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Author Topic: The other side of the stage - Monitor world and mixing  (Read 4781 times)

Tony "T" Tissot

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Re: The other side of the stage - Monitor world and mixing
« Reply #10 on: December 24, 2007, 04:48:04 am »

Art Welter wrote on Mon, 24 December 2007 01:45

...If you set compressor thresholds too low, gain will be reduced, so the system will feed back at a lower output level.



'splain please?
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Geri O'Neil

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Re: The other side of the stage - Monitor world and mixing
« Reply #11 on: December 24, 2007, 08:03:57 am »

What usually happens is a chain of events...

You set a compressor on the singer's input channel to take care of the peaks. Singer asks for more level in the monitors, so you give him more of his channel in the mix, but then you hit the threshold sooner. Eventually, the overall send is increased in an effort to make the singer happy, usually forgetting that the singer's own voice has been compressed. Now, when the singer is, well, singing, and his voice level is being compressed, it's only the frequencies of his voice that suffer from reduced gain before feedback and this usually isn't a problem at this point. But when he stops singing, the level of of the entire mix rises due to not being compressed. This is where one gets into trouble using compressors on monitors. It's entirely possible for this to occur with the house PA as well. Take a singer with a very low singing level and an un-even level at that, compress his vocal (usually too much by the mixer in an attempt to make the singer at least presentable), bring it up in the PA and let the low howls from the house PA begin. I've seen lots of apparently-inexperienced guys get into trouble this way and even occasionally have to step in and fix the problem for them.

Using comps on monitor mixing can be effective, but as Art mentioned, it's like walking a very fine line and can turn into a battle between the singer and the compressor very quickly. I would NEVER try to use a comp on a singer's monitor channel on any kind of one-off or a show where the band relied on us for a monitor mixer, unless their house guy requested it and had some guidelines as to where to start. We DO make use of the limiters in the monitor speaker processors for protection, but by the time they kick in, things are already waaay out of hand.

I've re-read this twice for clarity, so I hope that the point comes across as intended.

Geri O
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Mark Meagher

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Re: The other side of the stage - Monitor world and mixing
« Reply #12 on: December 24, 2007, 12:12:33 pm »

Geri O'Neil wrote on Mon, 24 December 2007 08:03

 I would NEVER try to use a comp on a singer's monitor channel on any kind of one-off or a show where the band relied on us for a monitor mixer, unless their house guy requested it and had some guidelines as to where to start.
Geri O


Absolutely 100% agreement and a very smart approach IMO. Also a ask me how I know approach.

OTOH, I always make sure the keys are patched to squash, just to make sure the rest of the performers don't get their head torn off because maestro didn't normalize his patches. Twisted Evil


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Tim McCulloch

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Re: The other side of the stage - Monitor world and mixing
« Reply #13 on: December 24, 2007, 12:22:05 pm »

Geri O'Neil wrote on Mon, 24 December 2007 07:03


Using comps on monitor mixing can be effective, but as Art mentioned, it's like walking a very fine line and can turn into a battle between the singer and the compressor very quickly. I would NEVER try to use a comp on a singer's monitor channel on any kind of one-off or a show where the band relied on us for a monitor mixer, unless their house guy requested it and had some guidelines as to where to start. We DO make use of the limiters in the monitor speaker processors for protection, but by the time they kick in, things are already waaay out of hand.

Geri O


You hit it square on, particularly dealing with *wedge and sidefill* monitors.  Interestingly, some artists carry a nice Money Channel comp for the star's vox input to IEM.

When I see something like that, I ask for a split of it to FOH.  Nothing in my rack is going to sound like what the artist is hearing, and I like having the option of using it.  It's also a clue to me that the singer is probably a 'mic-wanderer' and I can't count on any lips to mic consistency.

So... Crane Song or BSS404?  Hmmm I want both!

Tim "greedy kinda mixer guy" Mc
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Art Welter

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Re: The other side of the stage - Monitor world and mixing
« Reply #14 on: December 25, 2007, 07:15:03 pm »

I actually should have said:

If you set compressor thresholds too low, gain is still the same, but ultimate level will be reduced, so the system will feed back at a lower output level when gain is increased.

Geri O'Neil explained a typical compressed monitor mix problem already, before I checked back, but as an extreme example, try, or think of the following:

With limiter post graphic, threshold set at a level that will not cause any gain reduction, ring out the monitor with a vocal mic, get as much gain before feedback as possible  without butchering the sound. Whisper into the monitor, it should sound like a whisper. Yell, it should sound like a yell. Increase the gain by 3 dB, it will feed back, bring it back to the stable EQ/gain setting.

Now set the limiter to 10/1 ratio (or greater)fast attack & release, and the threshold to -60 or whatever the minimum. A whisper will still sound normal. A yell will result in little more level output than a whisper.

Now, if you were to increase the gain by 3 dB to "compensate", the system would start feeding back, but the limiter will squash it to a whisper level. More gain, but no more level.

Obviously, this won't work for the performers! I do employ heavy limiting when ringing out unknown microphones, saves the ears and  HF drivers while you learn how the new mic behaves.

Art
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