WARNING Caveman Crossing …
I came up working with a heavy and powerful system that I carried with my keyboards in a tradesman van. It had 2 sub-woofers and 2/way mains on stands and a 4 amp/channel stage monitor setup. I used it in clubs, outdoor pavilions, theaters and restaurants but it was a large PA for a loud Southern Rock, Classic Rock / Prog Rock band with acoustic and electric guitars, electric bass, full drum kit, congas/percussion and 3 Kurzweil Keyboard setup (K2500SX, K2600X and PC-88). It was 3 way active mono on the front and 2 way passive mono on the monitor systems and I had a extra mono send on the board to send to the house in the event they piped it into their own indoor or outdoor speakers. We mixed our monitor sound on stage ourselves and our main outs were adjusted using me and a band mate with hand signals we worked out to adjust to the different rooms and eventually we got some FXB feedback eliminators for our stage monitor to tame the mics (we had the kit miked with 5, 2 more on the perc and 4 vocal mics all open all the time no gating). We also had house mix men along the way but often just handed them a mono feed of the mixer out we had on stage.(we made no sound-man friends this way). And at the rare event where there was a really large PA company doing the event we would ‘get in line’ and do it the traditional way with the sound man mixing the monitor mixes and the mains from scratch for each of us. That said the system is still here but has been retooled to stereo mains and 2 mono monitors all from the same cs800 amplifier and I added 2 stereo eq’s with Feedback locators built in. All that history of my way of doing my “craft” said I only use this system rarely now and have changed to a new thinking about how I play and how the mix should sound. In a word quieter …
I now use lightweight powered bass woofers and a Yamaha Stagepas 600 stereo PA that has the mixer/amp so that it snaps into the back one of the speakers and can be removed for more central location when hooking up. It includes feedback suppression, a built in crossover and a sub-woofer out. So we started an acoustic/electric thing with this system, it’s a 4 piece with keys, acoustic/electric guitar, conga djembe cajon and a female vocalist. We started rehearsals in my cave with this setup and soon found ourselves engaging in discussions on how the mix sounded in the room. We had no monitors just this PA I described, so the PA was placed behind us in stereo with mono on the subs and we found that by playing each song a bit we could agree on the mix we all liked coming from it (so it’s like the Bose style tower PA systems but more directional). Since the start of this way of crafting the music these things have happened over the past several months
- We all like the mix we get when we perform - no fighting with the soundman you are ‘all’ the soundman
- The lead knows where they are in the mix much better and the rhythm backing parts can adjust down a little if needed to help the lead and hear how it blends when they do.
- Less ear fatigue - no sound hangover after gigs or practices
- No in ear monitors needed - less gear to contend with
- In most small venues it works as if at the house no adjustments necessary and still have the speakers behind us
- In bigger venues we can place them in front of us, turn them up more and still use the same mix sent back through a monitor send off the Stagepas 600 to powered small monitors so we are used to the mix we see each time even in a louder venue
So it’s primitive this method and not usable for a great many groups but ultimately for our needs it’s more than just fine. There’s way less ear fatigue but still plenty of punch and headroom when needed. I have sat in as a keyboardist at a few festivals where the power to sound big is all there but it’s so loud on stage that no player knows what’s going out the front, you just trust the mix man and if he’s good you’ll sound good …
I played a benefit for a fallen drummer this past weekend and they had a similar wireless setup for their system to the @Howifeel setup and the only thing that came up was wireless signal loss which led to a few minutes reacquiring it before the mix could be adjusted again. Is this rare? I’ve read it happens and seen it happen a few times now so just curious about it.