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Need help with stage mix/stage monitors.

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Re: Need help with stage mix/stage monitors.

Postby Exalted Wombat » Mon Apr 25, 2011 2:01 pm

Mike Stranks wrote:Requests for over-loud monitors is often a by-product of unconfident musicians who are not very experienced at playing in a band and working with the "natural" sound coming from the other musicians. Thus, they end up wanting lots of virtually everything in the monitor mix and the result is the undefined high stage volume you've described.


This is where I come apart from the accepted wisdom of sound engineering. My ideal is for every musician to hear "the mix" and to control his own playing level so as to balance within it. Which, most of the time for any given instrument, means playing down until he CAN hear everyone else. I fully accept that this won't always mean feeding the FOH mix to the monitors - they'll be hearing the rest of the band by other routes too. But, in a live performance, "more me" often isn't helpful.

Is the drum kit miced? Unless this is a VERY large room, why?

A further thought. There should be seating positions for audience members who like their music loud. And for those who don't. But, in a church, probably everyone wants to hear the spoken portions. Can your system cope with this?
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Re: Need help with stage mix/stage monitors.

Postby Exalted Wombat » Mon Apr 25, 2011 2:50 pm

And some further, further thoughts :-)

There is just so much you, as sound engineer, can do to rescue a bad performance by bad musicians. But you will get the blame.

The answer is often LESS technology, not more.

Your job is to make it audible, not to make it LOUD!

If you buy in to whatever brand of BS this particular church peddles, prayer won't help - but it might make you feel better! And, if performed ostentatiously enough, could get the administration on your side. Which never hurts :-)
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Re: Need help with stage mix/stage monitors.

Postby JordanE » Mon Apr 25, 2011 10:38 pm

Hi,

I will get everything you need tomorrow when I go out their. As far as the mixer this is a link to the manual in which we use:
http://www.mackie.com/pdf/archive/sr24-4_sr32-4_om.pdf

Was unable to find anything else on it.

Tomorrow I will right down all the make and models of the monitors and provide them so you guys can better assist me.


Drumkit is not miced but for the size of the room and the way the drummer plays it's a little loud and really just gives me a lot of feedback through the stage mics. I have requested him to slow it down however the pastor has over road me and said to play it harder...However if we were able to get the drum shield I would mic the drums.

I have no control over seating or anything. I will say for the size of the church the set up is very good. It has been able to cope with anything I have thrown at it so far. Even a full 9 person blues band without even breaking a sweat.

And some further, further thoughts :-)

There is just so much you, as sound engineer, can do to rescue a bad performance by bad musicians. But you will get the blame.

The answer is often LESS technology, not more.

Your job is to make it audible, not to make it LOUD!

If you buy in to whatever brand of BS this particular church peddles, prayer won't help - but it might make you feel better! And, if performed ostentatiously enough, could get the administration on your side. Which never hurts :-)



Yes I know. I am constantly making them sound better and work better. Like I said my lack of experience is whats holding me back..However I start training here in couple of months. I have the administrator on my side but he is a little hard headed which is never easy.


Thanks for all the advice and help. I will get everything you guys need tomorrow!
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Re: Need help with stage mix/stage monitors.

Postby seablade » Tue Apr 26, 2011 12:27 am

JordanE wrote:Hi,

I will get everything you need tomorrow when I go out their. As far as the mixer this is a link to the manual in which we use:
http://www.mackie.com/pdf/archive/sr24-4_sr32-4_om.pdf

Was unable to find anything else on it.

Tomorrow I will right down all the make and models of the monitors and provide them so you guys can better assist me.

If you use seperate amplifiers for your monitors, include those as well.


Drumkit is not miced but for the size of the room and the way the drummer plays it's a little loud and really just gives me a lot of feedback through the stage mics. I have requested him to slow it down however the pastor has over road me and said to play it harder...However if we were able to get the drum shield I would mic the drums.

You have two seperate problems here. The first is the lack of the drum shield, the second is getting the pastor to understand the usefulness of controlling the sound.

How large precisely is your room? How many people seated for instance if nothing else? What styles of music do you play? Drum kits live can be a tricky balance on occasion between acoustic sound, energy, and reinforcement. The proper way to approach this varies tremendously between various styles of music and sizes of rooms.


I have no control over seating or anything. I will say for the size of the church the set up is very good. It has been able to cope with anything I have thrown at it so far. Even a full 9 person blues band without even breaking a sweat.

As a sound engineer you will never have control over seating, you will only be able to work with what you are given.

Not sure what the second half of this statement was in reference to?


Yes I know. I am constantly making them sound better and work better. Like I said my lack of experience is whats holding me back..However I start training here in couple of months. I have the administrator on my side but he is a little hard headed which is never easy.

Thanks for all the advice and help. I will get everything you guys need tomorrow!

Drop me a PM if you want. I am on the wrong side of the country and I doubt it would be beneficial to get my out to you physically, from a financial standpoint, as it sounds like you have options to explore there, but I both work as a consultant and mix what sounds like a suspiciously similar circumstance in a 'larger' church and wouldn't have a problem explaining things to your church if they have questions(For instance why a drum shield can be a good thing).

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Re: Need help with stage mix/stage monitors.

Postby JordanE » Tue Apr 26, 2011 1:22 am

We do use separate amplifiers for our monitors and I will be sure to include them.

Our room is decently small. It will seat around 400 according to the sign on the wall... But usually around 30-50 on a Sunday. So it's small.When I was originally trained the Audio Engineer said the room was designed and set up horribly for the sound. Styles of music are really average church songs. Acoustic with background vocals. I don't know any other way to really explain it.

Thanks for the offer. I will PM you and ask some specific questions so I can better approach the leaders with practical solutions.
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Re: Need help with stage mix/stage monitors.

Postby Mike Stranks » Tue Apr 26, 2011 10:34 am

OK; I'm bowing-out now as Seablade has arrived. Not only is he in the States, he knows church sound very well and he knows MUCH more than me! :D

That said Jordan, there were several things that were "Aha!" statements for me in your latest post... Seablade or any other knowledgeable local consultant will pick-up on those and help you have sensible conversations with the church leader(s).

Hope you get things sorted to everyone's satisfaction.

Best wishes. Mike
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Re: Need help with stage mix/stage monitors.

Postby turbodave » Tue Apr 26, 2011 11:46 am

Hi, Just my 50 cents (see what I did there?)...one factor is to ask the performers to imagine that there is no PA...what would they do to hear each other...if they can't solve that riddle then you can say that your job is made harder and with justification. Tell them they are performers so perform and you will build the sound around them.That normally starts a few inter band arguments...I mean discussions!...it might even help you!!!! Dave
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Re: Need help with stage mix/stage monitors.

Postby seablade » Tue Apr 26, 2011 1:53 pm

Mike Stranks wrote:OK; I'm bowing-out now as Seablade has arrived. Not only is he in the States, he knows church sound very well and he knows MUCH more than me! :D

I certainly wouldn't bow out, I haven't been around much intentionally lately as I am just to busy to spend much time on forums these days.


Our room is decently small. It will seat around 400 according to the sign on the wall... But usually around 30-50 on a Sunday. So it's small.When I was originally trained the Audio Engineer said the room was designed and set up horribly for the sound. Styles of music are really average church songs. Acoustic with background vocals. I don't know any other way to really explain it.

Hmm sounds like an average fellowship hall to be honest. And reading your description it sounds like you are playing primarily acoustic praise and worship music. If I am filling in the blanks correctly and this is the case, I wonder seriously about the desire to play the drums harder, and would certainly be looking at a drum shield with an acoustic kit for that size of room and crowd. But also depending on the construction of the room, I am guessing a big rectangle with parallel walls, tile floors, and solid smooth walls,(Typical for fellowship halls) you may have a hard time getting truly 'clean' sound in general.

If you are using seperate amps for monitors, and have multiple monitors, then yes running multiple monitor feeds is likely the best way to go. While switching to IEMs is an option, I would look first and foremost at working with your drummer to see if you can get them on IEMs/Headphones. They will need the most drastically different mix from everyone else most likely. There is even a thread on this (Look for a title along the lines of "Question for the drummers") where you will get a lot of opinions of drummers and IEMs. I personally would suggest setting up a small mixer in the back for them, a Soundcraft Notepad or similar works great, that you give them their monitor feed into a line input, and they can plug a area mic in over their kit so that they can get more of themselves if needed. Total cost will be the mixer, headphones, and possibly a mic or two, so you are looking at a few hundred dollars(Probably in the range of $300) for what I consider a decent(But not great) setup to get them on headphones/IEMs.

I would then move your two guitarists so that they are playing near each other, and share a monitor, and have your vocalists share a monitor.

What you would do is send from a Pre-Fade aux to one amp channel, to your vocal monitor. Then from a seperate Pre-Fade aux to a second amp channel, to your guitar monitor. And finally from a third pre-fade aux to your drum mixer, where your drummer would mix it and adjust his level himself.

If you are doing primarily acoustic music, controlling the drum sound is going to be your first priority, especially with an audience that small, so the drum shield should be high on the list(Or a skilled player and playing more controlled, see my point about the problem of perception from my earlier post). If you do this, get the drummer on IEMs, and get individual monitor sends for your vocalists you will likely find things much easier for mixing monitors.

However this doesn't answer the point about stage spill from the monitors. This should allow you to lower all your monitor levels some as you are controlling the acoustic sound of the drums on stage better and don't have to compete AS much with them, but when dealing with an audience/congregation of 50 I suspect it is safe to assume everyone is close to the stage and you will always have some problem. You could go with IEMs, but personally I think attaining a good acoustic balance with the stage sound is a better solution. Use the FOH sound to fill in the missing sound from the acoustic stage sound. This means the mix you create won't necessarily sound good on headphones, or anywhere else that you don't have that acoustic bleed from the stage, but that it sounds good for those 50 people sitting right near the stage that are there to hear the message and participate in the worship.

All the above in the end are only general guidelines, it is exceedingly difficult to give firm advice without actually being there, hearing the room and the music both as well as the system, and I had to take a lot of guesses/assumptions from previous posts. So don't take them as hard and fast rules, you will need to try them, apply them, and determine what works for you and what doesn't.

I will be curious to hear the rest of your equipment list though to help refine some of my suggestions.

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Re: Need help with stage mix/stage monitors.

Postby Exalted Wombat » Wed Apr 27, 2011 9:54 pm

Steve Hill wrote:I'd re-route the church lightning conductor to the drummer's throne and pray for rain....

Couldn't a miracle be arranged?
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Re: Need help with stage mix/stage monitors.

Postby shufflebeat » Wed Apr 27, 2011 10:18 pm

Steve Hill wrote:I'd re-route the church lightning conductor to the drummer's throne and pray for rain....


It'd only encourage him. I'm not sure we've exhausted the possibilities of castration yet.
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Re: Need help with stage mix/stage monitors.

Postby tacitus » Thu Apr 28, 2011 10:55 am

Come on, guys, you've got to think of something the drummer might actually notice ...
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Re: Need help with stage mix/stage monitors.

Postby seablade » Mon May 16, 2011 8:28 pm

JordanE wrote:
I plugged the drummer on his own headphone mix but I was unable to do is correctly. The sound was just to loud. I assume it was because I plugged him directly in to the drummer monitor. Can someone please enlighten me on how to do this right?


Not like that!

I hope your headphones are still in one peice to be honest, but that aside, what I would do is use a small headphone amp, and run a line from an aux out of your console to him. Ok so lets go to your general setup...

Your Mackie SR24.4 has a total of 6 aux sends. 2 of which are switchable between pre and post fader, while there are two hardwired for pre fader and two hardwired for post fader. So a basic setup for your monitoring...

Aux 1 (Pre) --> Amp Channel 1 --> Monitor 1 (Vox)
Aux 2 (Pre) --> Amp Channel 2 --> Monitor 2 (Guitars)
Aux 3 (Pre) --> Headphone Amp by Drummer --> Headphones (Drummer)
Aux 4 Unused at this time.

That will leave you Aux 5 and Aux 6 for effect sends(Which it doesn't sound like you are using yet, that is fine, but eventually you may want to play with this route as you become more comfortable with sound reinforcement).

Ok what does this do? This gives you individual control over both of your monitors on the stage, so that you can give a different mix to your guitarists than your vocalists.

This also gives you a separate feed to your drummer as well. You will notice you don't use an amplifier at all, or plug into the drum monitor at all in this setup. You literally will need to run a cable from the Aux output of the console, all the way to the stage to plug into the headphone amp that will be placed by the drummer. I would suggest utilizing whatever snake you already have in existence for your microphones for this purpose.

You will likely need to pick up two adapters for the purpose of plugging your existing snake channel into the auxiliary output like I have described. One will be a Female XLR to 1/4" TRS connector(You should insist on TRS, TS will work, but TRS will be much better for this purpose). This will allow you to plug in one of your input channels on the snake into the aux output. The other adapter will be a Male XLR to Male XLR Turnaround. This will allow you to use a standard XLR cable(Mic Cable) to go between your snake box and the headphone amp by the drummer.

Now on to the topic of the headphone amp... What exactly does this mean? All it means is some sort of device that can take a balanced line level signal and provide basic volume control with appropriate amplification for headphones(Not speakers) to your drummer. Some examples...

http://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/SAmp/
http://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/HP4/

Or you can use a small mixer, like the Soundcraft Notepad line I find works amazingly well for this...

http://www.amazon.com/Soundcraft-Notepad102-2-input-Audio-Mixer/dp/B003Q9VZAG/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=musical-instruments&qid=1305572959&sr=8-1

The notepad solution is my standard drum solution these days personally. Essentially you run the signal into a channel on the notepad(You will want to use a line input so make sure you have a 1/4" end on the cable or have an adaptor if you go this route) and plug headphones into the headphone port. The nice thing about this solution is that it allows you some flexibility so the drummer can plug in a metronome or you can give him a feed in stereo, etc. if you choose to down the road.

For the sake of simplicity you may want to stick with a standard headphone amp for the moment though.

Now for some other random information... You Peavey Amp is underpowered for your monitors. Specifically your monitors are designed for about 150W RMS, whereas your amp only puts out 130W RMS per channel into 8Ohms(The impedance of your monitors). So if you are running into problems with distortion at all, finding you have to really drive your board cranked up on the monitor sends, etc. you may need to upgrade your amp. Ideally you want an amp that can deliver 1.5-2x the rated RMS power handling of the cabinet. If however none of these are a problem for you at this time, you can stick with what you have and there is no need to upgrade.

Seablade

EDIT: If you absolutely need to ever plug headphones into a speaker line, I would recommend something like this device...

http://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/HeadTap/

But as you will notice, the price is identical to the cheap headphone amp I posted up there, and really I would STRONGLY recommend the headphone amp route over this.
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Re: Need help with stage mix/stage monitors.

Postby JordanE » Wed May 18, 2011 4:42 am

Dang..I posted a reply to this and it didn't post..

Thanks for all this information. It has really helped me. Since I started another topic on rebuilding it may be better to continue in their.

I will be sure to get a better power amplifier asap. What would you recommend? Also be aware that even though we would be only running two stage mixes their would be two monitors on each mix. That way the sound could be heard better throughout the whole stage.

I will look in to the head phone also. That is something that would be really useful.
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