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Lowering snare volume on live gigs

Discussion in 'F.O.H.' started by unclefu, Jan 6, 2013.

  1. unclefu

    unclefu Guest

    Hi everyone,

    Title says it all, on most of my band's gigs the problem is that we can't turn the vocals higher, so I figured the best solution would be to turn everything down. We've already put those jelly things on the chrash cymbals (which belong on the toms, I know :) ), so they are fine now, the next step would be the snare. My drummer is worried that most of the solutions change the tone and the way he has to play on the snare (drum rolls, ghost notes, etc.). Any of you know any solutions that doesn't have this problem? Also, if you have better ideas for the cymbals, I would be very grateful for those, too :)

    Thanks in advance!
     
  2. SoundsLikeFog

    SoundsLikeFog Member

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    http://www.cympad.com/

    Best thing since butter.

    Edit: It depends on the drummer, but sometimes crancking the snare on the drummers monitor / IEM does the trick.
     
  3. xTomx

    xTomx Member

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  4. Fredrik-Ablaze

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    Plexi the kit in or use a snarepal, or force the drummer to play softer, all of the before mentioned or get a bigger PA ;)
     
  5. raisedfist

    raisedfist Member

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    I work in a theatre and I bought a drum screen to reduce the volume of the drums as the building is all wood and brick. Hi hats and snare were the worst offenders but the screen decreases the volume of the kit to a workable level so I can have the whole kit through the PA instead of just the stage sound.
    Some drummer don't like the idea of having a plastic cage around them
     
  6. amarshism

    amarshism Member

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    the perspex drum screens were all the rage five years ago
     
  7. -Noodles-

    -Noodles- 3 Initals Mixer

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    I've always been tempted to get a drummer to use a drumpad for a snare on smaller gigs. Snares are always a problem, and nothing genuinely works apart from them playing softer.

    I've tried a lot of things; thinner sticks, dampening, thicker heads, different tunings, different sized drums, cranking snare in wedge, changing seat height, plexi-glass containers, polarity inversion thru PA (kind of works).. but nothing works as well as the drummer just not hitting as hard.
     
  8. Trevoire520

    Trevoire520 Member

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    If you can't turn the vocals higher then either the PA you're using is inadequate or the vocalist isn't projecting his voice enough.
     
  9. soundsunderground

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    +1 on the PA not being adequate.

    If the PA cannot get vocals above acoustic stage volume of drums, that's kinda pathetic.
     
  10. bryan_kilco

    bryan_kilco Member

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    +1

    At most local live gigs, the snare drum is one of the very few elements that I can hear that helps me keep time with our drummer. 75% of the time there isn't even anything coming out of the stage monitors.....
     
  11. arv_foh

    arv_foh Brian K

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  12. unclefu

    unclefu Guest

    That's true, but I thought there might be an easier solution than going around the country and telling every other club to get a better PA :D By the way, I think in most of our cases it has more to do with the acoustics than the PA systems. There are some clubs that have better acoustics and the drums sound really nice there, even by itself (I mead no mics).
     
  13. Sloan

    Sloan Sounds like shit!

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  14. if6was9

    if6was9 Ireland

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    Some snares are quieter than others. Maybe see if he'll try out a few different snares at practise and see if that can help the problem?

    Our drummer has a very loud snare and is quite a hard hitter, we're instrumental though so most of the time it's fine. Occasionally though it drives up the volume of everything else and it can get a bit too loud overall for comfort overall in the crowd!

    I've asked drummers several times if they can tone down the volume of their playing when doing sound as sometimes acoustic drums in a small room are unbearably loud even without mics. Out of everyone I've ever asked I'd say 2 drummers at most took heed of what I said and toned it down. The rest start quiet but once they get into their set their bashing the shit out of the kit again. The solution is for them to play quieter, but it's just in their nature to hit the drums as hard as they can.
     
  15. baalzebubba

    baalzebubba New Metal Member

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    Asking a drummer to hit lighter is not a solution and potentially problematic for the drummer's performance. It couldn't be more artificial. Fucking with the dynamic range of playing to lower the ambient volume is a solution for the wrong problem.

    Often times vocals not cutting on an appropriately powered PA is due to the high noise floor onstage and the singer's lack of projection above the noise floor. I've heard many metal vocalists who sound great in a quiet room with a mic but cant project enough to be heard above the rest of the band at practice even with gain and watts of power. Then they wonder why feedback? well special snowflake singer, project louder than the noise around you. Cant do it? well... get to cardio, quit smoking, and evolve.

    In shit tiny clubs that lack appropriate PA for mic'ing the entire band (drumkit, bass etc as well) it is advisable to use PA for vox only if the system doesn't have the balls to push the full bands signals to FOH even at lower levels. When bands ask me this same question about local clubs I suggest that they play elsewhere... a proper metal/rock venue that can mic a full kit. When clubs ask me how to sound like a properly outfitted venue without the appropriate investment in gear, I suggest they re-think full bands and go with open mic singer songwriters who don't need anything other than a voc mix and a mic for an acoustic.

    Which on another tangent is shit clubs unwilling to invest in baseline gear to assure that they have appropriate sound to bring in competent bands. They want to sell the beer but don't in any way relate shitty sound at the venue to people with headache from listening fatigue leaving early. I had a club recently come to me for advice on a system build, ignore my advice entirely and attempt to build a system for under $2000 USD then beg me to string it together. Not going to happen. They seem to think that more is overkill based on other shitty clubs shitty sound systems. I again tried to explain that when going for a live PA, you should bring a BULLDOZER but only have to feather the throttle, its all in the headroom. They wonder why I wont arrange shows at their club... instead I direct bands to another club across the river - they are running an older rig but its all EAW and JBL with appropriate amps.

    good luck sir
     
  16. if6was9

    if6was9 Ireland

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    That's a good point. There's a lot of places not willing to invest in appropriate equipment. There's a bar where I do sound regularly where for the first 6-7 months we brought in all our own eqipment for gigs we were running or working at. We did it for no extra cost as we wanted the bar to do well and for very little money for doing sound duties anyway.
    So they went and bought their own system after a while which was massively under powered and we told them as much. They finally got their own big system but again cheaped out and went against our recommendations, they bought a mismatched PA with battered old broken monitors. Left and Right sound totally different in there.


    This is the 4th or 5th bar that me and the guys I work with have been through this with in the last few years. Places say "I want to do live music and it has to be better than everywhere else in this city" and then they give you next to nothing to work with.
     

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