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djspleen

Monitor vs Stage Amp

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Hi.  I'm in a cover band and I'm using the HD500X direct into the mixer for the mains and one of the mixer AUX sends feeds a floor monitor in front of me (my guitar and vocals).  Like many of you I'm not using an amp at all.  The different AUX sends can be adjusted individually so each band member gets their own monitor mix to their liking.  Of course, I have my guitar turned up in my monitor mix compared to the other channels, but still only loud enough for me to hear what's going on.

 

The bass player has been suggesting that I should be using a cab/amp on stage behind me, pointing to the audience rather than relying on the floor monitor to hear my guitar.  He further suggested that I shouldn't be using the floor monitor for both vocals AND my guitar.  He's been in several bands dating back to the 80s/90s where the guitars would mic their amp at the back of the stage and the monitors were primarily for vocals.  His feeling is that the sound guy could get better balance for the audience from that setup and I would also be able to hear myself better since there is an amp pointing at me, as well as the other band mates could hear my guitar better.  That's his opinion on how to change the setup so things might work better.

 

Here's my opinion:  The less stage noise the better.  Since I'm not using a guitar amp at the back of the stage the sound guy has an easier task to balance everything through the main speakers.  Regarding monitors, since each monitor channel can be adjusted/mixed individually we should be able to make that work better than having additional amps pushing sound over the entire stage.

 

I've been running sound at church for the last 25 years, so while I'm comfortable behind the board I'm certainly not a sound tech expert.  However, I agree with very little of what he's suggesting for changes to the amp/monitor setup.

 

Am I wrong in this?  What are your thoughts/experiences with similar scenarios?

 

Thanks.

 

Dean J.

 

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I've been playing for over 30 years and until recently I would have agreed with your friend. When I started a PA was just about capable of taking vocals without distorting. As tech progressed the boards really only took mics hence micing gear.

 

Nowadays PA is much more sophisticated and can handle DI and loads of different feeds before distorting.

 

It's great for 'feel' to have amps on stage and have your trousers flapping but it's much better for the audience if (as you say) you keep the stage volume to a minimum.

 

It's kind of down to who are you playing for? You or the audience. In a packed place, using amps, the people directly in front of you are only going to hear your guitar (and the ubiquitous drums). Now, they might want that. But that's prolly if they are musos. It's more likely they will want to hear the band so going direct and having a low stage volume (have you considered in ear monitoring?) will be best.

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His feeling is that the sound guy could get better balance for the audience from that setup and I would also be able to hear myself better since there is an amp pointing at me, as well as the other band mates could hear my guitar better.

This is just plain silly. "The sound guy could get better balance for the audience..."? What does that even mean? The sound guy has a bunch of incoming signals from various sources... his job? Balance them. He's got a fader, and EQ for everybody. What possible difference does it make whether the signal hitting your channel is coming from a mic-ed cabinet or a modeler? His task is identical either way. He either has ears and knows how to mix a live band, or he doesn't.

 

Your bass player can't hear you. A legitimate gripe, but one that is solvable without forcing you to have a backline amp. "Quiet stages" are the new normal in lots of venues these days. This is a guy who's been doing things the same way for a million years, thinks there are no other viable options, and has no interest in embracing technology or learning anything new.

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It's great for 'feel' to have amps on stage and have your trousers flapping but it's much better for the audience if (as you say) you keep the stage volume to a minimum.

 

It's kind of down to who are you playing for? You or the audience. In a packed place, using amps, the people directly in front of you are only going to hear your guitar (and the ubiquitous drums). Now, they might want that. But that's prolly if they are musos. It's more likely they will want to hear the band so going direct and having a low stage volume (have you considered in ear monitoring?) will be best.

 

We often play in smaller bar type venues where we're trying to keep our volume low enough that customer conversations can still happen.  We don't need anyone's trousers flapping!

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Find a new bass player.  

 

Maybe we'll keep that for "Plan C".  :)

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"The sound guy could get better balance for the audience..."? What does that even mean? 

 

Your bass player can't hear you. A legitimate gripe, but one that is solvable without forcing you to have a backline amp. "Quiet stages" are the new normal in lots of venues these days. This is a guy who's been doing things the same way for a million years, thinks there are no other viable options, and has no interest in embracing technology or learning anything new.

 

I think his point was he feels the sound would be better balanced for the audience if there is also sound coming from the stage, not just the mains.  I don't agree with that theory.

 

And if he can't hear me it's literally a matter of saying, "Hey Paul, I need more guitar in my monitor" and Paul will change the mix of the bass player's monitor, that shouldn't be an issue.  Unless he can't hear the monitor very well because he has his bass amp behind him...turned up...facing the audience...and it drowning out his floor monitor.  *shrugs*

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It's kind of down to who are you playing for? You or the audience. In a packed place, using amps, the people directly in front of you are only going to hear your guitar (and the ubiquitous drums). Now, they might want that. But that's prolly if they are musos. It's more likely they will want to hear the band so going direct and having a low stage volume (have you considered in ear monitoring?) will be best.

 

+1.

Having an backline amp on stage with you adds a vibe and yes you can generally hear yourself a bit better. However; the draw back is the flood of bleeds on mics and overall higher stage volume. I play in a my group and run sound for it an have for others on occasion, not Pro level stuff though. As guitarist I really like have amp behind me but playing the role of sound guy, I'm always requesting guys to turn down the amps. It's much much easier to give them a bit in their monitor to make up for it. The lower the stage volume the easier it is to mix a good sounding FOH sound. Even though monitors are pointed at the musicians they still can be heard somewhat in the FOH and mix a bit with the FOH sound. So lower stage levels means less in the monitors are required.  This is one reasons in-ears are great. You get the mix the musicians wants and then it doesn't affect your FOH at all. See all the amps in pro concerts behind the band, most of those are either dummy boxes or spares that are just part of the stage props. Some times all of them are and the real amp is in isolation box somewhere back stage. When you listen to pro concert that big guitar sound is coming out of the FOH mains mostly, that's part of the reason it's so big sounding. 

You also mentioned Church briefly. In a Worship setting often the congregation doesn't want to listen to Rock concert levels, partially if it's a more traditional worship setting. So in that case low, stage volumes are almost a must.  That's why you see lost of drummers behind those glass walls in those settings. Personally I've did Praise and Worship music before and hate those things because I like to feel a Kick drum hit hard. But the style and setting just doesn't allow for it. 

I'm willing to bet the Bassist just likes the vibe of real amps on stage. I can sympathize with him as I do too, but you have to do what is best for the audience given your situation.  A modern PA can handle the mix easily and I can pretty much guarantee your sound-man would prefer the lowest stage volumes that can be achieved. 

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I think his point was he feels the sound would be better balanced for the audience if there is also sound coming from the stage, not just the mains. I don't agree with that theory.

 

And if he can't hear me it's literally a matter of saying, "Hey Paul, I need more guitar in my monitor" and Paul will change the mix of the bass player's monitor, that shouldn't be an issue. Unless he can't hear the monitor very well because he has his bass amp behind him...turned up...facing the audience...and it drowning out his floor monitor. *shrugs*

Exactly my point... unless he's roaming through the crowd on a wireless, how has he determined that what the crowd is hearing needs improvement anyway? Nobody in the crowd benefits from stage volume... because nobody beyond those standing a few people deep directly in front of the stage are hearing anything but the mains anyway.

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I'm a big, big fan of quiet stage volumes. Sound is so much more controllable that way. The FOH guy doesn't have to fight with sound from the stage that he can't control and I, as a player, don't have to fight to get the sound I need to play well. It takes a little getting used to but, in the end, I've found it so much better.

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I'm a big, big fan of quiet stage volumes. Sound is so much more controllable that way. The FOH guy doesn't have to fight with sound from the stage that he can't control and I, as a player, don't have to fight to get the sound I need to play well. It takes a little getting used to but, in the end, I've found it so much better.

 

Thanks for posting that, it seems to make sense to me to keep things quiet on the stage, but other than a during college I've been at this cover band stuff for only about 5 years.

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I stopped reading when I got to the sentence the sound guy could get better balance for the audience

I mean WTF. 

How does someone get a better mix with a guitar amp blasting in the middle of the sound.

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I stopped reading when I got to the sentence the sound guy could get better balance for the audience

 

Well dang, some of my best writing was at the end of that original post...and you missed it!   :D

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I wrote a post a while back about how my bandmates couldn't 'feel' my sound on stage once I went direct. I started making sure we spent time to put me in their monitors and the complaints stopped. Also being a sound guy, it is much easier to get a great FOH mix with lower stage volume. For those musicians that keep their amps loud, I found putting them on amp stands made the player finally turn down on their own. When the amp is on the floor, the sound just blows by their feet so they tend to turn up.

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When the amp is on the floor, the sound just blows by their feet so they tend to turn up.

Trouser flappers!

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It drives me nuts when other guitar players have an amp at their feet and can't hear it then turn it way up till it drowns out everything else.  Then look perplexed when you tell them they're too loud. 

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It drives me nuts when other guitar players have an amp at their feet and can't hear it then turn it way up till it drowns out everything else.  Then look perplexed when you tell them they're too loud. 

 

I agree.  ANY type of guitar monitoring system should be pointed up to the ears...it only makes sense.  Just say NO, Trouser Flappers!

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Well dang, some of my best writing was at the end of that original post...and you missed it!

I also missed out on all of the replies

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And little amps on the floor look so unprofessional. 

I used a Peavey Bandit 65 for over two decades. It was never on the floor. It sat on top of a 12 space race unit. And I had a Peavey Audition Plus that sat on top of that because you shouldn't adjust amp levels once they are mic'd but sometimes you need a little extra volume. 

 

 

Of course, the bigger bands with bigger systems, it becomes a different story because you have your individual monitors and your amp is often backstage.  

 

 

But, it is not 1983 anymore. 

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I used a Peavey Bandit 65 for over two decades.

 

I have a 25+ year old Peavey Bandit as well.  I was using that on an amp stand as my guitar monitor up until a few months ago when the band purchased the mixer than can handle multiple monitor mixes. 

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AMERICAN MADE I still have my Peavey solo series Renown 212 which is just incredibly loud

and very heavy to lift back when big and heavy was boss and solid state was the go.

AMERICAN MADE

Mine is road worn but probably one the most reliable amps ever.

Been a while since I needed it it. (note to self to get from my folks place next visit) It does that 80's sound because it was that 80's sound.

They have found favor with pedal steel guitarists for keeping clean for concert loud.

Those older Peavey Bandits are amazing amps too and like the Renown's very

underrated for a solid state amp. Buy AMERICAN MADE before they start going up.

And even the 212 Chorus (I still want one)was good but not considered worthy against the RC120 snobbery

but I reckon every bit as good in some regards. Stereo channel and for digital chorus and reverb

pretty lush.

Moderized with a HD or a Helix and your good to go and you will look cool with a roadie

mate to lug it in and out. He might even buy you the beers just hang with you guys! LOL

None of this hold a 1000 watts by your little finger stuff. You needed

a road crew. Seriously it made the band more a band I think.

I dont have my Peavey 300 watt Bass Combo as it was stolen years ago. That was an

awesome amp.

Back in those days loud and big impressed and hard rock n roll and heavy metal ruled.

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i completely disagree with your bass player, he sounds like he can't get out of the old school mentality. I too am old school, but I started taking advantage of the new technology that's out there. I used the HD500x for regular gigging in hopes to simplify and reduce the amount of gear I had to lug around. I ran it straight into the PA and used 2 monitors running in stereo for myself. The rest of the band had their own monitors and could adjust their own mixes as well. It worked great and sounded great! (you'd be amazed at how many big name bands don't use stage amps anymore) Unfortunately, my HD500x ran into reliability issues, so I am back to using a real amp, but keep on doing what your doing and find a new bass player....

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I love when toothless 50 year old gas station attendants try telling other people what it takes to be in the music business. 

And I doubly love when toothless 50 year old gas station attendants don't listen to millionaire musicians with grammy awards and platinum album sales that are trying to offer assistance. 

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Yeah... back in the day when they made flappable trousers and you got sustain by feeding back off your Marshall stack... Plus you needed an amp to ram your guitar through at the end of the show. (I remember actually slitting speakers to get a fuzzy buzz.) Those daze are gone... and if Jimi were still here you can bet he'd be 'fro-deep in the latest mix-tech.

 

Why not leave these posts around for your bass player to read.ðŸ˜

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