Mixing FOH AND IEMs from the stage?

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Emp_FabEmp_Fab Frets: 12714
Am I mental ?  No, don't answer that!

Once again, as the only band member who understands the PA, it's been left at my feet to be guitarist, backing vocalist and sound engineer for FOH and no less than three separate IEM mixes.

Sound checks are a nightmare.  "Can I have more keyboard and less kick in my ears please?". .. " I can't hear the singer and everything is too quiet" etc etc...

Twenty seconds into the first number and I'm deluged with hand signals and mouthed pleadings to reduce the keyboard and increase the kick, turn down the singer and everything is too loud"!  Aaargghhh!!

Then after the first number is done, they keyboard player (who isn't on IEMs) starts having a go about me constantly "fiddling".  Aaaarggghhh!!

Does anyone else mix FOH and multiple  IEM mixes from the stage?
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  • Emp_FabEmp_Fab Frets: 12714
    It’s a bloody test of my friendship!
    98% shouting at clouds and 2% laminate flooring
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  • poopotpoopot Frets: 858
    Emp_Fab said:
    Am I mental ?  No, don't answer that!

    Once again, as the only band member who understands the PA, it's been left at my feet to be guitarist, backing vocalist and sound engineer for FOH and no less than three separate IEM mixes.

    Sound checks are a nightmare.  "Can I have more keyboard and less kick in my ears please?". .. " I can't hear the singer and everything is too quiet" etc etc...

    Twenty seconds into the first number and I'm deluged with hand signals and mouthed pleadings to reduce the keyboard and increase the kick, turn down the singer and everything is too loud"!  Aaargghhh!!

    Then after the first number is done, they keyboard player (who isn't on IEMs) starts having a go about me constantly "fiddling".  Aaaarggghhh!!

    Does anyone else mix FOH and multiple  IEM mixes from the stage?
    Care to share what you use and how you do it?
    A couple of my lot are talking about iem’s!!!!
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  • maltingsaudiomaltingsaudio Frets: 873
    Get better paid gigs and employ a sound engineer
    www.maltingsaudio.co.uk
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  • robinbowesrobinbowes Frets: 1689
    I ended up doing the PA because we, as a band, decided we should get a PA and I bought a decent one rather than having to fight with something crappy. I'm the one who's a sound engineer, so it would always end up being me that had to deal with it! Also, it avoids any fighting over who bought what (if anyone leaves, etc). I get a cut of the fee for doing the PA, plus a share for my playing. But I don't do this for the money.

    I got a Yamaha TF-Rack mixer, with HK Audio Linear 5 Power Pack for FoH and a couple of Linear 5 112 XA for monitoring. I've recently added a Dante card and a TIO1608-D digital stage box giving me 32 channels total. I put the two wedges on Aux 1 and Aux 2, and three band members have stereo IEMs on Aux 9/10, 11/12, and 13/14.

    One thing that can help is to use the apps provided by the mixer manufacturer to allow people to do their own IEM mix on their phones.

    We are an 8/9-piece band - drums, bass, guitar, keyboard, accordion, harmonica, plus 5 vocals.

    A typical gig goes something like this:

    16:00 - load PA + my guitar gear into friend's van
    17:00 arrive at venue
    17:00 - 18:00 Set up PA
    18:00 - 19:00 Band sets up gear, stands around on stage getting in way
    19:00 - 19:30 Setup mics, cables, etc.
    19:30 - 20:00 Sound check, inc. IEMs + wedges
    20:30 - 21:30 First set
    21:30 - 21:50 Interval (spend it fixing niggles with IEMs)
    21:50 - 23:15 Second set
    23:15 - 00:00 break down PA
    00:00 - 00:15 Load gear into van
    00:45 - arrive home, unload van
    01:00 - enter house

    All good fun :)

    R.
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  • Danny1969Danny1969 Frets: 3535
    99% of the time we have sound engineers, even for small pub gigs but everyone mixes their own ears using phone aps. If we haven't got an engineer then I will run the desk near me and I won't use IEM's as I need to hear roughly what's going on around me ...... I say roughly cos what you hear onstage is vastly different from what the audience hears  .... to the point you can't mix onstage IMO with any accuracy 

    Most of your problems are coming from the fact you aren't running a digital desk. If you were then the rest of your band mates could all mix their own ears via phones \ tablets and setup times would be greatly reduced as the EQ, compression and effects for each band member is stored and recalled

    In my main (big earning) band I have one of these, absolute IEM  luxury and highly recommended for A&H users 




    www.2020studios.co.uk 
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  • mr-macmr-mac Frets: 149
    Wireless transmitter for your guitar for starters or don't bother. 
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  • p90foolp90fool Frets: 7704
    I do the mixing and play guitar, and give our two singers the same IEM mix every night. 

    If you give everyone the exact mix they want they become lawless egomaniacs, if you just give them one vocal mix they have to back off the mic in the appropriate places, or sing louder when they should be singing louder.
    They also give each other signals for what works musically and they can't tread on each others toes. 

    Ultimately it's about a communal musical expression and interaction - personal mixes totally fuck that up in my experience and make the performance artificial. 
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  • octatonicoctatonic Frets: 17415
    Get better paid gigs and employ a sound engineer
    This.
    I am the juice of four limes.
    Trading Feedback
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  • robinbowesrobinbowes Frets: 1689
    p90fool said:
    I do the mixing and play guitar, and give our two singers the same IEM mix every night. 

    If you give everyone the exact mix they want they become lawless egomaniacs, if you just give them one vocal mix they have to back off the mic in the appropriate places, or sing louder when they should be singing louder.
    They also give each other signals for what works musically and they can't tread on each others toes. 

    Ultimately it's about a communal musical expression and interaction - personal mixes totally fuck that up in my experience and make the performance artificial. 

    Sorry, but this is bollocks.

    Singers should have the mix they want and need, not what the guitar player thinks they need. 

    Just giving them both what you think they should have is, frankly, ignorant  

    R. 
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  • smigeonsmigeon Frets: 70
    edited May 20
    p90fool said:
    I do the mixing and play guitar, and give our two singers the same IEM mix every night. 

    If you give everyone the exact mix they want they become lawless egomaniacs, if you just give them one vocal mix they have to back off the mic in the appropriate places, or sing louder when they should be singing louder.
    They also give each other signals for what works musically and they can't tread on each others toes. 

    Ultimately it's about a communal musical expression and interaction - personal mixes totally fuck that up in my experience and make the performance artificial. 
    Yes! I'm a beginner to IEMs but this rings a real bell for me. In my limited experience I've already found that always putting "today's perfect mix" in my in-ears makes me sing too quietly and with low energy, and to play my guitar in a way a way that is more accurate but less in sympathy with the rest of the band. Although I sound a lot better to me and enjoy playing more I don't necessarily make the band sound better.

    I think I'm going to try restricting ourselves to a single invariable mix and, using that, hopefully hear and play better while also re-learning to be at one with our fellow band members.

    I'm thinking that the glibness with which many folks go wowzer over the flexibility of phone-controlled IEM mixes belies what is probably quite a steep learning curve...

    (Maybe a bit like the downsides of the flexibility of amp modellers?)

    Hopefully worth it in the end though!
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  • robinbowesrobinbowes Frets: 1689
    edited May 20
    @smigeon You do need to be aware of the phenomenon you describe, ie having IEMs to loud, you that's not a reason to have a crap, unbalanced mix. 
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  • vizviz Frets: 4692
    I can’t get on with IEMs and this is why use my slightly unusual but highly effective method, which is to run two cables out of my amp; one to my cab which points to the back of the stage and is miced through the PA, and the other to my own personal wedge monitor which points straight up at my face. Both are 16 ohm. At soundcheck I turn my amp loud enough so I can hear my guitar really well through my wedge and we tweak the FOH guitar volume at the desk till it sits well in the mix; and I use a boost for solos. It’s perfect really. 
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  • Danny1969Danny1969 Frets: 3535

    Reading through some of the comments it just go to show how people do things differently ....... I like to hear what everybody is doing because the I think the guys I play with are great musicians. I have the keyboard player panned in stereo across my ears and I can hear every tiny detail in his playing ...likewise the bass players and drummer ...  stuff you would never hear without IEM's. Vocal wise we all tend to set a monitor mix that means the vocal is effortless .... last week I did 5 gigs on the trot and the last gig was 4 x 1 hour sets. You don't want to be pushing your voice hard at any point. We use compression on the vocals through the PA and someone is mixing out front anyway so the vocals are plenty loud enough out front. 

    Given the choice of earning £80 each for a pub gig and trying to mix the gig from the stage myself or taking £70 each and paying an engineer to mix out front with an iPad I would always go with the engineer .... and I'm pretty tight :)




    www.2020studios.co.uk 
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  • Emp_FabEmp_Fab Frets: 12714
    Yeah, I know the analogue desk is the limiting factor, especially as it’s only got two pre-fader aux sends.  We use three IEM mixes but the third mix is post-fader which is a pain but I’ve got no choice.

    If we start earning reasonable money, I’ll push to get a digital desk like the XR18 perhaps.
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  • mr-macmr-mac Frets: 149
    edited May 20
    Soundcraft ui24 is nice too.  Can give band members their own mix control (turn to portrait and they get a me slider which just allows em to move their instruments up/down in their monitor mix.  Studer pre amps, even has two amp modelled DI inputs if you have an amp die on gig you can plug their pedal board straight into modelled input to get you through gig, eq, dbx feedback suppression, lexicon reverbs etc.  Can even record full multitrack to an hdd or usb key to plug into your daw later.  Use a tablet hooked to mic stand or phone etc.  So can easy do setup out front of house and hear the changes pre gig. and save setups etc
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  • p90foolp90fool Frets: 7704
    p90fool said:
    I do the mixing and play guitar, and give our two singers the same IEM mix every night. 

    If you give everyone the exact mix they want they become lawless egomaniacs, if you just give them one vocal mix they have to back off the mic in the appropriate places, or sing louder when they should be singing louder.
    They also give each other signals for what works musically and they can't tread on each others toes. 

    Ultimately it's about a communal musical expression and interaction - personal mixes totally fuck that up in my experience and make the performance artificial. 

    Sorry, but this is bollocks.

    Singers should have the mix they want and need, not what the guitar player thinks they need. 

    Just giving them both what you think they should have is, frankly, ignorant  

    R. 
    @robinbowes you miss my point - we don't have anyone out front to compensate for any kind of mix which isn't the same as FOH. If I give either of our singers a mix which is not the same as everyone else hears it means they can no longer SELF mix using good mic technique and voice dynamics.

    As a guitar parallel - without a FOH engineer I can't afford to go slashing away deafening myself with my own guitar amps knowing somebody else is sorting it out, and neither can our singers. 

    We have a set-and-forget pub band mix, and we self mix in and around that by being real musicians who respect and interact with each other as if we were sat around unmiked in a living room.

    Our female singer is naturally louder than our male singer, and they both sing lead on different songs. When she sings BVs too loudly it swamps the other singer's lead vocal in BOTH their IEM's, so she has to back off the mic. When I used a sub mixer with their own mixes neither of them had any way of knowing the backing vocals were way too loud but the audience did.  

    I can't give our singers their own perfect individual mix any more than I could let them use headset mics - it just doesn't work while I'm trying to play the damn guitar and lead the band. 

    Our bigger gigs with a supplied PA are a totally different situation - everyone can have whatever they like in their monitors. 

    It might be bollocks to you but it pays my mortgage. 
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  • smigeonsmigeon Frets: 70
    @smigeon You do need to be aware of the phenomenon you describe, ie having IEMs to loud, you that's not a reason to have a crap, unbalanced mix. 
    No, the way I see it is that I want a good compromise between two extremes:

    - One extreme is where I hear myself (guitar and voice) standing out very clearly from the rest of the band and I can hear every nuance of my own performance. 

    - The other extreme is where my IEM mix is the same as the FOH mix - so I hear the whole band in a nice balance but miss some of the nuances of my own playing.

    What I was trying to say above is that I was initially tempted too far towards the first extreme - which at first glance seems to be what IEMs are all about - and that my over-self-indulgence detracted from the band's sensitivity and interactivity. I was performing great in isolation, but not "playing with" the band - they were more like a backing track I was playing to.

    But the second extreme is not perfect either as I miss the nuances of my own performance and so don't play/sing as well. So something in the middle is required...
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  • robinbowesrobinbowes Frets: 1689
    @smigeon We're are in raging agreement. The key thing is to have the mix *you* want, not what someone else tells you to have. You will learn what works best for you (and the band).

    R.
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  • deloreandelorean Frets: 47
    edited May 23
    p90fool said:
    I do the mixing and play guitar, and give our two singers the same IEM mix every night. 

    If you give everyone the exact mix they want they become lawless egomaniacs, if you just give them one vocal mix they have to back off the mic in the appropriate places, or sing louder when they should be singing louder.
    They also give each other signals for what works musically and they can't tread on each others toes. 

    Ultimately it's about a communal musical expression and interaction - personal mixes totally fuck that up in my experience and make the performance artificial. 
    As a front man, I couldn't disagree more with this statement.  I'm guessing you've not been a lead singer before?

    Any singer in any band needs to hear what they need to hear. 

    Using myself as a case in point, I have the following in my ears:

    My vocal,
    My guitar
    Backing vocals
    Small amount of keyboard

    Drums can be heard even with IEMs in, likewise with the bass.

    The other guys in the band would hate my mix as it has way too much of my vocal and the backing vox (so I can pitch myself).  If I told our drummer for example that he had to share my mix, he'd struggle to hear the bass - which I'm sure you'd agree would be an issue.

    Dictating that everyone can only have one vocal mix that they all share is frankly ludicrous, and if anything increases the risk of a substandard performance as people struggle to hear themselves - and in the case of a singer, OVER-sing to compensate - which can lead to vocal fatigue and can cause vocal damage.

    We mix our own sound, and it IS possible to give everyone the mix they need without an FOH engineer - we simply take the time to get it right during the soundcheck.

    I respect the fact that it's your opinion @p90fool , but I think you are wrong.
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  • p90foolp90fool Frets: 7704
    Bear in mind that the only thing in the IEMs is the two singers themselves, I'm only talking about the balance between the two of them being the same as the audience hears, so that they can change their own dynamics in a musically meaningful way. 

    If someone is singing backing vocals too loudly then I need them to HEAR that they're too loud, I'm too busy to pull back faders on errant vocalists. A hostile glare from the lead singer is enough. 

    If they both had their own separate "more me" mixes neither of them would know when to pull back. 

    Supplying singers with a full band mix is an entirely different ball game. 
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  • Emp_FabEmp_Fab Frets: 12714
    edited May 23
    Funnily enough, I’ve been pondering on both of your arguments.  We’ve not used in-ears in anger before, so last week’s session was the first rehearsal with them.  After doing a very rough FOH mix, I turned to our monitors and halfway through the session I became aware that nobody in the band had any idea what the FOH sound was like now, because none of us were listening to it!

    In the absence of a sound man, all we can do is rely on a trusted audience member to give hand signals if anything is wildly out.  I’ve been at the mercy of ‘sound men’ before - the real problem is trying to find one that has the faintest idea of what they’re doing.  I’ve seen so many blokes in various pubs twiddling away but achieving sod all apart from making the sound even worse.  Only once did we get a good chap.  I don’t have much trust in people proclaiming to know how to operate a mixer.

    I suppose in an ideal world, I could stick a couple of mics at the back of the pub and have the ability to switch my in ears to those every now and then to check on the mix !
    98% shouting at clouds and 2% laminate flooring
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  • p90foolp90fool Frets: 7704
    They are quite isolating obviously, which is why with our simple pub setup we only have them for singers. 

    Using a couple of JBL Eon Ones as FOH also means that we can all hear vocals everywhere in the room anyway, even the singers could if their IEMs should die. 
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  • deloreandelorean Frets: 47
    Our full-time soundman retired about 4 years ago, so we've been mixing our own sound since then.

    Personally, there aren't many audience members I would trust to give me solid, impartial advice on my FOH sound.

    We get around not having a soundman by soundchecking a little longer.

    We play one song without keyboards but with full backing vox - the keys player goes out front to check levels to ensure everything is balanced

    We then play one song with keys - I go out front and check levels to make sure the keys are balanced with everything else.

    Finally I also record the soundcheck for each gig from out in front of the stage, and review it quickly to ensure that everything things are definitely sounding balanced.

    Once it's set, none one touches so much as an EQ knob under penalty of death!

    In our case, it helps that we use a digital mixer which recalls our most commonly used settings and all the monitor mixes - this way half the work is already done and we only have to make minor tweaks (usually) to account for for the room.


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  • uncledickuncledick Frets: 211
    Just tell your band mates they're lucky to have monitors at all.  I've played more gigs without than with so any kind of vocals heard on stage I still consider a luxury.
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