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What advice do you have for a FOH guy switching over to Monitors?

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Ryan J Williams:
I've made my living as a recording engineer and mixer.  Nice and comfy recording studios with AC plus great acoustics.  ;)   About 6 years ago I had a few different bands ask me to go out and do FOH on some club tours which led to a few big festivals which led to an arena tour as opener in 2019.  I have a pretty firm grip and comfort level for mixing FOH in a variety of environments at this point though I still have a lot of knowledge to gain from a systems engineer/ design standpoint.

I just got the call from another band wanting me to come out as their monitor engineer.  Most of the shows are one-off festivals.  I will have a day at a rehearsal spot to build my file on a Digico.  FOH is Digico and we will share the stage box.  I'm working this all out in my head and trying to play out the show day scenarios so I'd like to hear from any of you about things I need to consider.  I've done plenty of festivals at this point but always at FOH.  Plus, all my festival experience has been Avid so my file always just works regardless of what model is provided.  I just load up and the systems guy tells me the output patch.  Easy stuff.

This will of course be somewhat more involved at the MON position. 

How easy is it to load my file on the various models of Digico I may encounter?  I know they have the conversion software so will I need to keep a laptop with me and be ready to convert as needed?  Do you lose your custom layers?

I know on festivals your stage patch tech is incredibly important.  Assuming all of that is correct, am I typically just reassigning outputs on the console to feed the ears rack plus wedges and fills?  3 guys are on ears and one guy is not. 

I've known these guys a long time so they will be a bit patient with any growing pains during the first few shows.  I of course want to be 100% on top of my game so whatcha got for me?  Take me to monitor boot camp.  Haha.

Russell Ault:

--- Quote from: Ryan J Williams on April 06, 2022, 02:54:49 PM ---{...} How easy is it to load my file on the various models of Digico I may encounter?  I know they have the conversion software so will I need to keep a laptop with me and be ready to convert as needed?  Do you lose your custom layers? {...}

--- End quote ---

Welcome to the forum (and thanks for getting the real name policy right)! I'm sure others will chime with there experiences mixing monitors in a festival situation, but I can speak at bit to the DiGiCo show file situation.

Since all layers on DiGiCo consoles are "custom", the only ones you'll "lose" are the ones that won't fit (i.e. if you setup your show file on console with three banks of faders and then move it to a console with only two banks of faders the layers on the third bank won't be magically reassigned to one of the other two banks). If you're trying to build a show file with maximum SD-series compatibility (I'm ASSuming you're talking about SD-series consoles; DiGiCo S-series are a totally different beast) your best bet would be to built it with two banks in mind (and if you want to expand it out to a third bank later that's relatively straightforward to do).

I can't tell from your post if this applies to you or not, but perhaps the bigger piece of advice I can give is to try and never put yourself in a situation where you need to walk up to an SD-series console for the very first time and make it pass audio in a meaningful way. The DiGiCo console interface is arguably one of the least walk-up-friendly of any current product, and there are some real gotchas in the system (my personal favourite being that channels will happily function and pass audio even if they don't show up anywhere on the control surface). If you've never touched a DiGiCo console you'll want to remedy that before a client (even a patient one) is paying for your time.

Regarding both console familiarity and show file compatibility, it's worth noting that the SD-series offline software (a free download from the DiGiCo website) is exactly the same as the software that runs on the console, so you can use it to test show files after conversion and also (at least to some extent) play around with the interface.


Chris Hindle:
Grow a thick fuckin skin, and eyes in the back of your head....
Each band, and each member can be quite different. It's more about getting along than sonic "perfection"


Keith Broughton:
As Chris pointed out, it's about good communication more than great sound.
Work closely with the artist and figure out what they want and try to replicate that at each gig. Take notes if you have to.
When they get what they want, leave it alone and don't try to "mix".
Always pay attention to the band during the show!

John L Nobile:

--- Quote from: Keith Broughton on April 06, 2022, 04:41:14 PM ---
Always pay attention to the band during the show!

--- End quote ---

Yep. Never take your eyes off them. The time they need something is when you're checking out the blonde in the 3rd row.


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