, Guitar may only need keyboards, Drummer wants Bass only) along with the own instrument.
    Too much “others” on wedges make performance difficult for the musicians, which in turn will request to make their own instrument louder on monitors, so you’ll get more mud from the stage and need to rise FOH volume as well. Feeding only as little as required to the (hopefully directional) monitors could greatly reduce the overall FOH volume leading to a better experience for both the audience and the band.

    Profile photo of Hawk

    This is an interesting and important topic, so let me continue asking some questions.

    If we don’t have everything in the monitor, does it mean the player has to rely on the bleed from other monitors or PA to hear something that is not in his monitor? Isn’t going to be muddy and delayed?

    Profile photo of [XAP]Bob

    A musician doesn’t need to hear everything.

    They need to hear:
    Something to keep them in time
    Something to keep them following the band lead

    They might want:
    Lead vocals for reference

    Monitors are not musical production mixes, they help musicians play in tune and time, as best as they can.

    Profile photo of Andreas

    Assuming the band has some “acoustic” gear on stage, like Drums, Guitar and Bass, they probably already hear the rhythm well even without monitoring and FOH off. So normally only little is required here (i.e. Drummer is probably the only musician asking for bass on his monitor).
    Things will get complicated if:
    – You have some reflective room (will get better with some audience filled in)
    – Stage is too large or OpenAir so that these sources are not loud enough for musicians to hear precisely enough
    Venues with a reflective back wall are probably the most complicated to deal with, since the Band will hear the beat a second time several dozen mSec later. Rising monitor volume isn’t really helpful, since this would bleed even more into the audience, making that sound worse (highly directive wedges do help a lot).
    Lowering overall volume sometimes help, but that’s not acceptable for every kind of music. So you’ll have to find a working balance for that evening.

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