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New twist - Im now a sound guy

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 cnev
(@cnev)
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Joined: 19 years ago
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I won't go into alot of details but the drummer from our old garage band had hooked up with a new group fronted by a female singer and had their second gig at a fundrasing function for his brother who is running for a senate position, this past Friday.

Anyway he called me the day before and asked if I could do the sound for him and I said I would. So I showed up at 7:00 ish (they were playing at 7:30 and could not do a sound check)

So basically we were winging it hoping the leverls weren't to bad at the begining.

The setup was the vocals, the guitar and the bassd rum where going throught the mixer/PA with the bass on it's own not mic'd.

Well they start the first song and BAM the bass player is blowing everyone out of the water. I tried getting his attention to turn down but he didn't. I must have had 20 people come up to me and tell me the bass was too loud..DAH. Unfortunately I couldn't do much about it. Then his bass started making some very strange, weird sounds that I don't know what they were other than they weren't normal. Make a long story short a couple things were screwed up with his setup. First off his bass had active pickups and I guess there are two inputs on his bass head, one for active and one for passive. he plugged in into the wrong one ( I think that was the cause of an annoying hum) he also blew the speaker in his cab which just made it worse.

Finally got him to turn way down (I think he played all night in the wrong input) but once he did I was able to get a much better mix and I actually had someone tell me atthe end it sounded good.

But I knew this was going to be a difficult crowd/room. The room is just a big VFW hall empty with concrete walls the acostics their are horrible to begin with I've seen several bands there (lots of bouncing of the walls) so I knew they really needed to keep the levels low or there would be problems.

That and the fact that the crowd was mostly an older crowd that all kept telling me to lower the volume. I pretty much had shut the bass drum down right from the beginning as the drummer plays loud to begin with plus with the bass amp not running through the PA all I had control of was the guitar and vocals.

Toward the end they started sounding pretty good dispite everything that happened. Still had complaints about being too loud but there was nothing I could do about that and it really wasn't that loud it's just most of these people aren't used to being at a live show (in the last 40 years)

One observation on my part and I didn't think of it at the time (now I will) and that is as soon as the bass player ran into issues with his rig that he couldn't seem to correct I should have patched him directly into the mixer/PA.

Is there anything I need to be aware of when doing that? Anything I need to be careful of?

Also in talking with my instructor who's been doing the sound for his son's band (and has played in hundreds of bands). he told me he only runs the vocals and bass drum through the PA and never mic's the guitars/amp.

And that definitely would have worked fine for the other night ew didn't really need to have the guitar mic'd althought hat never caused any problems.

So to you sound junkies any advice for a buddy sound engineer. They also asked me to play with them but I'm holding off ont hat right now. Still trying to put something together on my own and right now I'm not looking for a committment.

Ends up the guitar players son and my daughters are good friends and my oldest one and his son dated for awhile...small world.

Anyway I agreed to do the sound to help them out for awhile and I figure if nothing else it will be good experience for me. I can blow up someone else's equipment instead of mine.

"It's all about stickin it to the man!"
It's a long way to the top if you want to rock n roll!


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(@danlasley)
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Joined: 14 years ago
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A little on-the-job-training gig, eh? Welcome to the club!

The bass will get into every mic, so be sure to activate the Lo-Cut on every mixer channel (except the kick-drum), and even drop down the low EQ if needed. Not a lot of vocal energy below 100Hz.

If there is no chance for a sound-check, have the band open with a simple song that has some dynamics and harmonies (I use "Feelin' Alright"). Identify the biggest issues and pause before playing the next song. This will give you a chance to tell the bass player (or whoever) to turn it down.

Read some of the articles here about gig bags etc. https://www.guitarnoise.com/tag/sound-engineering/ and https://www.guitarnoise.com/topic/playing-live/


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 cnev
(@cnev)
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Topic starter  

Hey Laz some good reading there the board they have is a 16 channel Mackie board and it looks almost exactly like the one in the articles.

Just not to sure about the guy that wrote them....HA

"It's all about stickin it to the man!"
It's a long way to the top if you want to rock n roll!


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(@kent_eh)
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Joined: 16 years ago
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I guess I don't have to mention that a sound check is a good idea

If you can get a handle on the bass player's stage volume, then running him thru a DI into the PA is a good idea.
Running without a bass amp, and just in the PA, means you have to put the bass into the monitors. Which means you need to be sure the monitor trig is up to the task (10" speakers and 100 Watts ain't gonna cut it).

It's always a challenge with a loud drummer in a lively room. Most drummers don't have a volume knob, so to get a decent mix you have to bring everything up to the drums.
Which, as you found, doesn't always work with the room (or the patrons)

About all you can do is apply some diplomacy to the band, and see if everyone can work together to help the sound.

I wrapped a newspaper ’round my head
So I looked like I was deep


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(@trguitar)
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Joined: 16 years ago
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Low cut? Is that a low pass filter? Oh ... OK just looked it up. I'm arse backwards as usual. Here is what I got.
High-pass (low-cut) and low-pass (high-cut) filters restrict a given channel's bandwidth extremes which can prevent subsonic disturbances and RF or lighting control disturbances from interfering with the audio system.
Now I know what they are for! I love this learning stuff! Sad to say, my PA is cheap and has no such filters, just a db cut on certain chanels to accept line level inputs.

"Work hard, rock hard, eat hard, sleep hard,
grow big, wear glasses if you need 'em."
-- The Webb Wilder Credo --


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 cnev
(@cnev)
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Yea soundchecks are a good thing.

I think with these guys I'll always be mixing to the drummer. I've played with him for 2 years now and I know he pretty much has only 2 volumes. His normal one and then cranked up a bit. In this particular room with the acoustics the way it was and the problems we had it was difficult.

I think in a crowded bar with them being lower to the crowd I think it might have been alittle easier.

I still don't know enough about the equipment but they have practice tomorrow so I'll be working on it again. I'll have to get the specifics of the equipment I know there are two power amps one for the mains and one for the monitors and it's a Mackie 16 channel mixer and that's about it.

"It's all about stickin it to the man!"
It's a long way to the top if you want to rock n roll!


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(@moonrider)
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Yea soundchecks are a good thing.

I think with these guys I'll always be mixing to the drummer. I've played with him for 2 years now and I know he pretty much has only 2 volumes. His normal one and then cranked up a bit.

In my world, that would get him fired for being a lazy hack. Being able to maintain tempo at ANY volume level is a critical BASIC skill for any drummer, no matter what genre they play. As you're finding out, those that won't practice enough to master it are generally a major obstacle to a band sounding good.

Playing guitar and never playing for others is like studying medicine and never working in a clinic.

Moondawgs on Reverbnation


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(@kent_eh)
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I think with these guys I'll always be mixing to the drummer.

Attack his kit with pillows and duct tape
I know there are two power amps one for the mains and one for the monitors and it's a Mackie 16 channel mixer and that's about it.
That's a start.

There are probably more than 1 way to configure the gear they have. Once you get some time with the rig, and find out what you have to work with, and how they have been setting it up, you'll be able to get a better handle on your options.

What is available for EQ?
How many monitor cabinets?
How many FOH?
Is the FOH running mono, stereo, or bi-amped?
What is the capability of the amps?
FX?
How many sends does the board have?

It's a whole new level of gear to figure out, but at the end of the day, your ears are still your most important asset.

I wrapped a newspaper ’round my head
So I looked like I was deep


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 cnev
(@cnev)
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Topic starter  

Well rfrom what I know or kind of know the FOH is running about 2000 w and about 850 I think he said for the monitors. There are 4 FOH speakers and 4 monitors.

I'm gonna guess these are setup for mono but not sure.

"It's all about stickin it to the man!"
It's a long way to the top if you want to rock n roll!


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(@moonrider)
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Joined: 18 years ago
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Oh shoot. I'm slipping. I meant to post these for you earlier . . .

http://www.prosoundweb.com/studyhall

http://forums.prosoundweb.com/index.php#c1 - Stick with the "LAB lounge" for small system info and "newbie" topics. There's lots of good info in the Study Hall link too.

Playing guitar and never playing for others is like studying medicine and never working in a clinic.

Moondawgs on Reverbnation


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 cnev
(@cnev)
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Topic starter  

Well it's nice to see that every band is dysfunctional. The band I am supposed to do sound for just canned their bass player so they are trying a new guy out tonight. That should give me a few weeks to get comfortable with the equipment.

I guess they had an opportunity at the last minute to get into a Battle of the Cover Bands contest run by a local radio station but the bass player said he was busy tonight so they got mad at him and dropped him.

Sooooooo glad I'm not involved in all the drama.

"It's all about stickin it to the man!"
It's a long way to the top if you want to rock n roll!


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 Ande
(@ande)
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Joined: 15 years ago
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he pretty much has only 2 volumes. His normal one and then cranked up a bit.

In my world, that would get him fired for being a lazy hack.

I'm guessing drummers are easier to find in your world than in mine.

Real common problem- for some reason a lot of drummers, especially rock drummers, struggle to get below a certain volume level.

This is the best argument I've heard for kits like this:

Not cheap, and a lot of drummers don't care for the "feel." But a volume knob for a drummer is a BIG advantage for everybody.

Best,
Ande


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(@trguitar)
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I agree a good drummer needs to be able to adjust volumes. You need the dynamics to make good music. You need loud and soft as well as fast and slow. That said, in defense of drummers, I don't blame them for not liking the feel of digital drums. As guitar players, we like our particular string guage. We have a model guitar we prefer. Scale length, fingerboard material, bolt vs glued neck are considerations too. Most of all, we want our amp to be just so and at the right level to have it in it's sweet spot. Why? Feel and sound. It is easier for us guitarists to adjust our volume if and still maintain the feel and sound we desire as long as we have the proper equipment. I'm not saying drummers don't need to control their voulume. I'm just saying it might be a harder skill for them to master.

"Work hard, rock hard, eat hard, sleep hard,
grow big, wear glasses if you need 'em."
-- The Webb Wilder Credo --


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(@kent_eh)
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The cheap solution:

The expensive solution:

I wrapped a newspaper ’round my head
So I looked like I was deep


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(@moonrider)
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he pretty much has only 2 volumes. His normal one and then cranked up a bit.

In my world, that would get him fired for being a lazy hack.

I'm guessing drummers are easier to find in your world than in mine.

Real common problem- for some reason a lot of drummers, especially rock drummers, struggle to get below a certain volume level.

Life's too short to put up with drum owners who can't or won't learn how to make music with their instrument, and THEY'RE everywhere. These are the people who have problems with dynamics and timing, and they'll make up every excuse under the sun to avoid the practice necessary to develop good dynamics and good timing. These people will keep the whole band from sounding good.

Once you play with a real drummer, you'll never want to settle for a hack again. It takes a while to find one though. I'm lucky enough to know quite a few, but they're spread out all over the US. Here in Richmond I know and have worked with 4.

Electronic kits don't solve the problem via volume knob either. If the drummer only has one volume, and the song calls for really soft to REALLY LOUD, you still have the problem of no dynamics. I work with one drummer who uses an electronic kit. It sounds great, and he takes less time to set up than I do. That's one advantage of an electronic kit. The other is having any type of drum needed at the flip of a switch.

Playing guitar and never playing for others is like studying medicine and never working in a clinic.

Moondawgs on Reverbnation


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