5 things I learned as a monitor sound engineer

1. Light

With all the stage lights, led screens etc – your workspace becomes invisible for the musicians. It is like you are standing in a black hole. By turning your desk lights to your face, communication is a lot easier.

2. Listen Loud Enough

Especially if you are mixing in-ears, the pitfall is listen on a lower volume than the performers are.

It is important to maybe not listen at equal volume but to sometime boost your AFL. Listen for changes in tone and balance. I did the test and put my ears into the drummers in ear beltpack and it was loud to listen. But when I played the drums myself (I’m not a drummer :p but whatever 🙂 ) I wanted to turn it up.

It is the same as if you are running with your Ipod. When you start running faster – becoming in the zone – you want to turn your volume up.

3. Don’t Go Mono & Use Ambi Mics

Most of us are blessed with 2 ears by Satan/God/Nature/…. #Careface

Please use it, don’t mix In Ears in Mono, your mix & Performance will suffer.

Use Ambi – mics, I make a snapshot/scene/trigger #WHATEVER – so I automate the fade in and fade out of the Ambi between songs. Most of the time I use some Hall FX on it to make it more larger/less dry. This FX also helps to not have the first row straight in your face…

4. Do Some Aux-Master Compensation

If everyone in the band (and you) is on the same in-ear-system and earbuds (highly recommended); act if it is your PA-System. If it is necessary to compensate some frequency ranges – put on your voice or a track and just do it!

PS; My experience is that most of them are to boomy in the lower midrange 😉

5. Communicate!

Be an active monitor engineer, don’t just stay behing your console. During soundcheck go on stage and check if everybody is ok. The better you know the musicians the better you get in your job!


Michel Daems

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