Ask the Expert – We need foldback but have limited space and cash

Ask the Expert – We need foldback but have limited space and cash


Another question from our live Ask the Expert session held a few weeks ago with our panel of Tech and Church PA specialists. Whilst you can scroll through all the chat on the event wall, we are also running the questions as part of our Ask The Expert blog posts on technical matters. Feel free to email us with further questions if you like.

Kevin Lovatt asked:

“We have the guitar and bass wired directly into the church P.A. mixer which is situated at the back of the church. The speakers are placed on the wall in front of the band, we have no fold backs so sometimes find it difficult to hear ourselves.
We are very tight on space and cash, any ideas?”

Rich Renken, Line 6:
You got to get some monitors. There are real decent powered monitors. Even one would do wonders.

Tim Horton, SFL:
As Rich says, anything is better than nothing! Even if it’s a single monitor sat at the front with just the lead vocals that would work. Often this can be a great way of working: let the backline amps do the work and pump only the vox through the monitor for reference. But don’t let the backline overpower the Front of House PA.

Geoff Boswell, Audioplan:
Musicians need their own amps. Bass definitely needs its own amp, ditto electric guitar. Acoustic guitars can get away with hearing their sound through foldback but sometimes having their own amp is a better idea.

Amp stands are good because they get amps nearer your ears [and quieter]. Guitarist amps should not be on floor firing through the guitarist’s legs ! No trouser flappers here please. One way to cure a guitarist of loud amp is to get them to point it back towards them using a wedge

I much prefer spot monitors on stands – one for each musician. This results in less stage noise. The Yamaha MS101 is one of the winners – they work really well unless the band is really loud.

Andy Chamberlain, Musicademy:
I agree with Geoff but when putting a guitar amp on a stand you can lose some of the bass. I therefore favour Geoff’s suggestion of tilting it back. Also try to get about 6 feet at least away from it if you can. Try to position the amp towards loud instruments that need to hear it – i.e. the drummer and away from instruments with no amplification – i.e. orchestral and singers

Geoff Boswell, Audioplan:
My bass amp is a wedge shaped Gallien Kruger but strangely for bass its better on a stand!! Depends on so many variables though and Andy is right you don’t want to compromise your sound. Just not tear the heads off the front row!

Jarod Richardson:
But here’s the rub…you start spending cash on a personal monitor per person and amps/cabling to run them, you could pretty easily get a headphone amp for each person for about $75/each and then switch to in-ears. Just depends on how many aux sends you have from mix desk at FOH to stage…

Andy Chamberlain:
Yes… you need even one monitor or amps – a powered wedge isn’t that expensive these days.

Kevin Lovatt:
Thanks guys, lots of options there for us to consider.