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Posted on: September 24, 2014 @ 11:15 AM
Total Posts:  640
Joined  10-14-2008
status: Guru

This forum category doesn’t get a lot of action so Im hoping my subject line gets your attention

I play in a couple bands.  The setup involves my keyboards being routed through the main PA system… Controlled by a guitar player and lead singer.  So the main PA has vocals and my keys. 

I have in my arsenal (unused in live performances) a Yamaha stagepas 500 and a Roland KC 550. 

What I want to know is what you guys prefer....your own amplification or going through mains?  P
Our venues are not that large...clubs, some outdoor gigs...100-200 people. 

Having my own gear gives me a bit more control.  The mains always throws the keys out ok, but I have no control over volume, which as you know dynamic s call for changes at times.

Any thoughts, PRO OR CON. 

Thanks fellows (and ladies)

  [ Ignore ]  

Posted on: September 24, 2014 @ 02:26 PM
Total Posts:  1037
Joined  07-01-2013
status: Guru

Hi Richie,

On reading your post I was curious about what made you ask the question.

1) Is the reason you are asking the question literally about you wanting to control how loud you are for the benefit of the audience, or do you want to control how loud you are so you can hear yourself better?  (presuming you don’t use any kind of on stage monitoring)

2) Despite the mains, do you use any kind of back line or foldback type monitoring? (on stage wedge monitors etc)

3) If it’s to do with you wanting to hear yourself better, have you considered using the Yamaha stagepas 500 or Roland KC 550 for your own on stage monitoring needs as well as having your keyboards going out through the mains?

I know that’s probably taken the discussion a bit wider than you might have hoped for, but it appears to me that you are either unhappy with the overall sound through the mains (and perhaps you don’t trust the guitarist or like what he/she does so much), or you simply can’t hear yourself well enough.

To answer your question, my preference is mains and some kind of on stage foldback monitoring for me.

  [ Ignore ]  

Posted on: September 24, 2014 @ 05:03 PM
Total Posts:  1106
Joined  10-02-2002
status: Administrator

I will answer your post more sensibly in due course but for now just wanted to applaud your title, yes. First reaction was… What? Really? :)

  [ Ignore ]  

Posted on: September 24, 2014 @ 06:46 PM
Total Posts:  3105
Joined  10-05-2011
status: Guru

Hi richie1027, I have to second philwoodmusic.

In my experience, a great monitor setup with both my stereo keyboard signal and the main board monitor mix folded back to me(vocals and the other instruments, no keyboards)...with me controlling the levels via my own small where I have ended up after numerous trials with various setups.

Of course, I am also going out through the FOH board too.  In smaller venues, my personal monitoring gear will more significantly affect the FOH keyboard level than in larger rooms, so it must be factored in.

My signal path:

(3) stereo keyboard signals out to my personal small format (MG102c) mixer, stereo main out from mixer to stereo direct box and on to (2) channels of the FOH board.  Stereo monitor out from my personal mixer to (2) DXR10 monitors.  The FOH board then sends a vocal/instrument band-mix (mono, sans keyboards) back to me, and I split and apply that mono signal to both channels of an aux-in on my mixing board, and it is then added to my own personal keys monitor mix and sent on the (2) DXR’s.

This allows me both individual and compiled keyboard level/balance controls at my fingertips (without needing to affect my FOH send level), as well as independent band monitor mix level to my own taste in my own monitors.

As to your (correct) point about dynamic changes, I use FC7 pedals on all (3) keyboard signals that allow me to make those adjustments in real time, which affects both the FOH signal and my key monitor signal linearly.

  [ Ignore ]  

Posted on: September 24, 2014 @ 07:11 PM
Total Posts:  1106
Joined  10-02-2002
status: Administrator

First let me assure you, there is no perfect system. I have played everywhere from a living room to Madison Square Gdns and there is no such thing as either perfect sound or a perfect system. Especially for keyboards, essentially because keyboards span so wide a dynamic and tonal range.

Would I ever trust the guitarist or vocalist to mix the level of my keyboards? The answer to that can only be are you kidding? The former most likely only has ears for themselves due to prolonged exposure to high volume levels and the latter due to prolonged exposure to, well, themselves. You’re aware of LSD, I’m sure: Lead Singer’s Disease.

But seriously, so long as you can hear yourself, along with a reasonable mix of everyone else in the band, then you’re ahead of the game. If you do have a FOH engineer who is genuinely in the F of the H, then you must let them be the final arbiter of relative instrument volumes out of the PA on any given night in any given venue.

In smaller venues, I think there is some value to just ‘doing it yourself’. You will either get fired or discover what is a fairly and generally acceptable level for your keyboards to be at. Again, different venues pose different challenges. As stated, it’s not an exact science.

Finally, especially in smaller venues, I think there is some sense in your ‘sound’ coming from where you ‘are’ and not have it all lumped together in one homogeneous goo out of the PA. In smaller venues your own stage volume, unless you play like a mouse, is probably going to make mixing you into the PA ‘at all’ quite challenging, anyhow.

Final piece of advice: listen to everyone else. No matter what system you adopt the more you listen to what everyone else is doing, and do your best to fit in with that, the more likely it is you will be heard and appreciated.

  [ Ignore ]  


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