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Thread: mhh..how many Wats of rms do Monitors have compared to FOH speakers ?

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    mhh..how many Wats of rms do Monitors have compared to FOH speakers ?

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    just wondering,,,,

    if i have a bunch of 500 watt FOH speakers pointing to a small club for like 400 people maximum... how powerful should the stage monitors be?

    or are the most of the time always the same...doesn't it matter how loud the other music is?

    and how much watt rms are most monitors in average?
    gonna start doing some Google searches on the topic,,,maybe anyone has some nice advice for sites, manuals,,explanations?


    thanx
    ...listen...

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    Quote Originally Posted by earworm
    just wondering,,,,

    if i have a bunch of 500 watt FOH speakers pointing to a small club for like 400 people maximum... how powerful should the stage monitors be?

    or are the most of the time always the same...doesn't it matter how loud the other music is?

    and how much watt rms are most monitors in average?
    gonna start doing some Google searches on the topic,,,maybe anyone has some nice advice for sites, manuals,,explanations?


    thanx
    Monitors come in as many power ratings as FOH speakers.
    They need to be loud enough for the performers to hear them over the stage volume. It is independent of the FOH volume. It can be difficult sometimes, like if you have an acoustic act with loud monitors, and they overpower FOH. In that case you have to be diplomatic and try to explain that the monitors are too loud.
    Monitor/stage volume creep is something to be aware of. Sometimes as you learn you just have to start over when it gets too loud.
    Essentially they should be just loud enough. It's a tricky balance. You should buy/rent the best you can afford. A separate graphic EQ for each monitor is also a big plus, as stage eq is going to be different than house eq.
    Though you have to make do with what you can, if you get monitors that can handle at least 300W you will probably have to replace fewer drivers. Just make sure you have amps with enough headroom, as it is easier to blow speakers by clipping an amp than overdriving them with too much power.
    That being said, I've done loud bands with 150W boxes and a Peavey powered mixer for monitors. Since the speakers are right in their faces, you can get away with a bit less power.
    Nothing is gonna help a loud band with half-stacks and a pounding drummer. As with most live set-ups, you have to realize the limits of your system and communicate with the band.



    Quote Originally Posted by earworm
    but now, questions;
    about monitors, the monitor in front of the vocalist, what audio is sent trough that? only the vocals? or the entire band + vocals?

    are monitors only to HEAR YOURSELF,,,or to hear the entire band?

    the reason i ask this is (i never worked with monitors myself) and second,
    if you connect the monitors to your subgroubs, then its not possible to:

    (for example the vocalist his monitor to playback the entire band trough that one monitor + playback the VOCALS , but the vocals are ALOT louder than the rest,,,,since the vocalist wants to hear himself

    mhhh... in simple: are monitors for ONE audio stream, or for Multiple audio streams?

    thanx,
    earworm
    The monitor mix has whatever the performer wants to hear, ideally. If you have the gear, in a perfect world there will be a separate mixer onstage just for monitors, fed from a splitter so FOH and monitor world can set their own levels. Each monitor is fed from an aux send, allowing you complete control over what comes out of each box, there is a graphic eq on each channel to maximize gain before feedback onstage, and eq on the channel strips for tonality.
    Next is doing it from FOH. You use aux sends from the FOH board for your monitor feeds. This also gives you control of each mix. If you are lucky, you have at least four auxes, switchable from pre to post fader. This gives you two pre-fader mixes for monitors, and two post-fader auxes for FX. The pre-fade mixes let you adjust FOH without affecting the mixes in the monitors. A lot of powered mixers have a dedicated monitor send, which is nice.
    In this situation, diplomacy and deciding which mixes and performers get prority, and working with the band is crucial. The guitar player may have to suffer so the singer can sing on key.
    Most people don't run monitors from subgroups as a first choice. I've done it when I need an extra mix, but it gets complicated. It is really a pain to do from FOH.
    Last resorts: a split of the FOH mix fed to the stage. No one is happy, except the audience, as long as the band isn't screaming. But I have found that most bands understand the limits of the situation, as long as you explain it without an attitude (unless they need a smackdown). The other last resort is turning a FOH speaker so it can be heard on stage.

    It sounds like you won't be that bad off, just trying to illustrate that flexibility and being aware of the situation can make any problems less.....problematic.

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    thanx ALOT !

    i'm gonna do it the easy way i think,
    just one mixing desc, i can try it, to use a different mixer for only the monitoring, but i'd like to keep it simple in the beginning...

    i thought it goes this way yes, using Aux to controll the monitors,

    now i got the choice:
    i got a 16 channel mixer with 4 subs and 3 AUX (1 post-pre aux)
    and a 24 channel mixer with NO subs, but with 4 aux

    i guess the 24 channel would be the best choice for live then?
    would be cool since i prefer to keep my 16 channel machine inside the house for "studio work" ,, its got better EQ, and the subs are lovely for recording..

    so in general you run all the tracks trough your monitors,
    so the musicians hear ALL the music, and theirselves,
    but of course, themselves a little louder than all the rest,,,,
    or...is this gonna make the sound chaotic?

    what i first thought was; the singer just hears himself,
    the guitarist hears himself, and thats it

    whats the most global thing to do?
    i guess vocals and drums on each monitor is what you really need
    + the instrument of the dude standing in front of the monitor
    ...listen...

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    Quote Originally Posted by earworm
    thanx ALOT !

    i'm gonna do it the easy way i think,
    just one mixing desc, i can try it, to use a different mixer for only the monitoring, but i'd like to keep it simple in the beginning...

    i thought it goes this way yes, using Aux to controll the monitors,

    now i got the choice:
    i got a 16 channel mixer with 4 subs and 3 AUX (1 post-pre aux)
    and a 24 channel mixer with NO subs, but with 4 aux

    i guess the 24 channel would be the best choice for live then?
    would be cool since i prefer to keep my 16 channel machine inside the house for "studio work" ,, its got better EQ, and the subs are lovely for recording..

    so in general you run all the tracks trough your monitors,
    so the musicians hear ALL the music, and theirselves,
    but of course, themselves a little louder than all the rest,,,,
    or...is this gonna make the sound chaotic?

    what i first thought was; the singer just hears himself,
    the guitarist hears himself, and thats it

    whats the most global thing to do?
    i guess vocals and drums on each monitor is what you really need
    + the instrument of the dude standing in front of the monitor
    It sounds like the 24 channel desk will be the best bet, assuming the aux sends can be set pre-fader.

    Generally, each performer has their instrument and/or voice loudest, with enough of other things mixed in to where they are happy. And you are right, too much in the mix or too loud can muddy the stage, defeating the benefits of the monitors, and also can affect FOH. Just as there is no need sometimes to mic a loud snare drum, sometimes stuff can be left out of the stage mixes. A dense mix can also overwhelm low-powered monitors. There is a fine line between what people want to hear, and need to hear. Most of us work at a level where some compromises must be made.
    As a general rule, you will find that noone needs or wants to hear drums, except the drummer, which makes no sense as he is closest to them.
    Bass is the same. It also radiates across the stage better, as the lows tend to be more omnidirectional. The drummer may need some bass, though.
    Electric guitar players like to hear themselves. This can often be taken care of by lifting the amp onto a crate or chair, or tilting it back. The idea is to get the speakers pointing more towards their ears.
    As far as each mix goes, the thing to do is ask each performer.

    Here is a hypothetical band you are hypothetically doing sound for:
    Drums- miced up
    El. guitar- miced up
    Ac. guitar- no amp, running through a DI box into the PA
    El. Bass
    Stereo keyboards, with no amp onstage.
    Lead vocalist, who plays the acoustic
    Two back-up vocals, the keyboard player and bassist.

    You are running monitors from FOH, and have three aux sends to use for monitors.
    If you have an extra channel on your board, a talkback mic feeding the stage monitors can be a big help.
    Assign priorities for the mixes.
    The lead singer needs one for vox, and because the acoustic has no amp.
    The keys player needs one, because the keys have no amp, and the keys player also does back-up vox.
    The drummer needs one, because he works from vocal, acoustic guitar, and keyboard cues. He is back far enough that it is difficult for him to hear the other monitor wedges or mains clearly enough.
    The poor bass player. He needs to hear the lead vox, keys, and acoustic guitar, plus his own vox.
    The poor electric guitar player. He doesn't sing, but needs to hear keys, lead vox, and acoustic guitar.
    So, you have available three mixes, and five people who need them.

    First of all, explain the situation calmly to the band. You may find that the guitar player doesn't need to hear those thing as much as he would just like to. He really just needs his cues at the beginning of songs. You ask if he wouldn't mind just kind of "listening in on" the lead singer's wedge for cues. One problem solved.
    Then the bass player. He needs to hear keys, acoustic guitar, lead vox, and backups. The keyboard player needs the same. They decide they can share a wedge, since they both basically want the same mix. If you have an extra wedge, you can run two from the same aux. They will both have the same mix, but at least the two performers won't have to be so close to each other.
    Other problem solved.

    So you end up with three mixes, with the necessary compromises made. You are ready to dial up some monitor mixes. First you set the levels at FOH. Do your FOH soundcheck. Don't worry about a perfect soundcheck at this point, just get good levels. Do your eqing and FX later. Just make sure you have plenty of signal at FOH. There is nothing worse than realizing that you need more gain for the monitors in the first set because your aux send is maxed out and the lead singer is crying for more acoustic, and trying to turn up the trim while at the same time turning down all the aux sends for that channel so you don't change your monitor mix or make the monitors feed back. It will happen at some point, I guarantee, but you might as well be aware. Every sound guy has at least one story of audio horror like this, I'd hate to see you be left out.
    As you get to know your gear, you will be able to set approximate gains for vocals at least in the house and on stage, eventually. I work at a club pretty regularly and at this point I can almost do soundcheck and monitors before the band gets there. I can at least have vocls up in the house and onstage if I get there before the band.
    It pays to be organized at this point, to save time. Have each performer play their instrument and sing in turn, and set the necessary gain. The talkback mic is a big plus here, as it saves yelling "I said acoustic guitar, dammit, not bass!". Also make sure all channels are labeled with what is in them at the board.
    Since you are doing monitors from FOH you may need to explain to the band that you can't do monitors until FOH is partially done, because of the need to make sure you have enough gain. Some people have a hard time soundchecking without monitors, but if you explain the situation, and that their monitors will be better off for it, they will work with you.

    Generally monitor mixes need to be set with all the members onstage, as they will need to play occasionally, singly to set volumes for each wedge mix, and together to check their mixes. You will make adjustments to each mix as needed.
    Lead vocalist: in her wedge she wants to hear her own vocal, her acoustic, a little bit of keys, and a little bit of backup vocals. The electric guitarist can hear this wedge well enough get his cues. Her wedge runs from aux 1. You dial up the things she wants, one at a time, at approximate levels. You talk to her and make adjustments as she needs. (this is where the talkback mic comes in handy again-you don't need to yell to the stage from FOH)

    Keys and bass: These guys want keys, acoustic guitar, a little electric guitar, lead vocals, and the backup vocals. As two people share this mix, it will need some work to get the vocal balance right so they are both happy. Their wedge is run from aux 2. You dial up what they need, paying attention to their vocal blend. Don't worry, they will let you know if it needs work.

    Electric guitar player: He can hear keys, acoustic, and vocals blasting from the other two wedges plenty loud, so he so fine. He is stoned anyway, and will be fine in any case. A bigger worry is him remembering to be there at showtime, or to plug his guitar in for the first song.

    Drummer: He wants some keys, acoustic guitar, a little bass, lead vocals, electric guitar, and snare drum. He may want kick, but that kinda depends on the setup you have. 12" monitors don't do kick well, and neither do low-powered 15"s. He will also want toms, hi-hat, overheads, cowbell, his throne, and his kick pedal miced and in his monitors. But will happily settle for snare only. If he hits his snare too loud, give him a little extra. It may make him play a bit quieter. Don't bet the farm on that, though. And manipulating the band with monitors is a dangerous game, with sometimes dire consequences. You dial up his initial mix.
    The key is to communicate with the band during this whole ordeal.

    Have the band play a bit to check their monitors. Tell them it is for monitor check, so play something where they all play and sing. This is another good time for organization. Tell them you will adjust their mixes after they play, and that you will ask each in turn what changes they need. This avoids everyone asking for things at once. So they will ask for more of this, or less of that, etc. Repeat as necessary. After some experience, you will be able to do it in a couple of rounds, and fairly quickly. I usually start with the lead vocalist, and work my way around stage. Sometimes I go by instrument, "Is everyone set with keys?".

    Everyone will always be all set with snare and cymbals.

    You will get a feel for the progress and process of setting the mixes. Though I listed each mix as a seperate process, some grouping helps save time. After each performer has their own inst/vox level set, you can say "who else wants keys?", for instance and do them all at once. It avoids repetition.

    So, after monitors are set, you finish your FOH check, everyone is happy, and it's break time before the show!!! Or else you are struggling and cursing five minutes before the doors open. It's about an equal chance, really.

    You will be dialing up magical monitor mixes in no time, and beautiful performers will be swooning at your feet, wanting to have hot passionate sonically-inspired sex with you because of the awesome sound on stage. I hope.

    Good luck if you made it this far! It may be a bit long-winded. Work with what you have, and a good night can generally be had. This is a framework, and you will relax into your own routine. Adapting is the key. Sometimes it is way simpler than this, sometimes more complex. You will find what works for you, and what you have to do, and can leave out, on a nightly basis.
    Last edited by boingoman; 11-15-2004 at 04:52.

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    you don't know how much i appreciate your posts !!!!! thanks A lot !
    you should write a book, i'd buy it
    ...listen...

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