PA mix thru Monitors

Joel Golden

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Jul 30, 2022
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We have 4 vocalists in my rock band, and want to get a good blend thru the PA. To make sure we get a good blend, I have the monitor mix the same as the PA mix. In fact I have the monitors connected to the PA speakers thru, so we hear the PA mix through monitors. We dont have anybody that can adjust the mix from the audience, so this is the only way we can be sure its blended ok. Is this for some reason not a good idea?
thanks , Joel
 

George Brenner

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Aug 1, 2022
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The most frequent issue when setting-up monitors this way is feedback. Typically, the EQ on monitors is set differently than on FOH speakers because they are aimed at microphones on stage. Frequencies that cause feedback are typically removed via a graphical or parametric EQ. Additionally, turning-up the FOH on your mixer, maybe because of the size of the room/crowd, also turns up the monitors causing feedback. To combat these issues you may be able to adjust both the EQ and volume of the monitor at the monitor itself (if they are powered speakers they typically have some basic 3-band EQ and gain/volume control). Another reason daisy chaining the monitors to the FOH speakers could be an issue is that the performers want a slightly different mix than the FOH -- a "little more me" or a "little more of my instrument" or remove drums (if you're mic-ing them) -- but it sounds like your group may have already considered this.
 

Greg Cameron

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Jan 11, 2011
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I would agree with everything George has said. One way to maintain the 'house mix' but allow changes and separate monitor EQ would be to use the aux sends to feed the mix, but set the aux sends to 'post fader' and run all the aux sends for each channel at the same exact level. This way fader changes will affect the monitor mix the same as the house. And you will have the ability to EQ the monitors from the aux master's EQ to ring out feedback. Additionally, since you are now using aux sends instead of daisy-chaining the mains, you will have separate control the the monitor mix on a per channel basis if you want it. That said, a pre-fader monitor mix is the way to go though for best results.
 

Brian English

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I agree with George , feedback would be your enemy in a setup that is connected directly via main outs on a mixer feeding both FOH and monitors mixes. Generally , as long as you do not have a room setup where microphones are in front of the FOH speakers then the floor monitors will be the source of any feedback or distorted sound . I love my QSC Touchmix 16 because , and this is actually important , especially if you want to have instrument feeds as well as vocal , the TM 16 has many aux outs . This means that for every ( up to 9-10 ) monitor I have on stage I can send a blend of whatever the person infront of that monitor needs to hear coming from that speaker and it makes the feedback issue and EQ much easier to manage , especially if you don't have exactly the same monitor for all stations . But what ever you have for a PA mixer , at the very least , you will have at least one aux send and that is what you should use to manage you monitors as it separates the monitor volume levels from your FOH . If you only have one aux out you will need to "daisy chain " your monitors . Most mixers where you would be mixing 4 vocals would have at least 2 aux outs and then you would only need to daisy chain 2 speakers together . More aux oux outs means more flexibility in adjustment of monitors . Some mixers only offer a graph EQ for FOH mix , some offer a switchable graph for both FOH and monitors ( most Mackie , Behringer , Yorkville and Soundcraft mixers have this function ) but if it doesnt what that means for monitors is you only have EQ on the channel strip , not optimal . For this very reason I suggest any digital mixer because the control and options for mix is quite superior to analog . Some may disagree with that but I do love my TM 16 and Soundcraft UI24R . I hope this bit of insight helps you a bit Joel . Good luck :)
 

Joel Golden

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I love the QSC touchmix as well. Especially its automated feedback killer app!

So if we have separate monitor mix and FOH mix, and one singer wants his volume boosted, you have to boost it on both the monitor AND the FOH, or else the balance will be off on the FOH. I am also performing so I dont have time to adjust both of these.
 

Paul Johnson

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Oct 27, 2012
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This means the main point of monitors has been totally misunderstood. In my band, we all played and we all sing close harmony. We have a man out front who passes the lead vocal from person to person. I sing a line, then the keys guy takes the lead for the first chorus, then the drummer does the second bit and so on. In the monitors, my monitor (we actually use IEMs) has me, my bass, the keys and the keys vocals. No guitar - no drums and their voices there, but low. The drummer does not want my voice at all, but he likes the guitar loud in his ........ and so on. Whatever the audience hear is NOT what I want to hear. If it's a chorus and I'm aaah-ing quietly in the mix, I need to know my aaahs are in tune.

Some bands could work with the mix in the monitors, but they would also be the kind of band that has a mix preset that doesn't change. Do you never have the everyday request for more of this and less of that? Once you have had it, you never go back to what is just a shared mix. The point of the multiple monitor sends from each channel is to create personal, separate and different mixes. You also want them to be pre-fade, so bringing down a desk fader for the audience does NOT drop it out the monitors. In emergencies I've tagged into the PA mix, but that is a huge compromise, and of course means feedback is more likely when things get loud.
 

Joel Golden

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We dont have a "man out front", so we dont know how it sounds out there. Which is why I want to have the house mix on the monitors so we can self-correct the volumes. Also, it pleases me when I hear a good mix, knowing that is going out to the audience. If all I hear is myself, I dont get that connection with what the audience is experiencing.
 

Joel Golden

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Speaking of IEMs, I have tried them but when I sing, the voice in my head is louder than that in the IEM. (Like if you put your fingers in your ears and talk, you hear your own voice rather loudly). How do you manage that? (regular headphones dont do that.) I dont want to turn it up because I already have loud tinnitus so I'm trying to reduce the volume.
 

Jeff Babcock

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Jan 11, 2011
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Speaking of IEMs, I have tried them but when I sing, the voice in my head is louder than that in the IEM. (Like if you put your fingers in your ears and talk, you hear your own voice rather loudly). How do you manage that? (regular headphones dont do that.) I dont want to turn it up because I already have loud tinnitus so I'm trying to reduce the volume.
It helps greatly if you get custom molded IEMs.

I recommend 64 Audio, their models have special porting which reduces pressures in the ear canal and largely removes that plugged ears effect you get with cheaper IEMs.

Here's a link with some detail about that feature. https://www.64audio.com/pages/apex
 

Paul Johnson

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Oct 27, 2012
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Yep - with proper ones, you can't really hear anything live. There are some good squishy foam ones too - where they expand in the ear canal, plus you can even make real ones yourself, buying the putty from ebay! two part stuff. Mix the two balls together, squeeze into a cone and get somebody to press it into your ear, and the folds - then trim and drill a hole and glue in your headphone drivers. Real ones are super comfy, but you must have the mould made with your mouth open if you sing, otherwise when you open you mouth, your ear canal changes shape and breaks the seal. With proper fitting ones, the volume in your ears can be lower than real life stage levels.

HOWEVER - if you have IEMs, you really need a personal mix, because if the mix is wrong, you cannot sing or play. You can play and sing with a less ideal mix by just moving your head or body, but this does not work with IEMs. If you cannot hear, you are stuffed. I once played an entire song on my bass in E when the idiot on sound sent electric guitar, not bass into my ears, so I just had to play with no bass at all. My mistake was the song was in Eb, not E and I never knew.

If you have never had a proper monitor mix and have got used to the audience mix you will have compensated. There is a snag with your system. What does the PA mix have in it? Everything, or just the things that are not already loud? In a smaller venue, even with the kit and bass coming up on faders, it's very common for the faders to be off - they're loud enough already. Mixing from the stage means you cannot tell how it sounds in the audience. Probably fine, but probably bass and drums heavy, or light. I have a show arriving Thursday who will be mixing from the wings, in a 1400 seat theatre venue, with a stage 12m wide and 11m deep. They don't usually do theatres but smaller clubs and pubs. I'm very worried about their sound. The bands who tour IEMs always have perfect sound in their ears, and the audience get perfect sound too - however, they're very different mixes. I bet during the soundcheck you wander into the audience area to check the sound is OK there, but you have no way of compensating for a loud audience, or one in the winter wearing thicker clothing that soaks up the top end. We used to pay our sound op the same as the band members got in our tribute, because he was vital to the sound we wanted. Audiences rarely mention sound unless it's very bad, so the absence of complaints doesn't mean it was good, just not bad. I've heard some of my band's festival mixes where we were not in control and many are dire because the audience are getting far too much bass, and very little harmony vocals because the op doesn't understand the music!
 
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Brian English

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I love the QSC touchmix as well. Especially its automated feedback killer app!

So if we have separate monitor mix and FOH mix, and one singer wants his volume boosted, you have to boost it on both the monitor AND the FOH, or else the balance will be off on the FOH. I am also performing so I dont have time to adjust both of these.

I love the QSC touchmix as well. Especially its automated feedback killer app!

So if we have separate monitor mix and FOH mix, and one singer wants his volume boosted, you have to boost it on both the monitor AND the FOH, or else the balance will be off on the FOH. I am also performing so I dont have time to adjust both of these.
So herein lies the real beauty of digital Joel .....if you have multiple singers and limited time to get their mixes right and with out messing around with the FOH mix , each person on stage can have their own iPad and on the main mixer you can assign controls for each of them so they are only permitted to adjust certain parameters such as aux level so they can adjust the vocal level in their IEM's or floor montor at their station . You as the main sound man can assign permissions to each individual IPad holder . As long as the person adjusting understands the basics of headroom and feedback , it is good . There is no accounting for people that do not want to learn though . Best is to get the stage levels right at soundcheck and then use cues from the audience or a trusted friend sitting out front to get a decent mix to the FOH or use wireles and walk the room yourself to make adjustments , whatever works the best at any given venue .