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Author Topic: Flown monitors and a LOUD stage mix. How to handle??  (Read 7049 times)

Jason M Wagner

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Flown monitors and a LOUD stage mix. How to handle??
« on: March 07, 2011, 11:32:32 PM »

I'm working in a theatre with limited stage space, so the decision was to fly the monitors for our performers. We are doing a tribute show with a house band and various solo artists and a duet. They all complain about being able to hear. What can I do to battle the loud stage mix and still make sure the performers can hear? The monitors are placed 2 on each side of the stage and 1 downstage center.
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Charlie Zureki

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Re: Flown monitors and a LOUD stage mix. How to handle??
« Reply #1 on: March 07, 2011, 11:42:08 PM »

I'm working in a theatre with limited stage space, so the decision was to fly the monitors for our performers. We are doing a tribute show with a house band and various solo artists and a duet. They all complain about being able to hear. What can I do to battle the loud stage mix and still make sure the performers can hear? The monitors are placed 2 on each side of the stage and 1 downstage center.

   Hello Wags,

   you can start by reading the rules regarding posting on this site.....then, I'm sure you'll get plenty of good advice...

   Hammer
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Craig Leerman

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« Reply #2 on: March 08, 2011, 12:39:06 AM »


Please go to your profile and change the "Name" field to your real full name as required by the posting rules clearly displayed in the header at the top of the section, and in the Site Rules and Suggestions in the Forum Announcements section.

Craig
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Jason M Wagner

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Re: Flown monitors and a LOUD stage mix. How to handle??
« Reply #3 on: March 08, 2011, 04:50:16 PM »

Sorry guys. I transferred from the other forum. When I put my information in, I put in what I habitually put in for User Name. I had even read the rules! Anyway, I got that cleared up. Any advice on my question??
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Tim McCulloch

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Re: Flown monitors and a LOUD stage mix. How to handle??
« Reply #4 on: March 08, 2011, 07:52:10 PM »

Sorry guys. I transferred from the other forum. When I put my information in, I put in what I habitually put in for User Name. I had even read the rules! Anyway, I got that cleared up. Any advice on my question??

My suggestions involve either bribery or violence... the band is too damn loud, and it's their job to support the singers. This is a SHOW, not a bar band, right?  The director needs to put his/her foot down.

Presuming that doesn't happen, probably the next step is to put the guitar/bass amps off stage, or put them in the wings, facing across stage. If the director wants a "look" have the props dept build dummy amps.  If you can get the drummer under glass, that will help, too, so long as you have acoustically absorptive material under the kit and part way up the sides.

But I personally believe the best place to start is with the source.  The level of success you get will be determined by the director (if he thinks the solution is a knob, button, or black box with blinky lights, you're screwed) and the amount of accommodation he is able to extract from the band or music director.

Have fun, good luck (you'll need it).

Tim Mc
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Jason M Wagner

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Re: Flown monitors and a LOUD stage mix. How to handle??
« Reply #5 on: March 08, 2011, 10:53:25 PM »

My suggestions involve either bribery or violence... the band is too damn loud, and it's their job to support the singers. This is a SHOW, not a bar band, right?  The director needs to put his/her foot down.

Here's the funny part: it's not the band!! The amps are already offstage and turned down. It's the five flown monitors for the performers. I suppose I just need to put my foot down to the performers!!
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Art Welter

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Re: Flown monitors and a LOUD stage mix. How to handle??
« Reply #6 on: March 09, 2011, 09:55:08 AM »

Here's the funny part: it's not the band!! The amps are already offstage and turned down. It's the five flown monitors for the performers. I suppose I just need to put my foot down to the performers!!
You don't mention if the 5 monitors have different mixes.
If they are not all separate, with separate EQ, you have identified problem #1.

If the side monitors are used as one mix each, the way they are flown in relation to each other is important, side by side may be making for a lot of comb filtering, compounded if the center mix carries a lot of the same signal. The sound would be inconsistent, each location would sound different, making it hard to maintain pitch if a singer is moving.

If you want to "keep it simple", you may find just a single side monitor on either side gives better results, more clarity, and less "garbage noise" on stage and in the house.
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Jason M Wagner

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Re: Flown monitors and a LOUD stage mix. How to handle??
« Reply #7 on: March 09, 2011, 10:08:37 AM »

You don't mention if the 5 monitors have different mixes.

Yes, the monitors have different mixes. The downstage center single is one mix, and the four others are two other mixes, downstage and upstage. I've thrown the two outer mixes out of polarity from the center and that seems to help. The downstage pair is farther off stage than the upstage, so I delayed the upstage to that one. With the polarity and delay it seems to get clearer on stage, but still loud. One thing I'd like to check is the delay of the mains to the stage. Would this help in the way of the stage mix loudness? Of course, my gut is telling me it's just the performers are asking for too much volume.
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Tim McCulloch

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Re: Flown monitors and a LOUD stage mix. How to handle??
« Reply #8 on: March 09, 2011, 10:32:09 AM »

Yes, the monitors have different mixes. The downstage center single is one mix, and the four others are two other mixes, downstage and upstage. I've thrown the two outer mixes out of polarity from the center and that seems to help. The downstage pair is farther off stage than the upstage, so I delayed the upstage to that one. With the polarity and delay it seems to get clearer on stage, but still loud. One thing I'd like to check is the delay of the mains to the stage. Would this help in the way of the stage mix loudness? Of course, my gut is telling me it's just the performers are asking for too much volume.

Have you had an opportunity to be on stage with the performers during rehearsal?  It will help you understand what the singers are experiencing.

As Art points out, you're probably getting some significant comb filtering that the singers are fighting.  What they are fighting is that they sound different depending on where they stand.  That difference frustrates them and they can't identify what is wrong, so they ask for "more."

If you can't get on stage during rehearsal, at least play some similar material through the monitor rig and take a good listen on stage.  You might move or eliminate wedges, depending on access, time and work call budget.

Let us know how things work out.

Tim Mc
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Iain.Macdonald

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Re: Flown monitors and a LOUD stage mix. How to handle??
« Reply #9 on: March 09, 2011, 10:46:06 AM »

Yes, the monitors have different mixes. The downstage center single is one mix, and the four others are two other mixes, downstage and upstage. I've thrown the two outer mixes out of polarity from the center and that seems to help. The downstage pair is farther off stage than the upstage, so I delayed the upstage to that one. With the polarity and delay it seems to get clearer on stage, but still loud. One thing I'd like to check is the delay of the mains to the stage. Would this help in the way of the stage mix loudness? Of course, my gut is telling me it's just the performers are asking for too much volume.

Hi,

Questions: Dimensions of stage and wings. Position of monitor speakers relative to stage, both height and layout. Monitor speaker type, and dispersion.?????

You have a well known problem. The answer is always variable and complex. You are on the right track with checking the delay/timing, betweeen mons and mains. The other issue is the dispersion of the monitor speakers. The more speakers you have for area mixes, then the tighter the dispersion needs to be, or everybody hears everything else and pitching and timing goes to pot. A flown Meyer UM 1 was popular for your application, because of the 45 horn. Less speakers and a lower level is often the answer. You mention that one pair is further offstage than the other. That means delay/comb filtering if the performer is in the coverage of the other pair. You might also wish to try delaying the pair that are closer to the performance area, so that both pairs appear to come from the same offstage distance.

Iain.
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Todd Larick

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Re: Flown monitors and a LOUD stage mix. How to handle??
« Reply #10 on: March 09, 2011, 12:20:24 PM »

Ever thought about in ear monitors??   

Just a thought...
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Roland Clarke

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Re: Flown monitors and a LOUD stage mix. How to handle??
« Reply #11 on: March 10, 2011, 05:08:32 AM »

This sounds like a classic case of "more me".  I would start again lowering the stage volume to give the players what they need. 

IMHO the most classic mistake people make with monitors is giving the performers what they ask for, not what they necessarily need, more often than not there is a huge difference.  Obviously I don't know exactly what you are dealing with in terms of instruments and vocalists, however, as a quick pointer, vocals are going to be the most important, add in the instruments that they need to pitch against (probably guitars and keys).  Make sure that there is enough of these for the (guitarists and keyboard players) to hear their parts of course considering where they are standing in relationship to which monitors.  With this type of monitoring situation I would keep the drums totally out of the monitors.  If bass is just off the side of the stage, you might not even need any of this in the monitors. 

Front monitors (assuming singers are standing front and centre) should have little of anything else in them unless they are also playing or need a little more to pitch against.  All the above makes a lot of assumptions about what you may or may not be doing, but good monitoring is as much about the planning beforhand.

Good luck!
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Jason M Wagner

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Re: Flown monitors and a LOUD stage mix. How to handle??
« Reply #12 on: March 10, 2011, 02:02:43 PM »


Questions: Dimensions of stage and wings. Position of monitor speakers relative to stage, both height and layout. Monitor speaker type, and dispersion.?????


I will have to get back to you with all the specs. I would like to gather all of it and have someone look at it.

The band does use IEMs, but we don't have the budget to include ears for our 7 performers and 2 backup singers. I would love to head in that direction at some point.
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g'bye, Dick Rees

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Re: Flown monitors and a LOUD stage mix. How to handle??
« Reply #13 on: March 10, 2011, 02:20:33 PM »

Of course, my gut is telling me it's just the performers are asking for too much volume.

It is always possible that when someone is asking for more volume what they really need is clarity.  You don't make a mix by making "everything louder than everything else", so don't do it with monitors.  I do agree that you need to check the delay of the various mixes to the mains, but delay will not apply equally all across the stage area, so you have to choose a point from which to delay.

I would wonder if a bit more collaboration with the on-stage folks regarding what they need to hear would be helpful.  If you can clear out the extraneous material, they'll be able to get their cues at a lower volume.  Volume per se is no substitute for clarity.  And clarity will apply across the entire stage.

I'd also go back to the content of the various mixes and make sure that whatever needs to be heard all across the area is addressed from the side washes and any individual or area specific content assigned to a special or local mix.  I would also recommend setting the room sound first, then adding monitors. 
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Jason M Wagner

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Re: Flown monitors and a LOUD stage mix. How to handle??
« Reply #14 on: March 10, 2011, 03:35:07 PM »

It is always possible that when someone is asking for more volume what they really need is clarity.  You don't make a mix by making "everything louder than everything else", so don't do it with monitors.  I do agree that you need to check the delay of the various mixes to the mains, but delay will not apply equally all across the stage area, so you have to choose a point from which to delay.

I would wonder if a bit more collaboration with the on-stage folks regarding what they need to hear would be helpful.  If you can clear out the extraneous material, they'll be able to get their cues at a lower volume.  Volume per se is no substitute for clarity.  And clarity will apply across the entire stage.

I'd also go back to the content of the various mixes and make sure that whatever needs to be heard all across the area is addressed from the side washes and any individual or area specific content assigned to a special or local mix.  I would also recommend setting the room sound first, then adding monitors.

I have done some delaying with the monitors to match them selves, but not with the mains. I'm hoping to get me Smaart rig up and running soon (as soon as I get retrieve it from another state!) so I can accurately measure the delay times. But for know, I'll continue to do it with a tape measure and my ears!

That is another thought I've had, is having the mains up while building the mixes. I wish the Soundcraft Vi1 already had an offline editor and iPad app for use. We almost had the M7 so the Stage Mix app would have been quite handy. All of this is great help. Thank you.
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Re: Flown monitors and a LOUD stage mix. How to handle??
« Reply #14 on: March 10, 2011, 03:35:07 PM »


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