Often times it would be nice to adjust the monitor mix on the fly… but alas, the monitor engineer can’t read minds, and I’ve never seen a on stage talkback microphone just to the monitor engineer. Of course a talkback mic isn’t much help if one is a vocalist either. The end result, levels are pretty much static during an entire song. The only exception being if one works out some type of hand signals with the monitor engineer.
In my situation… I dont have a monitor engineer, and often times its a challenge enough to handle page turns, much less run over to the monitor console to adjust the mix.
One concept… a foot pedal controller to adjust monitor levels.
- foot pedals to increment or decrement individual channel levels
- highlighted LED bars with user customizable overlays indicate to the user which channel is being adjusted
- a middle foot pedal which serves to select the appropriate channel to adjust
- no master volume control on the pedal board, as that is set once at the main amplifier… ideally only individual levels would need tweaking. I may need to rethink this a bit. (its only a software and overlay mod)
- output is digital only… in keeping with minimally invasive audio, I want to keep multiple audio signals off the stage floor as much as possible. (likely the data will be midi sysex messages to control a midi mixer)
- a LED bargraph meter to provide feedback as to current level setting
I’ve returned to live performance, albeit on a very small scale. Its been interesting to note how quickly most of the skills came back… but sadly hearing is not one of them. I fully believe hearing issue is not so much the loud music of my younger days, as much as it was a kazillion hours of roaring aircraft engines.
To add insult to injury, the church I play at logistically stacks the deck against me in a huge way. It has a very powerful HVAC system, which seems to reverberate off of the projection screen creating an area of massive standing waves… right where I am located. The end result, while I can hear the low frequencies just fine, ie my bass, other must-hear sounds like the vocalists, and the keyboard are pretty much buried whenever the HVAC system comes on.
Granted, years ago, this would have been just a minor annoyance. Many times back then I ended up in positions, where I could only hear myself and the drummer, and due to a much higher skill level it was no big deal. Well… add in rust, and what once was just annoying, is now frustrating.
So, the solution… easy, just add an extra wedge, and feed the vocal and keyboard mix back to my location. However, like 99% of church gigs, there is no rack of splitters for FOH/monitor mixers, nor a splitter snake, nor is there even a monitor send on the PA, much less any amps/wedges. Thus, what might be a simple deal in a concert setup becomes significantly more difficult where I am currently planted. Obvious super simple solutions like changing my position, and or turning off the HVAC system during services are not very realistic. Its the same deal with spending $2000 for an off the shelf solution (I dont have $100 to spare, much less $2000), to say nothing of the possible integration problems with the existing system.
Being similar issues plagued me years ago, in venues ranging from churches to dance halls… there does seem a need for simple, lost cost, minimally invasive monitoring system. Stay tuned for more.