View Single Post
Old 30th July 2019
Lives for gear
kennybro's Avatar
Stage sound for small gigs has gotten very weird in the past decade... for me anyway. Used to be that you'd just have a PA for vocal, and the instruments would run through their own amps. This made sense. It offered a feel of live band on a stage, for both the artists and the audience.

Past ten years, smaller local bands have gone to GC and purchased comparatively massive systems from QSC, EV, JBL, etc... complete with stage monitors big enough to have served as the main FOH. So they are in a room that holds 100 people, and using double 18" subs on each side, flying array type cabs from overhead framework, 16,000 watts total, two out of five band members trying to use IEM, on and on. Two hour load in/set up, half-hour trouble shoot, bla bla.

Total overkill, every time I go out to see a band in a small venue these days. Smeared mids and highs. Bass always way too loud, just to show off the subs. Some half-ass guy running around the small room with a bluetooth linked iPad mixer. Every band member complaining about their personal monitor mix, too much guitar in mine, more kick drum in his, sax player can't hear himself. And nobody on stage has a clue what the audience is hearing, which is usually crap because the drummer's brother who's a DJ "does sound."

Unless we are outside, my bands do just fine in small to medium rooms with a backline of a small punchy bass amp, guitars going though amps like Deluxe no mics, keys with a decent on-stage amp pushed slightly through the PA, drums only kick mic (drummers sing, so kit comes through vocal mic), and PA of something like a pair of QSC KW 152's. All mixed from the stage by me. I gave up on floor monitors years ago, putting the mains slightly behind us. Careful placement and tight cardioid mics eliminate feedback, and the band and crowd hear exactly the same mix. 45 minute load in/set up, never problems to solve, minimal cabling, and we can run our stage amps at decent volume without overpowering the FOH or interfering with floor monitor mixes. And the band automatically mixes itself.

Bigger venues, big outdoor gigs, different situation. A pro sound person running FOH and monitor, and I've been moving to guitar direct or small amp isolated. Minimal stage volume with small floor monitors... or IEM, which I don't like because they disconnect me from the band.