I've tried many different stage set ups for amps and drums, i.e. amps right at the back of the stage, on floor, on tables; drums at the front, back. The combinations are many, some work better than others. Without using monitors, what really successful set ups have been tried, in rooms that hold, say, 2oo-ish people, with a stage, to give the best sound for everyone - audience and players. Any good theories why some things work/ are useless. Basic band - drums/bass/ gtrs/ k'bds and vox.And NO sound man.

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    How does one manage to sing without a monitor? I imagine that being incredibly difficult. Also, what style of music are we to be considering? Commented Dec 18, 2016 at 19:29
  • I haven't used monitors for many years now, as they only added to the sound pressure on stage, and everyone wanted more of themselves, making it a viscious spiral of noise. Play at a sensible sound level, in the situations I use in the question, and there's no necessity.
    – Tim
    Commented Dec 18, 2016 at 19:57
  • 200 is a getting pretty big for no engineer. You might see what can be done on that front. Also... how do you sing without monitors? Listening to the front of house mix? Commented Dec 19, 2016 at 5:50
  • I only sing harmony, so need to know what other voices are there, up to six part. If the other players insist on being the loudest in the band, it's difficult! But with good players who are empathetic, and the p.a. set up well, sonically and physically, it's o.k. I find that once the monitors are there, everyone wants to hear themselves more, so the viscious spiral starts.
    – Tim
    Commented Dec 19, 2016 at 10:23

1 Answer 1


Everyone's amp pointing straight into THEIR face. Not the back of their knees. Not the audience. The PLAYER'S face. Arrange the stage so that the drummer is also in the 'line of fire'. Only modify this if the audience really can't hear. But they'll be able to.

If an instrument isn't coming through, everyone else must turn down. That includes the drummer. He CAN rock without belting everything as hard as possible. Really.

  • Do you mean their face, or the back of their head? Certainly agree about turning down, but it rarely happens - especially drummers, who never seem to bring their quiet sticks. A good muso can also be a quiet muso.
    – Tim
    Commented Dec 18, 2016 at 18:42
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    Some drummers you can turn down by putting the backline amps in front of them rather than behind, so they're not getting as much level.... Some you can't. The latter need to be avoided, or their 2B's stolen & replaced with 7's. There is a 3rd, rare type,. who actually just knows how to fit the band/venue/gig. If you meet one, handcuff him to your basement radiator, let him out only for gigs.
    – Tetsujin
    Commented Dec 18, 2016 at 18:56
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    Give the drummer a part to read :-)
    – Laurence
    Commented Dec 18, 2016 at 21:02
  • I aim my amp at the back of my head, using a 1x12 open back combo on a stand and angled upwards. Spill from the back and sides seems to be audible enough for the band, on larger stages a little goes into the monitors and a bunch into FOH. I literally couldn't sing without monitors but maybe without an amp pointed at my head I could. Commented Dec 19, 2016 at 5:54

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