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Need help with stage monitors

Discussion in 'Worship Service Players' started by SixShooter, Mar 22, 2011.

  1. SixShooter

    SixShooter Friend of Leo's

    Sep 20, 2008
    This is our band:
    3 vocalists- through PA
    keyboard- through PA
    electric guitar- amp & through PA
    2 acoustic guitars- through PA
    bass- amp
    drums- n/a (acoustic but may be purchasing electronic drums in the future)

    We have one monitor channel that feeds two 5.5" wall mount monitors and one 12" wedge.

    We have problems with our monitors not being loud enough and also with our sound guy getting us a good mix. We don't have alot of money for new equipment but could probably come up with $1000-2000.

    My thoughts are to go to powered monitors, perhaps a couple wedges and 2 or 3 personal sized monitors. These could all be fed of the current monitor channel. It would need to be changed from a powered to a line level feed. Perhaps we could run an additional channel.

    Other options are in ear monitors (I have heard negative opinions on these) or adding passive monitors.

    Do you have any opinions or advice for me?
  2. allen082

    allen082 Friend of Leo's

    Jul 16, 2009
    fort worth
    with that many pieces in your band, its gonna be hard with only one monitor channel, no matter how many monitors you have.
  3. epi-tone

    epi-tone TDPRI Member

    Mar 13, 2011
    Sydney, Australia
    yep defiantly true,

    if you go about just getting more power and adding more speakers it would only make the problem louder. Upgrade your mixer since you can (maybe) dish out $2000... you can get a good mixer with at 'least' 4 Aux/monitor outputs so you can separate the instruments and the vocalists.
  4. 1955

    1955 Doctor of Teleocity

    Apr 10, 2010
    My advice is an amp for the keyboard player and it wouldn't hurt for each acoustic guitarist to have an amp. Then you get your stage volume worked out in rehearsal around each player's equipment so that the level is manageable, with everyone controlling their levels around the drummer. Use your current rig for vox at first at rehearsal and see if the levels are reasonable and everyone can do good with that setup.

    There are so many pieces in your band that they would have to really be able to play in a way as to not clutter things up. Then for larger gigs you can mic everything for the front of house and throw a little of whatever on the monitors.

    The way I see it, sound reinforcement becomes very complicated the more you rely on the PA and monitors for stufff other than vox. If everybody demands their own monitor mix and all that it can make you forget about the actual stage volume and how it should be maintained by the individual members. I know if I was a soundguy trying to mix that big of a band it would be tough.

    So you simplify at first, make everyone responsible for their own level in regards to stage volume. When there is a need to reinforce more than vocals, it will be easy because everyone is used to their own rig for their monitors. Vocals need monitors but since there is 2 acoustics and a keyboard player it's gonna be tough to make everyone happy. You can sub different monitor mixes and all that but that just seems like a lot of work. It seems like simplifying is the best way to go. A passive mixer like a Mackie CFX16 MKII 16 Channel Mixer with EFX and EQ and some powered SRM450s can give enough channels and power.

    You have a soundguy, so that's a plus, and in-ears seem to be the way to go for really complicated monitor mixes. I'm no expert, though, so maybe I'm dead-wrong. If it was me I'd take one of the acoustics out, and make sure the keyboard player doesn't hog guitar and bass frequencies. In the end, if the players are good and tastefull, they'll be fine with a reasonable way for everyone to play and be heard. Good luck!
  5. SixShooter

    SixShooter Friend of Leo's

    Sep 20, 2008
    Thanks for the replies guys. I forgot that posts in this forum don't show in the search function including "Show all your posts"...

    I had a sound company come in last week and look at what we have. We do have room on our board for at least 2 or 3 additional monitor channels. I think we can run lines for those relatively easily. So our plan is to continue pursuing the powered monitor direction.

    1955- I am a little surprised that you are suggesting going away from monitors and using amps instead. Was this to reduce the investment in equipment? Most bands of this size are using monitors. Also for example when using my guitar amp as a monitor on stage it can't heard by everyone on on stage because they cover alot of area. I can only direct it at 2-3 people.

    Can anyone describe what you are using at your church if you are playing to 100-200 people?
  6. Frogeybeag

    Frogeybeag TDPRI Member

    Apr 6, 2011
    Isle of Lewis, Scotland
    Our Sunday evening service gets about 200 people coming along and this is our set up.

    We have electronic drums, Acoustic guitar, bass, Keys, electric guitar and 4 mics.

    Our desk is an Allen & Heath Zed-24 (GREAT desk) running 4 stage monitors.

    Each of the 6 main speakers has a compressor and an EQ on it (don't ask!). There's a rack in the control box - you can see it in the pic, the black box under the desk.

    All the musicians are running direct into the PA except for the Bass. I'm running my amp onstage but angled in front of me and towards me. It's miked up and running through the PA as well, with a little coming through my monitor mix.

    Attached Files:

  7. mrothe

    mrothe Tele-Meister

    Jan 18, 2011

    This. For a group that size (I have a feeling that 2 acoustics is 1 too many, but if it works for y'all and everyone is happy with it, then go for it), you really need to look at 1955's way of thinking. Really you need vocals for everyone and maybe the kick drum as a minimum. With that everyone can stay together if they're decent players. Even the Mackie CFX16 with its 2 aux sends can pull this off.

    My band actually uses that board with some powered mains and we got some inexpensive powered monitors. We run the aux 1 feed to all but one of the monitors with mainly just vocals and kick and a separate mix to aux 2 for the drummer.

    For your situation I think a passive board and powered monitors for the vocals and maybe a little of the rhythm section would be the way to go.

    Hope this helps.
  8. Big Ron

    Big Ron TDPRI Member

    Nov 6, 2009
    Chattanooga, TN
    You might want to consider having everyone bit the bullet and get a BOSE L1 system. You could start sharing 2 into one system or for that matter run everyone into a mixer and go into an L1.

    I have an L1 Compact that I like a lot, but there is just me.

    However, your problems are exactly what the Bose folks say they cure with the L1s.

    Big Ron
  9. SamClemons

    SamClemons Poster Extraordinaire

    Jan 23, 2011
    Jasper, TN
    Lots of good advise, but simply chaining a couple of more monitor speakers into your system may solve your problem and could be done so for a few hundred dollars. In a pinch, small guitar or bass amplifiers make good powered monitors and can be used to try if that works without going out and purchasing a lot of gear.
  10. soundchaser59

    soundchaser59 Tele-Afflicted

    Jan 30, 2010
    Up The Creek
    This is exactly what we have, 1 electric, 1 acoustic, drums, keys, 3-4 singers, elec bass, but we do not have in ears. We have 4 monitor channels, with 4-6 monitor speakers on the stage floor. My understanding is in-ears are prohibitively expensive for most churches in the <1000 members category.

    The drums seem to dictate the minimum stage volume we can use. Our stage was designed for the acoustic based sound that the previous worship leader told the designers we would be centered around. As soon as the new sanctuary was built, he left. The new guy wants an electric based sound, and our stage is - imo - below the minimum size requirement for having an electric based band. In other words, we are pushing the boundaries of what I think this stage and sound system was designed for. It was designed for a band that has all acoustic guitars and the keys always run direct. That aint what we are doing, and the monitor mix is the first thing to suffer. I cant imagine what a nightmare it would be for the sound guys (myself included, once a month) if we only had 1 monitor channel to work with. ouch. :cry:

    The singers get 2 channels, one for the lead, one for the harmonies. The band gets the other two, one for guitarist and keys to share, one for drums and bass to share. It just barely works, and that's only working well when one of the more professionally trained sound guys is at the board.

    We also have an Allen & Heath 40 channel beast, very nice board for what we do, but I am constantly reminding the guys that it is the invisible band memeber. Dont just set it and forget it, you have to "play it" like an instrument. One setting doesn't work for every song, even with the monitors.

    You have to be careful daisy chaining monitor speakers together, it's just like a guitar amp.....you have to be mindful of the ohm load the monitor amp sees. If you go down to 2 ohm or less you might fry your monitor amp. It took me a few months to teach our musicians not to parallel more than two speakers together on any one monitor channel.
  11. Thighbanez

    Thighbanez Tele-Afflicted

    Aug 5, 2010
    This is the way we have it setup in our church as well.

    Guitar - Amp and DI Box to Snake to Large mixing board to House Speakers and Stage Monitors
    Keyboard - Amp for each KB then to Route-1 to separate smaller mixing board for Drum and Guitar headphone monitoring. Route-2 goes from amps to snake to Large mixing board to House Speakers and Stage Monitors.
    Drums - Individual mics on each drum and overhead mic, all routed into a smaller snake which plugs into the large snake to Large mixing board to House Speakers and Stage Monitors.
    Vocal mics - Wireless mics with base units feeding into Large mixing board to House Speakers and Stage Monitors with separate feed back to Keyboardist small mixing board for guitarist and drummer headphone monitoring.

    I thought about drawing that out for a better picture but it would take a while.:oops:
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