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Author Topic: The Sound Guy is always the last to know...  (Read 9557 times)

Mike Sokol

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The Sound Guy is always the last to know...
« on: December 20, 2013, 01:54:13 pm »

I've split this topic since it was turning into a list of live sound failures. So post your crazy stuff here. And if you can come up with a few new "Rules", then so much the better. Here's some of my favorite sound rules below. Please feel free to take a number and add your own Rule. I'm claiming these first six, but I'm sure they've also happened to all of you. 

Mike Sokol's Live Sound Rules

#1: The Sound Guy is always the last to know...

#2)   It’s always the Sound Guy’s fault

#3)   Murphy was an optimist… i.e. at a live gig the toast will land butter side down, then burst into flames

#4)   All sound jobs take longer than you quoted

#5)   An artist’s ego is inversely proportional to their actual talent

#6)  You will need X+1 XLR cables for a gig, X being the number of cables you have with you


Mike Sokol (Just a live sound guy)

This is one of those ideas that is so crazy simple it is wonderful.  I will keep it.

I figured this out 25 years ago while doing a small concert with a band from South America. Their road manager wanted to video/record them using the console audio, but when we tried sending line-level signal from the aux output, the pro camera distorted like crazy, even with the on-camera pad in place. When I turned down the console aux send low enough to not distort the camera the S/N went in the toilet and the hiss level was unbearable. I wished that somebody had put it in the tech rider and I would have brought one of my professional press mults. But if wishes were horses, beggars would ride. Then I spied a spare DI box in my road case, knew that it had to work the same as a single-output press mult, plugged it in, and ta da....

I've also used this to break an audio ground loop between two buildings in a church that wanted to send a feed to a break room in another building (and on a different sub panel). Of course, dedicated 600-to-600 ohm audio isolation transformers are the gold standard for this sort of thing. But a good passive DI box is generally available and works just fine for those "gotcha" situations were they don't tell the sound guy what's needed in advance.

Mike Sokol's Live Sound Rule #1: The Sound Guy is always the last to know...

« Last Edit: December 22, 2013, 02:29:21 pm by Mike Sokol »
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Steve M Smith

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Re: The Sound Guy is always the last to know...
« Reply #1 on: December 20, 2013, 02:16:56 pm »

A couple of years ago, I had to run a feed over about 200' but we couldn't run a cable. They (BBC regional station) had what looked to be half of a radio mic with a connector added in a very home made style.  It still managed to get some hum, though I never did work out where from.  More likely at their end if their receiver was of the same quality as their transmitter.


Steve.
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Stephen Swaffer

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Re: The Sound Guy is always the last to know...
« Reply #2 on: December 21, 2013, 09:21:17 am »

Mike Sokol's Live Sound Rule #1: The Sound Guy is always to last to know...

At least I know its not just me! Last week at rehearsal for our Christmas play, our pastor/choir director looked up at me after the choir song and asked why there was no violin/strings (electric piano) in the mix.  The previous rehearsal we had used a soundtrack for the whole song (played by another sound guy that helps me)-this rehearsal they went back to what we did a year ago transitioning to live  mid-song.  Neither the mic they were trying to use for the violin or the piano were hooked up to anything-you can guess when I learned about the change!
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Mike Sokol

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Re: The Sound Guy is always the last to know...
« Reply #3 on: December 21, 2013, 09:59:58 am »

Neither the mic they were trying to use for the violin or the piano were hooked up to anything-you can guess when I learned about the change!

Mike Sokol's Live Sound Rule #2: It's always the Sound Guy's fault...
« Last Edit: December 21, 2013, 03:57:55 pm by Mike Sokol »
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Frank DeWitt

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Re: The Sound Guy is always the last to know...
« Reply #4 on: December 21, 2013, 10:30:51 am »

I've also used this to break an audio ground loop between two buildings in a church that wanted to send a feed to a break room in another building (and on a different sub panel). Of course, dedicated 600-to-600 ohm audio isolation transformers are the gold standard for this sort of thing. But a good passive DI box is generally available and works just fine for those "gotcha" situations were they don't tell the sound guy what's needed in advance.

Mike Sokol's Live Sound Rule #1: The Sound Guy is always to last to know...

I have become accustomed to using a DI box or a 1:1 box to solve all sorts of interconnect and hum problems.  I just never thought of jacking a bunch of them together for an ad hock press box.  BTW I custom wired a DI box for balanced line in and unbalanced out plus a pad and placed it right next to a consumer video camera that wanted a very low level unbalanced audio in and  had to have transformer isolation.

Another problem solver I carry is a cheep cable tester rewired to parallel all the connectors on one side and bring then out to binding posts. same with the other side.  With this box I can connect anything to anything even if they are wired wrong.

Frank

 
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Mike Sokol

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Re: The Sound Guy is always the last to know...
« Reply #5 on: December 21, 2013, 03:05:25 pm »

Another problem solver I carry is a cheep cable tester rewired to parallel all the connectors on one side and bring then out to binding posts. same with the other side.  With this box I can connect anything to anything even if they are wired wrong. 

That's a great idea. I have a dead cable tester in my mic cabinet that's a perfect candidate.  :D
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Tommy Peel

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Re: The Sound Guy is always the last to know...
« Reply #6 on: December 21, 2013, 03:45:18 pm »

However, states like Texas (with 80 MPH speed limits) said it was unconstitutional to force them to a 55 MPH speed limit.

Driving across Texas at 55mph would suck.... Even at 80+mph it takes forever.  :)

Mike Sokol's Live Sound Rule #1: The Sound Guy is always to last to know...

The church band I mix for is always like oh yeah(5 minutes before we start, no sound check), we're going to use *insert odd instrument* today for 30 seconds during one song.... Is that a problem?

Or my favorite: After getting all the drums, guitar amp, bass, etc.. mic'd up and ready to go they arrive(20 minutes late for practice and right before church) and are like "we're just going to do an acoustic set this week" with cajon, acoustic guitar, and ukulele(and so the hour+ you spent getting everything ready is now null and void).  >:( :-X

</rant>
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Mike Sokol

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Re: The Sound Guy is always the last to know...
« Reply #7 on: December 21, 2013, 03:54:17 pm »

Or my favorite: After getting all the drums, guitar amp, bass, etc.. mic'd up and ready to go they arrive(20 minutes late for practice and right before church) and are like "we're just going to do an acoustic set this week" with cajon, acoustic guitar, and ukulele(and so the hour+ you spent getting everything ready is now null and void).

As I said... Mike Sokol's Live Sound Rule #1: The Sound Guy is always the last to know...

Anything else could cause a rip in the time/space continuum.
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Tommy Peel

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Re: The Sound Guy is always the last to know...
« Reply #8 on: December 21, 2013, 03:58:16 pm »

As I said... Mike Sokol's Live Sound Rule #1: The Sound Guy is always the last to know...

Anything else could cause a rip in the time/space continuum.

Guaranteed. And rule #1 directly relates to rule #2.  ;D
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Mike Sokol

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Re: The Sound Guy is always the last to know...
« Reply #9 on: December 21, 2013, 04:19:30 pm »

Guaranteed. And rule #1 directly relates to rule #2.  ;D

Mike Sokol's Live Sound Rule #2: It's always the Sound Guy's fault...

You KNOW it's true. At the little play/musical I did last week my FOH amps lost power sometime during intermission. So going into ACT 2 there was zero sound from the main speakers. Of course I'm running up to the other circuit breaker panel behind stage and find the breaker is off/tripped. A quick flip to ON and the system comes back to life halfway through the fist song. Of course, everyone gave me the stink-eye as I came back to the mix position, and the director had a few choice words with me about how I nearly wrecked his show. However, the next day the show's producer asked me if he had accidentally "powered off" my amps while he was turning off the backstage lights. The mystery of the tripped breaker was solved, but he never did fess up to the director, and everyone in the audience was sure "It was the Sound Guy's Fault". Geesh!!!!  >:(

« Last Edit: December 21, 2013, 04:31:01 pm by Mike Sokol »
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Re: The Sound Guy is always the last to know...
« Reply #9 on: December 21, 2013, 04:19:30 pm »


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