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Floor monitors: 1 vs 2 / dedicated vocal/instruments wedges?

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Floor monitors: 1 vs 2 / dedicated vocal/instruments wedges?

Postby stormymondays » Wed Jun 26, 2019 5:04 pm

I have just bought a QSC CP8 (nice SOS review!) as a dedicated acoustic guitar monitor/amp. It sounds great! I like it so much that I'm thinking of buying a few more, for myself and the rest of the band. I plan on getting a Soundcraft Ui24R (again, nice SOS review!) and put together a self-contained PA so all our monitoring remains the same no matter what the venue. Which probably needs we'll also feed the PA from the Soundcraft. Anyway, back to my question:

Should I get a pair of wedges for myself instead of one? (lead singer, guitarist) The band is fairly large and I don't want to be underpowered, though the CP8 is rated at 500W (or 1000W depending on who you ask!). Thoughts?

Second question, if I move to two wedges, would it make any sense to dedicate one wedge to vocals exclusively? I'd use the second one, on a different send for my acoustic guitar and whatever I need from the rest of the band. Or should I just be a normal person :D and send everything I need to the two wedges?
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Re: Floor monitors: 1 vs 2 / dedicated vocal/instruments wedges?

Postby blinddrew » Wed Jun 26, 2019 5:09 pm

How big a venue are you playing that you might need two wedges? :o
If you're playing that size of place I'd expect it to be an in-house set-up.
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Re: Floor monitors: 1 vs 2 / dedicated vocal/instruments wedges?

Postby stormymondays » Wed Jun 26, 2019 5:27 pm

blinddrew wrote:How big a venue are you playing that you might need two wedges? :o
If you're playing that size of place I'd expect it to be an in-house set-up.

Not THAT big of a venue, think 100-150 people, but the CP8 are small wedges :)

The idea is to replace the in-house equipment. Also I would like to play with a controlled volume, so the stage SPL is more or less always the same. I know the acoustics of the venue will vary and change that, of course.
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Re: Floor monitors: 1 vs 2 / dedicated vocal/instruments wedges?

Postby blinddrew » Wed Jun 26, 2019 5:38 pm

They are small, but they still kick out 124dB...
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Re: Floor monitors: 1 vs 2 / dedicated vocal/instruments wedges?

Postby Mike Stranks » Wed Jun 26, 2019 10:33 pm

1 will be fine.... unless you're a punk band playing in a mega-venue.

I'm not sure that your 'set and forget' approach to monitors/foldback will work practically. When I was a soundie I spent far more time setting up the monitors during soundcheck than the FoH balance. Even working with the same people in multiple venues the effect of the room and stage on the acoustic was significant, resulting in different monitor mixes for each venue.

I think a bit more detail about your suggested 'feed to the PA' would help us too. There's not a "one size fits all' balance for FoH... far better to let the soundie mix it. But maybe I've misunderstood....
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Re: Floor monitors: 1 vs 2 / dedicated vocal/instruments wedges?

Postby stormymondays » Wed Jun 26, 2019 11:07 pm

We’re bringing a soundman, for sure. The idea is to remove as many variables as possible from the equation. No more unknown monitors with questionable EQ curves seems like a good idea. Starting the sound check with a preliminary balance already made for monitors and FOH should work too, I think.

I’d have everything mixed on the Soundcraft, send the LR to the venue, and our soundman can mix with a tablet. That’s the gist of it.
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Re: Floor monitors: 1 vs 2 / dedicated vocal/instruments wedges?

Postby AlecSp » Thu Jun 27, 2019 12:09 am

stormymondays wrote:I’d have everything mixed on the Soundcraft, send the LR to the venue, and our soundman can mix with a tablet. That’s the gist of it.
Shudder...
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Re: Floor monitors: 1 vs 2 / dedicated vocal/instruments wedges?

Postby stormymondays » Thu Jun 27, 2019 8:28 am

AlecSp wrote:
stormymondays wrote:I’d have everything mixed on the Soundcraft, send the LR to the venue, and our soundman can mix with a tablet. That’s the gist of it.
Shudder...

Not a fan of touch screens, I presume? :D
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Re: Floor monitors: 1 vs 2 / dedicated vocal/instruments wedges?

Postby Dave B » Thu Jun 27, 2019 8:50 am

Generally, I'd vote against 2 wedges for you. It's an extra sound source to be considered when setting up the stage and it can be hard enough sorting out feedback issues with just one. I've just switched over one of my bands to using old 10" tops (small, very light and still good sound) and that's one each for two of them (rest are in ear/headphones). As it worked well, I tried using the two at another gig / another band and it was a bit of a nightmare - lots of fiddling moving things about to cover the different people / avoid feedback and in the end no-one was totally happy. The vocalist in that band just loves my single 10" wedge tucked in quietly.

Saying that, another band use the same tops for monitors and use 2 for the vocalist as he likes a loud monitor and 2 give him a bigger level. But they tend to play monitor tetris at each gig so even he is considering in ears / scaling back.

In terms of the overall PA architecture, the benefit that you will get from your proposed solution will be a known monitor mix each time for each person. Yes, you will have to tweak it for each venue, but most people have roughly the same balance and you can have that all pre-configured and correct each time you set up. But I think that Alec's comment is more about the politics of showing up to a venue with a PA and just handing over a stereo feed - some in house guys may be a touch offended, so probably best to speak to them and agree it beforehand..
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Re: Floor monitors: 1 vs 2 / dedicated vocal/instruments wedges?

Postby stormymondays » Thu Jun 27, 2019 9:00 am

Thanks for the detailed reply! Yes, advance warning and agreement is definitely necessary. However, we usually rent out the venues so it shouldn’t be a problem. We’ll see!

I see that no one sees much advantage in using another wedge as a dedicated acoustic guitar “amp” either. Cool!
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Re: Floor monitors: 1 vs 2 / dedicated vocal/instruments wedges?

Postby Mike Stranks » Thu Jun 27, 2019 9:16 am

Dave B wrote:...I think that Alec's comment is more about the politics of showing up to a venue with a PA and just handing over a stereo feed - some in house guys may be a touch offended, so probably best to speak to them and agree it beforehand..

Yup! What I was trying to hint at, but didn't say explicitly as I wasn't sure at that point what was intended.

Venue soundies vary hugely in attitude, approach and competence.

Many I've encountered have been helpfulness personified and willing to let you do all sorts of stuff - once they've established that you know what you're doing. Others have proved to be prickly, defensive and protective of 'their' gear.

So Dave's message is spot on. Don't assume anything and be prepared, even when you give advance warning for some venues to say 'no'.

... and as a part-time 'resident' soundie at a couple of venues I'd say that I needed to be sure people really did know what was what before letting them near the system.
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Re: Floor monitors: 1 vs 2 / dedicated vocal/instruments wedges?

Postby AlecSp » Thu Jun 27, 2019 10:10 am

stormymondays wrote:
AlecSp wrote:
stormymondays wrote:I’d have everything mixed on the Soundcraft, send the LR to the venue, and our soundman can mix with a tablet. That’s the gist of it.
Shudder...
Not a fan of touch screens, I presume? :D
Not at all, I mix ussing a tablet regularly, and it's a godsend.

It's the idea of sending a LR mix to the venue - just daft! While you might believe you're removing the option of the engineer to screw up your sound, you're actually removing their ability to improve it and deal with problems.

Thankfully, in all my years in this game, I've never yet had to deal with anyone wanting to send a complete mix. If they ever tried, there would be some vigorous negotiation, with a massive disclaimer if they insisted.

By all means, mix your own monitors, but if so then do FOH the proper way using splits.
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Re: Floor monitors: 1 vs 2 / dedicated vocal/instruments wedges?

Postby Mike Stranks » Thu Jun 27, 2019 11:44 am

I would not wish to disassociate myself from the remarks of the previous speaker... :)
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Re: Floor monitors: 1 vs 2 / dedicated vocal/instruments wedges?

Postby stormymondays » Thu Jun 27, 2019 1:02 pm

I don’t think I’ve made clear that this involves bringing our own soundman who is a professional. The kind of venues we play expect you to bring your own.
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Re: Floor monitors: 1 vs 2 / dedicated vocal/instruments wedges?

Postby James Perrett » Thu Jun 27, 2019 2:29 pm

stormymondays wrote:I don’t think I’ve made clear that this involves bringing our own soundman who is a professional.

So what is his advice on all this? I would have thought that it would be best to seek his advice first rather than advice from a bunch of people who have no idea what you sound like live. If I was your sound engineer I'd be pretty miffed if you suddenly turned up with loads of new kit that you'd been advised to buy from someone on the Internet.
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Re: Floor monitors: 1 vs 2 / dedicated vocal/instruments wedges?

Postby stormymondays » Thu Jun 27, 2019 2:53 pm

Of course he’s on board, and he’s also interested in hearing out more opinions, maybe there’s stuff we haven’t thought of.

My question was more directed towards the number of wedges and if there’s any advantage in reserving one for vocals only or for acoustic guitar only.

EDIT: I think it’s been an interesting discussion so far, and agreeing in advance to the setup with the venue is even more important than I thought. Not that I ever dreamed of doing this unannounced :)
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Re: Floor monitors: 1 vs 2 / dedicated vocal/instruments wedges?

Postby Dave B » Thu Jun 27, 2019 3:15 pm

Interesting idea of having a dedicated acoustic guitar wedge - my thoughts are along the lines of 'does it have any benefit?' If it's using a powered speaker as an 'amp' for the acoustic, I get that and think that it might be a good idea. But if you have 2 speakers on the floor with different things, then I'm not sure what the benefit would be.

I'm assuming that the other reason you are using something like the Soundcraft is individual control over monitor mixes - if so, it could even be problematic as you'd either have to have global control over the whole mixer or 2 devices as most remote control apps usually only let you have all or a single aux mix. So I'd be tempted to run the same mix. If you need 'more' or 'louder' (and the venues can take it), then you could add another monitor and just chain off the first.

I do like the idea of splitting FOH and monitor mix - a couple of times I've wished I had done that and brought our mixer for monitors. For a 16ch system, it would be about 500-600 quid using Orchid splitters and some snakes. It's very tempting to have in the back pocket. Hmmnnnn...
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This is my self-contained setup

Postby stormymondays » Thu Jun 27, 2019 3:41 pm

I think this might merit its own topic but since there's interest, I'll explain my whole setup. I've also thought about doing a full split, first in the analog domain, using ART splitters, then in the digital domain. A Behringer X32 rack with a few digital stage boxes would be a great way to achieve this. However, since the split would go to the FOH desk handled by our soundman, why not skip it altogether? :idea:

The band is a 6 piece (sometimes 7) folk rock band: drums, bass, guitar (electric or acoustic), keyboards (piano and organ), wind (sax, clarinet, flute) and strings (violin, cello, hurdy gurdy). So it makes sense to try and solve as many problems as we can before hitting the PA.

The keyboards are already submixed into L+R on the keyboard amp. This has been working great, and sometimes we even add an extra acoustic guitar to the keyboard submix with no problems.

The string player has an elaborate setup with a Line6 pedalboard that allows him to pre-eq all his stuff, set levels, have a solo boost, and send only one line to the PA. It's a work in progress but a million times better than 3 separate lines.

Now, for the self-contained part, IF we go that route:

We can fit everything into 18 channels.

We'll carry our own drum mics, all the DIs, guitar amp mic, main vocal mic. Except for the OH, all the drum mics have their own clips if required: Shure Beta 91A, Beyerdynamic TG D58, Sennheiser e604 for the toms.

All we need from the local sound company then are a few mic stands, XLR cables and a few SM58s.

Everything goes into the Soundcraft and to our QSC wedges. Monitor mix and PA mix would be done via tablet on the Soundcraft, with as much work as possible already advanced at our recording studio, which is also our rehearsal space.

Too crazy?
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Re: Floor monitors: 1 vs 2 / dedicated vocal/instruments wedges?

Postby The Elf » Thu Jun 27, 2019 3:59 pm

If you can get everything into 18 channels, then a VERY compact (and extremely cost-effective) system to consider would be the XR18. To this you could add a single P16-D and a few P16-Ms and you'd have individual monitor mixes via a few CAT5 cables (no separate power needed for the personal mixers).

You'd be self-contained and all you'd need to send FOH would be a L/R mix/talk mic.

I know, because it's what we do!
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Re: Floor monitors: 1 vs 2 / dedicated vocal/instruments wedges?

Postby Dave B » Thu Jun 27, 2019 4:01 pm

No - not crazy. You are basically stopping just short of having your own PA. If you are playing venues which have an in-house system, then it seems fine to me.

:)

The only thing to consider is whether you might need an extra send or two than expected - both to cover possible failure and also because you might want to send stuff to a separate channel fo things like subs. (some places have these on a separate send, some split at the subs/crossover)

And having 'spare' inputs may make your life easier. I see that the Soundcraft has 20 inputs on xlr which is great - I'm a fan of stuff with jack outs going into DIs into mic channels rather than using jack inputs, so you have as many as you need plus the odd spare. Which is nice.

Trust me ... I've heard a lot crazier than your plan. :)
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