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FOH master output monitors


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I do some work at a local small venue (about 200 people max) that mainly does shows like pantomimes and that sorta thing.


The sound system in the venue is great however the FOH mixer is about 2 meters above the audience and all the speakers point down into the audience meaning whoever is mixing doesn't get a very accurate representation of what they are outputting. This causes issues so I was wondering would it be possible to add a set of small studio monitors to help give a more accurate representation of the output for mixing? I have never seen this done at a venue however I cannot think of any reason it wouldn't work.

Any suggestions of some suitable monitors or another approach to fix this issue would be greatly appreciated.



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Being away from the audience is not ideal, in that situation I have just used cans. It doesn’t let you monitor exactly what the sound is like in the room, I don’t think there is a good substitute for that but it will let you monitor the input into the room, if that’s a bad mix to start with, I can’t see the room being any good.
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If you have the option of a listen in the house as well as from the desk you should be able to learn what compensation you need to add at the desk to make the "house" sound right (one of my venues used to involve a lot a walking from the desk to the back of the room to see what I was inflicting on the punters). Otherwise, as Pete suggests, it's a case of cans.
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The sound team that comes in with one of the external hirers (a "professional" theatre school) at one of the venues I do work for use near-field-positioned monitors at the mix position*. However: the team spend some time sounding out the venue and comparing what their near-fields are giving them compared to our FOH system so that they can mix accurately.


I myself have tried using a similar approach when mixing pantos/musicals at the same venue, using similar monitors, but I wouldn't rely on them to be my only source of reference.


If memory serves, the aforementioned team used to use Canford "diecast powered speaker"s (76-361 on the Canford website), but I've more recently observed them using Fostex 6301 of some variety. I myself used Canford 76-361s.



* - or at least they did pre-Covid: during the lockdown we took the opportunity to sort out the in-house system, notably installing delays so that the mix position is actually covered, so they might not feel the need for their near-fields anymore.

Edited by mnorwood
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...the FOH mixer is about 2 meters above the audience and all the speakers point down into the audience...



I'm surprised that there is a problem, at least one that'd be solved by having dedicated speakers at the desk. Speakers are generally not that directional; perhaps a better solution would be to tweak the angling of the main PA.

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These Fostex & Canford speakers are much used as talkback & general comms speakers. They are not (& don't claim to be) anything like full-range, so ok for checking presence of signal but definitely not for balancing your mix.

I have both varieties and some Drake equivalent and have often used them for this purpose but and it's a massive BUT you are totally correct, that is not what they are for and to be honest not fit for that job.


However a couple of years back I front ended the house system, at Rochester Corn Exchange, with mixer and pile of radio mics and a Canford for local monitor on the balcony and the house system faded out, my only option open to me was turn the Canford round and turn the volume up. Quite remarkably it stood up very well to the task, I'm not trying to say there was no difference, it blatantly couldn't compete with the installed system but it was enough for the speaker to continue as we fiddled to get their mixer out of the way. (Which involved cutting and joining 2 cables for the right plugs.

I often use them for 'hot spot' SFX etc as long as it doesn't involve too much music.


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