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Mixing Monitors for Idiots

Discussion in 'Sound, Music, and Intercom' started by Footer, Nov 4, 2010.

  1. Footer

    Footer Senior Team Senior Team Premium Member

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    Saratoga Springs, NY
    So after the 3rd time in the past month and a half, I have been asked to mix monitors for whatever road show is coming in that is not carrying an engineer and turned it down. Our regular monitor guy left and essentially joined a commune. I have a good amount of audio experience. I have mixed more theatre then a person ever should and have done a handful of festival type situations and the very occasional band. The powers that be are not about to take our FOH guy off FOH and put him on monitors so I can mix FOH. We are looking for a more permant monitor guy, but until that happens... I might have to be it. They know I have little to no experience mixing monitors.

    The rig consists of 10 Meyer UM 1Ps, 3 482s Driveracks w/ a 480R, and a Crest X12 Monitor desk.

    As far as talent goes, we could have anything from a 2 piece jazz group onstage to a solo artist to a 8 piece rock band.

    So, what pointers do you have for someone making the conversion from FOH to monitors? How do you usually set up your desk?
    Last edited: Nov 4, 2010
  2. derekleffew

    derekleffew Resident Curmudgeon Senior Team Premium Member

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    Las Vegas, NV, USA
    Not for all the gold in Ft. Knox (if any is still there)!

    What's the difference between a proctologist and a monitor engineer?
  3. bishopthomas

    bishopthomas Well-Known Member

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    Owner of Sound/Lighting Company
    New Jersey
    Oh yeah, what's the pay? Back on track, hearing frequencies is the biggest asset. You'll need a 31 band graphic EQ on every monitor mix and know the sound of every single slider. Get a test tone generator of some sort and practice until you can't stand it. You're not looking for prestine audio quality when mixing loud monitors, you're looking for bite and clarity in the vocal range. Think about what else is on stage making noise and carve a niche in the monitor mix. You'll need to have a good grasp on monitor/microphone pickup patterns. Cardioid and you'll want one wedge straight on, hyper and you'll need a pair at about 45 degree angles (usually where the null is on a hypercardioid mic). Learn to speak "musician." Usually if someone wants "more" of something it usually means "less" of something else. A lot of times this "less" is actually less stage volume, so good luck fighting that losing battle. I'm sure more tips will come to me, that's just the ramblings off the top of my head.
  4. wolf825

    wolf825 Senior Team Emeritus Premium Member

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    Eastcoast USA
    keep it simple...
    Last edited: Nov 7, 2010
    MNicolai, epimetheus, dvsDave and 5 others like this.
  5. DaveySimps

    DaveySimps CBMod CB Mods Premium Member

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    Marine City, MI
    The proctologist only has to deal with one rear end at a time. And remember, Friends Don't Let Friends Mix Monitors.

    Last edited: Nov 5, 2010
  6. TimmyP1955

    TimmyP1955 Active Member

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    I'm still terrible at calling feedback and 'loose' frequencies, so I use Studio Six Digital's FFT app on my iPhone (also works on iPod Touch). This calls frequencies much more accurately than a human, and as such is great for use with the parametric EQ that's in your DriveRacks. I use parametrics to set the rig up for the mics that have been chosen, then use 1/3 octave if any mid-show cuts are needed.
  7. len

    len Well-Known Member

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    When I saw the thread title I wondered, did he mean "an guide to mixing monitors for someone who doesn't have a lot of knowledge" or "a guide to mixing monitors for the bunch of idiots on stage?"

    The one and only time I got roped into the latter, the regular sound guy walked off because the band was so bad. The stage volume was so loud I killed the mains and no one noticed. And then the band complained they still wanted more.

    Three new engineers later, I left the venue. I hear they're bankrupt. Oh, well.

    As to how to help you, sorry, but I feel your pain.

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