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Author Topic: Active Monitor for Guitar  (Read 1016 times)

Steve Garris

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Active Monitor for Guitar
« on: October 09, 2018, 04:43:00 pm »

Any guitar players out there? I have a house gig with a 3-piece rock band every Sunday night. The guitar player just brought in a Boss GT-1 guitar modeler/amp, and it made the entire room sound better!

He was stuck using the house's SRM350 monitor for the night, so we are looking to get something really good that will work well for guitar and some vocals. Lightweight and good sound are the key.

So far I am recommending the following, from cheapest to more expensive:
Q10.2
DSR112
NX 10-SMA
FBT StageMaxx 12 MA
NX 12-SMA

He'll be auditioning one of my DSR's next Sunday. We might also try out a K12.2.

Thoughts?
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Ben Ballard

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Re: Active Monitor for Guitar
« Reply #1 on: October 09, 2018, 05:07:46 pm »

DSR112 all the way. If you have got the money, then that would be the monitor to go for

Sent from my Moto G (5) using Tapatalk
« Last Edit: October 09, 2018, 05:19:05 pm by Ben Ballard »
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Bradford "BJ" James

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Re: Active Monitor for Guitar
« Reply #2 on: October 09, 2018, 05:12:03 pm »

I still play occasionally and use a GT-100, usually with a DSR112 or DXR10. Either are good choices with the DSR having the obvious advantage, but more expensive.
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Jeremy Young

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Re: Active Monitor for Guitar
« Reply #3 on: October 09, 2018, 05:31:20 pm »

There are lots of folks on guitar forums who talk up the RCF NX SMA boxes for use with various amp-modelling gear.  I've never used one but they seem to get great reviews.  Basically you're looking for something transparent so the tone your player is hearing in the wedge matches what's being sent to the mains.  What are you using for monitors for vocals and other instruments on stage?  More of the SRM350's?
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Kemper Watson

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Re: Active Monitor for Guitar
« Reply #4 on: October 09, 2018, 06:06:36 pm »

There are lots of folks on guitar forums who talk up the RCF NX SMA boxes for use with various amp-modelling gear.  I've never used one but they seem to get great reviews.  Basically you're looking for something transparent so the tone your player is hearing in the wedge matches what's being sent to the mains.  What are you using for monitors for vocals and other instruments on stage?  More of the SRM350's?

A couple of players here use the RCF as well. Small, light, powerful and pretty flat response
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Dave Garoutte

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Re: Active Monitor for Guitar
« Reply #5 on: October 09, 2018, 06:23:59 pm »

A couple of players here use the RCF as well. Small, light, powerful and pretty flat response
Never had anything but compliments for the RCF.  And it looks more pro than a PA speaker purposed to monitors.
You can also modify a squid or powerstrip for powercon and plug it into the speaker and eliminate an extension cord.
« Last Edit: October 09, 2018, 10:52:39 pm by Dave Garoutte »
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Luke Geis

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Re: Active Monitor for Guitar
« Reply #6 on: October 09, 2018, 08:56:47 pm »

I own 4 of the RCF NX12SMA's with another two on the way thanks to Mr. Pyle! While I am not sure how or why all the guitar modeling folks are so hyped up about getting what they call an FRFR setup and utilizing some of the most expensive speakers available, what I can say is that the RCF NX12SMA is no joke. I honestly feel that they should be using the same speakers that they typically encounter on a day to day basis. In this case, it would typically be any speaker found at Guitar Center or found online readily through Musicians Friend or Sam Ash and under the $1k mark.

To keep this short though. RCF NX12SMA FTW! It is just an amazing speaker that is small, light and very powerful.
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Stephen Kirby

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Re: Active Monitor for Guitar
« Reply #7 on: October 10, 2018, 12:36:56 am »

I've never understood the use of a full range speaker for something with a "cabinet emulator" in it that rolls off everything above 5kHz.  Maybe if you're using a guitar synth or an acoustic sim thing.

Jeff Beck uses conventional wedge boxes loaded with guitar speakers around him on stage.  If I could stand playing though a Fractal (have sat in on them with full bands, no thanks) I would build one or two Smither's wedge boxes, and load them with the EMI/Celestion speaker of my choice.
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Chris Grimshaw

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Re: Active Monitor for Guitar
« Reply #8 on: October 10, 2018, 04:01:51 am »

I've never understood the use of a full range speaker for something with a "cabinet emulator" in it that rolls off everything above 5kHz.  Maybe if you're using a guitar synth or an acoustic sim thing.

Jeff Beck uses conventional wedge boxes loaded with guitar speakers around him on stage.  If I could stand playing though a Fractal (have sat in on them with full bands, no thanks) I would build one or two Smither's wedge boxes, and load them with the EMI/Celestion speaker of my choice.

I believe the idea is that digital processing is "close enough" for a lot of people these days. If you need to emulate a variety of sounds, having cabs loaded with a FRFR speaker is clearly the way to do it.
Guitar speakers are part of the instrument, and will all impart their own tonality. What these guys are doing is emulating the cabinets (and other parts of the signal chain), which makes it really easy to change between sounds.

The good emulators don't just roll off above 5kHz and call it good. They'll mimic the exact frequency response, including distortion rises as you push the level.

Jeff Beck has his own sound, and that's fine. A lot of guitarists need to be able to get a similar sound to Jeff Beck, and then Slash for the next song, and then Santana, then Clapton... Without having to:
- Carry each artist's rig,
- Work with the FOH engineer to change which cab is being mic'd for every song.

The purists will say that digital can't ever be as true-to-life as a good valve amp, and they might be right. It's got to a point, though, where a lot of guitarists are just using modellers to get the sound they're after. It's less hassle and more flexible.

Chris
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Douglas R. Allen

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Re: Active Monitor for Guitar
« Reply #9 on: October 10, 2018, 05:48:37 am »

Find an old E.V.  SXA250.   

https://www.electrovoice.com/binary/SxA250%20EDS.pdf
They do sound great used for that.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=is5U8no_S2w

Douglas R. Allen
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Douglas R. Allen

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Re: Active Monitor for Guitar
« Reply #10 on: October 10, 2018, 06:13:17 am »

I've never understood the use of a full range speaker for something with a "cabinet emulator" in it that rolls off everything above 5kHz.  Maybe if you're using a guitar synth or an acoustic sim thing.

Jeff Beck uses conventional wedge boxes loaded with guitar speakers around him on stage.  If I could stand playing though a Fractal (have sat in on them with full bands, no thanks) I would build one or two Smither's wedge boxes, and load them with the EMI/Celestion speaker of my choice.

With a smaller setup or as needs require the send from the peddle may go to the board and back to the monitor that is also carrying the vocals and other feeds needed for the performer. The monitor does double duty.  For a club/bar band this works to keep the stage volume down, load in/out to a minimum and help with repeatable results with guest engineer's should they be out touring. The next step is IEM's and a monitor desk.  As always it depends on what you need and what the bean counters need as well. I've worked with several bands and do currently that have these kind of setups that work very well in the local club scenes.  The player walks in with his/her peddle and guitar. I supply the rest. With the gig over they are out the door in 5 to 10 minutes if they like of course depending on good-byes and band swag sales.

Douglas R. Allen
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Jay Marr

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Re: Active Monitor for Guitar
« Reply #11 on: October 10, 2018, 09:48:06 am »

I've never understood the use of a full range speaker for something with a "cabinet emulator" in it that rolls off everything above 5kHz.  Maybe if you're using a guitar synth or an acoustic sim thing.

Jeff Beck uses conventional wedge boxes loaded with guitar speakers around him on stage.  If I could stand playing though a Fractal (have sat in on them with full bands, no thanks) I would build one or two Smither's wedge boxes, and load them with the EMI/Celestion speaker of my choice.

The value of using a full range speaker is so that you dial your Fractal/Kemper to sound the way you want it to sound, through FOH.
Audience hears what you hear (assuming both full range speakers are of enough quality that they are flat-ish).

I own a pile of tube amps, and I own a pile of digital gear (Fractal Axe III, Kemper, Fractal AX8).  For gigging, you can't beat the Fractal/Kemper set ups.  I love them. 
My AX8 (in it's case) in one hand, my powered wedge in my other hand...one trip in the door for my entire guitar rig.
While they do sound excellent through traditional guitar cabs (or wedge shaped guitar cabs...I've used Mesa Boogie versions), nothing is as easy to work with as a good full range speaker cabinet.
Allows better dispersion on stage...and none of the beaming from a traditional guitar cab.
YMMV.

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Jay Marr

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Re: Active Monitor for Guitar
« Reply #12 on: October 10, 2018, 09:57:37 am »

Any guitar players out there? I have a house gig with a 3-piece rock band every Sunday night. The guitar player just brought in a Boss GT-1 guitar modeler/amp, and it made the entire room sound better!

He was stuck using the house's SRM350 monitor for the night, so we are looking to get something really good that will work well for guitar and some vocals. Lightweight and good sound are the key.

So far I am recommending the following, from cheapest to more expensive:
Q10.2
DSR112
NX 10-SMA
FBT StageMaxx 12 MA
NX 12-SMA

He'll be auditioning one of my DSR's next Sunday. We might also try out a K12.2.

Thoughts?

I have tried a TON of powered speakers, with my Fractal and Kemper units.  It was a mini obsession for a while.
While the Yamaha DSR is a favorite here for FOH duties (and I own a pair), it's not my first choice for my guitar rig.

Without hesitation, I can tell you that of the ~20 wedges I've used as my guitar backline, these are easily my top 2 choices.  Both are coax:
RCF NX12ma
Atomic CLR  (google it).

The Atomic was designed by Jay Mitchell and is produced by Atomic Amps.
Per Jay Mitchell these speakers can also be used as (large) studio monitors, based on their clarity and accuracy.

I have not used them as studio monitors, but I did try them for FOH duties and they were excellent.  With my Axe/Kemper, they are outstanding.

if you are spending $1k, either of those two are the best I've found.

My low budget suggestion would a used QSC HPR122.  Those speakers have some really nice thump when used for this purpose.


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Jerry Ziarko

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Re: Active Monitor for Guitar
« Reply #13 on: October 10, 2018, 03:56:27 pm »

Another great quility of the RCF wedge is it has a wide sweet spot.
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Robert Piascik

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Re: Active Monitor for Guitar
« Reply #14 on: October 10, 2018, 06:21:15 pm »

Ive done sound many times for a band whos guitar player has a Kemper through a DXR10 and it sounds great
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Luke Geis

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Re: Active Monitor for Guitar
« Reply #15 on: October 10, 2018, 06:55:57 pm »

I have been playing guitar for almost 30 years and I am particular to Tube amps, but love and embrace the digital technologies. I don't own any of the top shelf digital units, but do have a version of Positive Grid and have used the L6 Pod HD500 for some time.

As particular as guitarists are about " their " sound, I had always found it odd that which FRFR speaker they used was so complicated. My brain is already saying that playing the guitar through a digital unit and hearing it back as if it was already miced and in a room is wrong. Forget what it sounds like sonically, it is just a little weird. I have been doing it so long the conventional way that anything else is foreign. My thought process of which FRFR speaker to buy is more a matter of practicality more so than the sound. Conceptually, if you play through a speaker that is not like the one you are using, it will not sound the same. So ideally you would desire to use a speaker that is the most like the one you're using. The preamps have full parametric EQ in them that can dial in the desired sound from there, so owning a speaker that sounds meh before any EQ work is sort of trivial really.

I am fortunate to own several expensive speakers that are considered to be one the best of the heap for guitar preamp modelers. I just don't understand the mentality of it I guess. When I mic an amp and support it through a PA, I try pretty hard to make it sound essentially as the amp does naturally. If I have to, I will tweak the sound to make it work better with the mix. I can spend all day getting the perfect amp tone from a modeler and it will still be tweaked by an FOH guy to work as needed, so which speaker you ultimately end up with is still going to have consequence.

The RCF NX12SMA is a kick ass little speaker though no matter how you cut it.
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Jeremy Young

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Re: Active Monitor for Guitar
« Reply #16 on: October 10, 2018, 08:01:27 pm »

When I gigged a lot as a guitar player, it was several years into gigging before I realized why I couldn't get "my sound" to come through the PA no matter where we played.  That was because I had a 4x12" straight cabinet about 3' behind me, and adjusted my pedals/rig in order to get a great sound to my ear (you know, 6' off the ground).  The sound in the PA and monitors always sounded harsher than what I thought it should sound like, and placed blame on everyone else except me and my solid methods. 

One day I played in a larger room with a tall stage, and I walked out with my wireless rig and stepping in front of the "death zone" of beaming guitar sound coming off the front of the cabinet.  I guess I had never realized (until that moment) just how different my rig sounded from head-on (where the microphones were always placed) compared to ear level standing in front of it.  I hated it actually.

That a-ha moment for me really opened my eyes (and ears) to a different approach to my tone.  I moved to mic'ing my rig and listening in headphones to get it sounding exactly as I wanted, then I would take off the headphones and adjust the guitar cab in the space (aim it at my face basically) so what I was hearing was similar to what I was giving the audience and engineer.  Everything clicked into place after that. 


I see this modelling concept in a similar perspective.  If you can get your sound (mimicking whatever guitar through whatever pedal through whatever amp, speaker, microphone, room simulation you can imagine) coming out the XLR connections, the FOH engineer just has to make adjustments to make it fit the mix, and with a "flat" full-range monitor on stage you should be able to hear it exactly as you desired, with lower-profiles and more consistent coverage than any guitar cabinet could offer, with easily repeatable results.   Still not ready to part with my tube amps and custom cabinets though.
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Steve Garris

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Re: Active Monitor for Guitar
« Reply #17 on: October 10, 2018, 10:16:11 pm »

Thanks for the comments everyone. I just took over this gig because the band wanted me - I was a fill-in guy before now. My guitar playing friend loved that I could make his guitar sound like it does through his amp in the horrible Mackie monitor. I was using a Senn 906 set to flat, and did typical guitar EQ'g on the channel. He ran out and bought a 906 after that. He was using a small, single 12" open back amp, sitting on the floor, facing into a half-wall with a 2" thick piece of foam on it. It's pretty loud in the house, but the pedal was awesome and much quieter.

He is now looking at the GT-1000. He wants the monitor so he can use it for their travel gigs, giving him a more consistent sound. This is why he wants a good floor monitor. They have done several shows renting my PA and they all loved my DSR's. I'm going to bring one to this house venue for the next few shows so he can see how much he likes it.

I can't help but think the NX 10-SMA would be his best option, but all the guitar players only comment on the 12. He has the resources to get any of these, so I really want to make a solid recommendation.
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Dave Garoutte

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Re: Active Monitor for Guitar
« Reply #18 on: October 11, 2018, 02:02:25 am »

I can't speak directly to electric guitar tone, but I have A-B'ed my SMA12 and SMA10 and I found them VERY similar sounding, with the 12 ever so slightly warmer.  My guitar friend preferred the 10 for his acoustic.
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Jay Marr

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Re: Active Monitor for Guitar
« Reply #19 on: October 11, 2018, 08:46:30 am »


I can't help but think the NX 10-SMA would be his best option, but all the guitar players only comment on the 12. He has the resources to get any of these, so I really want to make a solid recommendation.

I know someone who owns both and the difference is really in the amount of low end punch you get.  If you don't need a lot, then the NX10 is perfect.  If you want a little more of a 2x12 guitar cab low end punch, then the NX12 may be better suited.
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Jay Marr

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Re: Active Monitor for Guitar
« Reply #20 on: October 11, 2018, 09:00:14 am »

As particular as guitarists are about " their " sound, I had always found it odd that which FRFR speaker they used was so complicated. My brain is already saying that playing the guitar through a digital unit and hearing it back as if it was already miced and in a room is wrong. Forget what it sounds like sonically, it is just a little weird. I have been doing it so long the conventional way that anything else is foreign. My thought process of which FRFR speaker to buy is more a matter of practicality more so than the sound. Conceptually, if you play through a speaker that is not like the one you are using, it will not sound the same. So ideally you would desire to use a speaker that is the most like the one you're using. The preamps have full parametric EQ in them that can dial in the desired sound from there, so owning a speaker that sounds meh before any EQ work is sort of trivial really.

Dialing in tones on a modeler (if you want the most consistent results) should be done on flat studio monitors.  You use an IR (Impulse Response - from a guitar cab) that is closest to your preferred cabinet for the tone you are dialing.
This gives you the best starting point for a FOH engineer to work from.  If his system is dialed well, they often use zero Eq.

So the best way to now monitor yourself on stage is with a flat speaker (ideally close to studio monitor quality) so that you are hearing exactly what YOU dialed in.
If you are monitoring through a mixer and have PEQ to 'fix' your monitor, then you can certainly go with a monitor that is not ideal sounding, and just apply corrective Eq, to get close to the sound you dialed in.  But most modeling guitarists are plugging right into their speaker.  So if you dial in a perfect tone on studio monitors, but your gig monitor is a scooped-mid Mackie Thump....then your modeler may sound like crap.  You now Eq your modeler to fix what you are hearing out of that Mackie Thump, and now you are sending a signal with way too much mid range, to the FOH engineer.  If you had that running through the RCF NX12, it would sound excellent.

I personally run through my mixer, and into (most nights) a crappy JBL JRX12 (even though I own RCF NX12, Atomic CLR, Yamaha DSR112)....why?  Because my monitor is a $100 beer rag.  It gets destroyed by drunk idiots every night.  So I use the PEQ on my mixer to get that JBL sounding 'acceptable'. 
The big difference may be - where you are putting that wedge on stage.
I put mine in front of me (and I'm the singer), so it's covered in 'people' every night.
If I am at a room that has in house PA, I may still put a wedge behind me....and that is the night I bring the RCF.
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Mike Pyle

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Re: Active Monitor for Guitar
« Reply #21 on: October 11, 2018, 01:04:47 pm »

I have clients using both the NX12 and NX10 with great success. As noted earlier the tone is very similar other than a little more low response from the NX12. The 10 might also have a little wider sweet spot due to the cone diameter.

For lower budget applications the DXR10 has worked out okay.
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