Tag Archives: PA speakers

Monitors: Let Me Count the Ways

When we started in live sound, the first stage monitor had not yet been used.

Since that time, monitors have become more and more important to performers, many of whom decided to use them on the basis of magazine articles telling them how much they need them.

A few years back were asked to rehabilitate the reputation of a band that had been vanquished from a venue because their sound was offensive. Customers held their hands over their ears, then left when the band performed; a bad model for a bar/restaurant.

The room, 25’X40′ with an eight foot high ceiling, doubled as a dining room. The stage was 15′ wide by 8′ deep. The six person band, keys, drums, bass, rhythm, lead guitars and a vocalist was crammed into that space.

We talked about gear and settled on replacing the four fifteen inch, 250 watt, 95 db SPL floor monitors with five, 6.5 inch, 170 watt, 100 db SPL (potential), microphone stand mounted monitors. These permitted lower real levels by placing the monitor speaker two to three feet from the musician and aimed at the ears, not their genitals. We still had a proximity problem with so many microphones and monitors placed so closely to each other, and it was impossible to get the three principle vocalists to move beyond thirty-six inches from each other, requiring a reduction of monitor volume levels to avoid feedback. 

The house sound was wonderful! Without all of the extraneous monitor noise on the stage, the patrons and fans were treated to the talent of the performers presented through speakers appropriate for the space and musical presentation. It might be fun to say, “We’re LOUD,” but it is never fun for the audience when that translates to, “We will HURT you.” The band subsequently used several tracks recorded on mobile devices as promo materials for as long as they lasted.

We deployed the same monitors for a bluegrass band and for a country in the same venue with great results for the bands, the audience and the venue’s receipts! Its amazing how much more food and drinks can be sold when the servers can take and fill orders.

Appalachian Flyer

Appalachian Flyer at Mick O’Shea’s

Choosing the correct equipment should depend on the needs of the performance, and not be limited to whatever the band members bought for their earlier ventures. Professional sound starts with the assessment of the sound reinforcement needs of the band, the venue and the audience. One size does not fit all.

Music: It’s not the size of your stacks, but the clarity of the sound

Who can forFillmore Westget the Fillmore West’s 1969┬ásound, stacks of speaker cabinets providing a visual background and deafening noise. From the Grateful Dead, to Santana and early Heavy Metal a big sound was born.Technologies have changed how live music can be delivered.

In the twenty-first century, two one-thousand watt cabinets with a pair of 12″ speakers each and a matching sub-woofer provide far more intelligible and pleasant sound than four 250 watt, two way speakers from the last century, for the audience of 300 people or less. That’s where bands are playing, week in and week out.

High quality, high efficiency components, not only make the musicians sound good, they enhance the listening experience for the audience. After all, you aren’t playing at the Fillmore.

And, when the venue is selling food and drink, the too loud performance prevents the customer from placing the order and sales suffer. When the music is just plain loud, the audience feels real pain. If you’re in pain and can’t order the food or beverage you want, what do you?

Why, you answer the question put forth by The Clash: Do I Stay or Do I Go?

With so many entertainment venue options available, the answer will be clear.

Save your band with sound that takes into account the needs of the band, the audience and the venue. Move on to greater success.