Mixing live sound part 2: EQ your monitors how to

I just equalized(EQ’d) my monitors for our event we just did, Summer Jubilee, and I immediately became a fan. If your situation is like mine where you don’t have thousands of dollars to go and get all in-ear monitors for every one on the team and your stuck with floor wedges don’t fret your salvation lies within this blog. I was the worship director at the church Turning Point Church Lebanon for over a year and I started off with not having the monitors EQ’d and honestly never really thought about it. All I knew was floor wedges sounded horrible and you couldn’t make out anything at all unless that one thing you wanted to hear was turned up so loud that it was all you could hear. But then I met someone who clued me in on EQing the monitors. And the process is actually quite simple, and since I have EQ’d my monitors it has changed the stage sound so much where you can actually hear stuff. It can be done relatively cheap as well.
Note: I will treat this blog like someone is a beginner at doing sound, so some of the details may be boring. I wanted to make sure I hit the beginner to the experienced.


So first of all lets talk about the equipment you’ll need. The first thing you’ll need is an amp to run the monitors off of, then you will need the channel from which your board assigns the monitors to, and last but not least the graphic EQ. If your not sure what amp to get, I recommend this one.

Our amp is about this and we run four monitors off it 2 per side and it works great. We use a different brand at the church which escapes me right now, but we used a behringer at Summer Jubilee and it worked great. So you got your amp. You are going to output from the amp into your monitors. Always consult a sound person, who knows what they are talking about, about how many monitors your amp can handle per side. Based upon my amp I can probably do about 3 per side with no trouble, 4 will begin to push it. Check make sure you have the correct cables to connect your amp to your monitor, you may need special adapters. Commonly you’ll need a Speakon to a 1/4 in adapter (female).which will look like this:

Those can be a bit spendy so make sure it is what you need. Check you monitors as well to see what input they require, most likely it will be an input for 1/4 speaker cable. Make sure you get speaker cables, it will be labeled. Ok so from the output of the Monitor run the cable to your first monitor then link that monitor to your second if you have one. Pay attention which channel is which because you will need to know this when you add the graphic EQ. Okay that’s it for your amps, if you don’t understand just make a comment and I can help you out the best I can.

Boards, Snakes, and equalizers oh my!

Okay, next we go back to the sound board. I’m going to assume you use a snake to run from the sound board to the stage. Depending on how many auxiliary outs you have will determine how many separate monitor mixes you can have. If you have 2 Auxiliary outs/returns then you will be able to have 2 separate monitor mixes. I recommend you get a sound board with at least 3 auxiliary’s because this will be helpful especially if you have a drummer, then you can give him/her a separate monitor mix, which is very helpful to the rest of the band. So we will go with a board that has 2 auxiliary’s. Your snake should have quarter-inch cables connected to it, if not you may need to get some XLR(Mic Cables) to 1/4 in adapters. Locate on your sound board the Auxiliary outs. It should say, “Aux 1 Out” or, “Aux 2 Out.” Take the 1/4 in cable from the snake and plug-in the cables to the auxiliary outs. Whatever quarter in cable you plug-in will relay to the snake so make sure that is the one you want to be the monitor. The cables should have a number on them, for example, my monitors are 17, 18, and 19 I believe. From there you go to the snake. So right now you are sending a signal to whatever number you plugged into from the sound board to the snake. Now to add the graphic EQ. This is the graphic EQ I use to EQ my monitors and it works great!!

Ok so from the snake we will use quarter in or XLR cables, whichever your snake uses to go from the snake to the graphic EQ. Now you will want some type of mount to mount your amps, power supply, and any other equipment you have, this will make inputting and outputting a lot easier, doesn’t have to be crazy can be just something like this:

Simple light weight. Now you are going to want channel 1 which will be our auxiliary 1 to input into channel 1 on the graphic EQ then you will output from channel one on the graphic EQ to the Input on your amp for Channel 1. And now Channel 1 which will be controlled by Aux 1 back at the soundboard will now be EQ’d. Repeat this process with Channel 2. If I confused you or wasn’t clear on something let me know.

Setting the EQ

Now your monitor mix is going to be EQ’d differently then your House EQ. On your Monitor EQ You’ll want to boost the highs and mids and turn down the lows. This will help with instrumentation being able to cut through all the other sound noise on the stage. Especially if you have a guitar amp and a bass amp those can sometimes overpower the monitor wedges. But with you EQ set like so, it will help with other instrumentation being able to cut through the mix.

Closing thoughts

Ever since I EQ’d my monitors I have loved it and so has everyone else on the team, they can actually hear themselves instead of just hearing a mess coming up from the floor. If you don’t EQ your monitors I highly recommend it!

Thanks for reading!!

Keep Rockin’

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  1. No info at all. What’s the point of this article?

    1. The point was to show how you can eq your monitors and have; a good sound quality, be able to hear yourself, not have to go out and upgrade to in-ear-monitors, and get the best quality out of floor monitors if that’s all you have. Was there something in particular that you were looking for?

  2. Well, I for one was looking for a little more on how you eq monitors…but when you get right down to it, the only info other than how to hook up a system in order to be able to eq your monitors, was to “boost the highs and mids and turn down the lows”…. how does this help anyone looking to combat a venue’s problems? Address wedge’s different personalities? RTA usage. Using a reference mice vs. a vocal mic. Addressing feedback? If all you do is boost mids and highs, I certainly wouldn’t want to be a performer on your stage without earplugs that is for sure…

    1. I understand where you’re coming from. Venue makes a huge difference. I found that where we were at at the time the stage volume would be pretty loud so I would use the lo-cut on the 16 band eq to things pierce through. We had a pretty ghetto setup so we had to make due. If you have any specific problem you’re facing I can run it by a guy who I would classify as a sound wizard if you’d like.

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