This site is supported by the advertisements on it, please disable your AdBlocker so we can continue to provide you with the quality content you expect.

Welcome to Our Community

Wanting to join the rest of our members? Feel free to sign up today.

'official live sound thread'

Discussion in 'F.O.H.' started by pikachu69, Feb 21, 2012.

  1. pikachu69

    pikachu69 mixomatic 2000

    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2010
    Messages:
    593
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    16
    Location:
    New Zealand
    It has been mentioned a few times that there should be a live thread so here it is. There are pleanty of live engineers on here (myself included) so this can be the place for all those important live sound questions.

    I have been doing live sound for over 10 years and have done literally thousands of gigs from every style of music. Metal, rock, blues, jazz, reggae,52 piece brass big bands, ukelele orchestras, Aboriginal bush bands, all sorts or cultural world music from Japan, Africa and others from the smallest systems to full stadium gigs running over 40 channels on desks both analogue and digital.
    I hope all other live sound engineers will check back often and help answer any questions that are posted.

    So, get asking those questions guys!

    Cheers.
     
  2. Derpsicle

    Derpsicle Member

    Joined:
    Nov 9, 2010
    Messages:
    372
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    16
    Location:
    Oslo, Norway
    Great thread, we need this.
     
  3. tgs

    tgs Elder

    Joined:
    Dec 18, 2003
    Messages:
    580
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    16
    Location:
    Stockholm, Sweden
    Great initiative, although what I'd personally like to see would be a live sound sub-forum. One thread for discussing a quite vast area seems like it could get very messy very fast.

    Anyway, I also work a lot with live shows, not as much as you though. My main thing has always been working in the studio, but I'm working more and more live, and nowadays I do FOH for Watain on all their shows. I occasionally work with other bands too but between studio work and Watain shows there's not much time over for anything else. :)
     
  4. if6was9

    if6was9 Ireland

    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2007
    Messages:
    1,568
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    36
    Location:
    lreland
    Another live guy here. I mainly do small enough venues but I get alot of work. I normally do 4+ shows a week. Did 11 gigs in 6 days last week! It's tough going at the minute as there's alot of gigs but not much money floating around so I'm doing more work for less money per gig than I did 2 years ago and if I try to stick with my old prices then I simply will not get work.

    Gotten into using a comp on the master bus alot lately. I find it really helps in places that are right on the point of being powerful enough for the venue. Allows you to push that bit harder without worrying about clipping when things get that bit louder.

    Right now my biggest problem is the monitors. Finding it hard with singers with bad mic technique to get a nice level without clipping the amps on the louder transients. It's not every gig i have this problem but it does pop up from time to time and I'd like to have a better solution than just turning the monitor down. Toying with putting a limiter on just the main vocal wedge but I don't want to encourage any feedback. Do you guys ever use limiters on monitors?
     
  5. pikachu69

    pikachu69 mixomatic 2000

    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2010
    Messages:
    593
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    16
    Location:
    New Zealand
    ^^^

    Spliting you vocal to come down 2 channels on the desk can help. One can be eqed and compressed to be sent to FOH, the other can be left out of FOH and un treated and used for monitor send so extreme eq and comp wont increase noise floor and the chance for feedback and clipping.
     
  6. xFkx

    xFkx gain induction

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2008
    Messages:
    1,941
    Likes Received:
    4
    Trophy Points:
    38
    Location:
    Poland
    Yeah, definitive +1 for a live sound sub-forum, i'm guessing there is quite a number of us doing live sound so it would be justified

    Right now my biggest gripe is feeling more confident on digital desks, there are so many surfaces right now, and (almost) every time it's a different desk, each one with it's own "philosophy" of work and structuring. I can do a basic and sufficient mix on them, but I wish to go a step further - parallel drum bus compression, dca's for vox fx, guitar solo's etc.
    Wishful thinking I guess
     
  7. pikachu69

    pikachu69 mixomatic 2000

    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2010
    Messages:
    593
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    16
    Location:
    New Zealand
    ^^^

    I agree. I have done several shows recently where it has been a different desk every show. I have used a few now, LS9, Si compact, i live etc and they are all quite different and take a good while to feel totally comfortable.:mad:
    It is annoying how different each can be and I dont have time to search thorugh menus, esspecially when you only have 20 min to setup a board using 40+ channels with NO sound check before going on in front of 5000 + people!
     
  8. -Noodles-

    -Noodles- 3 Initals Mixer

    Joined:
    Dec 20, 2007
    Messages:
    1,168
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    36
    I don't wanna step on toes here but;

    Do you guys know what the desk is going to be before you & the band rock up?
    If so - download the free online editors for the desk.

    I ALWAYS make my shows prior to rocking up. I also clear it with the FOH guy who's on the desk after me if I can load in the patch.

    Why not use the best facilities of digital desks? :)
     
  9. raisedfist

    raisedfist Member

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2007
    Messages:
    292
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    16
    Location:
    Surrey, UK

    I work full time in a theatre and we have all shape and sizes of PAs come through. For larger rock/metal gigs we get we have to hire in a company as our PA is bose....So the guys we hire in have a pretty great rock and roll groundstack setup; Midas 3000, Lab.Gruppen powering Martin Wavefronts etc etc
    but the thing I have been impressed with is they use Martin LE400 monitors which can take off pretty bad but they have XTA processors on all of them and they are solid as hell and brutally loud. I'm pretty sure they are using the XTA DP226 which I'm not sure you can get anymore but that imo seems the best solution to get the best out of monitors.
     
  10. burst

    burst Member

    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2008
    Messages:
    104
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    16
    Location:
    Moscow, Russia
    Of the recent stuff that I've finally tried I really liked Digidesign desk and Midas PRO6. Very, very good sounding and convenient for solo bands! Not so easy for corporate parties and fests, but still, awesome!

    I wonder though, why is it so hard for manufacturer to mark input channels on stage racks as 1-48, rather then that A1-A8, B1-B8 etc. nonsense? When in middle of the show something bad is going on with channel 27 on the desk it's surely takes some fucking time to figure out which physical input on stage rack is that. And, why on Earth digidesign made their analog outs on FOH rack on jacks?
     
  11. -Noodles-

    -Noodles- 3 Initals Mixer

    Joined:
    Dec 20, 2007
    Messages:
    1,168
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    36
    The stage boxes I use are in groups of 8 or 16 - so sometimes it's really handy to have the input channels labelled A1 etc.
    I suppose it's the up to the designers and consultants what gets put on the box, so they probably should've put 'YMMV' on them.

    I've not used any of the Digi stuff in a while, but enjoy the Midas desks. I can see why folk are still talking about the Pro6.
     
  12. -Noodles-

    -Noodles- 3 Initals Mixer

    Joined:
    Dec 20, 2007
    Messages:
    1,168
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    36
    Martin wedges are some of the best I've heard. L'Acoustics are okay, d&b are german and the EAW ones are okay. If given a choice I'm always after Martin's.
     
  13. Sloan

    Sloan Sounds like shit!

    Joined:
    Oct 22, 2006
    Messages:
    5,076
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    36
    Location:
    Atlanta, GA
    you guys and your FANCY AS HELL live gear. Most of the live sound gigs I have done have just been me, some shit mixer and shit speakers, and i'm running around figuring out which side of which amp is blown, are these tweeters blown, does that shit work, etc...

    I used to be the emergency sound guy at a small intimate coffee shop venue that booked mainly acoustic acts and they had one of those mackie vlz boards. i'm riding the faders and noticed the performer giving me some looks; turns out the fucking auxes were all post-fader, so it was fucking up his monitor. There was a break in the set so I talked with him about it and explained that it was post-fader etc... well the dude told the owner about the situation - what a dick!

    Another time at the same joint, there was an all girl bluegrass trio, and of course they wanted to be cool and use one LDC mic for everything. The owner kept bugging me wanting it LOUDER LOUDER LOUDER, but it was already way too much for the venue and an acoustic act. whatever.

    these acts were pretty good:
    http://www.carsieblanton.com/
    http://www.stephanieschneiderman.com/
    http://www.johnnya.com/ (you can hear some of this dude's tracks on NPR between segments. lol)


    My favorite live gig was when I did three dates with Dave Matthews Tribute Band. I'm definitely no fan of the sound, but I jumped on for SUPER SUPER CHEAP and rode around with them in their van in Georgia. They were a pretty damn tight band. The first gig made me a nervous wreck, it was my first and I had to prove I could handle it. First time with all in-ears, and working with a violin and sax player. Singer walked through a door, it shut and cut his in-ear cable in half about an hour before they were set to go on! He had also lost his phone so the tension was through the roof. Of course I wasn't fully prepared, but their house sound dude had his multitool on him, so I was able to McGuyver his in-ears, that immediately improved morale. I don't remember what the mains/mons were but this place and the next place were a chain sports bar/entertainment place and they both had the same SoundCraft boards - i didn't like them at all. I don't think they had much confidence in me from the get go, but after the show I was showered with praise, felt real good.

    The last show was at a pretty awesome venue in Buck Head atlanta. They had a Midas board and the house sound guy was really cool. That night sounded fucking AMAZING and I really enjoyed doing it. They fucking loved it too! There was a killer backstage area full of booze, they all got drunk as hell and kinda partied while I kept this wasted chick from getting on stage and causing a lawsuit. Some of them got rides to the hotel with their girlfriends that met them there, the other dudes stayed got blasted, i had to find them and get them into the van and navigate back to the hotel by reading the directions backwards. When they woke up, they were so happy that I was around.

    There was a mixup on the band tab at the second venue (bar tabs are NEVER good ideas) and they ended up losing so much money. So I think I made $200 for all of that shit. Oh well.


    I would like to more live sound and have a chance to actually do some bigger stuff, but there is not really anything worth fucking with in this area. Your lucky if a place even has a mixer, and this is not exaggeration. Also, I've never really approached a sound crew/company due to not wanting to fucking with the elitism that is so prevalent in this line of work - i hate that shit, so i don't even bother.
     
  14. Trevoire520

    Trevoire520 Member

    Joined:
    Mar 24, 2007
    Messages:
    5,032
    Likes Received:
    15
    Trophy Points:
    38
    Location:
    Fife, Scotland
    Not worked with some of the fancy shit you guys have.
    My regular gig is a Allen & Heath PA28 with Behringer outboard into Nexo PS15's and LX1200 subs, shitty wee JBL monitors.

    The PA hire company I work for it's either a Mackie SR into Mackie 1530's or a A&H GL into FBT Modus (low end on this is tight as hell!) Absolutely love the FBT stuff, especially the Verve monitors we've got. Hi-fi as fuck and VERY resistant to feedback.
     
  15. RedDog

    RedDog Humanoid typhoon

    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2010
    Messages:
    1,548
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    36
    Location:
    Tulsa, Oklahoma.
    This club venue downtown had this old-ass Soundcraft board that one of my first soundguy role models used, and although I never got to see him personally work, the shit he said was pretty much the foundation for what I aspire to be and do today. Since then, the club has shut down and there's NOWHERE FOR ME TO LEARN HOW TO DO THIS SHIT.

    Please let this thread be awesome.
     
  16. pikachu69

    pikachu69 mixomatic 2000

    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2010
    Messages:
    593
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    16
    Location:
    New Zealand
    Here are some random thoughts from me about live sound:


    If you know how to use the tools ITB in a studio doing live sound is not too differerent in its philosphies and techniques. I myself use the EXACT same techniques live as I do in the studio. The only difference I find between the two is having the ability to react to something in the mix ie feedback, before the audience notices! In depth listening, multi tasking and speed are very impotant in live sound. Being able to problem solve requires you know the gear well too.

    I use the same mic techniqueslive for everything, although for live drums I like X/Y as OH live. Alot of engineers will just spot groups of cymbals on each side of the kit or (quite often) space on stage means unusual spacing between OH.
    But, just like in a studio, phase is still an issue and needs to be dealt with and the easiest way to do that, I find, is with X/Y OH.

    Use polar patterns to cut down on bleed.

    If your desk does not have a phase reverse on the channel strip you can modify an XLR lead with pins 1 and 2 reversed on one end to phase reverse that mic. I always carry at least one or two of these modified leads with me to every gig, just in case. Great for under snare mic or if you have two kick mics etc.

    To me the biggest philosophy I take from the studio to live work is gain structuring. I can not stress this enough. If you know how your gear reacts to a certain gain level you can be confident in its results without hearing it.
    (If you dont have sound check etc)
    If your gain structure is the same as in the studio then you can bet your compressors and eq etc will behave in similar ways too so you can start to use your 'presets' live. (always assuming you can trust the quality of the FOH)

    Case in point:

    I was doing sound for a major New Zealand reggae band. We had a spot at a festival playing to round 6000 people. We did not get a sound check for this particular gig so I had the change over time of 25min to set up the board with no sound and a new band member I did not know about lol. This is a 10 piece band that spans 42 channels on a good day. All analogue desk (GB-8) and full outboard, enough for everything to be comped and gated and multi FX racks.
    By doing a line check with each musician I was able to structure my gain in such a way that I knew when my prefered eq and comp settings were applied it should be in the ball park and the gain would not have changed too much.
    You can tell if you have this right because when you start a gig your faders should ALL be at '0' with a balanced FOH. I only use my faders to ride solos and vox etc ala live automation. When the gig is finished all my faders are back to 0.
    I got the band to start with an instrumental track so I had time to fix any issues with the mix before I needed to concentrate on vox. Within 2 to 3 songs all was well.

    In a large venue, on stage sound is not so important but in a smaller venue it is VERY important that you develop a good relationship with the band so you can convince them to run the on stage volume to suit you, not them. I have never met a band I could not convince to turn down. It ALWAYS improves the FOH sound more than anything I could do on the desk and the band always ends up happy.

    I will add more as I think of them.
     
  17. Laozen

    Laozen Member

    Joined:
    Nov 19, 2009
    Messages:
    38
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    6
    Location:
    Finland
    Nice information! Thanks! I had to say I dont like that "0" thing, because always when I have done that, I end up boosting vocals or solos to end of fader and still not hearing them enough, so I have to turn master fader bit up and that´s not a good thing :/

    Have you tips to make band turn the volume down? Bands use often their 4x12 cabinets and crank them too loud, and if I turn them down they dont hear themselfs enough. Is it good to bring guitars to monitors then? Same problem with bassists sometimes. Once I tried that monitor thing, guitarist asked for more his guitar, then other members guitar, and then his own, other guitar, and finally snare and kick drum! And the bar was only capable of 100 people! The volume was too way too high on stage.
     
  18. xFkx

    xFkx gain induction

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2008
    Messages:
    1,941
    Likes Received:
    4
    Trophy Points:
    38
    Location:
    Poland
    Bringing the faders to unity is not requirement or anything, it justs means that if you've done everything correct.. the faders are propably at unity, just as a result, not a goal in itself. The main vox can be above unity, but that depends on how you are working your vocal compressor, usualy you have to add some make-up gain to compensate the compression.

    And yeah, this is the case in bigger systems and stages, where you have the possibilities to acctualy create a mix, smaller clubs have their own set of rules (or rather, a lack of thereof)
     
  19. raisedfist

    raisedfist Member

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2007
    Messages:
    292
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    16
    Location:
    Surrey, UK
    I'm in the process of putting a new system in my work and its proving difficult as its a 500 seater council run venue and getting any cash is like squeezing blood out of a stone, and for the amount they put on the table I could buy like 1/2 a nexo, D&B line system and so I was confronted with the choice; Tiny top of the range system or smaller less know company and more bang for buck!
    Any how I got a few grand for sending my old trantec radios back and so I took a gamble and bought some of the LD premium VUE line speakers which have rotating horns like the D&B Q & E series.
    Anyhow so I got 4 of their 12s and 4 of the 15s and as they where nearly new rent stock and they are keen on getting the stuff into the UK and I have to say they are pretty awesome compared to all the budget stuff I have heard(mackie, HK etc etc); they aren't LE400s but they aren't crap.

    So anyhow I'm gonna go to germany and have a listen to the VUE array stuff in Frankfurt in the middle of next month as once again I can get a 11K array rig, installed for the price of 4 Martin floor standing cabs and a couple of Gruppen.lab amps so I'm quire excited to hear it and!
     
  20. pikachu69

    pikachu69 mixomatic 2000

    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2010
    Messages:
    593
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    16
    Location:
    New Zealand

    I understand what you mean about the '0' thing, it seems strange to begin with but there are a few things to keep in mind which may help.
    A desk with 100mm faders will give you more room above '0' than a 60mm fader common on alot of mid range desks. TBH though you should not need that much gain to bring your vox or leads etc above the band. This is where the idea of gain structuring helps. Let me run you through how I do things.

    Drums are normally first on the board for me. Even in a smaller gig I will still use a full mic up. I have 2 different setups I like for drums. Kick, snare, toms, stereo OH. This to me is the minimum amount of mics needed (pop, rock and metal gigs in mind!) For bigger gigs it would be 2 kick mics, 2 snare mics top and bottom, toms, stereo OH (X/Y centered between kick and snare) and hi hat. I get the drummer to hit each part of the kit that is miced one at a time.

    I go through this mental check list assuming the desk is reset and all faders are at 0:

    With channel mute ON.
    PFL the channel, Bring gain up till the transient peak of chosen drum is occasionally hitting in the yellow above 0 but NEVER into the red. Set up basic compression taking off up to 4 - 6db. Check gain level on the desk, if it is lower than before, use the make up gain on the compressor to bring it back to where it was.
    Un mute channel and listen though FOH to set desired eq. Recheck compressor settings. recheck gain. If gain is wrong adjust with the gain pot. Mute channel.
    I do this for each kick, snare and tom mic.
    OH is a little different, I hi pass, roll off a little more low end, no compression and adjust gain till the snare peaks at -12db-ish at the most.
    Hi hat the same os OH and with more low end rolled off and maybe peak at -18db ish.
    Un mute all channels and bring up FOH. Get the drummer to play a simple beat using the whole kit. Set your panning. If it sounds un balanced use your gain pots to adjust by ear, but always PFL the channel you are working on too. Clipping is bad mmmkay!
    All of my drums are bussed to a stereo group and I use a stereo comp on this. Check this now. Add verb to snare and maybe smaller toms. This should take about 5 min.

    Drums are the only instrument other than vocals that I use additive eq for, everything else is subtractive eq. (unless the source sucks serious balls I guess)

    Bass is next and I go through the same check list as above but I bring the bass up to '0'. Comp settings are more like limiting. EQ will be different for different styles. High pass for metal, not reggae!

    Guitars gain up to '0'. No compression. EQ here is interesting. I high pass, find the most annoying mid range frequency and destroy it. I put a small cut in the same area I boost the vocal, normally round the 3.5k to 4k. On most desks the 'high' eq knob is a high shelf starting round the 12k mark. I use this simmilar to a low pass to tame the high end and fizz. taking it back to round 9 oclock clears it up normally.
    One thing I do to help bring guitar solos up is to use eq as a presence control. Rather than increasing the slider try setting your hi mid to 8 - 9k and boost it lke there is no 2moro! This will help bring the solo through quite a bit and between the boost knob and the slider there should be plenty of room for the guitar. After the solo return the eq to 0. This is the only time I will boost an eq on guitar live.

    I will add more soon.

    Cheers.
     

Share This Page