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How well do you hear yourself on the stage?
MUFF WIGGLER Forum Index -> Play Out! Performance Modulars  
Author How well do you hear yourself on the stage?
We just had our first concert together this week with my wife on a scout festival for two thousand people (not all of them were of course at our show). I had played some concerts before myself, but this was first time us playing together.

We had played on a quite a big stage, with great sound system and lights and pair of monitors which were just in front of us. However - what we heard on the stage was quite terrible - it was very muddy, sounds were all blend together, with a lot of bass frequencies (sub-bass speakers were few meters from us on the stage, so maybe because of that). I had a difficult time setting appropriate levels for different voices - I was mostly doing it by memory from the rehearsals.

We enjoyed the show nonetheless - and when I asked people who were attending they liked the music and quite a few came to us to tell us it was great. So I hope they got some very different sound then us on the stage.

Is it normal? How do you cope with this? Do you play with headphones? (we did not, because we wanted to be able to communicate with each other)

Thanks for all the tips!

And our newly formed band is called Kylarks, if you would like to follow us on facebook, here is our page -

I haven't played any synth gigs, but I've done hundreds of gigs with bands in all sorts of venues, and it's really pot luck as to whether you get a good onstage sound. Even with a fairly long sound check it can be quite different when the room is full of people.

If it's really bad onstage you can have a word with the sound engineer or the monitor engineer if there is a separate one. Whether it will improve or not is another matter.

It usually sounds good from the audience's perspective though, unless something is horribly amiss.

yesterday i just had a very long session in front of 70-90 people. it was in a big loft apartment and the room was stuffed with people talking, not monitoring was the biggest mistake that i ever did :-D

but now i learned to make sure a monitoring option is available

usually i play at ambient shows so there is mostly no talking at all. But big house parties with people yelling around etc. are new territory for me and i was always afraid of turning the PA louder than necessary so i could hear myself.

but all went better then expected cool

personally i wouldn't use headphones because im always afraid of damaging my hearing (i know even if its save Blabla....) so im happy if there are (even crappy ones) monitor speakers standing beside me
I've been having similar experiences lately.

I played a show on Friday that had good monitoring, but the system was so loud that I could barely get a sense of my sound. I do improv techno. I played over 2 hours at home before the show, but I couldn't write material at the show. I had to fall back on very simple things I knew would work no matter what.

It was kind of a bummer because I played the same place on Monday and had the best set I've ever played. That show had no monitoring, but the system was much quieter.

I've been thinking about a couple solutions.

In ear monitors: I know nothing about them, but I'm worried I'd feel too disconnected from the sound of the room.

More prepared material: Start prepping things that require more attention and play things that I know will work live.

Db Meter: This is obviously not a solution for most events, but the ones I've been playing are put on by me and my friends.
Thanks for all the tips and observations!

I take a few things out of that:

- we are not alone and it might happen anytime again, so better be prepared for it

- prepare and memorize more things so that I can do them even when I do not hear myself well (audience still can hear them)

- maybe have a headphones at hand for occasional check of sound and levels (I do not want to use them all the time as I think they disconnect me from the audience)

Very helpful!
It probably was the subs interfering, and also possibly reverberation from the back of the room which arrives late. In such cases you need to have the monitors up quite loud, louder than you might normally be comfortable with.

But always expect to be stumbling around in more auditory murkiness than normal. Not sure if you had someone on mixing desk duties, but it's good to have someone in front that you can communicate with who knows what you are intending to sound like.

Also crowds are in the most part very forgiving of almost everything except it being too quiet (unless of course you are performing something meant to be quiet).

Another tip is that most setups, unless on really good systems and setup by a good engineer, end up a bit harsh in the highs, so a bit of EQing in that area and people will love you for it.
Headphones and self-monitor - best way to ensure you have good audio on stage, even if all you're doing is multing your output wink
headphones and headphones modules are cheap and stable solution.
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