Author Topic: To Wedge or not to Wedge  (Read 1817 times)

RichR

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To Wedge or not to Wedge
« on: March 23, 2015, 03:17:30 PM »
Small venues with small stages (or more likely a small place on the floor where you set up.)

Put the PA Mains behind you to serve as Main and Monitor?  Or, try to squeeze wedges in, regardless?

I've kind of gone back and forth on this.   From 'Always using monitors; and usually miking all instruments'; To 'No monitors, nothing miked, except maybe the bass drum.'

We (Laura Lisbeth Band)  played a gig in small venue, Hobos, last Friday.  I suggested going with Mains behind us and no monitors.  But got some pushback about not having monitors.  So, we brought Laura's powered Mackies and used them as Monitors, and kept the mains in front of us.

Do you skip the monitors in smaller places?

Having good monitors used to be a critical thing, for me to sing.  If I couldn't hear myself and any other harmonizing vocal really well, it killed my confidence.  Vocals without confidence are not good.  My singing has evolved, and unless I'm just having a bad night, the confidence is there.  Now, I do fine with "I can sorta, kinda hear myself"-- which is the best you can do, sometimes.  I can hear in my head, and just know when I'm on pitch.

I find myself much more inclined to leave the wedges (and the rack to run them) at home, if playing small venue, with a challenging setup.  Cuts out a substantial amound of load in, setup, teardown, load out; and soundchecking/tweaking.

Usually hearing all instruments on a small stage is not an issue, like hearing vocals.  And unless it as a pretty large, spread out stage, I don't need or want instruments in my wedge.


DannyDV8

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Re: To Wedge or not to Wedge
« Reply #1 on: March 23, 2015, 03:56:37 PM »
In a small place, since I have JBL wedges with beefed up horn drivers, I'll put the wedges behind us, and use them as mains, while still being able to hear them myself.
They call it the Blues, but the shit makes me SMILE!

KenBJammen

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Re: To Wedge or not to Wedge
« Reply #2 on: March 23, 2015, 04:12:10 PM »
I have a very cheap tiny 1x10 monitor that I use for the open mic.  Generally I can hear because it is behind me, but I will usually get one person who wants to hear more of their instrument in the monitor.   The day it was 30 below people were not happy that I didn't bring the whole PA and the monitor (I didn't want to freeze my butt hauling crap)
Does anyone ever read these things.  I have some guitars, some amps and some effects but none of them play the guitar for me.... Yet.

RichR

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Re: To Wedge or not to Wedge
« Reply #3 on: March 23, 2015, 07:20:26 PM »
Most monitors are fine mains, often a size smaller than the mains.  Just have good angle to lay on the floor as monitor.  Actually my wedges have a crappy 45 degree angle, which blasts your ankles unless you push them out 3 or 4 feet.  Or put things under them to fix the angle.

It used to really spook me, if I didn't have a good monitor to hear vocals.  Doesn't bother me so much, anymore.  I know if I'm on pitch, and can usually 'hear the room', also.  In these tight situations, to me, it is just not worth it to force monitors into a place where they don't fit.

I've also noticed that even if I start out with monitors seeming loud, by the end of the night I am not really hearing them due to stage volume creeping up.  But after I've hit my stride, it doesn't matter so much.

Less to setup and tear down is important!  I am getting better about leaving unneeded gear at home, or at least in the van.  On this same gig, I brought one bar of lights, a stand, and controller.  Not enough room to screw with them, so left em in the van.  Also left my two passive wedges, and rack (power amp, eq, comp for monitors) at home.  Sure cuts down on the work.

KenBJammen

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Re: To Wedge or not to Wedge
« Reply #4 on: March 23, 2015, 07:41:24 PM »
I agree that taking less is more.  If I am playing solo there is no reason to bring a monitor as I will move the mains where I can hear them.
Does anyone ever read these things.  I have some guitars, some amps and some effects but none of them play the guitar for me.... Yet.

DannyDV8

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Re: To Wedge or not to Wedge
« Reply #5 on: March 23, 2015, 08:27:32 PM »
Back when I first hit the night shift, most guys were singing through the second input of their guitar amp......I was a drummer.  (Lt. Dan, you ain't got no amp!) So naturally, it was a pain being the vocalist as well!
They call it the Blues, but the shit makes me SMILE!

RichR

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Re: To Wedge or not to Wedge
« Reply #6 on: March 23, 2015, 08:38:06 PM »
Back when I first hit the night shift, most guys were singing through the second input of their guitar amp......I was a drummer.  (Lt. Dan, you ain't got no amp!) So naturally, it was a pain being the vocalist as well!

I remember doing that too! 

One of the first PA's we used was an ancient Bogen "Public Address" system.   We kids, though.  Another kids dad had access to the Bogen, through his connection to the local "Civil Defense" club.   I think the speaker wires might have connected with screw-down terminals.  Monitors were not even on the radar!

DannyDV8

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Re: To Wedge or not to Wedge
« Reply #7 on: March 23, 2015, 11:40:22 PM »
My first experience with P.A. was the same Bogan!  Certainly not a powerhouse by any stretch of the imagination!  It was probably the early '80s by the time monitors found their way into my universe.
They call it the Blues, but the shit makes me SMILE!

KenBJammen

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Re: To Wedge or not to Wedge
« Reply #8 on: March 24, 2015, 05:45:23 PM »
I remember the first PA we used when I played in the mid 80's.   Two big columns that we borrowed from someone who probably didn't even know we were borrowing them.  Had a cheapo radio shack 4 channel powered mixer that sounded bad and 2 1/4" input mics. One was ran through a boss DM-2 for reverb effect.  no monitors, shitty sound
Does anyone ever read these things.  I have some guitars, some amps and some effects but none of them play the guitar for me.... Yet.

DannyDV8

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Re: To Wedge or not to Wedge
« Reply #9 on: March 24, 2015, 06:11:59 PM »
Wedges? Wedges?  We don't need no stinking wedges!
They call it the Blues, but the shit makes me SMILE!

KenBJammen

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Re: To Wedge or not to Wedge
« Reply #10 on: March 24, 2015, 06:52:16 PM »
or this
Does anyone ever read these things.  I have some guitars, some amps and some effects but none of them play the guitar for me.... Yet.

RichR

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Re: To Wedge or not to Wedge
« Reply #11 on: March 25, 2015, 03:16:36 PM »
I remember the first PA we used when I played in the mid 80's.   Two big columns that we borrowed from someone who probably didn't even know we were borrowing them.  Had a cheapo radio shack 4 channel powered mixer that sounded bad and 2 1/4" input mics. One was ran through a boss DM-2 for reverb effect.  no monitors, shitty sound

Come a long ways from those days!

Brad

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Re: To Wedge or not to Wedge
« Reply #12 on: March 29, 2015, 01:32:00 PM »
We never use monitors unless they're provided by the venue (with a sound guy). If and when we even use a PA, we have a couple of cabs on sticks set up in the back line on each end of the stage.  For the small spots, Kurt sings and plays harp through a head/4-10 cab. It actually sounds great for what we do...definitely lo-fi but perfect for old school blues/swing. It fits the vibe. I really don't miss screwing with PA gear or load-in/load-outs. This whole setup has made gigging much more enjoyable. I show up, setup my stuff, tune and hit. Takes me 15 mins prior and after the gig.

Our last gig was for the blues society, a Friday, happy hour thing they do every week. Med size club, sound provided...the sound guy starting asking about mics, monitor mixes etc...we said put vocals only in the monitors, no mics on anything else. This place was really not that big and we had plenty of sound from the stage to cover it.

Sometimes all that stuff gets in the way of really working a room and any dynamics can get lost. Just got to have players that are really listening...we approach things almost like an acoustic jazz band.

RichR

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Re: To Wedge or not to Wedge
« Reply #13 on: March 29, 2015, 06:24:38 PM »
We never use monitors unless they're provided by the venue (with a sound guy). If and when we even use a PA, we have a couple of cabs on sticks set up in the back line on each end of the stage.  For the small spots, Kurt sings and plays harp through a head/4-10 cab. It actually sounds great for what we do...definitely lo-fi but perfect for old school blues/swing. It fits the vibe. I really don't miss screwing with PA gear or load-in/load-outs. This whole setup has made gigging much more enjoyable. I show up, setup my stuff, tune and hit. Takes me 15 mins prior and after the gig.

Our last gig was for the blues society, a Friday, happy hour thing they do every week. Med size club, sound provided...the sound guy starting asking about mics, monitor mixes etc...we said put vocals only in the monitors, no mics on anything else. This place was really not that big and we had plenty of sound from the stage to cover it.

Sometimes all that stuff gets in the way of really working a room and any dynamics can get lost. Just got to have players that are really listening...we approach things almost like an acoustic jazz band.

I am playing 3 different bands/configurations right now.   I'm doing jam host duty for a Monday night jam.  Its Charlies (my keyboard player) jam, and we go an organ trio.  He covers bass on the keys.  Low key, low volume blues.  For this deal, putting the mains behind us (QSC powered 12" 1000w) works great.  Just have to make sure you don't point a mic straight into a speaker; or get some dip harp player covering up a vocal mic.

With the Laura Lisbeth group (Acoustic, electric, bass guitars, plus drums), I think we could/should get by without monitors, except for large rooms/stages.  I used the be the one who resisted going without mons.  Now, I'm fine with it.  Finally developed the technique/confidence as a singer to 'know' when I'm on pitch or not.  Used to be: not hearing myself well would kill my vocal confidence.  Kind of over that.   Seems like even with monitors, by the end of the night, the stage volume has crept up to where I can't hear them, anyway.

With the Blues-Rock band (Raildog), we always use mons, unless the stage/room is too small to allow.   I only want vocals in my mon mix, unless the stage is so big that I can't hear the rest of the band.  Sometimes the drummer has trouble hearing some of the other instruments and needs some guitar/keys/bass in his mix.  Especially if the amps are forward of the drum kit; and/or a big stage.

For smaller places, where it works, I am getting much more inclined to leave the monitor gear at home!  Same thing for lights, and miking instruments.  Getting to be more and more about simplifying setup.