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Thursday, May 22, 2008

Monitor Minotaur: Know What You Need

posted by on May 22 at 11:06 AM

minotaur.jpgMonitoring is a key component to any live music. Musicians and DJís need to be able to hear themselves. They also need to be able to hear the other people onstage they are playing with. Can the singer hear their voice over the guitar playerís pummeling Marshall half stack? Thatís when two songs into a set, you hear a plea from the stage to the sound engineer, ďCan you turn me up in the monitors?Ē

Getting that proper mix in the monitors can be a monumental struggle. Not many bands get the hour and a half long Radiohead sound check. If you are not the headliner, normally you just get a quick ďline checkĒ before your set. The band that played before you is rushing to get their stuff off the stage. You are rushing to get set up. Not much time to dial in levels you need. After the line check, you realize you canít hear anything. But the set needs to start because you took too long getting set up.

Good sound engineers are loved and revered because they can dial in a monitor mix quickly. But levels onstage can change. Itís not an exact science.

Drummers have special monitoring needs. Often, they need to be able to hear a little bit of everything. If the band uses loops or a drum machine, the drummer absolutely needs to be able to hear them. Trying to play to a drum machine or a loop you canít hear is like a blind person trying to drive through an obstacle course.

U.S.E.ís drummer Jon E. Rock is here today to tell us how he does his monitors. Heís as solid and tight as they come. Heís tizzight:

Mr. Rock, you guys use some drum machines. How do you make sure you can hear everything?
Rock: We route a stand-alone monitor to me from an independent p.a. system we bring along. It only sends our drum machine signal to me. This serves as both a safeguard in case the drum levels have changed since sound check, as well as being a click track for me to play along to. I have the regular stage monitor on one side, and my drum machine “slave monitor” on the other. Monitor sounds a lot like minotaur, so I will refer to them as such from now on.

Have you ever tried the Ďin-earí monitors?
I would love to try in-ears out. I hear that Shure makes the best but I guess that’s like saying Google is the best search engine, or that Top Ramen is better than Maruchan.

buttkicker.jpgCan you give all the drummers out there any monitoring advice?
Know what you need. Knowing what you need is important. If you just need a click track you can use the quazi-superfluous set up that I have, or employ the use of a Buttkicker. It is some type of woofer that attaches to the bottom of the drum throne and hits your boys with low frequency waves. I hear it makes you impotent though. But if you just want over all sound, in-ears are a great investment, especially if you do the Guitar Center “no payments ‘til we suck out your sole” program. (Whispers: shop at American Music.)

RSS icon Comments


Ha, that's a funny article. And quazi-helpful.

Posted by Hank Williams, Mr. | May 22, 2008 11:38 AM

I will have a booth set up at the cap hill block party conducting a survey as to how many db's it takes to make someone impotent while sitting on the buttkicker. Not sure how we can test it, though.

Posted by Jon e. Rock | May 22, 2008 11:46 AM

@2- haha! I have a steel taint. Willing to participate.

Posted by henry o henry | May 22, 2008 11:51 AM

"Steel Taint". It has been written.

Posted by trent moorman | May 22, 2008 12:03 PM

Is the buttkicker a joke?

Posted by Cece D | May 22, 2008 12:14 PM

come on dude, always playing to a click track? cop out?

Posted by jim | May 22, 2008 12:25 PM

@ #6:

Well, if you use a drum machine in your music it is usually a good idea to play along with it.

Posted by d | May 22, 2008 1:23 PM

Jim, have you ever played to a click before? It's f-ing hard, man. I been playin for 21 years, and if I see a drummer w/ a click I give him mad respect.

Posted by Ricky Ras | May 22, 2008 1:24 PM

Good, informative post. I liked it. Jon E. Rock is a fountain of words and beats. Funny and smart.

Posted by Maldive | May 22, 2008 2:17 PM

That was an interesting, informative interview. "Line Out" is good for something after all!!

Posted by Will in 98103 | May 22, 2008 2:40 PM

The Buttkicker is not a joke. Check the link! Check it out.

Vibration on your booty to stay in time.

Posted by Kicker | May 22, 2008 3:11 PM

The guy at Futuresonics started the whole in-ear thing. Hooked me up, bigtime. Best sound I've heard on my kit. I bailed on Buttkickers after using this stuff.

Posted by stickmaker | May 22, 2008 3:29 PM


$800 for in-ears? Day-um that's some cash.

Posted by eric w. | May 22, 2008 4:31 PM

Yeah, you need to have the 'in-wallet' before you get the 'in-ears.'

I'd love me some in-ears though!!!

Posted by drumear | May 22, 2008 4:50 PM

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