You are here

Making the most of underpowered monitors

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

Making the most of underpowered monitors

Postby Music Wolf » Fri Aug 17, 2018 2:35 pm

Hi

So I joined a new band (Drums, Bass, 2 x Guitar, Vocals) and after just a couple of rehearsals I have our first gig this Saturday. It will be open air, say 100 to 150 people?

Given how compressed the preparations have been, and since I'm not expecting to get too much by way of sound check, I suggested that last night we practice as if on stage. Drums and backline behind us, no PA cabs (floor monitors only). We even had the stage lights up just to make sure that we could still see the guitar necks / read nods to one another etc.

The bass player and rhythm guitarist / lead vocalist brought their matching monitors https://www.thomann.de/gb/the_box_ma120_mk_ii.htm?ref=search_prv_6. I have the more powerful Thomann mon10A plus I had a Behringer 205D for the drummer. The two MA120s were clipping with the vocalist complaining that he couldn't hear himself. Looking at the specs they are 120w RMS into 4 ohm (so I estimate 80w into the single 8 ohm speaker). Max level quoted at 120bB @1m (which I very much doubt). Any thought as to best way to get the best from what we have?

I'm already thinking that we need to move the monitors forward (or tilt them backwards) so that they are point at ears and not knees. I could also swap my monitor with the singers.

Anything worth trying with the eq? Roll off all the bass?
User avatar
Music Wolf
Frequent Poster
Posts: 1452
Joined: Fri Feb 17, 2006 12:00 am
Location: Exiled to St Helens
 

Re: Making the most of underpowered monitors

Postby blinddrew » Fri Aug 17, 2018 3:46 pm

Think you've covered the basics already, optimise the angle, get rid of the bass, you can probably get rid of a fair bit of the treble as well (on stage is really about pitch not enunciation), and minimise what's going through the pa in the first place (but I'm assuming you've already done this). Lift them up on crates at the front of the stage?
Have you got a different mix for each band member or are you all running off the same aux (or 2)?

Even given all that though, how loud are you playing that 80W isn't giving singer what they need? I generally use a 40W channel for my monitoring and our drummer is not shy with the sticks.
User avatar
blinddrew
Jedi Poster
Posts: 4726
Joined: Sat Jul 04, 2015 11:00 pm
Location: York
Ignore the post count, I have no idea what I'm doing...

Re: Making the most of underpowered monitors

Postby AlecSp » Fri Aug 17, 2018 4:59 pm

Definitely get them at the right angle to point at your ears, otherwise you're wasting what level they're putting out.

Even more, you could raise them up, so they're closer to your ears, but that would probably look a bit daft.

What are you putting through the monitors? If it's more than just vocals, then you're creating more problems for yourself with poor, underpowered monitors.

EQ out bottom end, which will use power unnecessarily, and get them working hardest in the frequency range you need for vocals. It may not sound lovely, but it's what you need.

Get the band to reduce stage levels - do they need to be as loud.

If all the above (free!) has been done and it still isn't working, then you need to give up on the cheap crap and get yourself some more capable gear...
AlecSp
Regular
Posts: 227
Joined: Tue Nov 16, 2004 12:00 am

Re: Making the most of underpowered monitors

Postby CS70 » Sat Aug 18, 2018 8:04 pm

Guitar amps pointed bacwards to dampen the stage sound, set them low, absolutely point the monitors up towards the ears, only vocals and bass if needed in the monitors. The guitar amps double as harmony monitors for everybody and the drummer is loud enough on stage anyways.
User avatar
CS70
Frequent Poster (Level2)
Posts: 2725
Joined: Mon Nov 26, 2012 12:00 am
Location: Oslo, Norway
Silver Spoon - Check out our latest video  and the FB page

Re: Making the most of underpowered monitors

Postby Music Wolf » Sun Aug 19, 2018 12:01 pm

Thanks for the replies.

We did the gig last night and it all went down very well. I'm glad that we did the dry run in the rehearsal room as there was no chance for a sound check (the usual story. We were last / main band at the end of an all day event and, predictably, things were running over).

It wasn't possible to improve the tilt angle of the monitors but I did roll off a lot of the bottom end and we coped.
User avatar
Music Wolf
Frequent Poster
Posts: 1452
Joined: Fri Feb 17, 2006 12:00 am
Location: Exiled to St Helens
 

Re: Making the most of underpowered monitors

Postby blinddrew » Sun Aug 19, 2018 12:48 pm

I made a couple of wooden wedges for my front monitors, they just sit in the 'stuff for when we're providing the rig' box. I keep meaning to get round to painting them black so they blend in but it's never made it onto the priority list.
User avatar
blinddrew
Jedi Poster
Posts: 4726
Joined: Sat Jul 04, 2015 11:00 pm
Location: York
Ignore the post count, I have no idea what I'm doing...

Re: Making the most of underpowered monitors

Postby Wonks » Sun Aug 19, 2018 1:15 pm

blinddrew wrote:I keep meaning to get round to painting them black

You've still got that old red door, haven't you? ;)
User avatar
Wonks
Jedi Poster
Posts: 5739
Joined: Wed May 28, 2003 11:00 pm
Location: Reading, UK
Now even grumpier than Ivan in his heyday.

Re: Making the most of underpowered monitors

Postby AlecSp » Mon Aug 20, 2018 1:10 pm

blinddrew wrote:I made a couple of wooden wedges for my front monitors, they just sit in the 'stuff for when we're providing the rig' box. I keep meaning to get round to painting them black so they blend in but it's never made it onto the priority list.

And, even simpler, just keep a few "acoustic wedges" - which are nothing more than <old-git-mode>2" x 3"</old-git-mode> pieces of wood, to place under monitors to adapt their angles as required. Au natural or black both function equally well.
AlecSp
Regular
Posts: 227
Joined: Tue Nov 16, 2004 12:00 am

Re: Making the most of underpowered monitors

Postby MarkPAman » Mon Aug 20, 2018 1:37 pm

Behringer DI Boxes.........
MarkPAman
Frequent Poster
Posts: 669
Joined: Wed Apr 05, 2006 11:00 pm
Location: Somewhere between Portsmouth & Chichester

Re: Making the most of underpowered monitors

Postby blinddrew » Mon Aug 20, 2018 2:30 pm

MarkPAman wrote:Behringer DI Boxes.........
Ha! I always wondered what they were for...
User avatar
blinddrew
Jedi Poster
Posts: 4726
Joined: Sat Jul 04, 2015 11:00 pm
Location: York
Ignore the post count, I have no idea what I'm doing...


Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users