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Author Topic: Mains or Monitors first?  (Read 2339 times)

john sanders

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Mains or Monitors first?
« on: July 03, 2013, 09:34:07 am »

As the title suggests I would like some feedback as to whether you set your levels on the mains first or levels on monitors first. Typically, I like to have the monitors set after I've got a base level on the mains.
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Samuel Rees

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Mains or Monitors first?
« Reply #1 on: July 03, 2013, 09:56:32 am »

As the title suggests I would like some feedback as to whether you set your levels on the mains first or levels on monitors first. Typically, I like to have the monitors set after I've got a base level on the mains.

Can I assume this is referring to a monitors from FOH setup in a music club? In smaller clubs (which means I'm often in a hurry) I usually quickly ballpark the channel in the mains, because the artists hear the mains a good bit and might ask for more monitor volume if they didn't hear them. Sometimes artists will ask for the main PA to be turned off during all of part of soundcheck, though.
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Mark McFarlane

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Re: Mains or Monitors first?
« Reply #2 on: July 03, 2013, 10:20:59 am »

Assuming I have 20-30 minutes for sound check (common except for festivals):

I tend to do monitors first with mains off, then mains, then back to monitors for fine tuning, EQ, then back to mains, then maybe a final pass of mons if anyone needs something different...  There are valid arguments for either approach, I've just settled on that workflow.  I tend to go back and forth a lot, I ask the band constantly how it sounds for them, and what can I do to make it better.

Fist pass is usually 'what goes in each monitor', and general levels.  2nd pass is EQ. 

Then I ask the band to play a few songs show varying dynamics and set Mains, EQ, comps,.... 

Final pass I have the band play their opening song (first 20 seconds or so), and maybe repeat, for final adjustments in mons and mains... The save the scene.  This helps make everything cooking for the first song when the act walks on stage.

My job is a whole lot easier (and faster) with iPad remote control.
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Mark McFarlane
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Turn down what's too loud.

Scott Harris

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Re: Mains or Monitors first?
« Reply #3 on: July 03, 2013, 11:01:29 am »

When I get the opportunity to do a full sound check.... I run the mains at full volume with the monitors at what I think is a reasonable level as the first pass.  I want them to hear and get the bass impact of the mains before they ask to turn up the monitors.  When I have run monitors first the levels are almost always higher.  I also find that the bass & guitar players are much more comfortable with lower amp levels when the mains & subs are on.
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Kevin McDonough

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Re: Mains or Monitors first?
« Reply #4 on: July 03, 2013, 12:20:38 pm »

hey


I generally go for mains first. Especially with sub/bass things on small stages, they get a lot of wash back onto the stage and so don't always need this in the wedges or ears.

So I'll get a very rough mix first on the mains, then ask each person what they want and get rough monitor mixes, then play a couple more songs while I work on tightening the FOH mix and make and tweaks they ask for in their monitors.

k
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Mark McFarlane

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Re: Mains or Monitors first?
« Reply #5 on: July 03, 2013, 12:55:19 pm »

One nice thing with iPad control is you can stand next to the musos and make adjustments while they are playing in just a few seconds.  Takes about 2 minutes to rough in a monitor mix for 4 or 5 wedges.
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Mark McFarlane
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Mark McFarlane

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Re: Mains or Monitors first?
« Reply #6 on: July 03, 2013, 01:08:13 pm »

Feeling vastly outnumbered doing mons first, I'll share my main reason. 

I like to be on stage when the band arrives, shake hands, help them plug in, and interact and learn their names.  Doing a rough monitor mix first lets them know that I care deeply about their experience and develop a relationship.  This seems to work better than standing 100' feet away working on the main mix first.

It's an iterative process either way.  The first pass of monitors is just a few minutes.

That's my story today, maybe it will change...
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Mark McFarlane
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Turn down what's too loud.

Jason Lucas

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Re: Mains or Monitors first?
« Reply #7 on: July 03, 2013, 01:31:26 pm »

Feeling vastly outnumbered doing mons first, I'll share my main reason. 

I like to be on stage when the band arrives, shake hands, help them plug in, and interact and learn their names.  Doing a rough monitor mix first lets them know that I care deeply about their experience and develop a relationship.  This seems to work better than standing 100' feet away working on the main mix first.

It's an iterative process either way.  The first pass of monitors is just a few minutes.

That's my story today, maybe it will change...

I envy your ability to mix remotely.  :( I'd love to be able to adjust monitors from the stage.
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Brook Hovland

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Re: Mains or Monitors first?
« Reply #8 on: July 03, 2013, 01:34:07 pm »

I almost always do monitors first. Hope that makes you feel a bit less out numbered.
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Brandon Wright

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Re: Mains or Monitors first?
« Reply #9 on: July 03, 2013, 02:13:45 pm »

I always check monitors with the mains on. I take a pretty minimalistic  approach to wedges and try to only give them what they need. They aren't going to be playing the show with the mains off, so why check with them off?
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