FOH vs. Monitors

Which is more prestigious? The FOH or Monitor position?

  • FOH

    Votes: 19 90.5%
  • Monitors

    Votes: 2 9.5%

  • Total voters


Well-Known Member
Since this was a topic of discussion in the Ranking thread, I decided to go ahead and put up a poll for all to respond to. Which do you think is more prestigious or requires the most skill? Post why you chose which, if you feel like it. Pretty straightforward. Generally, does the monitor guy have more prestige than the FOH guy, and why? many times have you hear a band thank the board op SL....
Prestigious, I'd say FOH. He/She is the person that the audience sees, they're the one who everyone looks to to make it sound good. However, the Monitor Tech, especially at festival gigs rather than touring has the harder job. FOH is actually pretty easy, but it's the Monitor guy who has to put up with Artist attitude and deal with them, as well as deal with speakers pointed at microphones.
As far as prestige goes, definitely FOH - it is his/her mix that the audience hears. However, the monitor guy has the short end of the stick in having to deal with the artist and upwards of 8 or 9 mixes. Of course, the worst job is combined FOH/monitors at small shows...been there, done that.
Amazingly enough, the only guy who was recognized by the artists at the festival that I worked was the monitor engineer!
FOH is usually more prestigious--the monitor guy is just closer to throw stuff at. :D

I mix either...and I have never had stuff tossed at me...but given a choice of the two I would rather deal with the Band and mix Monitors...

tenor_singer said:
Am I to understand that there are usually two mixers involved with large productions? A FOH mixer and a monitor mixer?

That is correct - the task is split to make it easier.
Chris15 said:
And to that end, mixer are generally designed with one or the other purpose in mind. Monitor mixers having more auxiliaries and the like.

That was a good point. Generally the monitor guy will have a wedge by their board so that they can listen into the aux sends going out and make changes as needed. Some musicians will point at someone and then point up or down then nod when it is good. Some voice it out while they are doing it. Others just simply give a look to the monitor person and expect the problem to be fixed just based on that look. If anyone is interested on there being different consoles here an example of such, Soundcraft's Series 5 line:
Series 5
Series 5M

Mostly its the nicer lines of consoles that come in multiple flavors.

Myself I think I like FOH more. I just find doing monitors boring. I usually end up sitting there playing a role as a fader-monkey making adjustments when asked. If we had an extra aux at church I would probably get myself a mix going in my wedge to listen to when I am not listening to other auxs.
Tough call... the Prestegious title would probably go to FOH... I see FOH as something you can do a really cheezy job at, making it sound "good enough" or you can work really hard on it and work to make it sound "excelent". The latter can be as hard or harder then monitors, in my opinion. Monitors on the other hand, you tend to either do a really good job or an absolutely terrable job. It's not as easy to just squeek by on monitors, there are too many things going on, that if you mess up a few things all kinda stuff can go haywire.

Right now I usualy jump on monitors over FOH if given the choice, I usualy setup an extra speaker as a mix for myself and use that to go through after each artist seems happy and see if i can gently tweak the sound to improve each mix (just like the FOH guy is doing with the main mix).

Back on the prestege thing.. ya, the audience usually recognizes the FOH guy, but the band is much more inclined to the Monitors guy, simply b/c of who each group is listening to.
heh, why would you sit hidden when you could sit foh and show your equiptment for all to see

48ch thousands of knobs

i love getting asked the question ""what do they all do" it's why i do sound

i love finishing the school day and walking into the hall and suddenly being an expert and seeing my teachers watching the show (many an A+'s have come from teachers seeing me working after school)
Hughesie89 said:
i love getting asked the question ""what do they all do" it's why i do sound

My friend hates that question. His universal reply, "Only when I'm sober."

Yeah, FOH is more prestigious. I personally would prefer to run FOH, not because the audience can see all your gear, but rather a saftey factor. I ran monitors one time, and a pissy, stoned guitarist threw his slide, capo, and tuner at my head. (and everyone else liked their monitor mix)
If I really wanted to be on display I'd be an actor/musician! :-o

Nah, I do it for fun, not showing off!

Talking about saftey... running monitors at one show was rather scary as the audience started mobbing the stage (which was at ground level). Thankfully they stoped rather quickly and I had two big security guards close by me.

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