In today’s world of high-quality sound production, a monitor mixer is a vital piece of equipment for any musician. Whether it is for personal use or for a professional job, the right monitor mixer can provide highly effective sound control to create an outstanding musical experience that cannot be beaten.
Traditionally, musicians will stand behind the speakers and, without credible monitors, will not be able to hear the full track being played. This could lead to poor performance or even toning issues.
Monitors are traditionally played at a lower volume level than the traditional speaker system and may only play a select number of tracks, but using such a system to support the performers is essential for the best-quality acts.
About Monitor Mixers
A monitor mixer ensures that mix of all different inputs into the desk are combined in such a way to create the overall sound required to support the musician’s performance.
In a live situation, the output from the monitor mixer is used to relay the track being played back to performing artists in a form that will support their performance and ensure they receive the best-quality soundtrack to the show. This could be in the form of stage based monitors or in ear units.
In a recording situation, the monitor mix will provide the backing sound that will enable every individual musician to lay down their track effectively and create the best sound overall. In the recording situation, the monitor mixer will usually feedback to a pair of headphones worn by the musician in question and will relay the tracks required to optimise his individual performance.
The Difference between Monitor Mixers and FOH Mixing Boards
A monitor mixer differs from other types of desk as it is only providing feedback to the musicians who are using the monitors. This means that a monitor mixer uses only auxiliary outputs, and no faders are required. The type of track relayed to the performers can radically differ from the standard front of house sound. The most efficient way to control the sound across the board is with the use of a monitor mixer.
Choosing the Right Monitor Mix
The number of auxiliary sends on each mixer will dictate the number of monitors that it is possible to attach. Choose a monitor mixer that is going to provide sufficient outputs for current requirements, but also consider how this may change in future and make some allowance for growth.
Fade auxiliaries on the desk itself adjust the level of sound of each input feed within the mix and create the sound that is going to work for the individual environment and of the musicians themselves.
The number of fade auxiliaries will dictate the number of inputs that can be fed through the mixer. This not only includes the instruments themselves, but also microphones, percussion, and any other supporting feed. Not every track needs to be fed through the monitor mix, but it is essential to have sufficient fades to cope with all the key sounds that any musician will need to hear both now and in the future.
Only by choosing a monitor mix with sufficient inputs will it possible to create a system that will supply the best overall effect.
When a monitor mixer is used for a live performance, a FOH (Front of House) Mixer is also required to transmit the sound track to the audience. In this situation a stage box is required to ensure the sound inputs effectively splits to both mixers at the same time with little distortion to the overall sound. An experienced sound technician should be able to handle the full set up at any location or could learn very quickly.
Optimising the Output from a Monitor Mixer
Attaching a graphic equaliser to each monitor output will ensure that the quality of the sound is at an optimum and will create a much cleaner overall effect when the soundtrack is played. This will make a greater level of sound possible before feedback occurs and provide a higher-quality signal to each of the monitors.
The correct sound balance is essential to optimise a performance. As it can change both between sets and during an individual song, it is always wise to have an experienced mixer in charge of the desk throughout a performance to ensure that the pitch remains at the desirable level.
Types of Monitors Used with Monitor Mixers
Selecting the correct monitor to use with the monitor mix is essential to ensure the sound quality is right and the performers receive the support they require.
The most traditional style of monitor. This hardware sits on the stage itself and directs the sound to the performers. 15-inch monitors are standard, but more specific equipment is available for specialised situations. This equipment creates a complete stage experience for the musician as it combines the music being created with the front of house sound. Positioning and volume is vital. Too close to the performer and the musician will be in front of the listening position, too far away and they won’t be able to hear the track. Furthermore, if the sound is too quiet, the musician will not be able to hear. If the sound is too loud, the overall effect for the audience can be disturbed.
Provide a more precise level of sound and now becoming much more popular. Can provide a much purer form of sound without the distraction of front of house noise. Control panel usually attached to the belt of the musician provides direct control of the track heard. This is beneficial when an individual wants a precise mix of sound that may not support the needs of the other band members. Provides greater control for the musician and therefore reduces the responsibility on the sound mixer to manage the pitch of the track during the set itself.
Provide the same benefits as the traditional in ear monitor but using radio frequencies rather than cables to transmit the track. Offer much more flexibility and reduce the existence of unsightly wires. Preferable for lively entertainers who want more freedom when they perform.
Setting Up a Monitor Mixer
The key to effectively setting up a monitor mixer is to recreate the real live situation as closely as possible so that it is possible to see where the monitor mixer needs to be placed. If a performer is also the sound technician, then the mixer needs to be close at hand. If there is a separate sound engineer, then the mixer needs to be easily accessible and in the line of sight of the key musicians.
Once the location has been decided, select connecting wires that are going to provide enough length for each monitor to be positioned correctly but without too much excess which can cause accidents.
Ensure all monitors are positioned correctly before the final sound check so that it is possible to check out both back and front of house volumes in the final stages. Minor adjustments can then be made so that the monitor mixer and attached equipment can perform at its very best.
Find Monitor Mixers on eBay
To find Monitor Mixers on eBay, select the Musical Instruments category from the homepage. Within this category, choose the Pro Audio Equipment section and then the link to Mixers. Monitor is then an option under the Suited For title, which will then produce a complete selection of monitor mixers available. Alternatively, use the search engine at the top of the eBay site to select the required brand or type of monitor mixer required.
The monitor is the nerve centre of the performance for musicians. It provides them with the support they need to be able to produce their music at the highest level even when the crowd are at their most vocal.
Choosing the right monitor mix is essential for both current and future performances, so get the best possible quality today, and create a reliable and effective sound that will make the best of each and every performance.