How to set up a monitor mixer

Written by keith ruckus
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How to set up a monitor mixer
(speaker image by Byron Moore from

Having a separate monitor system on stage for any type of performance is invaluable for the artist. Generally all stage monitors are controlled by the sound engineer, and must be tested to and from artist to the sound booth. However, having a mixer set up for one's own monitor gives the artist the freedom to hear as much or as little of themselves and the other people on the stage. The personal mixer monitor is popular among larger musical acts.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Small to moderate sized mixing board
  • 4 1/4-inch sound cables
  • Monitor speakers or monitor headphones

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  1. 1

    Set up your stage exactly how it will be presented during performance. Place the mixing board in a place that will be out of the way, but easily accessible if minor changes need to be made during performance.

  2. 2

    Go to the main mixing board and locate the "Auxiliary Output" ports. Take two of the 1/4-inch sound cables and plug them into the "Auxiliary Output" right channel, and left channel. Keep in mind which cord is plugged into which channel. Run the cords to the stage without being in the way of any foot traffic.

  3. 3

    Plug the two cables into the onstage mixer in the appropriate ports (the right "Auxiliary Output" cable goes into right "Main Input" port on the mixer). Turn down all the settings and volume sliders on your mixer. Plug your mixer into the power supply or electrical socket, depending on which type of mixer you have.

  4. 4

    Decide whether a monitor speaker or headphones is preferred. Plug the speaker/headphones into the "Main Output" port of the mixer but ONLY the left output. Test the connection from the main sound board to the monitor mixer by making noise at the approximate volume as the intended performance.

  5. 5

    Adjust the volume sliders, and tone knobs to a comfortable level and sound for the performance that can be heard by the performer, but not by the audience. Turn of the mixer in between uses and keep the settings where they are preferred.

Tips and warnings

  • Measure the length of the mixing boards to each other before buying the sound cables, giving plenty of room to move the mixer around the stage.
  • Place the monitor speaker (if used) face pointed away from any microphones, as this will cause feedback noise.
  • Consult the sound technician of the stage before touching the main soundboard.
  • Check the power requirements of the mixer before plugging it into the main sound board.

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