Leave Your Mix Alone. It's Good Enough!
I travelled on the road in Christian music for 20 years and I can tell you that there are 2 types of performers: those that are constantly making an exaggerated motion to the sound engineer to change their mix and those that live with it and never let the audience know that their monitor mix wasn’t absolutely pristine. At some point in your career you decide to either be a pro and realize that there’s no “perfect” situation, or you become the whiner that every sound guy hates to work with.
I don’t want to be that guy.
I’ve definitely been in situations where my mix was so bad that I couldn’t do what I was hired to do. But those are rare circumstances. 99% of the time I can live with it, especially in a 20-30 minute worship set. In fact, if it’s really that bad I will take my ear monitors out, or if I’m using wedges I’ll get as far away from them as I can and listen to the mix in the house.
During our rehearsals we take time to make sure everyone on stage has a manageable mix. After a little bit of rehearsing we’ll allow everyone to tweak their mix and make adjustments, but then that’s it.
Here are a few of our monitor rules:
1. Only one person on stage talks to the sound engineer. When everyone is allowed to speak up every time they can’t hear or aren’t satisfied with their mix it creates chaos and slows down the rehearsal process. That one person will field requests from the musicians and relay them at a designated time.
2. If you can’t hear your vocal, try singing louder. That’s my first response to a singer who says “I can’t hear myself.” Guess what - I have the same basic mix you do!
3. Your mix doesn’t have to be perfect. Get what you need and leave it alone. As long as you can hear pitch, tempo and yourself what more do you really need. The sound engineer has enough to do getting the house mix sounding great. He doesn’t need to waste his time giving you a studio experience.
4. No Avioms. We don’t use personal monitor systems at Church on the Move. We don’t use them for the same reason we don’t allow charts on the stage. If there’s a chart in front of a musician he/she’s gonna look at it. If there’s a personal monitor system next to a musician/vocalist they are gonna mess with it all the time.
Basically, we don’t allow “monitor divas”. Get a livable mix and leave it alone.