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Sound Over-Kill?

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(@mrjonesey)
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Joined: 18 years ago
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Topic starter  

We are scheduled to play in a small to medium sized bar and I was wondering if we should scale back our sound set-up. We usually play outside or have played inside, but in larger rooms.

I watched a band play last night in a small club and they had the FOH behind the band, nothing miced, no monitors and sounded great. We usually mic both guitars, DI the bass, mic the drums and have four stage monitors going and I try to juggle the sound board while playing.

Are we better off going with a simple set-up as described? Then the mixer is just 4 vocal mics and the band hears exactly what the audience hears, so there is no need for monitors.

Thoughts or experiences?

Thanks,

Jim

"There won't be any money. But when you die, on your death bed, you will receive total conciousness. So, I got that going for me. Which is nice." - Bill Murray, Caddyshack ~~ Michigan Music Dojo - http://michiganmusicdojo.com ~~


   
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(@leear)
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Joined: 19 years ago
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well it is not always needed to mic everything. quite often when my band plays i pull out my little yamaha 4channel mixer and just do vocals and kick drum... the only problem is the guitars. guitar A can't hear his so he turns it up that makes Guitar B not be able to hear his as well so he turns up and so on and so on....

Put your amps back against the wall by your drummer put up your monitors as usual and just mic the kick and vocals, and keys or acoustic if you have too... You will still need monitors because you are seperated on stage and still need to hear vocals clearly I'd still use my monitors... Just keep them low.

You can also mic everything and have better control.. You can turn the guitar amps down on stage put them as loud as you want in the FOH and then put them in the monitors so you can hear better... Bass and drums can carry themselves (unless your bass amp is a little one)

No matter where you go.... There You are! Law of Location


   
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(@danlasley)
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Joined: 16 years ago
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If the space is really small, you can go with one FOH stack, and half as many monitors.

Look at the pix in David's gig report. You'll see that they used two FOH on stands that were pointed across the stage as side fills, angled out to the audience enough to be heard. And more musicians per square foot than is legal in most states.

https://www.guitarnoise.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=4&t=41703


   
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(@prndl)
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Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 199
 

It usually takes some expertise and experimentation to get the sound right in a small club (or a big club, for that matter, but you know all about that).

Overall volume and acoustics are the biggest challenges.

Some amps sound great in small places, while others need room (it has a lot to do with speakers, but other things contribute). Someone already mentioned amp placement. The back wall is a great place since it's farthest away from the audience. Some people put them on the left and right sides pointed toward the guitarists so they get the most volume. Diffusers are can used to break up the speaker pattern.

A lot of bands put the amps in plexiglass boxes or use attenuators to allow the amp to be turned up.

There's a ton more tricks. You might want to call the club manager and ask for recommendations. Also, get there early to set up and fine tune your setup.

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(@wes-inman)
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Yeah, go small. Just mic vocals and kick-drum as Leear said, they and you will hear the instruments easy.

I wouldn't even mic the amps, in a small club you need clarity. Too much in the mix sounds muddy. Have guitarists angle their amps in toward each other about 45 degrees so they can hear each other. Bass player should be next to the drummer, very important that they can hear each other.

I wouldn't put the FOH speakers behind you though, that is a recipe for feedback. Put them in front of the band and especially all mics.

You might can get away with less monitors too. They take up lots of room which can make things really crowded in a small club. Two monitors is often plenty.

If you have stands for your amps, use them. Often when they are on the floor you tend to play way too loud. You don't realize it because the sound is hitting your legs. Get the amps up and you will hear the same thing the crowd hears.

And you are gonna have to come way down if you are used to outdoor gigs. You want to be loud enough to have a little punch, but not so loud the patrons have to shout at each other. Bring it down. It will seem strange if you are used to big volume, but you will probably notice it sounds much better and far more musical. The crowd and the club owner will enjoy it more and your chance of getting another gig is much better. :D

Good luck, and we expect a good report.

Wes

If you know something better than Rock and Roll, I'd like to hear it - Jerry Lee Lewis


   
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(@mrjonesey)
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Joined: 18 years ago
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Topic starter  

Thanks guys. I appreciate all the feedback. We still have a few weeks to get ready for it, but this is our first time playing in a small club like this. We are much more used to being either outside, or in a larger building.

I was wondering about feedback with having the FOH behind us, but that other band did it and seemed to not have any problems. We will also definitely reduce our monitors and we already put the bass amp next to the drummer (at the insistance of the drummer).

This should be fun. I'll give a full report.

Jim

"There won't be any money. But when you die, on your death bed, you will receive total conciousness. So, I got that going for me. Which is nice." - Bill Murray, Caddyshack ~~ Michigan Music Dojo - http://michiganmusicdojo.com ~~


   
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(@leear)
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I run from behind/beside requently. It's challenging I have learned how to set levels and a decent mix during each instrument check I start with drums and bass playing together then add the other instruments then vocals (this entire time i'm not playing but walking around while they jam to some songs who knows what) then i'll adjust my volume to what i think is right and if it's not loud enough i just push my amp more. I like it this way i can drive my tubes more... :D

I also do a small trick i turn a FOH mix to my in-ears and keep on in at all times while listening to my monitor on stage.

No matter where you go.... There You are! Law of Location


   
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(@kent_eh)
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Joined: 18 years ago
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A wireless or a long gutar cable (we're talking Buddy Guy long) can be a real help when you have to mix from the stage.

Just be aware that there is always a tendency for whoever is mixing to give their instrument a bit of a boost (like they are creating their own personal monitor mix). If you can resist this, you'll be golden.

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


   
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(@leear)
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yea people have that tendency... I've learned to avoid boosting myself though sometimes it's tough... Usually as long as vocals and kick are heard (and any instruments like keys, acoustic) I dont' bother with bass amps or guitar amps... Because 1 they will be fine, and 2 if we are plaing a gig were we don't mic our amps it's not big enough to worry with (the size of the actual area not ppl) However today we are playing in a highschool gym and I swear you can clap and there is a 8 second echo... This is going to be horrible.

Guitar amps with blankets over them, electronic drums (thank God) In-Ears on everyone, compressors gallore on vocals, subs basically in the bleachers so the students obsorb some of it. I have played here before it's a nightmare the best sound man in the world would cringe when he heard this room.

No matter where you go.... There You are! Law of Location


   
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(@kent_eh)
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Joined: 18 years ago
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However today we are playing in a highschool gym and I swear you can clap and there is a 8 second echo... This is going to be horrible.

Ugg. Those are the worst.
If you can get the MId-High boxes of the PA up high, and have it pointing down into the crowd, that can help absorb some of the reflections as well.
Good call on the subs under the bleachers.

I used to do some work (mostly lights, thankfully) in a 1500 seat room at a local convention facility, which was basically a rectangular metal box with a painted cement floor.

That drove sound techs nuts.

Some tried to overpower the echo. Didn't work.
Sometimes the promoter set up the portable stage at a diagonal to the room. That helped a bit.
Finally the owner installed an absorbent wall on one side of the room. That helped quite a bit, except they put it on the long (side)wall, instead of the end wall :?

Good luck with your gig

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


   
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