Sound on stage
>Subject: Sound on stage
>>I think as a general rule of thumb (and all-important for
>>confidence playing on stage -- in or out of pocket :), one should
>>be able to count on what one hears in the monitor as a pretty
>>good model/reflection/representation of what's being heard out
>>front -- that's what monitoring is basically all about.
>>Simply put, if you sound good in the monitor mix (*and the
>>monitor mix is valid*), you should sound good out front, period.
>Monitors levels and house levels are two different monsters. There is much
>that is pumped through our PA that is not put into the monitors (reverb,
>bass, drums, and depending on the club -- all the instruments). Also, the EQ
True, although that also largely depends on the size and
composition of the band and size of the stage. There are
situations where it would be lethal, say, for a horn section
(and, say, a harp player playing with that section ;) not to have
some drums and bass in the monitor.
>is different. During sound checks (and often during the show :)) I get out
>into the audience with either guitar or harp (mostly harp -- people love this
>move). There is always a major difference in sound balance b/t monitors and
>If monitors and mains are to be equivalent, why do they have different level
>controls on the boards?
Sure they're different; they're playing to two completely
different "audiences" (the house and the band) with totally
different acoustic conditions and balance requirements, through
completely different speakers and set-ups.
And yes, there definitely are situations where a "local" monitor
boost of certain levels (oneself and others) over the overall mix
is important, particularly in ensemble playing (again, horns, or
background vocals, or dual guitars), to ensure intonation, etc.
>I agree that anyone on stage running sound hasn't a very good idea of what
>the amped sound is really like -- most likely, he's hearing room reverb. By
>the same token, a properly placed sound man has little to no clue what the
>monitor mix is like. He's just trying to let us hear ourselves without
>feeding back (hence the EQ diff).
That's why it's important for a sound person (whether out front
or side-stage) to be responsive to visual cues from players about
what monitor adjustments might be needed during the set. A good
house mix means nothing necessarily about the monitor mix.
>>Otherwise, I'd question just exactly what the monitor is for in
>>the first place -- it's certainly not just about hearing yourself
>>over everyone else, in some kind of auditory survival mode.
>Its close -- its about hearing yourself in some kind of blend with the rest
>of the band, but I would never rely on monitors as an representation of
>overall projected sound quality.
I think we're mostly in agreement here, Glenn. I never said or
meant that the monitor mix is a reliable indicator of "overall
projected sound ~quality~." Sorry if using terms like "pretty
good model" or "representation" were confusing; the two mixes
are never going to be anything close to identical. As noted
above, all I basically said is that if you sound good in the
monitor mix, you should be able to play in confidence that you're
sounding good out front, too, (but not necessarily "the same" --
it can't be).
To me, this is primarily a basic issue of levels; fine points of
house EQ, reverb, etc., are secondary. My comments were simply
about harp players having proper expectations of hearing
themselves on stage like any other player -- not settling for
none or too little, NOR overreacting by thinking it's only
about hearing themselves over everyone else. For myself, I play
most comfortably (and hopefully, best) when I believe that what
I'm hearing is an approximate "model" (again, sorry :) of what's
being heard out front in balance with everything else. B*
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