I'm leading worship for a retreat in 2 weeks and I’m concerned about the sound. We will be playing through a small sound board with only one monitor output. I’ve played through this system before and the monitor was not really adequate. I’m really concerned that we will not be able to hear each other. Is there a way to add additional monitors even though there’s only one output?
There are 2 mains. But do you need some type of post amplification? Will there be loss of output if you run one wedge off of another?
If they can be daisy-chained then no, there shouldn't be a loss of level.
First, check the resistance (Ohms, or an "Omega" sign) on your monitor output and on available speakers. The SMALLER the number of Ohms, the more current passes through.
A 2-ohm output can handle -- maximum (do not exceed, ever!)
TWO 4-ohm speakers (some big floor monitors)
FOUR 8-ohm speakers (a typical small floor monitor)
EIGHT 16-ohm speakers (like those little "hot spots")
or any combination (a 4 and two 8's, etc.)
The setup itself is simple -- either "daisy-chain" them (in & out of each speaker except the last in line), or use "Y" cables (I presume this is all 1/4")
Be careful -- look on the speaker itself to find its capacity. Also note: a 4-ohm output can only handle HALF the speakers that a 2-ohm can. In a setup like you describe, if you have some of those little 16's you can place them on stands or chairs near the eardrums of the players. That can really help with the drummer, who often can't hear even a big floor monitor unless it is in his face. Now the little speakers won't give you much bass, but they will provide crispness (I myself would vote for one fair-sized floor monitor strategically placed and some hot spots here and there).
Just a note to add - if you're wiring your own cables, be sure you understand the difference between wiring in series and wiring in parallel... because that will affect what the total resistance (aka impedance although they're not quite the same thing) is. For a while we had four 8-ohm speakers running in parallel and we were getting "crackling" in the monitors (and even, I think, in the mains). Four 8 ohm speakers in parallel was 2 ohms and I think we had an 8-ohm output on the power amp and we were overdriving that amp. When I rewired the cables so that we had two sets in parallel of (two monitors in series) the crackling went away because the total impedance now worked out to 8 ohms instead of two and the amp was happy with that. As I recall, if the impedance (resistance) of all the speakers matches the output impedance of the amp, that will give you the maximum output the amp is capable of...
And I'm not 100% sure of this, but I'm fairly sure that when you run multiple monitors off the same amp circuit, there will be loss of volume in individual monitors - the total monitor output will be about the same, but each individual monitor will be less loud - but having multiple monitors lets you put monitors in strategic places as somebody else described. I've seen the math on this but don't have it handy...
I am no whiz on electricity, but one of my "nerd" friends explained it in terms of water pipes, just like in your bathroom, when I turn on my faucet, my wife's diminishes, and we have a Laurel and Hardy scene.
Likewise, a rough analogy would make too many daisy-chained speakers like trying to fill four bathtubs simultaneously from a 1/2" PVC hose with lots of "Y" connections. To fill them rapidly would require enormous pressure at the source, and you might just begin to hear the PVC begin to crack before disaster is unleashed.
what if you put the mains behind the band? Of course mic feedback would be a concern but minimized if you stand in front of them.
I like this idea, assuming the mains are fairly feedback-resistant.