monitor mix

I went to see friends from the US do a show the other day. It was in a great little village hall. All wood building which made for a great sound. There was a nice crowd of people who seemed to enjoy the show. The only people not enjoying it were the artists, who despite several attempts to fix it, could never hear themselves properly.

“Dont worry, you sound great in the room.” Why would anyone imagine that is any consolation to a musician? First and foremost a musical performer needs to hear themselves clearly in the way that suits them. How else are they to ply their trade? Their highly developed sense of hearing is the most important of their tools. If they cant hear themselves, they are shooting in the dark. You wouldnt expect a painter or sculptor to work blindfolded, would you?

A good sound engineer understands this and will concentrate to begin with on making the artists happy. They after all know better than anyone what they are going for. Which is what an audience has come to hear. Once the musicians are comfortable and happy with their sound on stage, then the engineer can concentrate on getting the best version possible of that sound to the audience.

By the same token, the most successful performers also understand this, and take the trouble to befriend and cooperate with the sound crew to facilitate getting the sound they want. The best sound engineers are humble and patient, and are rewarded with the trust and gratitude of the performers they work with.

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