There are 4 monitor outputs. You can use them for 4 mono, 1 stereo and 2 mono or 2 stereo sends. In reality in ear monitors are mostly used in mono. Most live mixes are mostly mono because of the sources and the problems that occur when pan- ing is introduced. For example a guitar on the left but not on the right side would be problematic for the audience sitting on the left or right side in front of the stage. Another problem is that a performer that moves around on stage is often irritated when the sound image in his in- ears does not move when the performer turns. Stereo in- ears are great for signals like keyboards or reverb but there are many pro's and cons.
But there's a big plus in favor of stereo in-ears: the quality of the sound! If you've never tried stereo in-ears instead of mono, you should.
And musicians rarely move from left to right on the stage while playing. Stereo sounds also really good for the audience and you just should not pan hard left or right. A stereo chorus effect for instance sounds really good in the PA for a guitar.
I will second Mr. Tochiro's response.
My bands have been using relatively inexpensive in-ears (Sony in-ears for ~$40) coupled with headphone amps) for over 10 years. We typically pan instruments and vocals to match what the audience sees. This allows us to quickly locate our voices and/or instruments in the stereo plane. We also run a stereo house. These are typically small to medium rooms (20'x40') but we've used the same configuration for outdoor gigs as well.
I will NEVER go with mono in-ears simply because you lose so much spatial "space" and it's just not as fun or nice sounding.
So yeah...if and when I get an M20d, I'm really hoping that we can EITHER:
1. route two monitor sends (panned left/right) to a headphone amp and then somehow have it match the stereo spectrum that the Mains are pumping out.
2. route two monitor sends to a headphone amp and SELECTIVELY pan various channels INDEPENDENTLY of the Main mix.
Barring that...I think we'll just connect the headphone out to a headphone amp and go that route.
Ideally...one could use the 4 monitor outs to have TWO completely separate and independent STEREO monitor mixes (and of course...independent from the Main mix). So technically that makes THREE independent mixes.
I completely understand the design goals of the architects of this system, but it would seem to me that the firmware would allow you to "gang" or pair together two monitor outs and then treat that pair as a "stereo monitoring source" whereupon the mixing engineer could then assign levels and pans of various sources as he/she sees fit.
Oh...and I heavily disagree with the concept that musicians are irritated when the sound doesn't move. That couldn't be further from the truth at least as **I** have personally experienced this over the last 10 years. As mentioned above...we deliberately pan things in the stereo spectrum so we can "find ourselves". Why on EARTH would I want that to change. I want to ALWAYS know exactly where my vocals are in the stereo spectrum and if it moved it would be more irritating than if it stays where we put it.
Just my two cents.
"Ideally...one could use the 4 monitor outs to have TWO completely separate and independent STEREO monitor mixes (and of course...independent from the Main mix)."
You can do that with the current firmware v1.10. If you select a stereo monitor output, A/B or C/D, this is exactly what happens. The pan from the main mix is replicated in the monitor monitor mix. I agree that it would sometimes be great to control the pan indepently.
If musicians are irritated by a static pan- ing in the ears while sources like wedges or sidefills or mains remain static is very subjective and I don't think it is possible to find a general answer to that. I am not trying to make a statement pro or con stereo in-ears. I have heard it both ways and it seems highly subjective and depending on the nature of the mix itself. We are giving a choice with our latest update to accomodate both.
>>If you select a stereo monitor output, A/B or C/D, this is exactly what happens. The pan from the main mix is replicated in the monitor monitor mix. I agree that it would sometimes be great to control the pan indepently.
Excellent! Then I would assume that even though the pan from the main mix is replicated to the monitors.....the LEVELS (e.g., volume level of each source) it not necessairly replicated and CAN be adjusted? In which case, there's your three separate and unique monitoring mixes (Main, MonA/B and MonC/D) and I could indeed live without the panning capability in the monitors....ALTHOUGH....I would seriously suggest to the engineers that they consider a preset or other configuration option for a "monitor pair" that lets the engineer adjust pans of each source as well as levels.
Actually...the way my duos and trios would probably use this would be to:
MonA - Stagesource L3M or L2M - adjust levels (pan is n/a of course) for the person who listens to this monitor and give them more of their vocals and/or instruments.
MonB - Stagesource L3M or L2M - same as above but for the other musician(s).
MonC/D - stereo mix sent to headphone amp. Adjust as necessary.
Main headphone out - stereo mix sent to headphone amp. Monitor this to make sure FOH sounds balanced.
My headphone amps support TWO separate mixes and we can easily switch between the two.
We actually use a in-ears part of the time and then we yank them out and use floor monitors part of the time (plus with our Line6 wireless mic, the female lead singer basically rocks all over the house including dancing in the middle of the throng of people (in which case...she's actually monitoring from the Mains...heh heh!).
So it sounds like an M20d, a pair of L3t's and a pair of L3m's would be the perfect setup. I suspected that this system was configurable enough for what we were after, but the monitoring and in-ear compatibility were my remaining questions.
Thanks for making this clear!
Kevin B. Selby
And I realized after re-reading my post, that technically speaking, there are up to FIVE separate and unique mixes when you consider:
Main mix (stereo)
As well as all the possibilities of pairing together different monitor outs (A/B, C/D, etc.).
Very very very cool. Really hoping that I sell my grand piano and purchase the "PA of my dreams". Heh heh.
Having the in-ear signal in stereo is very important, at least for me. With to guitars in the band playing fast and technical it is almost impossible to distinguish them from one another with a mono signal. We also have three vocals (main + 2 backing) , so to be able to stay in pitch stereo is a must.
There are other mixer out there that can (sort of) be compared to the M20D. All digital, using iPads, etc. And they all have lots of stereo outs. I find it a bit odd that Line6, who is on the forefront with the latest technology, have chosen not to have it on the M20D.
We are currently usin a JamHub as a monitormixer in my band, but at some point we need to buy our own PA-system. When we do, it would be nice to have a mixer that can combine both on-stage mixing and FOH, so that we don't have to drag the JamHub around. So far, I can't see how the M20D can do so, unless the band settles for only two different monitor mixes. (or three counting the FOH mix).
Am I correct?
If you would use mono mixes you could have 1 mix for each guitar player, 1 for main vocals and one for backing vocals. All mixers have a certain amount of monitor (Aux) outputs. If you use the monitor outputs for stereo monitors this number is divided by two. For example, if mixer XY has 6 aux outputs that means you could do 3 stereo monitor mixes. Doing stereo monitors with most mixers in this price range is much more complicated because you can not configure the monitor outputs as stereo. That means you have to mix your stereo panning using two aux sends. The M20d can be configured with stereo monitor outs which makes it a lot easier.