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Do you run in stereo to the FOH?


Tullsterx
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Do you run in stereo to the FOH?  

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  1. 1. Do you run in stereo to the FOH?

    • Yes, I run in stereo to the FOH
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    • No, I just run mono to the FOH
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In most cases where I've played the FOH is mono. First clue is daisy chained right & left speakers. The stereo affect screws the audience members who are not in the 'sweet spot' and causes phase cancellation on the subs if they aren't in the center of the stage. So many pro sound guys bridge the amps and run mono.

Edited by kbeaumont
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We run our own sound 99% of the time, and I usually send a stereo signal, but we're looking into running a "rhythm track" and I might switch to a mono key feed, and a mono "rhythm track" feed, instead of a stereo key feed. . . keeps me from having to run 3 wires to the snake, instead of 2, and saves a channel.

 

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I have a couple of Yamaha pianos and they lose a lot when run mono. There seems to be some phase cancellation resulting in a thin comb filter sort of sound.

 

I run my PA in stereo with most channels panned to the centre but I do run the piano in stereo. I also use multiple monitor mixes so th piano can be in stereo on stage as well.

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I have a couple of Yamaha pianos and they lose a lot when run mono. There seems to be some phase cancellation resulting in a thin comb filter sort of sound.

 

I run my PA in stereo with most channels panned to the centre but I do run the piano in stereo. I also use multiple monitor mixes so th piano can be in stereo on stage as well.

 

Yeah, I plan on running my own in-ear monitors as stereo, so I'm good, LOL, and if there's any noticeable degradation in the FOH, they'll let me know. . . LOL, not so sure.

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I run stereo as much as possible. There are a couple rooms with house systems that are mono so I run mono there. For my Floyd band, we pretty much require a stereo system otherwise a lot of the sound effects lose their impact. 2 of our guitar players in that band run stereo too.

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The stereo affect screws the audience members who are not in the 'sweet spot' and causes phase cancellation on the subs if they aren't in the center of the stage. So many pro sound guys bridge the amps and run mono.
This is mostly true but terribly misleading.

 

You're right that a lot of venues run mono. It's less true these days than it used to be, thanks to powered speakers. Many smaller venues are set up in a way that makes traditional stereo impractical, so they don't bother.

 

The issue about the sweet spot is an issue only if you're panning voices. For example, if you have a horn section and pan the trombone to the left and the sax to the right, folks on the sides of the audience get screwed if the speakers aren't far enough away to give a good stereo field for the whole audience (which is all too common, as we know.) But we don't do that on our keyboards, do we? What are the stereo effects we use? Mostly, a bit of imaging like stereo reverb or chorus, for which one side sounds just fine -- pretty much the same as it sounds summed to mono. Sure, there are piano patches where the high notes are too far to one side and bass too far to the other. But a well-imaged stereo piano should sound fine on either side of the sound field.

 

Seriously: try all the patches you use on your keyboards, and listen to just the right channel. Then listen to just the left channel. How many of them suffer, compared to mono? In my experience, some actually sound better -- most notably, a Leslie sim sounds way better listening to one side than to summed mono. And frankly, that's the stereo effect that I find most striking when used in a well-arranged stereo venue.

 

If you're getting phase cancellation in subs, then either your keyboard programs are messed up, or the signal chain is messed up, or it would happen in mono too (that is, the venue's subs locations are messed up). I can't think of a stereo patch where bass is out of phase and not centered. OK, one example where it's not centered: Rhodes stereo vibrato, which sounds great even when the listener isn't in the "sweet spot", and which is totally useless when summed to mono, so I use it or not depending on the venue.

 

The bottom line is that whether you run mono or stereo, you need to audition all of your patches to know how they sound that way and whether they have issues. If you run mono, you need to know whether each of your patches sounds best summed to mono, or using just one side (I find that using just one side sounds far better for some and not significantly different for the rest, so I never use the summed output.) If you run stereo, you need to know which of your patches sound best using just one side and which sound best summed to mono. Auditioning your patches for mono/stereo impact is an important task that very few keyboard players bother doing, despite it being far more important than all the reasons they might cite when discussing whether to run mono or stereo!

 

The result of my auditioning is simple: In stereo venues, I run stereo. In mono venues, I use the right output, which applies to my Nord Electro and Ensoniq MR76 (now retired). On the CP4, either side is fine, but the right is slightly better, so it applies to that too. In mono venues, I don't bother using Rhodes stereo vibrato.

 

The biggest problems running stereo are these:

 

* wide-panned stereo pianos. I don't like these anyway so it's not a problem for me, but if your favorite piano is panned wide you probably want to run stereo, for exactly the reason kbeaumont says: so the audience doesn't need to be in the sweet spot to hear the whole piano part.

 

* stereo patches that sum to mono poorly. Of course, if you have these, you have a problem in mono too! So, you need to solve the problem one way or another, but simply using mono is not a solution, and running stereo is not the problem. (Running stereo can hide the problem in many listening locations, but doesn't solve it either.)

 

* You have to know how to communicate with FOH. I tell them to hard pan the two channels, and if they want to image me a bit to one side, just draw back the fader on the opposite side. Of course, hopefully they understand the sweet spot issues.

 

* Some FOH operators just don't get it. Probably best to run mono with these guys, once you figure that out.

 

* Monitoring! It can get complicated. I bring my own and run stereo, so no problem. That adds a bit to the schlep, and I doubt I'd bother if I was a road warrior rather than a hobbyist.

 

Here's a great article on issues regarding stereo pianos for stage use:

http://www.keyboardmag.com/how-to/1255/solving-stereo-stage-piano-problems/28996

 

 

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In my experience, some actually sound better -- most notably, a Leslie sim sounds way better listening to one side than to summed mono

 

I always provide one side usually the left. I also use mono patches where ever possible. I would prefer to monitor in stereo and send in stereo. It would make patch decisions a lot easier especially for piano. Unfortunately in most cases, my experience has still been most of the places I play are mono. Our band has a PA owned by the bass player and its mono, heavy passive speakers and several bridged amps etc.Typical PA purchased 10 yrs ago and updated only when needed. So most gigs for me with my main band of 10 yrs, all gigs are mono.

 

I have run stereo but those are few and far between, mostly small venues as a duo or solo. I have thought about getting a CPS space station amp for these gigs, the venues are small enough that the PA could be relegated to just vocals.

Edited by kbeaumont
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I just run stereo and forget about it. I have not run into a FOH guy who argued the point. In fact, coming from a keyboard rig they expect it. My stage amps are stereo and my in-ear monitor mix is in stereo. If you don't make an issue of it then it is not an issue.

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I'm running a Mainstage 3 Rig' date=' set to output mono on both L and R. One goes to the FOH, the other to my amp as a monitor. Used to output to stereo, but it was all getting mixed to mono anyway. [/quote']

 

This is exactly what I do, but in hardware using 2 synths. I make sure my patches are in mono. Then I send the Right outputs of both synths into my submixer, then to my powered monitor. I then give the FOH the option of a single mixed line of the two Left outputs (out of my submixer), or the Left outputs straight out of the synths to the FOH, so he can mix my 2 keyboards individually at the desk. Most mono FOH guys take the 2nd option. They want to bypass my submixer and mix my keyboard signals (and any FOH effects) independently. Works great.

 

Most situations with house sound, if I send a stereo signal (2 lines), they think it's for 2 separate keyboards and they put them both in mono. So it just makes it easier on both of us if I send independent mono lines for each keyboard in my rig. And yes, I find that the leslie effect sounds just fine coming from either the left or right sides, but NOT summed to mono. I never sum to mono.

 

For smaller venues where I am responsible for bringing my own sound, I have the option to run the whole rig in stereo because there's no FOH guy to deal with.

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  • 3 weeks later...
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I always run stereo, first into a Hotspot as my monitor (1/10 the weight of my old amp!), and through that to the main board, all balanced. We're a small band with our own sound system, and having the keys in stereo seems to add some dimension & motion to the FOH sound.

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  • 3 weeks later...
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Wow -

I haven't posted here on HC in a very loooooong time but my account still seems to be active & I'm glad to still see some old familiar names like dan88z & The Pro :D ... The Gig Man is in Da House! lol :lol:

 

Anyway -

I run stereo when I'm doing the PA myself - running my keys into a SoundCraft MFXi8/2 or the Allen & Heath MixWiz3 on bigger gigs.

 

When running to someone else's PA rig - I run a mono send out of my little keyboard submixer (Yamaha MG82cx), cuz almost NOONE I play with on local gigs runs in stereo or even has enough inputs on their bullsh*t PA systems to accommodate me in stereo! ha ha

 

 

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