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

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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?
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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.
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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)
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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 ... :)
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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
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