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Old 31st July 2019
Lives for gear

This all started a while ago, as dedicated small venues got better PA's & monitoring, they've often employed 'faux'-engineers who seem to work to a tick sheet and don't actually engineer. Actually it is quite rare in such venues to come across any with actual engineering skills.

I was lucky enough to play my early gigs in venues that hadn't made that jump and on occasion with experienced bands who were used to doing it themselves - The PA was for vocals and little to zero monitoring. Placement was everything.
The first time I experienced the "amp is too loud", it wasn't to start with, it was a large venue with a large stage, my amp was placed in the corner angled across the stage rather than out into the crowd (I don't remember angling it up towards me for that particular gig for whatever reason, probably due to the size of the stage it wasn't as directional). Yet the engineer wanted my JMP set to <1 (not exaggerating at all!) and went on about how it'll go through the monitor, sounded quite impressive and he just know what he's doing, until he got me down to that level, I assumed he would do something so it wasn't the literally tinny mess of how it sounded. The monitor was more directional than the amp and the sound was just **** because of how quiet the amp was, as he did nothing (Same for the bass). During the opening song, our singer went out into the crowd and reported the sound was just as bad out there, so we just cracked it all up to what we'd set to originally. The engineer gave us a lot of verbal abuse (which sadly the crowd couldn't hear) - The thing was after our set, we had a lot of people we didn't know commenting on how bad the first song sounded and how it sounded great afterwards and we told all of them to go tell the engineer how they felt as it was't a technical issue as many presumed, its what he thought sounded good.

Never experienced anything that bad since, but it was a lesson in not passing control of our sound to charlatans and later as an engineer myself, that the more control I have doesn't equal a better sound, working with what's in front of me does and to solve issues in a constructive way - Most guitarists aren't aware of how to place their amps on stage, so the too loud/trebly thing is so easy to do - 'Engineers' unaware of this should be on the dole queue. Instead of working out why its too loud, its "turn it down" when 99% of the time its not guitarists being all Spinal Tap, just simply a case of they don't know how to best place it on a small stage in a small venue to best hear it themselves.

Also today I find stage volumes excessive, I never found monitors made anything quieter, nearly always louder and engineer seem to whack them right up by default, then it all gets turned up further as fatigue sets in. Its a deeply unhealthy trend that's come about by far too many 'engineers' not understanding basics and not asking why of what musicians are doing and what they want.