Study Hall

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Happy Time In Monitorland? Getting Your Stage Together

It's a much lighter load with homework and good work habits

Wiring the stage
There’s no one right way to do this but do it the same way every time. Each mix has a number (mix 1, mix 2, etc.). Decide on a numbering scheme to always use, no matter the mix location.

I employ a clockwise numbering system, where upstage right (if there is one) is mix 1, downstage right is mix 2, downstage center is mix 3, and so on. If there’s no upstage right, then downstage right is mix 1. 

The point is that I start with the mix that is farthest stage right, and then number the mixes in a circle. This way there’s never any confusion – I always know which mix is which. When musicians are hollering for “this and that” in their mix, there’s no time to fumble around looking for their particular mix.

Always check mix assignments! Post someone at the monitor console while you (using talk-back mic) speak into each mix. Have the person verify that each is showing correctly on the console, and also, have this person verify that each monitor is working properly.

Check each and every mix in this manner to determine that all are where they should be. Skipping this step is to court disaster. After it all checks out, it’s time to make the band and the audience happy!

Instrument Shorthand
Keep this handy: standard abbreviations used on riders, input lists and to mark consoles.

Instrument……….Preferred Abbreviation…..Secondary Abbreviation
Kick Drum ………Kick……………………………..K
Snare Drum…….Snare…………………………..S
High Hat………….Hat……………………………….H
Rack Toms……..Rack 1, Rack 2……………..R1, R2
Floor Tom ………Floor…………………………….F
Overheads ………OH
Bass ………………Bass
Guitar……………..GTR
Acoustic Guitar…ACOU
Keyboards……….Keys 1, Keys 2…………….K1, K2, K3
Saxophone………Sax
Trumpet………….Tpt
Trombone……….Tbn…………………………….Bone
Accordion………..Accord.
Drum Machine…DM 1, DM 2………………….Pads
Mini Disc………..Mini Disc………………………MD
Percussion……..Perc……………………………Toys
Congas………….Conga 1, 2
Bongos………….Bongos
Cajon…………….Box
Leslie Top………Leslie Hi
Leslie Low……..Leslie Lo
Vocals…………..VOX

For items like the Leslie or the snare drum, where mics are used on top and bottom, arrows are often used. The vocal is usually designated by its position on stage, as VOX SR, for Vocal Stage Right, or VOX USL, for Vocal Upstage Left.  The lead singer is often designated, on the console strip, by a large star.

Teri Hogan is a veteran audio professional who co-owned Sound Services, a performance audio company in Texas.

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