Help, learning to hear on big stage

jptrickster

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I use 2 powered wedge monitors and my own mixer, I have complete control over the mix and volume, don't have to hit so hard when I can hear myself 'specialy the kick.
 

Rockin' Billy

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It is very weird going from a close set up(which has been mostly my gigs)to a large far away from each other stage. I always felt somewhat disconnected from the band like that, even with a good mix in the monitor.
 

DanRH

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Get a set of inexpensive in ears, like the Shures, and an inexpensive headphone amp and have the sound guy run a line to you.
Yup. For $100, my rig is complete. I use a wired Behringer Powerplay P1 personal monitor that gets an XLR feed from the PA. And I use Shure SE 112’s. I usually only use one ear bud so I can get a sense of the room.
 

michaelg

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Yup. For $100, my rig is complete. I use a wired Behringer Powerplay P1 personal monitor that gets an XLR feed from the PA. And I use Shure SE 112’s. I usually only use one ear bud so I can get a sense of the room.
What do you typically like to hear in your mix ?
 

jb78

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Getting the best mix in your monitor is trial and error. But my best advice is to play to the room and sound on stage but without overcompensating. It’s hard to explain but it’s about finding the right balance of just playing your part at a comfortable volume but playing dynamically for the room.
 

hefty

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For me, in order of importance, I want to hear: the lead person's vocals and guitar, bass guitar, bass drum. So I usually get some of each of those in my monitor. The rest is usually easy to hear (snare drum) or gravy to get to hear.
 

CC Cirillo

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For a larger venue, I remind myself to play for the microphones, and not try to play for the back of the room.

That is one major difference between playing with and without sound reinforcement that can really make a psychological difference in how you play, and in the quality of your playing.

I would agree with those who use monitor mix to have other instruments as a point of reference, some instruments may be completely left out of my mix. But I always want the singer in there.

If you have too much of everyone, and everyone too loud in your monitors, it can cause you to overcompensate and play too hard, rush the tempo, or forget about dynamics—which I use even in a rock band.

While it can be daunting at first, playing with a sound system and monitors is very exciting, and I’ve always found with the proper mix and everyone staying in their lane, it fosters the best performances out of bands I’ve played in.

And—oh— I always treat the people working the boards as if they are long-lost brothers or sisters.
 

chorga1

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Wow! A lot of good advice so far.

What I find is if the stage volume gets too loud, I can’t hear myself. My initial reaction is to play heavier. Not ideal.

When I can hear (and feel) my drums through the monitors, I find I play at a more comfortable and relaxed volume. It seems counterintuitive, to put drums in your own monitor, but coming from an unmiked situation, we are used to hearing our drums louder than everyone else. So, in addition to all the great advice in this thread, make sure you can hear your drums when the band is cranking.
 

michaelg

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Fantastic advice and opinions from everyone.
Play to the mics or play to the room is a really great question and is very hard to answer.
 
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Pat A Flafla

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The more of you there is in the monitor, the less of everyone else you'll hear to get tight with. Become comfortable knowing what you sound like and have zero drums in the monitor.
 

Buffalo_drummer

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I usually just take a little bit of everything, I listen for vocal cues, guitar lead-ins and I like to lock in with the bass. For drums, I usually just take kick and snare since I can usually hear everything else right on top of the kit. It's important that your wedge isn't as loud as it can go so you don't drown out your kit.

If you really are picky about your mix, it may not be a bad idea to build your own in-ear rig so that you can dial in your mix to your exact desires. I can honestly say that of all the shows I've played over the years, only a handful of times the sound guy actually knew what he was doing and having an in-ear rig takes the guess work and inconsistency out of the equation.

It's not a viable option for me because in the hardcore/metal world, there are usually short changeovers for bands and our sets are usually about 30 minutes at the absolute most. It would be a pain in the ass to run and dial in an in-ear rig for me personally, but if you're playing longer sets with minimal changeovers, I wouldn't expect it to be an issue.
I played on multi-band bills for a long time and one in-ear time saver for me was the UE Soundtap; I just unplug the cable going into the wedge and put that in the Soundtap, plug the headphones into it and your good to go. Even if you can't get the perfect mix the drums they are generally putting vox, guitars and bass through on a multi-band bill.
 

kallen49

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And be VERY careful of not damaging your hearing. Inexperienced people using inexpensive IEMs is a one way ticket to hearing loss or tinnitus.
I can attest to the truth of that. My ears are ringing right now and I haven’t played a gig since February of 2020. I can remember the exact gig where at the end of a set my ears were hurting from cranking my in-ear monitor amp.
Once you have tinnitus it’s probably never going away.
Wear ear protection.
 

Pat A Flafla

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I can attest to the truth of that. My ears are ringing right now and I haven’t played a gig since February of 2020. I can remember the exact gig where at the end of a set my ears were hurting from cranking my in-ear monitor amp.
Once you have tinnitus it’s probably never going away.
Wear ear protection.
I can also remember specific gigs that were bricks in my tinnitus wall.
 

hector48

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The last couple years I’ve found most sound men and even the rig we were running used a wireless system with front of house being mixed on a tablet. There are apps out there to tap into the PA WiFi and mix your own wedge or IEM on your own tablet. You don’t have to bother getting anyone’s attention. You get your mix the way you like it.
What he said. Modern wireless mixing is a bit new to me, but I've done it, and having control over your own mix settings is awesome.
 

backtodrum

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Get a set of inexpensive in ears, like the Shures, and an inexpensive headphone amp and have the sound guy run a line to you.
I was just getting ready to suggest this when I read your post first. In ears are the best! They are all I use anymore as does the whole band. It has reduced stage volume issues and eliminated feedback issues that microphone placement and floor wedges are prone to cause. I can hear my drums incredibly well and we all have our own individual monitor mix.
 

A.TomicMorganic

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I always ask for Bass Guitar, vocals and enough bass drum for me to hear it. I can hear the rest of the band through their amps well enough.
 

CherryClassic

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Update: Yesterday 8/16 I played our third gig on the big stage and the sound man and I are learning more each gig or I should say the sound man is getting more used to me bothering him and what I like to hear. While I was setting up my drums and he was laying out the stage setup we talked a lot. After getting my mix done and as each musician came in he did their mix. Then full band mix, we talked again and I told him it was a lot better than before. As we started the first song he came up on stage and standing next to me, he tweaked it again. He got it right on the nose for me. I had a great afternoon of playing. I could hear every single drum, cymbal and especially my hi-hat with every little tic tic I could muster. He had the band levels set with slightly more vocals and I could understand every word. With the bass man just to my left we only tweaked in a slight amount of bass in the monitor.

Again, thanks for everyone's input. I learned a lot and the experience of working with the sound man was/is a great learning tool for both of us.

sherm
 

wflkurt

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And be VERY careful of not damaging your hearing. Inexperienced people using inexpensive IEMs is a one way ticket to hearing loss or tinnitus.

My inears also work like earplugs. The most amount of money I spent was on the inears as that is what is going in my ears. There are many different buds but I only like the kind that look like christmas tree earplugs with the stem at the end. It blocks out all the loud harsh high end stuff and then I just gently bring up the volume from the pre-amp. I play with a few different bands and two of the bands have QSC boards. I have the touch mix app on my phone and I can set all my own levels myself. It's the best ever! I don't know how I ever lived without these things. It's great for big stages too because I can be pretty far away from anyone and still hear them perfectly. If you use an overhead mic, it's pretty easy to just gently add in a little of that too.

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