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Discussion in 'F.O.H.' started by pikachu69, Feb 21, 2012.
never say never
The issue I have with this, besides audible clipping, is the extra strain it puts on your compressors etc and that it doesnt leave enough head room for the rest of the gain staging. The EQ controls are just another volume pot divided into smaller, selectable sections. If you are already at maximum gain before clipping before you put a few DB's of eq gain on your signal, then the voulme brought about by added eq will certainly cause clipping and your source is going to sound thin and weak, the opposite of what you want.
Just like in the studio.
Continued from previous post.
With vocals I will have a useable mic sound ready BEFORE the singer walks on stage. These is nothing more anoying for both the singer and the enginner than when the singer walks on stage for the first time and walks to the mic, talks, and nothing happens. He will tap on it and yell into it to make sure everyone in the room knows you have not done your job. Its a great way to cause tension between you and it will be harder for them to trust you and your monitor mix abilities. (tip one to getting the band to trust you)
Have a working monitor mix when the band arrives. Monitors should be eqed and leveled. Stand in front of it yourself and talk into the mic. Would you be happy to use the monitor how it sounds? If not fix it. Leave the vocal channel un muted on perpose so when the singer approaches and speaks he hears his favourite sound in the world, his own voice. Even if it is just monitors and not FOH.
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. bosst 1 - 2 db between 3.5k and 5k depending on vocals, higher for females. Light compression. When looking at your PFL on the vocal channel it can be similar to the drums, close to the yellow, but never in the red.
Any other instrument like keys etc I would follow the same procedure, bringing them up to just under '0' and eqing space for the lead instruments/voice.
By doing this, with all faders at '0' your vocal should be naturally louder than most of the elements in the mix and the others should have a reasonable blend at least to get you started to refine when the band plays a song or two. Panning is important for creating space.
FOH compression and EQ when used with a light hand can be fantastic but they can ruin a mix too!
You can then use your faders to ride the mix. Live Automation.
I dont mean you cant touch the faders but by doing this you should never run out of fader lenght to get the volume you require.
I do this for all size venues from 100 people to 10,000 people.
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.
Last time I saw behemoth live the desk was lighting up like a christmas tree on the drum channels, sounded amazing though.
I have a question for you live sound guys which I never got answered from the live-engineers or backline dudes because they always answer "I don't give a shit": What's a good volume for the amps on stage? Talking about small venues with 300-500 people and PAs, a 6505+ and a EVH 5150 through 4x12 cabs. I'm never sure if the amp isn't too loud and then I end up asking for a little "me" in the monitor. Thing is, I don't want to ruin the live sound by cranking my amp and fucking everything up for the first 10 rows in the crowd So I have it on "relatively" normal (=band practise) post-gain, from like 2/10 up to 3/10 max. I suppose you know how the post-gain/volume on the 5150/6505s work, could you give me a rough number of what you would want as the sound engineer?
And the related question: Do you prefer if the amps stand at the sides of the stage and point in the direction of the musicians on stage, or as usual with cabs in the back, pointing to the crowd? I would guess it distracts the PA sound less if the amps are not directly set to the crowd?
My experience with live sound engineers so far was mixed. Most of them were lazy as fuck, not friendly at all, didn't answer my questions (how loud would you like the amps, do you care where on stage we put the cabs and where we point them, etc), some were obviously pretty clueless (him: "huh the overheads aren't working, blabla" - *10 minutes later still not working* me: "did you check the phantom power?" him: "what's that? This button? .." *overheads work* me: ) but the sound on stage was still decent and people said it was good in the venue, so I guess it kinda worked out.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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)
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
Could be down to the fact that I'm often working in rooms where the monitor system can often contribute to the FOH sound,
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
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.
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.
Audix OM7 is a pretty handy mic to have around for singers who are prone to inducing feedback.
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.