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FDP Forum / Performer's Corner / Only vocals thru the PA?

greg1948
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Vero Beach FL

May 7th, 2016 02:57 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

I'm in a band now where the drummer also provides the PA (a powered board, 2 mains, 2 monitors). AFAIK, it's the same mix to the mains as monitors. He miked his drums, the keyboard and both guitars. When the usual complaint came that the vocals needed to be louder, somebody just raised that channel slider and feedback started.

I'm old school, and early on, only vocals came through PA, but I know now that to get a more balanced sound, most everything else goes into the mix. My thought was that we needed a separate monitor mix, so that the vocals could be raised out front without starting feedback at the monitors.

The gal who is the bandleader is new at this, but she has demanded that next gig, only vocals go into the PA. I just wonder if that the best solution. What are the drawbacks to that?

This was an outdoor gig, BTW. I know it's been posted before, but I'd like some ideas about setting up the system for small indoor venues as well as the outdoor ones.

(This message was last edited by greg1948 at 04:59 PM, May 7th, 2016)

Peegoo
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Repeat
May 7th, 2016 03:23 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

If you were playing an *outdoor* gig and the monitors were feeding back, your stage volume is too dang loud.

Most of the sound should be going out the FOH with some foldback through the floor wedges.

Anytime the vocals are getting buried, back off the guitar/keys/drums feeds, rather than push up the vocals. It's always better to play too quietly than too loud.

greg1948
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Vero Beach FL

May 8th, 2016 05:44 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

You're right, as usual, Peegoo. We should have done that. It would have been the simplest solution overall. We are learning as we go, with some real bumps in the road. The drummer/PA guy is a "hired gun", which is part of the problem. He got everything hooked up to the board, then set it next to the keyboard player and said, You work it now.

I don't know how much, if any, experience the keyboard guy has in this area, but chances are, not much. But I still wonder if most bands these days run the keys, guitars and all through the PA.

It would seem that you would get a more evenly balanced sound by miking everything and then carefully getting the blend you want. Otherwise, with instrument amps on the floor and only vocals coming through FOH, the sound in different parts of the room might be pretty uneven.

reverendrob
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May 8th, 2016 06:40 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Vocals only through PA turn into individual people having volume war.

Juice Nichols
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Panama City, FL

Same ol **** but my hair's longer
May 8th, 2016 10:25 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

I don't know what kind of equipment you're using PA wise, but more than likely that powered mixer can only give you one monitor mix anyway without another amplifier. One of the basic assumptions of live sound is "the more mics you have, the more potential problems you can have."

What are you putting in the monitors other than vocals? Just because Instruments are miced doesn't mean they need to be in the monitor mix. Especially the drums, there's no earthly reason to put drums in a monitor mix unless you're on a big concert stage. Is the keyboard player using an amp or are there any instruments that the PA is the only means to hear themselves?

Peegoo is right though, your problem is probably related to stage volume more than anything else. The drums normally set the level for everything else. If he's beating the hell out of them, everyone else has to turn up to match and the volume wars are declared. If the PA is providing sound reinforcement, the amps on stage need to be loud enough so you can hear yourself and not trying to fill the venue.

MLC
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May 9th, 2016 06:01 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

"Vocals only through PA turn into individual people having volume war."

In many environments this is all too true.
I'm fortunate enough to play in a couple bands where everyone listens and nobody is interested in being louder than everyone else. We've been running "vocals only" for years and it's working well for us. Most of the venues we play don't really need that much sound reinforcement.
I should also note that we don't have a dedicated sound guy. We set/run the PA from the stage (and usually it's me). Doing this for a long time with great bandmates makes it a much easier task.

But I know that isn't always the case.

We HAVE done drums in through the PA at larger or outdoor venues. But as said above, they don't go through the monitors.

greg1948
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Vero Beach FL

May 12th, 2016 06:28 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

"they don't go through the monitors." That's the heart of the problem in this band, I think. When drums, and guitars went through PA, they went to the mains and the monitors because there was no separate monitor mix. We are playing again on Friday and I'm going to see if I can set the board up differently. Of course, the set up will likely be 20 min before we start, so there won't be much time to do it right.


MLC
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May 12th, 2016 06:57 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

"...there was no separate monitor mix."

I've had that sort of arrangement with the trio I play in, but that's just 2 guitars and a bass, and vocals only in the PA. And only we're playing small to medium venues.
It's not ideal, even in those situations, but we do OK with it. We're also not playing that loud, so that makes it more manageable.

I can't imagine trying to get that to work with a full band. We have a separate monitor mix with my full band - even when it's only vocals in the PA.

If you also add instruments to the mix, forget it. You don't have the control you need without a separate feed/mix for the monitors.

super mario
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May 12th, 2016 07:03 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

All great advice. Would suggest if you can get your hands on the manual for the PA, you should be able to dissect the system to what you can or cannot do. I am thinking it may have a separate send for the monitor channel so that you can dial out what is not needed in the monitor mix so the vocals can hear what they need. Then FOH can be mixed to balance everything....do you guys have a person with a good ear for the mix to where they can provide feedback on what needs to come up/down when you do a soundcheck? I am thinking you are in more of a set and forget type of scenario.

Juice Nichols
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Panama City, FL

Same ol **** but my hair's longer
May 12th, 2016 08:51 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

"When drums, and guitars went through PA, they went to the mains and the monitors because there was no separate monitor mix."

Well therein lies about 95% of your problem. It must be a pretty old mixer if it doesn't have the ability to have at least one monitor mix.

FDP Forum / Performer's Corner / Only vocals thru the PA?




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