Monitoring at gigs - Help!!!
Posted 23 June 2012 - 04:58 PM
I could really do with some advice on the following...I am sure it must be something that other people have had problems with, but maybe not to this degree...
Basically, when ever I do a gig I can barely hear what I am playing and everything slows down matrix style and I start losing confidence by the second....Kind of like walking with your eyes closed. Instead of being able to relax and get into the grooves as I do when jamming, rehearsing etc the whole thing feels more like ‘hanging on for dear life and just get to the end’.
Basically we play electro/rocky/slightly jazzy....Drums, guitar/vox and bass, but with a laptop providing quite a bit of other stuff through ableton, pads, other bassy sounds, synths etc. I use a mixer and currently closed cup headphones and receive a click and a mix of the stuff that plays in Ableton. I feel that I have always had to have things turned up excessively loud in the cans to really be able to hear things otherwise there have been times where I jsut cant hear that click (not in the being really in time way)where I just cant hear the click well enough. My headphones are often rumbling from how loud I have to have it.
Admittedly this issue has lessened now I am using closed cups and at a gig last night I had things at a comfortable level and could still hear click and tunes well. However the main problem which has always been there is that I barely hear anything of what I am actually playing, especially kick. I played the first 2 songs yesterday without realising my snares wern’t on!
Without hearing what I am playing I simply don’t enjoy playing as it just doesn’t feel right.
The sound check is always rushed if we even have one and often we just blast through a song. I don’t feel I get an opportunity to experiment much with differing levels of my drums in the monitor feeds but I often say give me as much of my drums as you can and still have this issue.
I would be very interested to hear what methods other people use and any ways of overcoming this. I am happy to save up for some gear, so any suggestions of monitoring setups are welcome.
Many thanks indeed
Posted 28 June 2012 - 05:31 AM
1) Try to use open headphones, maybe it will help
2) Mic your drumset slightly - for example, just kick and snare - and pass a mic sound through the mixer into your headphones
3) Use MIDI triggers and a MIDI module to get your sound in your headphones
4) Use your headphones as often DJs do - put only one "ear" of the headphones on, and don't use the second one
Posted 28 June 2012 - 02:12 PM
Matroskins advice on open headphones seems like it's worth a try. I wouldn't have thought of that!
Otherwise, I think you're going to have to mike the kit so you can at least run it through the monitor mix and jack the volume for the drums way up in your mix.
Posted 29 June 2012 - 05:05 AM
But I wonder if it is comfortable to play using such a headphones. A built-in mic that switches off automatically when lifted up could be very useful if you are working in a drum cabin I think...
Posted 08 July 2012 - 08:59 PM
the closed cup headphones I have are pretty good at isolating the outside noise, so I think micing the kit and running into my mixer would be a good option.
It has since occured to me however that there may not be a reason why I cant ask the sound guy for a feed of the drum monitor on a jack lead to go straight into my mixer so I dont even have to set up a mic and just get a have a mix of the drums he has already mic'd up.
If he doesnt want me to unplug the jack from the back of the drum monitor and go i#nto my mixer surely I could use a Y cable to do the following:
Plug the drum monitor jack into a female socket of Y cable
Plug 2 seperate jacks into the other 2 female sockets of the Y cable, one going back into the drum monitor and the other going directly into my mixer.
I can then ask him to send me a bit of kick, snare etc and will have it on a channel of my mixer.
Is something anyone has done before?
It would give me a much better sound then setting up a mic above my kit and would be much quicker.
Any thoughts much appreciate.
Posted 09 July 2012 - 10:10 PM
I find it depends on where the strummers have their amps as well, if they are in front of the drum kit, they drown out the drums. I insist on having a back line(all the amps at the back behind the kit), it really does help. I bet when your in rehearsals all the amps are facing the kit and the guitarists are facing you? this is why it's easier to hear.
Hope this helps,
Posted 11 July 2012 - 10:47 PM
If you are sat on an acoustic kit and cant hear it well enough to play, which will sounds crazy to some in itself, then you are obviously pushing some volume and the problem will almost certainly be what I call acoustic mush, which is my term for a load of audio mixing together with no acoustic space which turns into a mushy sound, its hard to explain, you can hear you are playing the drums but you cant hear the detail in what you are playing. You will also loose definition at volume as well, so it you have an electric guitar screaming at you then you wont hear the definition from the drum kit. Its a bit like someone talking to you in a loud environment, you can hear they are talking English, but you dont hear the words, more volume to the kit doesn't always help, creating acoustic space with isolation helps. The problem is even worse when indoor where you have multiple sound sources, e.g. a guitarist has his own amp, then also out the PA, then also echos in the building, each having its own small delay causing the sound to go mushy. In the same way, if you just get a load of mic's on a drum kit, vocal mic, guitars etc and just plug it into a mixer and turn the volume you get a nasty sounding mush of a mix, which is why EQing, gating, compressing etc is really important to give that clean sound with space. Its a science in its own right and I could write pages and pages on it lol, but I wont.
The key is to isolate yourself acoustically the best you can, closed cups will help, they will lower the volume to your ears, deaden the sustained audio more than the punchy drum stuff, if you are running through a PA then there isnt the need to have it soo loud on stage.
There is always a battle between the lead guitarist and bass guitar, they think they need to be ridiculously loud on the stage for some reason. I bet they have it way louder than when you practice, but if you are using a PA then there's no need they just make it more difficult for everyone else, the drummer cant hear himself, the singer cant hear himself so sings louder and ruins their voice. Its a team effort so everyone needs to pick levels that work for the band as a whole not just their instrument.
If you are going to monitor yourself then the best way, but not always possible, is to get semi processed feed, if you have sound techies then they will have the drums EQ'd and probably gated and maybe compressed, you will get a nice clean sound with lots of space, but you dont want anything that gives any delay. If you cant and you use your own mixer for monitors then try and EQ it a little to give better definition to the drums, because the mic's will of course pick up all the other ambient noise.
Anyway, good luck, hope you sort the problem out.