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Turn Me Up! How I Control My Own In-Ear Monitor Mix

“I need more of myself! Turn me up!” – Musicians Worldwide

It is an age old dilemma for the sound crew- how to provide the volume levels that each musician wants in order to hear themself. I recall the time when floor monitors were ubiquitous and all the time the band would spend arguing over their monitor levels. In smaller venues it sometimes to the point that the stage monitors were louder than the house speakers! The drop in price of good in-ear monitors to a range the average music could afford was a game changer.

As a drummer, I love in-ear monitors because it puts the monitor audio closer to my eardrums. I do not have to strain to hear the floor monitor over the sounds of enthusiastic banging. 

As a keyboardist, in-ear monitors have allowed me to increase the lushness and types of sounds I can use. Getting the floor monitor volume up where I wanted it often would cause the rest of the band to not be able to hear their own part due to the covering nature of pads.

One problem solved, but there is still the issue of many mixing consoles having a limited number of aux channels for monitors.What I commonly encountered were four aux channels, split something along the lines of:

  • Piano
  • Singers
  • Drums and bass
  • The rest of the band

That left everyone to bicker about their own volume still.

Nearly two decades ago I came up with a deceptively simple solution that allowed me to both hear as much of myself as I want and control my own volume. All without affecting anyone else sharing the monitor mix. In fact, I could be removed from the monitor mix entirely if desired and still hear myself. 

The solution: Run the monitor send from the board and the output from your instrument into a personal mixer.

Here is a diagram of the idea:

The Personal Mixer sits next to your instrument and allows you to turn up and down the volume of your instrument independently of the monitor mix coming from the soundboard.

During set up, connect a splitter to the output of the instrument, in my case a keyboard. One side runs into the direct box and out to the house, the other into the personal mixer. The monitor send from the house runs into another channel on the personal mixer. Headphones plug in to the personal mixer and viola! I now have control to hear myself as loudly as I would like.

For the splitter, go with something like

My current go to personal mixer is the Rolls MX28, due to it’s compact design and how easy it is to mount on a flat surface.

Other mixers I have used with great success

And, of course everyone wants to know what earbuds I used. For the price and sound quality I have never found any better than the KZ lineup

Book Review: PHPUnit Essentials

In the past few years I have worked on many projects that involved implementing a testing infrastructure, I have spoken at conferences on the important of and theories of testing, and I have led workshops training beginners in testing. In all that time I have looked for a good concise and easy to read resource to share with people. PHPUnit Essentials by Zdenek Machek meets and exceeds my expectations.

Machek starts the book out by walking through the available installation methods and then moves into tools, in particular IDEs. Several popular open source and commercial IDEs are reviewed including: NetBeans, Zend Studio, Eclipse, and PhpStorm. Machek walks through the process of setting up PHPUnit in each IDE and running simple tests to get you started.

Machek goes into the basics of testing but the real power of this book lies in the thorough review of the more advanced testing concepts that many resources shy away from. Starting with theory on how to write good testable code all the way to testing databases, the following topics are covered: dependencies, in depth command line usage, test isolation, dealing with globals and data providers, test organization, test doubles (fakes, stubs, mocks, expectations, and proxies), database testing, API testing, and testing legacy (spaghetti) code. As a bonus Machek tossed in chapters on functional tests in the web browser, continuous integration, behavior-driven testing, and even a section on PHPUnit alternatives.

This is a small book but it is packed with a powerful amount of information and excellent code examples. It is a must have on any PHP developers bookshelf.


Legal Stuff

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher Packt Publishing. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

If you would like me to review your book head over to the contact page and get a hold of me.

Financing Real Estate Investments for Dummies by Ralph R. Roberts and Chip Cummings




Your practical guide to scoring cash to fuel your real estate investments

Want to be a smart, successful real estate investor? This no-nonsense guide contains everything you must know to make the right choices about financing your investments — from the various options available and the impact on cash flow to the tax implications and risk factors involved. You also get tried-and-true tips for surviving a down market and using current investments to finance future ones.


Financing Real Estate Investments for Dummies provides an overwhelming amount of information to the reader. This book is a great resource for both the novice and seasoned real estate investor seeking financing and goes into every aspect you need to know to secure financing. Chip Cummings provides many real world examples from deals he has done. This book is the most in-depth and comprehensive financing book on the market. I highly recommend all real estate investors have a copy in their library.


I was no paid, asked to, or provided any incentive to publish this review

Movie: Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga’hoole

Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga’hoole

Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga’hoole


Acclaimed filmmaker Zack Snyder (300, Watchmen) makes his animation debut with this fantasy adventure based on the beloved books by Kathryn Lasky. Young owl Soren marvels at his father’s epic stories of the Guardians of Ga’Hoole, mythic winged warriors who fought a great battle to save all owl kind from the evil Pure Ones. When he and brother Kludd fall from their treetop home and into the talons of the Pure Ones, it’s up to Soren to make a daring escape with the help of other brave owls. Together they seek the Great Tree, home of the Guardians–the only hope of defeating the Pure Ones and saving the owl kingdoms. The stellar voice cast includes Abbie Cornish, Miriam Margolyes, Helen Mirren, Sam Neill, Geoffrey Rush, Jim Sturgess and Hugo Weaving.


Animated movie that is great for the whole family. I spent an evening with my nephews and their parents and all of us were riveted the whole movie. The animation is great and the story line, though common, was good and enacted in a fun way. More than just a fun movie for kids, there is a great story here about keeping faith even when hope seems bleak while fighting to overcome injustice. Little girls will like it because of the cute owls, and boys will like it because of the intense action scenes. I very highly recommend this movie to all families, and if you just want to sit down to a good fun clean movie with a friend or significant other you cannot go wrong with Legend of the Guardians.


I was not paid, asked to, or provided any incentive to publish this review.

The ABC’s of Writing Winning Business Plans by Garret Sutton, Esq.

The ABC's of Writing Winning Business Plans

The ABC's of Writing Winning Business Plans


How to prepare a business plan that others will want to read and invest in

ISBN: 0-446-69415-0


Learn how to prepare and utilize the most important document for any organizationthe business plan. Whether one is just starting out or is already in business and needs to refocus efforts, this practical guide will clearly instruct how to prepare a winning business plan. This book will become a valued resource for entrepreneurs and business owners on their path towards future success.


The ABC’s of Writing Winning Business Plans is another in the Rich Dad’s Advisors series. As usual this book was fun to read. All of the Rich Dad’s Advisors books are neither boring, nor dry, and this was not exception. Garret Sutton does a great job of explaining what a business plan is, why it is needed, and what all the pieces are. He does not get into the real nitty-gritty but more than enough information is provided to get you started and encourage you along the way. This book is a definite must read if you are thinking of going into business or trying to reevaluate an existing business.


I was no paid, asked to, or provided any incentive to publish this review

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