ProSoundWeb Community

Please login or register.

Login with username, password and session length
Advanced search  

Pages: 1 [2] 3  All   Go Down

Author Topic: Monitor Mixes for Musical Dynamics  (Read 1757 times)

Jay Barracato

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 1348
  • Solomons, MD
Re: Re: Monitor Mixes for Musical Dynamics
« Reply #10 on: February 06, 2013, 08:57:23 pm »

It's sometimes hard to work with bands. When people ask what I do, I  sometimes say that I'm an overpaid adult babysitter. It's true to a degree. I find that the magic is in finding a way to get what you want by making the band think they are the ones that arrived at it. It's a psychology game basically. Sometimes you have to spell it out for the band bluntly and other times you can coax it out of them with some gentle persuasion. 

As far as who's paying me to do what? I find that honesty prevails. If a band is too loud and things are out of hand, tell them. I haven't lost a client yet from that attitude. Telling the band that a problem exists because of X reason may help open their eyes. Simple questions like, can you hear the kick and snare without them being in the monitors, can help. If the answer is yes, but I want more, can be answered with, things are loud and I need to reduce stage level, can you live without it until we get things situated? They may not be super happy, but once things are under control you can dial some back in for a smile........

Part of what I do is help bands figure out what they really need onstage.

Lots of folks do that.

Then I teach them how to ask for that when I am not there.

That not quite as common.
Logged
Jay Barracato

David Morison

  • SR Forums
  • Sr. Member
  • *
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 288
  • Aberdeen, Scotland
Re: Monitor Mixes for Musical Dynamics
« Reply #11 on: February 07, 2013, 07:27:25 am »

It's sometimes hard to work with bands. When people ask what I do, I  sometimes say that I'm an overpaid adult babysitter.

This reminds me of the sig a former poster here used to use - it went something like:
"Hi, I'm your Psychoacoustic Caretaker for the evening, but you can call me the monitor mixer"
Logged

Brian Kilpatrick

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 48
Re: Monitor Mixes for Musical Dynamics
« Reply #12 on: February 07, 2013, 12:17:51 pm »

Thank you guys for your responses! Our genre is contemporary Gospel. Many peaks and valleys volume wise. And these guys know how to play, and dynamics never was a problem when we were just going off of amps and wedges, but we recently switched to IEMs to help with the ridiculous stage volume. I guess my thing is, everybody is sculpting their own aural world in their ears which is not reflective of whats actually going on. So our drummer has bass & organ, way up, and himself way down, little vocals if any, and thats what he likes, and feels like he plays well with that mix. But now he plays too loud, and cresendos & descresendos un-proportionately with the rest of the band, although in HIS mix he crescendo'ed perfectly because other elements in his mix are much more present than they are in reality. Our other drummer is the opposite and plays too quietly now that he can hear every nuance of his playing since he has himself up, and once again, his monitor world is not reflective of whats actually going on acoustically and FOH wise. So I guess what i was asking( and some of you already suggested), with my engineer hat on, should i be training them to shape their mix more reflective of FOH/what it would sound like acoustically, vs. them just having what they like. I guess now my question is, has anyone had any sucess following a few tips to facilitating a more musical & realistic mix? Do i recommend they add a little bit of the house mix, ambient mics to make it feel more acoustic, ect. I know there's no silver bullet, and have taken what everyone has said into consideration.  Thanks again!
Logged

Patrick Tracy

  • SR Forums
  • Hero Member
  • *
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 504
  • Boulder, CO, USA
    • Boulder Sound Guy
Re: Monitor Mixes for Musical Dynamics
« Reply #13 on: February 07, 2013, 01:23:54 pm »

IEM mixes should be relatively complete because there's no spill from acoustic sources, other monitor or the mains. I'll skew things a little to favor what they need to hear most, but I really try to avoid leaving out any important element of the mix. For the loud drummer I would solo his mix in headphones and gently nudge his drums a bit into his mix. For the quiet drummer I would gently nudge everything but drums up until I heard him play stronger. I try to be very responsive to monitor needs, but I don't necessarily take requests literally. Asking for "more me" might actually mean they need less guitar or something.

Roch Lafleur

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 24
  • Weekend warrior
Re: Monitor Mixes for Musical Dynamics
« Reply #14 on: February 07, 2013, 04:33:26 pm »

I'm glad to some of you have mentioned "teaching" the musicians what they want/need to hear in their monitors, especially on iem (I'm paraphrasing). I'm primarily a bass player but have been doing quite a bit of sound also, mainly mixing from the stage for my own bands. I also provide production for the odd festival, rodeo and such. I remember about 10 years ago when my lead singer wasn't happy with her in-ear mix. I knew she couldn't be as I was running sound and her levels didn't make sense to me - but I gave her what she asked for. So one night, I switched belt packs with her and her face lit up. Right away she said "that sounds amazing! Can you make mine sound like that?" She had been singing and playing guitar for years, but was somewhat new to the world of iem and just didn't know what to ask for, or was shy about looking like a "newbie".

Fast foward about 10 years...  a few months ago I did a sound gig for a friend which my band was backing up. Our lead singer used to be his bass player, so he played bass that night and I sat at FOH. This guy (playing bass for the night) usually only has himself in his mix. That night, he asked me if he could get the same mix as the drummer (the drummer and I have nearly identical mixes... everything with the drums and bass slightly louder). He was blown away from hearing everything. Not his fault, he didn't know any better and had always gotten what he asked for. I had tried to give him a bit of everything else before but he didn't want it.

Last one... fiddle player in the same band usually has a mix consisting of a lot of his fiddle/guitars/vocals. We went in the studio to record a demo in the fall and he said he had no idea how tight the drummer and I were and had never noticed all the little things we added to the songs. At the next show, he asked for a full mix.

Being a soundman is an art in itself, but you also have to be a babysitter and play the psychologist (sometimes the psychiatrist). Musicians egos are fragile and it's a fine line between offending the talent or making them happy. Sometimes we forget that some of the "talent" don't have much experience playing on bigger stages (or any stage), with any or good monitors. I often assume they know what they're doing, but it's funny how often you realize they just don't know how sound production works and how easy it can make your gig.

Personal experience on stage with iem: I've been using them for over 10 years (UE7 - love them) and usually don't run a bass rig when I can use my iem. This past summer, I played several festivals on bigger stages and one of the monitor techs gave me a wedge knowing I was on iem. I said I didn't need it, but he said he would leave it in case I popped them out of my ears. I never do and told him I would be fine. Then he told me to play with the iem in my ears but no signal, until I could feel the bass coming back at me from the wedge. He gave me a stereo feed and the wedge and it was the best sounding gig I did all summer. He wasn't really pushy about it but went to extra mile to give me a good experience and he sure did! Nice guy to boot.

So keep in mind that the talent doesn't always know what he/she wants. You don't want to offend them, but a good personality, a willingness to help/work with them will go a long way. I'm always amazed at how little some "pros" know when it comes to what you guys do. As for me, I'm glad to see both sides of it and when my job is to be onstage, I'm usually hanging out at FOH or monitor world between shows to soak up as much of your knowledge as I can. There's a lot of good people out there. :)

Logged
EV QRx212, EV QRx218, db Technologies DVX DM-12, Yorkville Elite EM378, Behringer X32, A&H MixWiz 16:2, Crown i-Tech & MAi, QSC PLX

David Parker

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 1100
Re: Monitor Mixes for Musical Dynamics
« Reply #15 on: February 07, 2013, 04:57:27 pm »


Last one... fiddle player in the same band usually has a mix consisting of a lot of his fiddle/guitars/vocals. We went in the studio to record a demo in the fall and he said he had no idea how tight the drummer and I were and had never noticed all the little things we added to the songs. At the next show, he asked for a full mix.


one of the bands I work for is all on IEMs. The lead guitarist/lead singer uses a shure in ear setup that allows for pass thru. He plugs his vocal mic and guitar amp mic into the inear mixer and out the other side back to me. I send him a POST FADER mix of the rest of the band without his guitar and vocals. The keyboard player in the band has his patches all over the place volume wise, so by going post fader, when I mix the keys into the mains, it also adjusts them in his mix. He adds the amount of his vocals and guitar he wants, and it all works great. I save the settings and every gig he asks for NO adjustments.
Logged

Luke Geis

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 292
Re: Monitor Mixes for Musical Dynamics
« Reply #16 on: February 07, 2013, 11:56:44 pm »

It would seem common sense that a monitor should be used to ADD what cannot be heard well at X position. The EGO thing is probably the number one driver of the ill sorted monitor mixes; ergo " More ME " ......... Not that I have looked, but I imagine there isn't many video's or text out there that prescribes exactly what the monitors are really meant for? In a perfect world......

Many engineers are reluctant to place everything in every mix ( IEM not included ) because it increases stage volume and it's highly unlikely that a singer up front needs a kick drum in his wedge. This is why the NO MONITOR during initial sound check works pretty well. The band has a chance to actually hear what they are actually missing. Then if they are realistic, can ask only for what is needed in their respective mix. This is not usually the case because there is always bias. Where it really fails is when a musician can't hear another member clearly, but continues to bash away anyway. Dynamics of a song are just that. It requires the whole team to play along and work together. There is no amount of outboard equipment, or magical pill that will fix it. It can only be fixed at the source.

If I could teach a class on how to be a good band I would just have the band repeat over and over again. " If you can't hear all the other members clearly without monitors, how can anyone else "....... Followed by  " My right to be loud ends when someone else hears me ".......
Logged
I don't understand how you can't hear your self

David Parker

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 1100
Re: Monitor Mixes for Musical Dynamics
« Reply #17 on: February 08, 2013, 12:06:13 am »

It would seem common sense that a monitor should be used to ADD what cannot be heard well at X position. The EGO thing is probably the number one driver of the ill sorted monitor mixes; ergo " More ME " ......... Not that I have looked, but I imagine there isn't many video's or text out there that prescribes exactly what the monitors are really meant for? In a perfect world......

Many engineers are reluctant to place everything in every mix ( IEM not included ) because it increases stage volume and it's highly unlikely that a singer up front needs a kick drum in his wedge. This is why the NO MONITOR during initial sound check works pretty well. The band has a chance to actually hear what they are actually missing. Then if they are realistic, can ask only for what is needed in their respective mix. This is not usually the case because there is always bias. Where it really fails is when a musician can't hear another member clearly, but continues to bash away anyway. Dynamics of a song are just that. It requires the whole team to play along and work together. There is no amount of outboard equipment, or magical pill that will fix it. It can only be fixed at the source.

If I could teach a class on how to be a good band I would just have the band repeat over and over again. " If you can't hear all the other members clearly without monitors, how can anyone else "....... Followed by  " My right to be loud ends when someone else hears me ".......

all very true, but! If you have 4 singers on one mix, none of them will usually be able to hear theirself. I've seen gospel groups with perfect 4 part harmony, and they all stood in front of the mains and had no monitors. That is the exception. Most of us aren't that good. Also, it's no fun playing in a vacuum, and most of the folks I work for don't get paid enough to do it just for the money, it has to be fun. If it doesn't feel good onstage, it isn't fun. Just telling the other side of the story.
Logged

Luke Geis

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 292
Re: Monitor Mixes for Musical Dynamics
« Reply #18 on: February 08, 2013, 01:14:00 am »

I'm a musician too, so I do see it from both sides. 4 people on one mix is very difficult indeed. But not impossible. The way to win that battle is LESS, LESS, LESS..... Cutting a bit of the lows and low mids out of that mix can help clear it up. This will make each person jump out more easily. This is a mix that will require better mic control from the user. It still goes down to the simple saying. " if you can't hear everyone else, haw can anyone else " . Getting the monitor mix set up for clarity is the key. The trick is getting it so it's not muddy and garbled. It may not sound pretty, but at least they can hear each other in the monitor. The next thing is working with that mix. The artists will have to learn mic control to make space so that everyone can be heard.

It can be very fun to try new things and come across a win!!!!! I find it to be no fun when I'm not given the power to fix a problem ( that I see exists ) and failing at providing the experience everyone wants. I want nothing but wins at any cost. Sometimes I don't have control over it. The band is either inexperienced, or the sound system owner has me on lock down and I can't touch the desired knob. Even if I'm wrong it's an opportunity to learn. I'm not the best there is by any means. But I work out the problems I come across and when I'm done the clients and the artists are happy. I did it for fun till it paid. Now I get paid to do it for fun!!!!!
Logged
I don't understand how you can't hear your self

Roland Clarke

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 193
Re: Monitor Mixes for Musical Dynamics
« Reply #19 on: February 08, 2013, 05:22:59 am »

Hey All,

I am writing this as more of an experienced musician than engineer. How do you mix monitors to promote musical dynamics awareness? For instance, do you mix a group of 6+ background vocalists flat and force them to blend or do you subside to "I cant here myself or so and so" and have people and different levels? Also, as a keyboard player, how should I desire a mix, with more of me and my personal preference or more of whats coming out of the mains. The problem is in dynamic music(when there are many crescendo/decrescendos, ect), when I have a "more of me" mix, its hard to know where i TRUELY am volume wise in relation to other instruments and the lead vocal so that I can grow or come down with others. Do you mix in more ambient mics or what? Any help is appreciated.

I understand all the posts that have been made above and some very good comments.  To answer you question directly, it depends.  I've worked with many musicians that really do want "more me" in the monitors.  That's what they are used to, and it's what they work best with so I can understand that. 

I also have on several occasions worked with players that want a mix they can work with (this I think is what you are trying to get at).  It is entirely possible, a good example is the guitarist that if you get the monitor right, can play happily with the band and when it comes time to do his solo, he/she can "push" their sound and get a little bit more back from the monitor that again they can "push" more against, thus controlling a lot of their own dynamic.

These sort of players are (IMHO) the exception, rather than the norm and are usually acutely aware of where they sit musically in the mix.  One example I can give you, was the late, great Kenny Craddock, former MD for Van Morrison, who amongst his credits used to play with Ginger Bakers Airforce.  I worked with him on many occasions and he truly new exactly what he was doing.
Logged
Pages: 1 [2] 3  All   Go Up
 


Page created in 0.105 seconds with 23 queries.