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Articles May-June 2021

Pursuing the Pro Audio Trail

In conversation with Caroline Moss and Sue Gould

PT got in touch with the Pro AVL Asia magazine core team of Editor - Caroline Moss and Sales Director - Sue Gould, who between them boast of over three decades of experience in the pro audio industry..... read more

NJSM Marks a Milestone in the Business of Sound

From Rental Company to manufacturer and innovator, Nixon Johnny has guided and grown NJSM from a two-person company to a fifty-person company, continuing to expand into virtual events with NJSM Virtual Studio..... read more

Tech Savvy Environment for T-Systems

Eyte Technologies installs high-tech AV Solution at T-System’s Experience Center facilitating brand value and delivering superior customer experience..... read more

Conversations with SudeepAudio

Sudeep Audio, one of India’s first pro audio web store selling studio software and equipment online commenced its YouTube Channel, ConverSAtions, in 2011 to share the journey of Indian Sound Engineers..... read more


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The Art, Science & Psychology Of Monitor Mixing

While this goes to post the Monitor Mixing Summit 2019 will be over, I hope this Summit will change our attitude, workflow and planning to give the artistes a fantastic sounding stage mix, be it in their in-ears or in their wedges or both. Whilst some have been doing a great job mixing monitors for top tier acts in India, for many others Monitor Mixing is a ‘Black Art’ and for most there is a fear/ambiguity of sending audio signals down artistes ears for the fear of being reprimanded, yelled at or subjugated to an artiste intolerant to any problems with monitoring whether it is their fault or not.

How do you please somebody or an entire bands acoustic palette is where the blend of the art, science & phycology of good monitoring is and it really starts with the most fundamental thing of good gear to begin with following into the prep of the racks and panels to have a easy setup into a good workflow around your console and finally into the most crucial aspect of monitor mixing, your talent as an engineer and your relationship with the artiste

I always speak about relationship with the artiste first as they all vary and the variable is very high, sometimes even bizarre, they all like what they like and have their own mental energies on stage, for some if it’s a good gig its good sound, for others if it’s a great sounding show they ‘perform’ if its bad sounding they ‘play’ and for some they don’t give quite a damn how its in the house as long as they are sounding comfortable in their ears.

For an Monitor Engineer he has many roles to play, first he needs to instill confidence into the artistes that he will do everything to make them sonically comfortable, he then has to prove every night that he is still the right man for the job no matter what the circumstance of acoustics, gear, ambient noise or audience may offer. This starts a long journey in a process of building trust & confidence in you and that is the most important aspect the artiste looks for in an individual mixing their monitors.

In India people are crestfallen and lose confidence when they lose their seat in Monitorland, most of the time they are not told the truth as to why they aren’t on the job anymore and that they may never ever find out, they are sometimes even reinstated back after trying others to realize they were the right ones for the job after all. Well don’t be upset even in the US & Europe the same rules apply from changing engineers after the first gig, to mid way during the tour to the next tour to even sticking with their Monitor Engineers for two decades. The rules are “there are no rules” even wanton decisions are taken, from having a bad day and letting go the best man for the job.

I can assure you that you should never lose heart and learn from your mistakes evaluate your strengths and weaknesses and if you have hit dead end seek help from a veteran.

Technically in my opinion great monitor engineers are cats that understand gain structure extremely well and buss structure & matrixing architecture, this is the clinical part of the mix. The second skills are authority over the signal chain, the equalisation, the compression and gating and the tertiary skills are the creative aspect of reverbs & delays and ambient sounds hitting their ears.

I am also given to understand many guys still mix running Auxiliary’s pre-fader and my sincere request to you is stop doing what your doing because that is a grave injustice to the artiste, if it works for you that’s ok but it isn’t good for artiste monitoring. If you are not using snapshots, can you really do such an exceptional job? Do you know the songs well and your so quick on your cues that you never miss a solo or a fader revision The truth is you will and even the guys who do snapshots they constantly improvising their running snapshot whilst the gig is on as well as updating the snapshot many times during a song, making it more & more ‘show ready’

The physcological aspect of monitor mixing is a game changer for the pros and separates the veterans from the rookies, they know exactly what the artist is missing by merely looking at their faces and the artistes too expect them to understand them likewise. They get the sign language in a jiffy from everyone in the band and they focus on looking at them and less head down on the control surface. The approach their changes very well, they understand the difference between a coarse volume changes to a fine change to a hairpin change. They are so good that even with confidence they reduce levels of other channels when artistes want to hear their own voices louder instead of increasing the vocal volume. Some monitor engineers are like the trusted family doctor that when the artiste even sees them he already feels his mix will be good.

Talent, Hard Work a Great Personality & a little bit of Luck!! And off you go Mr. /MS Monitor Engineer

Warren D’souza - Founder, Managing Director, & Working Member of Sound.Com
Instagram @warrendsouza
#AudioEvangelist
#SoundGuyForLife


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