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FRFR Frustration

Tubehead

Inspired
I have many friends who tour with and have used traditional guitars live and they don't like the sound of guitar amps mic'd and coming through the vocal monitors either. if you watch rig run throughs with steve Stevens and Steve Vai, you'll notice that they have custom made guitar 1x12 or 2 x 12 cabinets next to the vocal monitors in front of them and that's where they hear they guitar. The monitors in front of them are for vocals and other stuff.

On most big stages There's usually an eq inline with each monitor for feed back control and mid craziness. I just go with the faith that it's sounds better front. That and I walk out with my wireless to listen. But sometimes you just deal with the monitor sound or bring your own. :0)

Thanks, Larry. Great Point.
 

Tubehead

Inspired
Most monitors have a boosted upper midrange and lower treble. This is done to enhance vocal intelligibility (so the singers stay on pitch). This will make your tones sound "brittle".

Understood. Thanks so much. I completely overlooked that the monitor I use in my studio or rehearsals is true FRFR and he monitors in the clubs ARE NOT!
 

xrist04

Fractal Fanatic
Vocal monitors are NOT FRFR. Any "proper" sound system will have the monitors EQ'd for gain-before-feedback. The results in a response that is anything but flat. Even if the monitors aren't EQ'd they likely aren't flat. Vocal monitors are not designed for that.

The good news is the FOH probably sounds great. You simply can't rely on the monitors to reflect what your tone sounds like. That's why most people bring their own dedicated monitor.

Or they use IEM, which have a different set of issues :)
 

cbzender

New Member
I've had great results using a pair of JBL 712s. I run them from output 2 of the axe and send output 1 to FOH. Gives me separate eq and level control. I take a line level mix of everything else I need to hear from the board and put it into input 2 of the JBL's so I have independent control over that volume as well.
 

FDB

Member
I went to in-ears about a year ago and don't think I'll ever go back. I still use a wedge monitor but it only has my guitar in it, that way I can get the feel and feedback one would associate with having a loud amp onstage. The in-ears take time to dial in but once you get there they really spoil you.
 

KevinP

Inspired
Second on the in-ears. Once dialed in they are a no brainer. I had been using them for many many years with a live amp, recently bought the Axe and converted to completely in the box. The rest of my band followed suit and now we have no live speakers on stage (the drummer still uses acoustic drums though). Our setup is easier by far, our stage volume is much more manageable and we don't have "lanes" impacting the FOH from the guitar or bass amps, and we have great sound consistently in our ears.

Under all circumstances the PA and monitors will sound different from what your amp does. There are tons of factors driving this, PA systems aren't designed to be flat, sound guy's EQ things, mixers have pre-amps that will color the sound, rooms are not even close to acoustically perfect, the tone of the PA and the room changes dramatically as the volume changes in the house or on stage, etc...

When our other guitarist went in the box he complained a bit, so maybe what I told him will help you: Get a tone that works for you and fits what the band is doing, make sure you like it - the house sound will never sound exactly like what you are hearing, and that is ok because most times people won't notice the difference and most of the audience aren't there to critique your tone, they are there to hear the songs you are playing. Girls are there to shake their @sses and guys are their to pick girls up and drink, as long as those two things happen and you are happy with your tone call it a good gig.

Maybe some IEM's or FRFR will help you get to your happy place.
 

Tubehead

Inspired
Second on the in-ears. Once dialed in they are a no brainer. I had been using them for many many years with a live amp, recently bought the Axe and converted to completely in the box. The rest of my band followed suit and now we have no live speakers on stage (the drummer still uses acoustic drums though). Our setup is easier by far, our stage volume is much more manageable and we don't have "lanes" impacting the FOH from the guitar or bass amps, and we have great sound consistently in our ears.

Under all circumstances the PA and monitors will sound different from what your amp does. There are tons of factors driving this, PA systems aren't designed to be flat, sound guy's EQ things, mixers have pre-amps that will color the sound, rooms are not even close to acoustically perfect, the tone of the PA and the room changes dramatically as the volume changes in the house or on stage, etc...

When our other guitarist went in the box he complained a bit, so maybe what I told him will help you: Get a tone that works for you and fits what the band is doing, make sure you like it - the house sound will never sound exactly like what you are hearing, and that is ok because most times people won't notice the difference and most of the audience aren't there to critique your tone, they are there to hear the songs you are playing. Girls are there to shake their @sses and guys are their to pick girls up and drink, as long as those two things happen and you are happy with your tone call it a good gig.

Maybe some IEM's or FRFR will help you get to your happy place.

Would you mind me inquiring as to which IEM you are using? I would like to have a great system rack mounted with my AFX and know it will be consistent and something I can use and depend on regardless of venue. I've tried a few IEM before and thought they were cr@p. It's hard to justify dumping cash on a decent system without having an opportunity to giver it a test drive or know of a decent recommendation.

Another question... Are your IEM a decent representation of what you are hearing from a true FRFR system? Just wondering...

My studio has FRFR monitors but they are not meant to be portable for when I gig in clubs. So - I started looking at the Atomic CLR wedge (powered) and am now wondering if the money to invest in that system might be directed somewhere else to have a more versatile option. Possibly IEMs. I see that the IEM have a 2nd input for stage mix but I know most IEMs can accommodate the same.

Thanks
 

KevinP

Inspired
I use Ultimate Ears UE7 custom molded IEMs with a Carvin IEM system (wireless unit). They weren't cheap ($800), and I'm not sure if I could have returned them if I hated them, but I've been using IEMs long enough to know what I wanted and they fit the bill. If you want something less expensive try the Westone UM2's - they are good enough for the guys from Muse - so they can't be too bad :) No matter what you get there will be a break in period where you have to get used to them and understand what you need from a mix.

My band plugs everything into a split snake, 1 fan tail goes to our mixer (Presnous StudioLive 24 channel unit) which provides our 5 IEM mixes and covers FOH when we use our own PA. We also dump the whole show to computer via Firewire from the board to a computer. If there is a house PA they get the fan tail. We never use ANY monitors on stage other than IEMs - EVER!!! :) If they are they we ask the FOH if we can strike them to save room, and we make sure he knows if they stay we don't want to hear anything from them at all, we went the amp off and everything.

As far as getting tones and FRFR - I'm sure my IEMs aren't exactly FRFR but I'm not in the business of exact - as stated above the PA isn't FRFR, the room isn't FRFR and the drunk guy doing sound is definitely not FRFR (even non-drunk really good FOH guys are not FRFR). What I do is build my tones through the rig we use for our shows, I don't plug my IEMs into the Axe - it doesn't translate as well. So I show up to rehearsal early and build my tones there, playing from my Axe through the XLR output, into our board. I may start on a tone at home, but even then I'm going through a board and not plugging into the headphone jack of the axe, and then i finalize it with my drummer or bassist playing with me. Once my tones are dialed in I may cut some high -mid (typically between 1k and 4k) or low mid (always a high pass around 150hz and then maybe another cut between 250 and 500hz) on the channel strip of the board - but that is only for the FOH mix, I don't change anything on the Axe.

Too many guitarist worry about what they sound like by themselves - unless you are doing a solo gig you won't be playing by yourself so you have to find a spot that works for the music you are playing, don't overtake the bassist in the low end, leave room for vocals, etc...

The method above is what I have used for years, although it used to be with a mic'd amp. I've done lots and lots of shows, with lots of different PA and room configurations and more sound guys than I can count. I've never had one complain about my volume or tone, most times I get tone compliments, especially from the ones who play guitar.

If you have any questions about the gear or how we are doing things I'm happy to answer.
 

spbahm

Member
The Atomic CLR wedge was the best investment (after the axe of course) for live shows I've made in the last year. I use IEMs (1964 V6) for normal shows and the CLR for festivals. I always get the tone that i dialed in and it sounds great in the FOH. It did take some time to dial it in at the room, but I maybe to much of a knob turner for my own good.
 

stringrazor

Inspired
The thought of giving up complete control to the stage mixer used to give me fits. Even when I gigged with gear that had direct outs, I always maintained control of my stage amplification. Vocal wedges only never worked for me. I know keyboard guys that also started bring their own powered monitors for the same reason.
 

fret

Experienced
Last week I bought a Mackie HD1221 mainly so I'm not at the mercy of the venue PA wedges. (It may or may not have had something to do with playing a few sets at a venue with a broken POS wedge that was swamp sort of muddy and had a broken distorting tweeter). I managed to get a floor stock unit for $1k AUD which was a pretty good price here.

Interestingly it really accentuates the differences between the amps. When playing at reasonable levels through my recording monitors (Yamaha HS80M) or through studio cans I never really felt there was enough difference between a blackface, marshall or vox preset. Fast forward to auditioning the Mackie wedge...

Blackface preset... "Holy shit!"
Marshall preset... "Hoooooly SHIT!"
Vox preset... "I AM THE EDGE..."
5150 preset... "HOOOOLY SHHHHIIIIITTT!"

The thing just comes alive at volume. Even the staff at the store were commenting on how good it sounded.
 

Tubehead

Inspired
I just wanted to give an update as to where I am on this...

I received an Atomic CLR Active Wedge last week to help me with my FRFR frustrations. :) First thing I noticed was how different my best patches sounded when playing them through the CLR. EQ was adjusted and even some UR cabs now have a more transparent difference than they did before using the CLR. Most of my patches were created in the studio with hope of using them live. Of course, you know my frustrations I had using the in-house monitoring systems.

After playing with the patches now for 3 -4 days and continually dialing them in... I am finding my tones to be MUCH more useable then I had expected. I am hearing nuances in amp models, UR cab selections and just general settings than I have ever heard before. And to make things better, I now have a portable solution for live venues where my reference will be consistent with what I've created. I know that my patches will continue to mature, but I feel as though they have improved leaps and bounds since the CLR. I have another live performance coming up, I am curious as to how this will go and how I will sound through FOH with my new settings.

Overall, I am very pleased with the feedback received here and love a true FRFR monitor.

That is all for now :)
 

funny_polymath

Fractal Fanatic
CLR Wedge cured all of my remaining FRFR issues. I actually thought my sound was pretty good, but changed to the CLR to get the (Matrix GTX1000 2U) amp out of my heavy rack and on the floor. Only when I turned the thing on did I discover what I'd been missing! And besides the sound, the WIDE sweet spot is to die for!
 
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