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Guitarists vs/ Soundmen or Tone, Headroom, Volume and Wattage Effects Pedals, Units & Accessories
Old 1 week ago
  #181
Y'know, it's a funny thing, but my ears hardly ever ring at all. Maybe one a month, late at night when it's quiet, I'll notice a little tinnitus but it always passes within a few seconds to a minute or so. Just lucky, I guess - and I've always tried to keep my distance from cymbals and drums while they're being played. And I'll be 68 on the 13th....

I do, however, have really annoying problems with my wrists and hands that limit my ability on guitar.
Old 1 week ago
  #182
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Quote:
Originally Posted by norfolk martin View Post
Actually I was born in Norfolk UK. I've lived in Tulsa, OK for the last 35 years.

At age 60 I'm pretty much out of the sound business, 'cos my ears ring badly, and I'm not happy with getting to bed at 3 am any more, although. I do run sound a a local warehouse club, Unit D, because they only have shows about twice a month. As you can probably tell , nowadays I prefer relatively low volume shows, Rockabilly, Blues, Americana type stuff.

Here's a typical clip.

YouTube
Thanks that's a very decent mix and I'm assuming (yet again, hopefully on the right continent this time) that by "relatively lower volume shows" you mean "not metal" and I can relate to that and rockabilly a la The Blasters is still well above 100db measured "front row". My guess is this show may have peaked around 113-115db front row.

I'm more than 10 years older than you and though I still play I haven't been "behind the desk"
in over a decade but I still get out a lot, have zero ringing, and no problem going to bed after 3 AM and still love it loud but loud for me is like hard driving Blues Rock, some Rockabilly, and Hard Rock 'n Roll. I've never been fond of 95% of metal acts but Hendrix and Zeppelin didn't seem too loud to me although one Zep show my location was possibly at fault for a nasty high end peak that made me wince when Jimmy played his DanElectro, but never did any ringing occur.

I tried to find a decent and recent recording of a live show from the Norva (mistakenly called Norview in that post) but all but the Chevelle show which sounds like a board recording with possibly a few ambient mikes (and pretty decent, really) seem recorded on phones and they all "bloze goats". That room was built in like 1911 and isn't large, holds around 2000 audience, has a few challenging quirks (narrow rectangular with a very high ceiling) but overall decent acoustics and good bands sound fantastic there.

Your mix, assuming that was your deal, sounded very professional to me in that it suited both the venue and the band and everything was audible without having to strain. It is hard for me to determine how that was recorded since it has a lot of ambient doesn't sound like just field mikes. Maybe it's a board mix with a very live stage with lots of FOH bleed. It would be interesting to know.
Old 1 week ago
  #183
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I'd like to give an example addressing volume, balance, stage levels and FOH. I didn't pick this video because I don't like it. I love Frankie Miller and find every iteration of bandmate changes at the very least very good and the mostly live "Dancin' In The Rain" album with Brian Robertson is just stellar but in this example please take note of the second lead player (in this tune playing slide) starting around 1:37. I can't be certain what amp he is playing through but I strongly suspect it's the Music Man occasionally visible behind him, partly because of placement but also I am familiar with that band personnel and neither Frankie nor the 1st Lead (4x10 ampeg combo) ever played a MusicMan that I know of. Bottom line there is not one amp on stage under 50 watts and you may notice the Acoustic 360 bass rig which definitely can punch through a 15,000 seat venue with only a little FOH reinforcement.

I don't know whether the mic was off, broken or the soundman was asleep at the wheel but you can only hear what seems to be vocal mic bleed and it should be a useful lesson at just how loud (or not) a 50-100 watt amp can be FOH in larger venues, how important balance is, and the cold water splash effect of failure to achieve a good balance. Compare it to the 2nd lead from the Ampeg 4x10 properly reinforced.

Old 1 week ago
  #184
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Quote:
Originally Posted by enorbet2 View Post
Your mix, assuming that was your deal, sounded very professional to me in that it suited both the venue and the band and everything was audible without having to strain. It is hard for me to determine how that was recorded since it has a lot of ambient doesn't sound like just field mikes. Maybe it's a board mix with a very live stage with lots of FOH bleed. It would be interesting to know.
Thanks. That's straight from the stereo mic on the camcorder I usually cringe when someone posts cellphone video of a show I mixed, because it sounds pretty terrible compared to the live sound but, this one captured things nicely


This video came from a benefit show for a local musician who had had a stroke. Six bands in six hours! I think I lost 10 pounds running around moving stuff between bands. JD Mcpherson was generous enough to come in and headline with a backing band of local musicians, god bless him!

I have fond memories of this night because everyone came together to help without any ego problems. We said upfront that we needed a 15minute changeover, so everyone had to use the house bass rig (my old rig) and drum kit (although we let drummers use their own snare and kick pedal.)

Only one band refused to play under those conditions, and as, and as we had 12 volunteers for the six slots, that wasn't much of a hardship
Old 5 days ago
  #185
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Quote:
Originally Posted by norfolk martin View Post
I disagree a few points John. First of all, I would say that I think this conflict is being overblown here. I so seldom encounter the "I can only play at one volume" or "its our signature sound to be really loud" argument that I honestly thought that attitude had pretty much died out. Ditto, it has been YEARS since anyone told me the FOH was "too quiet."

Secondly, I never do Metal bands, and understand the conventions are likely entirely different from what;s normal in Tulsa, OK. If the band is packing the place out, and the people there are cool with high volume, that's a different scenario. But, frankly, as the local club level where I run sound, that's more of a musician's fantasy than a expression of the usual reality.

The usual reality is obviously that the club has hired the band to make money for the club, and, given the modern aversion to cover charges, it's going to make it by selling drinks, preferably expensive mixed drinks and craft beer.

In that equation, the wishes of the 25 fans that personally know the band ( and who drink PBR) don't really count for much. As I've said before, attracting a bunch of local musicians as a crowd isn't enough to keep the doors open. Local venues need to attract a mixed crowd to make money.

I would also counter that "serving the band" is not the same thing as "serving the guitar player." Why turn everyone else up because one guy says he doesn't want to turn down? IME, at the local level, serving the band is getting the sound at a level that maximizes the enjoyment of the audience, and hence the turnover at the door and the bar. This generate new booking, income, and an increasing status on the local scene.

As I said before, IME it is a much greater service to the band to actually mix the show, i.e ride faders on solos , re-adjust vocal balances whenever necessary , change vocal FX depending on the type of song, kill all FX between songs, etc., that it is to accept the guitarist's volume preferences as the building block for everything.
A band's volume should be a band's volume, and it should be balanced on the stage.

Anyone who has ever tried to get an AC30 "in the pocket" will know what I mean. "Turn it down"? I'm just keeping up with the drummer. This IS the sound. If I turn down from here, it will be all attack, no sustain and sound like s**t. Number of sound engineers I've come across who don't understand the basic topology of a tube amp. Any band that has ever played with a drummer who really HITS will know what I mean. You wouldn't ask the drummer to play quieter, would you? Maybe you would.

Now, whether a non-pro band is balanced by the time they get to the stage or not, that is another matter.

Number of guitarists who turn up to a show with the wrong amp... one size does not fit all when it comes to guitar amps (unless you're smart with attenuators).

Seen many a band in a small club where two 4x12's are trying to drown out everything in defiance of science.

Best band mixes you can have are where the band is able to control their mix dynamically by the way they set up & play, and not have a FOH engineer throwing faders all over the place to compensate for poor balance & dynamics.
Old 5 days ago
  #186
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fibreman View Post
A band's volume should be a band's volume, and it should be balanced on the stage.

Anyone who has ever tried to get an AC30 "in the pocket" will know what I mean. "Turn it down"? I'm just keeping up with the drummer. This IS the sound. If I turn down from here, it will be all attack, no sustain and sound like s**t. Number of sound engineers I've come across who don't understand the basic topology of a tube amp. Any band that has ever played with a drummer who really HITS will know what I mean. You wouldn't ask the drummer to play quieter, would you? Maybe you would.

Now, whether a non-pro band is balanced by the time they get to the stage or not, that is another matter.

Number of guitarists who turn up to a show with the wrong amp... one size does not fit all when it comes to guitar amps (unless you're smart with attenuators).

Seen many a band in a small club where two 4x12's are trying to drown out everything in defiance of science.

Best band mixes you can have are where the band is able to control their mix dynamically by the way they set up & play, and not have a FOH engineer throwing faders all over the place to compensate for poor balance & dynamics.
Agree that a band should be balanced on stage.
As far as tube amps go, yeah they sound better hotter on the gain, but I’ve used attenuators with great success in keeping great tone while outputting less volume. That is a solution for small venues, if the guitarist is a team player and you have access to one.
Old 5 days ago
  #187
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fibreman View Post
A band's volume should be a band's volume, and it should be balanced on the stage.
And for those of us who mix in clubs/bars, how often does THAT happen?
Old 5 days ago
  #188
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fibreman View Post

Number of guitarists who turn up to a show with the wrong amp... one size does not fit all when it comes to guitar amps (unless you're smart with attenuators).
Yes, that would be my main point: if you are going to develop a style/sound that will only work when an amp is at a particular sweet spot, you're probably going to have more than one amp. It works the other way too. Went to a bar Friday to see someone's grandson's band ( You know you're old when, instead of "my friend's son is in this band" it becomes "my friend's grandson is in this band"). Opposite problem-he brought a 10W amp to a small bar where the PA was vocal only. Guitar was in flat out saturation all night, which was a bit boring, and was still low compared to the bass.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Fibreman View Post

Best band mixes you can have are where the band is able to control their mix dynamically by the way they set up & play, and not have a FOH engineer throwing faders all over the place to compensate for poor balance & dynamics.

It certainly cuts down my work. The older and more professional the musicians are, generally the less I have to ride faders. perhaps because, the older and more professional the musicians are, the less they seem to rely on FX pedals and frequent instrument changes.

In the age of "everyone has 20 FX pedals" poor balance seem endemic, however. Every time I see the guitarist look down, my hand goes to the guitar mic fader. Even worse is the bass player looking down, because nowadays that usually means "here comes the fuzz tone, and the bottom end is going to entirely disappear."

Vocalists almost always need a bit of riding. Bass and drums I usually leave alone once the balance is right. However, I still think it is a great mistake to assume that what sounds balanced on stage sound balanced in the room. Ditto, a guitar tone that sounds good three feet away may sound quite different 30 feet away.

Further, some cabinets, particularly closed-back 4X12s can also be quite directional: If the room is wide as opposed to deep, the guitar can be quite loud in some spots while it is too quiet in others. The guitarist really can't tell this from the stage, But I can by walking round every now and then. If your amp is stage left, I can blend a little guitar into the right pa stack, and even things up.

The bottom line, to me, is that it is very hard to do a good FOH mix from up on the stage. you have to trust the sound guy to some degree. Whether he/she is worth of that trust is another issue, but it is inevitable.

It's a good idea to bring a "spy" to check out the front sound. However, PLEASE bring someone who can actually articulate what the problem is with the balance, and PLEASE tell me beforehand that they are authorized to speak for you! You'd be surprised how often random people wander up to the sound board and start giving advice!
Old 5 days ago
  #189
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One thing I think needs to be said especially to players that have difficulty trusting any soundman is there is a huge bonus when players can stop fretting (no pun intended) about the mix. Fewer concerns equals less distraction which means that problem solving side of one's brain can coast allowing that state of Nirvana we all seek, disappearing into the act, spontaneous reaction and utter bliss. This is not to be confused with "udder bliss" which is a whole other thing usually involving members of the audience.

Granted if your band is a "play it by the numbers" sort of act this may not seem a worthy goal or a goal at all, but it is objectively true that humans are more entertained by a sense of "anything could happen" and "playing from the soul" are occurring regularly which means audiences will love you more and likely spread the word - profit!.... unless you're a BeBop band that seeks as small an audience as possible and even then BeBop is the Art and Science of painfully strict discipline unleashed instinctively and passionately.

Consider hiring a permanent soundman. Maybe start offering a percentage off the top for whomever books the band. Since the soundman has a vested interest in seeking decent sized and sounding venues as well as lining his pockets he may become the single most important person affecting your success by booking great sounding venues and making you guys sound your best..
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