Live Monitoring

Live patching, designs, and techniques that push the performance envelope.

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c0rpse
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Live Monitoring

Post by c0rpse » Thu Apr 18, 2019 2:47 pm

I've been listening to the recording of my performances lately, noticing that they are very dark. At home I practice on qsc k8's with no sub, but I've switched over to headphones lately to see if I can work on my mix a bit. Everything I play is live and improvised, so I'm practicing making timbres that sit in their spot in the frequency spectrum.

I have a show this week, but I'm worried that my practice is going to go out the window because of monitoring. How do you guys do it live? Do you even worry about it?
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BDProject
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Post by BDProject » Thu Apr 18, 2019 3:52 pm

I've been using the Mackie MP-240 in-ear monitors and that's really been great for what you're mentioning. I think it's important, but in the context of the venue of course. As long as it sounds good there, that's all that matters right?

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fruitsnake
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Post by fruitsnake » Wed Apr 24, 2019 8:34 pm

I sit on the floor with the stage monitor pointed straight at my head. Straight up.

ExtrasensoryPerception
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Post by ExtrasensoryPerception » Sun Jun 09, 2019 3:48 pm

I suggest bringing headphones you know very well, or invest in a good set of in ear monitors. That way you'll always know what it's supposed to sound like, regardless of venue...you can always walk out for a second during soundcheck to make sure it's translating accurately .

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Post by The Grump » Sun Jun 16, 2019 8:02 pm

ExtrasensoryPerception wrote:I suggest bringing headphones you know very well, or invest in a good set of in ear monitors. That way you'll always know what it's supposed to sound like, regardless of venue...you can always walk out for a second during soundcheck to make sure it's translating accurately .
In fact, not only can you, but you SHOULD (bordering on must) walk out for a few moments into the house to get an idea of how things are translating. However, two things to bear in mind are that if it's a room full of people, the sound will change, and also, the FOH is probably going to touch your tone up a bit as the set goes along as well. That said, going out into the house at least gets you in the ballpark.

Headphones are great for previewing material, but you don't want to rely on them for playing during the show. In-ears, sure, if you work with them frequently, and know how they translate. If you do use in-ears, I also recommend one of these. They are a TOTAL game changer for in ear monitoring, but you have to have an amp to drive them, fed by the same line as your in-ear amp.

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ersatzplanet
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Post by ersatzplanet » Mon Jun 17, 2019 5:59 pm

I did a recent show and was placed in a odd position that seemed to be in a node where all I got was pronounced bass and not much else. Totally threw me off for a while. Recordings of the show were not bad so it was just where I was sitting.

"Back in the day" I played a lot of shows Around the Seattle area with a three-piece synthesizer group called Young Scientist. We put on the majority of the shows we played so had control over the PA system. Typically we had the PA (in stereo) on stage with us and behind us, the group on stage between the PA and the audience. Basically we heard exactly what they heard. THAT is the best way to do it if you can. Of course this relies on no live microphones (unless they are near field) but that was never a problem for us.
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Post by calaveras » Mon Jun 24, 2019 1:33 pm

I picked up a habit from being a bass player for years. I used to try and EQ my bass for each venue. But it's fighting a losing battle.
Instead I just leave my EQ mostly flat and leave it up to the sound guy to make judgements about bass and treble.
If there is no sound guy I try to do a sound check way before the gig.
Nothing is worse than the sound of bass EQ pegging the shit out of the subs and everything else is inaudible.

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Post by The Grump » Wed Jun 26, 2019 7:26 pm

ersatzplanet wrote:I did a recent show and was placed in a odd position that seemed to be in a node where all I got was pronounced bass and not much else. Totally threw me off for a while. Recordings of the show were not bad so it was just where I was sitting.
This is generally just a (mal)function of the room, and not enough low frequency damping. In large or outdoor venues, the bass can be cardioid processed which will all but eliminate low frequencies behind the PA. I have encountered exactly what you describe far too many times. Physics can be a bitch sometimes.

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Post by The Grump » Wed Jun 26, 2019 7:29 pm

calaveras wrote:I picked up a habit from being a bass player for years. I used to try and EQ my bass for each venue. But it's fighting a losing battle.
Instead I just leave my EQ mostly flat and leave it up to the sound guy to make judgements about bass and treble.
If there is no sound guy I try to do a sound check way before the gig.
Nothing is worse than the sound of bass EQ pegging the shit out of the subs and everything else is inaudible.
/\THIS./\

Robert Henke also gave mean awesome tip: lower your levels. A lot of people are fighting a war for loudness. Don't. instead, try dropping your master to -12bd, and maybe at the peak of your set, you're up to -6 at most. Let the FOH bring up the gains on their end. The sound you will achieve from lots of headroom, and good gain-staging will be eye-opening.

minimamoralia
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Post by minimamoralia » Mon Sep 09, 2019 1:23 pm

do you have a sub to practice with? if so, i'd recommend it. without one, you'll never have an accurate idea of what your kicks and basses are really doing way down below like, 80Hz, and you won't realize how much louder the subs are than the mids and highs in your mix, resulting in a dark mix since it seems balanced to you. if you have an external mixer, especially one with a sweepable mid EQ, use lots of gentle to aggressive boosts to brighten things up and make things more articulate. light mix compression can help a lot too.

the best, and most eye-opening (or soul-crushing) way to check your mix before you wreck your mix, is to constantly compare it side-by-side to your favorite recordings.

often the hardest thing synthesists who aren't mix engineers (that's what i do for a living) have to swallow is the fact that most kicks and basses need to be high passed fairly mercilessly. even a naked 808 kick has way too much 40Hz. if you or a club sound person starts compressing that, it'll end up dark because there's too much sub low energy hitting the compressor.

these things may not necessarily apply to you, but they're some important things i often see get overlooked. good luck!

minimamoralia
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Post by minimamoralia » Mon Sep 09, 2019 1:27 pm

to follow up about live monitoring, if you do lots of referencing of other tracks at home, trust your mix to be as close as possible, and then let the sound engineer tailor it to the room.

chaotician
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Post by chaotician » Wed Sep 11, 2019 2:10 pm

often the hardest thing synthesists who aren't mix engineers (that's what i do for a living) have to swallow is the fact that most kicks and basses need to be high passed fairly mercilessly. even a naked 808 kick has way too much 40Hz. if you or a club sound person starts compressing that, it'll end up dark because there's too much sub low energy hitting the compressor.
As a sound engineer I can only agree wholeheartedly...
Kill All Music, Eat Your Own Face.

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BananaPlug
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Post by BananaPlug » Sat Sep 14, 2019 12:39 pm

fruitsnake wrote:I sit on the floor with the stage monitor pointed straight at my head. Straight up.
Me too, pretty much. For small venues I approach it the way an electric guitar player or keyboardist might. They’d bring their instrument and an amp and if there’s a PA the tech will mic the amp or, more often, plug in with a DI. Regardless of any stage monitors the guitarist is right by the amp and knows what they are sending. My “amp” is a 2way powered speaker and that’s what I use for practice.

In a cafe or something it serves as PA. I usually sit in front and to the side. Fine even in a noisy bar if it’s not too big. When there is a PA I still bring my familiar speaker so I know I’ll hear myself accurately. If there’s any issue I can point to my speaker and tell them that’s what it should sound.

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