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How to wire up on stage monitors question


BiggRedd
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Not sure what category I should post this so since I'm a guitarist this is where it's going. Can move as necessary. Thanks. So I'm in a 90s rock cover band, 90s til dawn, and we have had to provide our own sound for a few shows. I have a basic 8 channel mixer with pa speakers that's been just good enough, but not enough. Got ahold of a Mackie 1604vlz mixer with 16 xlr inputs and 6 monitor channels. It's pretty sweet. I have a question though I'm confused about on using monitors on stage. Since I have 6 aux outs that I can adjust for on stage monitors does that mean I only have 6 channels I can use on monitors? Example, if I have 3 vocals and 3 guitars (1 is bass) and 5 drum channels, 11 channels total, would only the first 6 inputs be monitor mixable? So would i have to pick and choose what 6 instruments/vocals I want in the monitors and make sure their plugged into the first 6 channels? Been trying to watch YouTube videos and what not but just Need clarifying. Hope this makes sense.

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Got ahold of a Mackie 1604vlz mixer with 16 xlr inputs and 6 monitor channels. It's pretty sweet. I have a question though I'm confused about on using monitors on stage. Since I have 6 aux outs that I can adjust for on stage monitors does that mean I only have 6 channels I can use on monitors?

 

I know this can be confusing, but no, that's not a limitation - you can monitor all sixteen input channels in the monitors if you want to.

 

The main mixer (L/R mix bus) combines all sixteen inputs at various different levels (set by the channel faders) and feeds that out to your main speakers, right? :)

 

Now imagine six additional mono versions of that - each feeding a separate aux output jack instead of the main outputs. Each of those six aux outputs has a corresponding level / volume knob on each one of the input channels - although aux sends 3/4 and 5/6 share a pair of knobs; which pair of aux sends the knobs control at any given moment is selected with a switch.

 

By adjusting the various levels of those "aux send" knobs, you can dial up six different monitor feeds, with each of those monitor feeds having its own mix and being sent out of its own aux out jack. Want to just hear the lead vocals on input channel one in monitor 1? Connect Aux 1's output to that powered monitor, and turn up the aux 1 send on channel one of the board. Want to hear a bit of the bass player's vocal mic in that same monitor? Assuming the bass player's vocal mic is plugged into channel 5 of the board, then turn up the aux 1 send on channel 5 of the board.

 

There's one other important thing to point out. Aux sends 1/2 on that board have a "pre" button. This lets you set them to work as either pre or post fader sends. What's the difference? A pre fader send taps the input signal before the channel's main volume fader, and operates completely independently of it. A post fader send taps the signal after the fader, which means the overall output will depend on, and work relative to whatever the main volume fader's level is.

 

Pre fader sends are typically used for monitors, while post fader sends are more suitable for use as effects (reverb and delay) sends. Aux sends 3-6 are post fader sends on that board.

 

Here's how I'd recommend you use the aux sends on that board:

 

First, treat it like it only has FOUR aux sends. Trust me - since aux sends 3/4 and 5/6 share knobs, you'll save yourself a lot of hassle and confusion if you stick to only using aux sends 1-4.

 

Next, make sure you have aux sends 1/2 all set for "pre" - use these as your two monitor sends.

 

Use aux sends 3 and 4 to feed your external rack delay and reverb effects.

 

This will give you the ability to dial up two separate / independent monitor mixes, each with a different blend of the sixteen input channels, and the ability apply various amounts of two different effects to instruments and vocals in the main mix too.

 

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Are the monitors Passive or active/self powered?

 

If they are active you use the aux send Phil Mentioned and daisy chain the inputs. All the mics will play back in the monitors like the mains and you simply adjust the aux send level of each channel to adjust how much is fed to the monitors. (monitors are essentially one speaker but you can adjust each mic level to the monitor mix just like you would the mains mix.

 

If the monitors are passive, you need an extra power amp to power the monitors. The aux send feeds the power amp and the power amp feeds the monitor cabs. Everything else works the same. The monitors do need to be connected to the power amp so you have properly matching impedance. many power heads are either 2 or 4 ohm minimum. If you have 4x8 ohm passive monitors, and you connect them in parallel it gives you 2 ohms, Make sure the power head can handle a 2 ohm load. Otherwise you need to wire them series/parallel for an 8 ohm load.

 

Hopefully you have active monitors because it makes hauling and connecting a PA rig a heck of a lot easier. If your PA uses separate power amps for the mains and monitors, things get more complex, especially if you use a sound man. you need to run a snake to his board and keep the power amps on stage and there's allot more cabling involved to make the rig efficient.

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