You are here

bands without a FOH- what's your approach to keep mix ok?

For performing musicians and engineers: stagecraft, engineering and gear.

bands without a FOH- what's your approach to keep mix ok?

Postby MikeInFL » Fri May 19, 2017 5:10 pm

Our band plays smaller functions and doesn't use a FOH so we self-mix. Band uses wedge monitors. I kept telling the band- what you hear on stage is different then what they hear out front. We'd do a few sound checks out front at setup, but that's it. So I decided to connect my active monitor to the mixer phones out so I hear the same as the mains. It somewhat works, but not really sure. Could wear headphones but that doesn't look so good.

what do you do if anything?
MikeInFL
Posts: 2
Joined: Fri May 19, 2017 2:01 pm

Re: bands without a FOH- what's your approach to keep mix ok?

Postby Dave B » Fri May 19, 2017 7:49 pm

I kept telling the band- what you hear on stage is different then what they hear out front

Bingo. Excellent.

So I decided to connect my active monitor to the mixer phones out so I hear the same as the mains. It somewhat works, but not really sure.

So, you know that on stage sound should be for each person to hear what they need to hear to balance, but you're trying to somehow hear the FOH sound on stage? That's not really going to fly - what is heard by the audience is the band playing on stage plus the PA. So I'm not sure you'll get the correct balance on the stage.

As to what we do when there's no FOH handy, we play a soundcheck and someone in the band who is wireless (our bass player usually) wanders out to the front and shouts adjustments to whoever is closest to the mixer. Or, these days, grabs the iPad and tweaks it on the spot. From then on, it's up to the players to keep their own levels balanced - which is one of the most important elements of rehearsal. Having someone you trust (ideally another musician) listen to your balance occasionally is a big bonus.
User avatar
Dave B
Frequent Poster
Posts: 3726
Joined: Wed Apr 02, 2003 11:00 pm
Location: Maidenhead

Veni, Vidi, Aesculi

(I came, I saw, I conkered)


Re: bands without a FOH- what's your approach to keep mix ok?

Postby MikeInFL » Fri May 19, 2017 8:20 pm

Dave B wrote:
I kept telling the band- what you hear on stage is different then what they hear out front

Bingo. Excellent.

So I decided to connect my active monitor to the mixer phones out so I hear the same as the mains. It somewhat works, but not really sure.

So, you know that on stage sound should be for each person to hear what they need to hear to balance, but you're trying to somehow hear the FOH sound on stage? That's not really going to fly - what is heard by the audience is the band playing on stage plus the PA. So I'm not sure you'll get the correct balance on the stage.

As to what we do when there's no FOH handy, we play a soundcheck and someone in the band who is wireless (our bass player usually) wanders out to the front and shouts adjustments to whoever is closest to the mixer. Or, these days, grabs the iPad and tweaks it on the spot. From then on, it's up to the players to keep their own levels balanced - which is one of the most important elements of rehearsal. Having someone you trust (ideally another musician) listen to your balance occasionally is a big bonus.

thanks, you are right- I play keys and have the mixer next to me. I can't balance correctly with a monitor on stage because I'm so near the stage guitar and bass amps. I could turn up the mains to create a good mix that I hear on stage but that might be all wrong for mains out front.

Everyone wants their own mix in their monitors so if they self-mix as songs play, it may, or may not, be right for the mains mix. No one in band hears the mix out front. Spouses come to jobs but they are not musicians and the owner of the mixer will not even hand a tablet to his spouse, as it would just confuse her.

What helps some is that at last rehearsal I asked we put the mains in the corners of the room, and everyone position on the opposite side, facing the mains. Doing this created a very good mix, and all parts were heard by everyone. I then pointed out that the mix you hear in rehearsal thru the mains IS what THEY hear out front because we are rehearsing thru the mains, not the monitors! It seemed like I was the only one aware of it. Who uses wedges at rehearsal? I bet very few bands.

So the mix at rehearsal was very good and if that was kept for the job, It would sound good, but at the job the overall mains needs to balance the amps on stage (we play in small venues)
MikeInFL
Posts: 2
Joined: Fri May 19, 2017 2:01 pm

Re: bands without a FOH- what's your approach to keep mix ok?

Postby Dave B » Sat May 20, 2017 12:24 am

MikeInFL wrote: Who uses wedges at rehearsal? I bet very few bands.

We do. We don't play particularly big venues either - pubs and clubs (and a rather beautiful sounding church sometimes). We rehearse with our preferred monitoring - so a couple of us use in ears, one has a wedge, another has a personal monitor (SRM150 type box) and the drummer has big chunky headphones. We've reached this by trying a few combinations of kit and everyone is now very comfortable with what they hear.

It also helps that we have a modern digital mixer which means :

a) it sounds the same whenever we plug it in
b) we have a lot of auxes so everyone can have their own mix
b) everyone has control over their own monitor mix - we only make small tweaks for taste

So we rehearse as if we are playing a gig - we have no FOH sound at all.

We do have a FOH for our band, but that's a luxury, not a necessity with this kind of setup. We are also lucky in that 4 of us can do live sound and we are all old hands so know what a good sound out front should be.

But if you have a way of working that's good for you then stick with that. Whatever works ... :)
User avatar
Dave B
Frequent Poster
Posts: 3726
Joined: Wed Apr 02, 2003 11:00 pm
Location: Maidenhead

Veni, Vidi, Aesculi

(I came, I saw, I conkered)


Re: bands without a FOH- what's your approach to keep mix ok?

Postby CS70 » Sat May 20, 2017 8:38 am

MikeInFL wrote:Our band plays smaller functions and doesn't use a FOH so we self-mix. Band uses wedge monitors. I kept telling the band- what you hear on stage is different then what they hear out front. We'd do a few sound checks out front at setup, but that's it. So I decided to connect my active monitor to the mixer phones out so I hear the same as the mains. It somewhat works, but not really sure. Could wear headphones but that doesn't look so good.

what do you do if anything?

I guess that "don't use a FOH" means you don't have an sound engineer?

The few times I've played without, me and another guy in the band were soundchecking the individual instruments first,then for the full band we just got a friend to stay in front an tell how things sound. Finally we tweaked the monitor auxes, leaving the rest alone.

Depending on the venue and the amount of people you expect, you may want to err a little on the bright side. But *not* if you're using a pumped AC30 Normal channel with a Rickenbacker, like a friend of mine does... then err on the dark side, and please err a lot! :D
User avatar
CS70
Frequent Poster
Posts: 1835
Joined: Mon Nov 26, 2012 12:00 am
Location: Oslo, Norway
Silver Spoon - Check out our latest video  and the FB page

Re: bands without a FOH- what's your approach to keep mix ok?

Postby robare99 » Wed Jun 07, 2017 12:14 pm

I have to constantly remind our keyboard player when she says "but I can't hear it out front" that a: you are behind the FOH speakers, and B: if you CAN hear it out front it's way too loud. You have to understand this and also it's not lead keyboards all the time. You have to sit in the mix when you aren't playing a lead.

Also, don't eat the mic when singing harmonies. Get up on it when you sing lead, fine. But you have to back off when singing harmonies. I constantly have to turn her up for songs she sings and turn her down for songs she doesn't. The rest of us are ok. Oh well.
User avatar
robare99
Regular
Posts: 199
Joined: Mon Feb 28, 2011 12:00 am

Re: bands without a FOH- what's your approach to keep mix ok?

Postby Dr R » Thu Jun 08, 2017 7:01 am

How about buying/borrowing a Zoom H4n or equivalent, and getting a friend to record a few of your gigs from out front? Ideally not just you, but another band in the same venue as well.

I do FOH for a few bands, and while they had all heard each other they had never heard themselves play. I recorded a few sessions for my own reference, but the bands liked hearing a straightforward stereo room recording of what they sounded like. They were also then able to suggest changes to the foh mix based on their taste, rather than just mine.
Dr R
Regular
Posts: 73
Joined: Sun Jun 20, 2010 11:00 pm
Location: Solihull, West Midlands, UK
My ambition: To one day have enough experience to answer a technical question on the SOS forums, as well as asking them

Re: bands without a FOH- what's your approach to keep mix ok?

Postby DanR » Thu Jun 08, 2017 2:14 pm

MikeInFL wrote:I play keys and have the mixer next to me. I can't balance correctly with a monitor on stage because I'm so near the stage guitar and bass amps.

I play keys too and have the mixer usually behind me to save space.
Looks like a bit of a cramped Stage setup there. I have the bass amp fairly nearby but the guitarist is over on the other side of the Stage and I have usually have some in my active monitor.
What lineup is the band and how many aux's does your mixer have?
DanR
Regular
Posts: 238
Joined: Sat Dec 31, 2005 12:00 am
Location: Cambridge, UK

Re: bands without a FOH- what's your approach to keep mix ok?

Postby Music Wolf » Thu Jun 08, 2017 3:05 pm

Dr R wrote:I do FOH for a few bands, and while they had all heard each other they had never heard themselves play.

I find that people have quite a different perception of the mix whilst playing compared to when they are just listening. I played in a trio where everything went straight to the PA, no backline (recorded drums). The bass player was always complaining that there wasn't enough bass and kick in the mix. When I recorded us and played it back through the PA he was very happy with the mix (so it wasn't just him being bass obsessed). I, on the other hand, tend to mix my own guitar too quiet whilst playing.

Last night I practiced with my new 4 piece and, for the first time, I got everybody set up with their own monitor (we didn't use any FOH) and with them each controlling their own mix via their phones (digital desk). It took a little while to set up but well worth it. All I had to worry about was my playing, and I'm sure that it was no coincidence that my playing was on on top form and that I thoroughly enjoying myself, plus it wasn't too loud.

At one point I did have to take the bass player to task when he was complaining that he couldn't get his monitor level high enough - he had his own amp turned up but he had ear plugs in (and the drummer was using an electronic kit - so nothing to compete against) :headbang:
User avatar
Music Wolf
Frequent Poster
Posts: 1190
Joined: Fri Feb 17, 2006 12:00 am
Location: Exiled to St Helens
 


Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users