The Secrets of Stage Monitor Mixing
The Secrets of Stage Monitor Mixing
Monitor Mixing, some easy to remember tips and secrets to offer a good monitor stage mix
The Secrets of Stage Monitor Mixing and creating that “ideal sound” can be a thwart full task, here are some of my convention tips to setting up a successful stage monitor mixes.
First think about your objectives, the stage box end of the multicore presents a very different challenge from a front of house mixing engineer.
Your work here is not intended for the masses, your main objective is to satisfy an individual needs, wants, desires and eccentricity of artist and musicians to aid their performance.
The up most important ‘stage-mixing’ secret is to understand exactly what you are trying to accomplish for the performer. The objective is for the player(s) or artist to hear what they need, or want to hear, in a way that makes sense to them. Do not confuse this with the idea that you are there to make it sound good for yourself. You are not trying to create a front of house mix on the stage area.
Like most things in life, the more time you have the better the results. Unless you are working with a mega star, you are not likely to have all the time you need to get exactly what they want.
Waste no time, find out what each performer requires as soon as you can. This is especially the situation when working with artist for the first time. Most performers have a good idea what they require, so do not pre-empt what you think they may require, be direct and ask the questions.
Unlike doctors and dentist’s who practice their skills, artists, musicians and sound engineers ‘do it for real’. So it’s worth remembering that a sound check is only a practice, and a chance to change things if they are not right. Ask the questions again, are the levels at what they are expected, and be prepared. It’s also worth thinking about what’s going through the performers mind at this time. Some might be vary satisfied with what they are hearing and give you the thumps up, and others will say things are ok, when their minds are on others things connected with their performance. So its worth going that little bit extra, in trying to improve their mix, so they have no doubt, your trying your best for them. You will certainly know if they are not happy, if you press them on this point.
Once the show is on the way, keep on your toe’s, the levels you had in the sound check may be way off the mark, as other members of the band alter their instrument out put levels, and the front of house system kick in with a full audience in attendance.
Watch each performer for any communications offered out, to whether a level needs to be adjusted. Some discreet hand gestures like finger pointing up, down or points to other performers, can become instant sign language, which can give assurance to the performers that you have thing under control. Always offer out positive signals to the performers, as negative signals might indicate thing are not going well, and put them a state of unrest.
Be in nodoubt, all the glory will always be with the front of house engineer, as every one get to hear their efforts. As with the monitor engineer, your squarely behind the scene. Your efforts will not go un notice if your stage mix is right. I always note that at the end of most gigs, by far, most artist and musicians well appreciated all the efforts made for them to be able to perform to their optimal ability, and you will surely be remembered for the right reasons, on your next meeting.
In a future blog, I will offer some insight into the more technical elements of setting up a monitor stage rig.
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