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Old February 28th, 2012, 05:18 AM   #26 (permalink)
pikachu69
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Sounds like you have had a bad run with engineers.
I am always on the stage right through setup/change over etc talking to each band member about what they want/expect and ultimately, what they will really get. I get everyone to play me a brief riff for me to hear what is happening tone and volume wise and to sugest any changes that may need to be made including on stage volume. By this stage I find the band seems to trust me enough to run with my ideas.

The level you run your amp at sounds fine and the way you are thinking about it will help any enginneer to do his job.

With smaller gigs if the band is quite close to the FOH a well balanced FOH mix will enhance the on stage sound giving the impression of great monitoring.
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Old February 28th, 2012, 05:28 AM   #27 (permalink)
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if the cab is pointed towards the audiance, 3/10 can be a bit too much, i'd say something closer to 2/10.

Putting the amps towards the stage, on some kind of raiser (like another 4x12 underneath) so it's pointing straight at your ears is far better, basicly you have your own monitor, and the monitor send is sent only to your second guitarist and the drummer (if they want to).
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Old February 28th, 2012, 05:53 AM   #28 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by pikachu69 View Post
Sounds like you have had a bad run with engineers.
I am always on the stage right through setup/change over etc talking to each band member about what they want/expect and ultimately, what they will really get. I get everyone to play me a brief riff for me to hear what is happening tone and volume wise and to sugest any changes that may need to be made including on stage volume. By this stage I find the band seems to trust me enough to run with my ideas.

The level you run your amp at sounds fine and the way you are thinking about it will help any enginneer to do his job.

With smaller gigs if the band is quite close to the FOH a well balanced FOH mix will enhance the on stage sound giving the impression of great monitoring.
Thanks for your answer
Yeah I'd hoped the AEs would actually talk to us and help us set everything up the right way, especially on our first gigs.. in the end we ended up setting up the entire lent backline (there were 5 bands playing that evening) on our very first gig because the organizer forgot to hire assistants / guys for the backline, the sound engineer arrived 5 minutes before the first band played, and I was the only one of around 40 musicians and technicians who had any clue or will to help. Good times

I can imagine that most musicians are rather stupid / stubborn when it comes to listening to what the engineer says at first, in our band we would actually love to listen to them but they won't talk to us It's a little frustrating especially since we try to create our sound as good as possible by NOT cranking the gain, bass and highs and volume to 10/10, but rather concentrating to give each instrument the frequencies it needs.. but I think with increasing fanbase and publicity we might also work with engineers who are more dedicated to their work.

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if the cab is pointed towards the audiance, 3/10 can be a bit too much, i'd say something closer to 2/10.

Putting the amps towards the stage, on some kind of raiser (like another 4x12 underneath) so it's pointing straight at your ears is far better, basicly you have your own monitor, and the monitor send is sent only to your second guitarist and the drummer (if they want to).
Yeah I just checked and at the last gig the amps were pointed towards the audience and post-gain was roughly @ 1.9 / 10 on both amps.
Thanks for your reply.
And the raiser thing is a great tip, I actually did that on the gig I talked about with pikachu69 where I had to setup the backline. We used the cases of the cabs / amp tops to raise the cabinets and pointed them towards us. I ended up needing a little bit of the drums on my monitor so the post-gain was probably a little high haha.

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Old February 28th, 2012, 07:43 AM   #29 (permalink)
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I sometimes clip the snare channel too, just small bit seems to sound good sometimes.

I also use the EQ to boost for guitar solos. I usually put back in the high mids I cut out to make room for vocals for solos and pull them back out when the lead is over.

I find I rarely need overheads at all. I mostly work in small places but even in a large place with 500-600 people I didn't feel I needed them and didn't use them. Sometimes a hi hats mic is needed and depending on the band a ride mic, but generally the bleed from the cymbals into vocal mics is more than enough.

Jipchen, it sounds to me like those gigs you're playing are thrown together. The engineer should be the first person there to set up the PA gear and it's in his interest to have ye sound as good as possible. I always talk to a band when they're setting up and will try help them set up in a smart, tidy, sensible manner. Not all bands have a clue what they're doing and alot of guys will have their amp blasting at their legs without thinking about it. I've had bands move monitors further away from them becase they felt it was "too close" and that they'd be blasted out of it, then complain they're not hearing enough from the same monitor!

You shouldn't expect helpers/stage hands though, it's very much so the norm for the bands to set up the gear. You shouldn't have done it all by yourself, whoever's sound checking first (usually the headliners) should set it up with other people input if they need something specific for their set. Usually whoever owns the gear chips in but you stated it was rented in this case.
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Old February 28th, 2012, 01:29 PM   #30 (permalink)
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I'm totally cool with helping to set up the backline, but in this case it was a little weird because we were the second of five bands band to play, it was our first gig ever, nobody besides us had a clue at all and there was not a single person for the sound / backline / stagehand stuff. It was just that nobody else seemed to care or was in a condition to do anything. I'm talking about getting the drumset, 3 amps, 2 guitar cabinets and a Ampeg 8x10 and all the cablework etc out of a truck and set it up on stage without any help or hints.. and no persons from the venue around. Also the rather well known, headlining bands that were flew in from Sweden didn't care at all, yet it was the stuff that was there only for them! We had our own gear and had to setup our stuff later when we were to play. Of course those bands had a huge soundcheck while we didn't get one.. haha.
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Old February 28th, 2012, 04:20 PM   #31 (permalink)
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I'm totally cool with helping to set up the backline, but in this case it was a little weird because we were the second of five bands band to play, it was our first gig ever, nobody besides us had a clue at all and there was not a single person for the sound / backline / stagehand stuff. It was just that nobody else seemed to care or was in a condition to do anything. I'm talking about getting the drumset, 3 amps, 2 guitar cabinets and a Ampeg 8x10 and all the cablework etc out of a truck and set it up on stage without any help or hints.. and no persons from the venue around. Also the rather well known, headlining bands that were flew in from Sweden didn't care at all, yet it was the stuff that was there only for them! We had our own gear and had to setup our stuff later when we were to play. Of course those bands had a huge soundcheck while we didn't get one.. haha.
As stink as it is it does tend to happen this way, when you need help most no one gives a rats arse. Just know that not all sound guys are this way, it is normally a sign of their lack of professionalism and gives an idea how much real work they has done outside of shitty little pub gigs.
It reminds me of this a bit. (been posted before but funny)

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Old February 28th, 2012, 07:39 PM   #32 (permalink)
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95% the time vocals work like this for me when working with a SM58 or very similar mic. gain in between 12 and 1 oclock. Hi pass on. Boost 1 - 2db round 200hz.
Yeah? To be honest I find 58's really quite muddy as far as vocal mic's go so usually end up cutting around there if anything, varies from gig to gig though.

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Well, I just use it for the snare, and not always, depends on many factors - the desk, the snare, the mic, my mood Some desks can do it nicely, some don't so I don't do it. And i'm talking about very subtle clipping, seems to add a bit of crunchinies and snap to the snare.
I found that I had a pretty nice snare sound going the other night actually with the channel clipping a little on harder hits.
Bear in mind this isn't "set the pre-gain to clipping then add loads of eq so the whole things clipping like shit" pre-gain was set to get me to 0 then after I'd added some eq and compression and the drummer was hitting a bit harder I could hear the "splat" character I get when clipping my snare in my DAW mixes. Quite liked it, though I can't say that I'm going to make a habit of it.


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What's a good volume for the amps on stage?
Assuming you're playing in a place with everything going through PA then your amp should be loud enough for you to hear yourself over the drummer.
As long as you can hear yourself onstage ok you don't really need your amp any louder, the FOH engineer can take care of any additional level using the PA.
In the places where the stage spill makes up a significant portion of the FOH sound (most smaller venues) then this should have you fairly well balanced with the acoustic level of the drum kit for those at the very front of the stage.
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And don't even get me started on fast double-kick runs that sound like a bag of potatoes being spilled down a flight of stairs when you listen to the tracks in solo!
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Old February 28th, 2012, 09:00 PM   #33 (permalink)
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Yeah? To be honest I find 58's really quite muddy as far as vocal mic's go so usually end up cutting around there if anything, varies from gig to gig though.
Then it is more likely to be the pa not being tuned in or monitors not eq'ed. If it was the mic it would do that for every gig, all the time. If I have the opportunity to tune the system how I want I never have the issue of boxy vocals. Do you run a graphic on your FOH and monitors?
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Old February 28th, 2012, 09:26 PM   #34 (permalink)
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To me, 58's are muddy as well, but then they have that peak in the highs, usually cutting bass in addition to the high-pass can help tame that rumble shit.
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Old February 29th, 2012, 09:42 AM   #35 (permalink)
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Could be down to the fact that I'm often working in rooms where the monitor system can often contribute to the FOH sound,
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And don't even get me started on fast double-kick runs that sound like a bag of potatoes being spilled down a flight of stairs when you listen to the tracks in solo!
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Old February 29th, 2012, 05:00 PM   #36 (permalink)
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I've never found 58s to be muddy, I think this could be attributed to poor mic technique of the vocalist or bad/no PA tuning

They aren't as bright as some other common live vocal mics but definitely not muddy sounding
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Old March 1st, 2012, 03:19 PM   #37 (permalink)
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Working sound guys.

please take a moment to answer these questions to provide more information in this thread.

What vocal mics other than a 58 (SM or beta) are you guys using live that you can recommend to a pro and/or beginner and why?

What are your bare minimum requirements for FOH mixing (minus speakers as we dont often get to choose) when doing sound for 150 people, 500 people and say 2000 people.

Share one tip that has helped your live sound improve.


Cheers.
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Old March 1st, 2012, 04:21 PM   #38 (permalink)
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I do live sound for 3 venues, one 200 cap and 2 400 cap at the moment and do FOH for Heidevolk (pagan metal), Deadcell (industrial metal) and Earth Crisis (metalcore), 3 totally different bands and I've seen quite a few venues worldwide, from 100 cap to 60000 cap.

Earth Crisis introduced me to the AKG D5 vocal mic. They brought one on a tour I did and I was really impressed. The mic really cuts through very well and is resistant to feedback better than a 58. It is a little aggressive around 2kHz but apart from that really easy to work with. I bought a bunch of them after that tour and never regret it!

Anyway: the most important thing is to get the backline balanced on stage so that everybody can hear themselves and doesn't annoy others (including the tech!). Work out your stage setup well so that you're not depending too much on monitors or even FOH sound to sound balanced. Also take a look at how your stage setup and volume effects bleed on vocal mics or other instrument mics (if you have your guitar amp volume really low on stage you don't want it right beside the drumkit, if you have a singer with a quiet voice you don't want the vocal mic right in front of the drum kit or the bass amp). In smaller venues all you need to worry about is getting the vocals on top and get some kick (perhaps snare and toms) in the PA to make it appear a little bigger. You don't HAVE to put shit on.
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Old March 4th, 2012, 05:00 AM   #39 (permalink)
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Audix OM7 is a pretty handy mic to have around for singers who are prone to inducing feedback.
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Old March 4th, 2012, 06:45 AM   #40 (permalink)
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Audix om7. Just don't tell your singer it's great for rejecting feedback. Mine went around sticking it in wedges trying to celebrate the fact, doesn't work like that buddy lol. Now he's off the mic which is a shame cos it sounded great for him.
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Old March 4th, 2012, 04:22 PM   #41 (permalink)
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I like the audix stuff too. I got an OM6 real cheap from a friend and it works great. I also have an EV N/D series that is really good too.
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Old March 5th, 2012, 05:37 PM   #42 (permalink)
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Used OM6/7 mics a good few times. Nice and very clear, they cut through a mix really well. Audix in general make great mics for live use. Venue near me has an Audix endorsement so they used D2's/D4/D6's on all drums, guitars, brass and OM6/7's on vocals and they usually have a really good sound in there.

I did a tour where I used a Shure sm86 the singer brought along and thought it sounded great on most of the singers who used it. Not that expensive either only about half as expensive again as a 58 and I felt it sounded much nicer and took less EQ to cut through.

My problem with using a nice vocal mic other than a 58 is you kinda need to get 3 or 4 of them to get the most out of them so you can do a full stage and EQ your FOH/Monitors accordingly. Otherwise if you ring out/tune your system for 58's and another mic gets used for lead vox you have some feedback issues. You can take it out on the channel strip EQ( and thats what I do now) but ideally you want to key out the monitors/FOH for the good lead vocal mic and leave as much of the spectrum intact rather than basically taking out the offending frequencies for 2 different vocal mics and having an EQ thats hacked to bits.

Biggest revelation for me as a live guy was the concept of cutting one instrument to make room for another and to know when checking something solo how it will come across with everything going. Especialy with heavy guitars- pushing the upper mids makes them more aggressive sounding and in your face, but by pulling them back in that area you make so much more space for the vocals and don't have to push them as hard. By carefully managing the EQ you have across the board you get lots more use out of the headroom you've got for the system.

Really simple and I'm sure every here knows what I'm talking about but it really hit home for me a few years ago after I'd been doing it for a while and it totally changed how I approached everything.

Another tip I think is to go for punchy, clean drums. I go to alot of gigs where the drums are kinda loose and muddy and it ruins the sound of the whole mix. I've yet to come across a genre where leaning more on the controlled side didn't sound better in the context of the whole mix- Metal, rock, electro, jazz, blues, folk, trad.

Another thing is to not get carried away with headphones. Walk around the room and learn whats wrong with the place the sound desk is situated compred to the rest of the room. Relying on the headphones, especially in places 500 cap and smaller will lead to a good headphone mix and crap sound for the gig. They are handy to use as a problem solver and for checking elements of the mix but not for basing the entire sound off.
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Old March 8th, 2012, 09:36 PM   #43 (permalink)
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Im looking at getting an analyser of some sort for troubleshooting feedback, but looking at the prices of some of them, would it be better to just get an iPad? and have the luxury of being able to remote control most digital desks?
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Old March 9th, 2012, 06:12 AM   #44 (permalink)
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Im looking at getting an analyser of some sort for troubleshooting feedback, but looking at the prices of some of them, would it be better to just get an iPad? and have the luxury of being able to remote control most digital desks?
I've got Speedy Spectrum Analyser on my Android phone, only cost 3.99. There's probably something similar for ipad.
It's really best to train your ear to hear feedback though, I know recently I've been using that app too much and am slightly less quick at recognising frequencies by ear than I was a couple of weeks ago
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And don't even get me started on fast double-kick runs that sound like a bag of potatoes being spilled down a flight of stairs when you listen to the tracks in solo!
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Old March 9th, 2012, 09:06 PM   #45 (permalink)
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Becomes second nature after a while. Hear offending frequency just barely ringing and reach for the slider on the eq straight away. Never used a meter for this but have seen plenty of guys using apps on their phone.

It's pretty good for ear training, I've been applying this to my studio mixing more and more. Close your eyes and just listen for "ringing" frequencies in the material and then notch it out. All my recordings are getting smoother and more pro sounding sinch I've taken this approach.
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Old March 13th, 2012, 07:21 PM   #46 (permalink)
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I was a bit shite at pinpointing problem frequencies but after a few years of working with upto 12 lapel mics, depending on the show, cheap to expensive you get pretty good at at EQing on the go. Although this isn't my choice gig its still quite an art as you have to get a stable EQ on the channel for each mic and then group the lapels with an GEQ inserted for further fine tuning.
I have to say I don't really care for theatre and theatre sound it have learnt so much about subtractive EQ it has been worth sitting through pantomimes with a script.....
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Old March 13th, 2012, 09:13 PM   #47 (permalink)
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Had a gig the other day where the headline band's engineer brought some Sennheiser E945's for vocal mics. It's really hard having to go back to SM58's now
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And don't even get me started on fast double-kick runs that sound like a bag of potatoes being spilled down a flight of stairs when you listen to the tracks in solo!
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Old March 14th, 2012, 05:20 AM   #48 (permalink)
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funny anegdote from a short while ago.

I was doing a gig, and all the bands playing their were friends of mine, so I was really doing my best to get things to sound as best as possible.

The best sounding band though was the opening band, which had two 1x12 peavey tube combos and the bass was DI'd through a sansamp (with a rat pedal before the sansamp).

The sound was crushing, super clear, tight, you could seriously hear every note, it sounded just.. right.

Then later on the evening, the louder it got on stage, stuff started to go a downhill a bit.


Food for thought.


Oh. 700+ cap venue, so you could do a proper FOH mix
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Old March 14th, 2012, 06:13 AM   #49 (permalink)
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Had a gig the other day where the headline band's engineer brought some Sennheiser E945's for vocal mics. It's really hard having to go back to SM58's now
Sad times! I think most things tend to sound better than 58s in the last couple of years. I just ordered a couple of the Rode M1s as most of our tech riders request 58s and they look the same, just black and sound better.
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Old March 14th, 2012, 06:45 PM   #50 (permalink)
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funny anegdote from a short while ago.

I was doing a gig, and all the bands playing their were friends of mine, so I was really doing my best to get things to sound as best as possible.

The best sounding band though was the opening band, which had two 1x12 peavey tube combos and the bass was DI'd through a sansamp (with a rat pedal before the sansamp).

The sound was crushing, super clear, tight, you could seriously hear every note, it sounded just.. right.

Then later on the evening, the louder it got on stage, stuff started to go a downhill a bit.


Food for thought.


Oh. 700+ cap venue, so you could do a proper FOH mix
true story.
i did sound at a band's very very advertised and pretty packed cd release, good sound gear, but the guitar player got drunk and turned his shit up after soundcheck. sounded like utter SHIT.
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