Active monitors? Someone enlighten me!

Discussion in 'Live Performance & Stage Sound' started by Nesty, Sep 3, 2011.

  1. Nesty

    Nesty SS.org Regular

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    Heylo guys..

    So I'm planning on buying an Axe FX II in the not so distant future. Problem is I don't know what is the "best sounding way" to go about using it in a live situation.

    I've seen a lot of people talk about the Mackie 1531, expensive as fuck although it does look promising. How would I pair this with the axe fx? Mic it up via the pa?

    My friend studies recording production at school and advised me that the Mackie would be a waste of money. He stated the 1800 watts is major overkill and that the pa speakers provided at venues would be of same quality which means I might as well go straight through to FOH.

    What's your opinions on active monitors? Is my friend making no sense or am I the ignorant one?
     
  2. Blazerok

    Blazerok SS.org Regular

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    First of all, PA provided at venues won't be all the time near as good as a mackie Active monitor, unless you play big shows in big venues.
    Though i think that a 1531 is overkill too. Even if the Venue PA isn't that good sounding, it's probably going to be the place your signal is going to go anyway, even if you have a 1800 watt monitor.

    So If i were you i'd rather invest in something smaller since it won't be as expensive, and you may still get great quality.
     
  3. KingAenarion

    KingAenarion Resident Studio Nerd

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    Your options are as follows.

    1) AxeFX --- > PA

    2) AxeFX --- > Powered FRFR Speaker ---> Mic ----> PA

    3) AxeFX --- > Powered FRFR Speaker
    --- > PA

    4) AxeFX ---- > power amp ----> Speaker Cabinet ----> Mic ---> PA

    5) AxeFX ---- > Power Amp ----> Speaker Cabinet
    ----- > PA


    Now in option 1 you rely completely on the sound guy for foldback. Now I have found that in many venues, even when you get a soundcheck, the foldback tends to be reasonably average (not ALWAYS the case, just to often) So that's something to think about. The sound guy will love this option though... reduced stage noise... no excess amp noise so he can make a balanced mix!

    Option 2 allows you to just set all your levels and tones in the AxeFX with the inbuilt impulses for cab sim and not worry about the front of house volume being slightly different in the patches (so some patches are louder/quieter than they are supposed to be due to the gain structure of the desks preamps).

    Option 3 means you get your own on stage volume and the sound guy gets a copy of the signal and doesn't have to worry about micing up your cab and extra stage noise. As long as the desk doesn't have crap mic preamps, and that your patches don't vary greatly in volume this shouldn't be a problem.

    Option 4 is the same as option 2, but rather than using impulses and FRFR you use an old school guitar cabinet with a power amplifier of your choosing (like a Fryette or VHT or whatever) This way you don't use impulses but the real thing. You'll probably also freak the soundguy out less with this than the 1800Watt powered speaker. You are limited to one cab sound, but if you like the cab who cares? :)

    Option 5 is probably the most complicated. You use no impulses on the channel going to the power amp which goes on stage just to give you stage volume. You then use impulses on the channel going to FOH... this is Chris Broderick's setup.



    On a side note, 1800Watts is ridiculous. Most powerpoints will only let you draw 2400 Watts....
     
  4. Ckackley

    Ckackley SS.org Regular

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    Here's what I do.. I run Digitech gear direct to FOH and use a Mackie powered cab as my "amp". My opinion is this - I spend a lot of time programming my patches to sound the way I want them to , so I don't need a sound tech sticking a garbage mic in front of a cab and changing that sound. The same for using a tube power amp and guitar cab. They color the sound. I split my signal with a direct box at the end of the signal chain and go FOH and monitor. You have to roll through your patches and make sure they're all at the same volume and match up to each other well. The sound guys that I've worked with LOVE my set up and I constantly ask them for feedback to make what they do easier. I also think the Mackie 1531 is overkill though. I've got a 450 watt cab and I've never had it past half way. lol
     
  5. Nesty

    Nesty SS.org Regular

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    Great post, thank you! When I honestly think about it, the power amp and cab setup seems most feasible for me. I'm going to be spending well over 2 grand on the axe itself, I can't really afford big fancy speakers at the moment. A solidstate power amp will do for the moment until I move onto something better, I've heard great things about the matrix ones.

    Other than that I'll use the PA option when I can. Thanks for the info, very helpful:)
     
  6. Zombie13

    Zombie13 Guitartist

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    I'm using this with my Vetta II
    Carvin.com :: LM15A

    Vetta II (or Axe FX) -> speaker then XLR from the speaker -> FOH.

    The speaker is my own monitor on stage, and for small venues, it is really loud.
     
  7. MisterE

    MisterE SS.org Regular

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    In one band, we're all using inears.
    The other band I play in, they dont use IEM's so I've been using 2 Atomic Reactor FR.
    Before that I used 2 LEM T4-MA powered monitors. They have coaxial speakers.
    Those are better and have less phase issues than monitors with a horn.
    When using monitors with a horn, they should be placed symmetrical - horns on the outside or inside. This means that you'll have to be able to buy a left- and a right-hand version.
    I myself, am on the lookout for a 4x12" cab with coaxial full range speakers.
     

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