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Author Topic: Firing the Client Because They're Hard To Mix  (Read 12403 times)

Art Nadelman

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Re: Firing the Client Because They're Hard To Mix
« Reply #10 on: November 30, 2015, 02:54:38 pm »

What happens when you work a festival?  Do you pick and choose the bands you'll work with and say the rest are on their own?  No.  You run sound for all of the bands, whether they're fabulous or they suck.  And does your reputation suffer with those bands that suck?  Probably not.

Do as you wish.  But don't make your decision based on their stage volume alone.  If you enjoy working with them otherwise, work with them.  It's what we do.

Art
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Keith Broughton

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Re: Firing the Client Because They're Hard To Mix
« Reply #11 on: November 30, 2015, 02:58:26 pm »

What happens when you work a festival?  Do you pick and choose the bands you'll work with and say the rest are on their own?  No.  You run sound for all of the bands, whether they're fabulous or they suck.  And does your reputation suffer with those bands that suck?  Probably not.

Do as you wish.  But don't make your decision based on their stage volume alone.  If you enjoy working with them otherwise, work with them.  It's what we do.

Art
A festival is not the same as a single band in the situation the OP indicated.
However, you run a festival too loud for the producers and you will be looking for another gig.
And it's not "what we do"...it's what we "choose" to do.
« Last Edit: November 30, 2015, 03:00:31 pm by Keith Broughton »
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Bill Hornibrook

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Re: Firing the Client Because They're Hard To Mix
« Reply #12 on: November 30, 2015, 03:10:18 pm »

I have also had the venue telling me to turn down because I was going over the stage volume...

To take this further, I know a venue that's reluctant to use a certain soundman on their house system because they think he mixes loud.

And it's the fault of the bands he mixes. I've peeked at his board when he's only had vocals and kick running FOH.

Anyway IMO if you keep hanging with these guys and they don't get their levels under control, it's potentially damaging to your rep.
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Jamin Lynch

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Re: Firing the Client Because They're Hard To Mix
« Reply #13 on: November 30, 2015, 03:22:46 pm »

I quit doing a once a month show because the room acoustics were horrible, plus the band stage volume was too high. I pretty much had the sound system off other than the vocals. They didn't listen to my repeated requests to turn down or try different set ups to curtail the issue. I suggested all acoustic.....that went nowhere.

I quickly resigned after only 3 shows due to the numerous volume complaints from the mostly gray haired crowd. Even though all the faders were all the way down.

The show brought in many good artists from around the area. There was nothing I could do. It was making me look bad.
« Last Edit: November 30, 2015, 04:45:16 pm by Jamin Lynch »
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Dave Garoutte

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Re: Firing the Client Because They're Hard To Mix
« Reply #14 on: November 30, 2015, 04:43:49 pm »

I've had the opportunity to practice mixing with a (loud) band during one of their rehearsals and had a talk with the whole band about their stage volume.
They were willing to turn down as an experiment and immediately were playing better (even they noticed!).  They could actually hear each other and were playing as a band instead of a bunch of soloists.
I think trying something radical, like turning down, at a show would scare most bands.
But it does get old mixing to the loudest instrument.
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Robert Piascik

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Re: Firing the Client Because They're Hard To Mix
« Reply #15 on: November 30, 2015, 05:22:05 pm »

I have passed up clients after working with them and not enjoying them or their show or their talent. It happens.

It all depends on a few things for me. Does the band think I'm doing a great job even if I think they suck? If they do, then at least they may recommend me to other bands by word of mouth! What type of venue is it? High class or dive bar. Most dive bar venues that I have been at working with low talent bands don't bother me as long as the venue doesn't think the sound is bad. Most bars know when a band is bad and not the sound guy in my experience. Also, what type of pay are you looking at and do you need the pay? Sometimes I pass up a $250-$350 bar show when the band just sucks. I'm not usually expecting or rarely have made a high paying gig contact working a $250 dive bar show with a crappy band. Do you frequent this venue often or wish to in the future? My work comes from word of mouth band to band and my outdoor festivals or nicer bars or corporate gigs.

Ask yourself this and weigh the pros and cons.

If you had asked me this question 9 years ago when I just started out with my little starter jbl jrx/mackie system making $125 a night if I was lucky then maybe I would have felt different. I had to start somewhere. Now I can be more picky.

SO for me, do I think the guys are nice enough, do I need the money, do they like my work? Reputation means something yes, but it is relative depending on the gig to me!

On the flipside, be open with them about their stage volume. Amps too loud? Can they not hear themselves? Is that just how they practice? Have them point them across the stage or at their own faces and not at the crowd. This always works for me. Then it's just the drummer who usually is too loud.

Have fun. It's just another band and another show  8)

I think George hit most of the same points I would have made. I've been in the same position and it's difficult to turn down work when you don't have anything else just because you don't like the way the band operates. I have a couple groups that I don't much like working with, often I will send one of my protégés to mix just because I don't want to be there and I have another band that I like but who show up with 'everyone's got their own mis-matched mics' that they just gotta use, and btw the bass players DI doesn't work sometimes, and could I have a second monitor mix next to this one, and two guys now bring their own IEMs but still want the wedge, and can those be a different mix? or do they have to be the same, and the lead singer has his own processor that he needs to operate (and do you have another cable for it?) and we need power drops at each of the five positions across the front because we all have our individual fans to blow air in our faces at this indoor club gig and we can only pay you bottom dollar, can you be set up two hrs early so we can sound check?

I've decided I'm not firing these guys, I'm just probably not going to be available next time.

Unless it's winter.

And I need the money.


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Roland Clarke

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Re: Firing the Client Because They're Hard To Mix
« Reply #16 on: November 30, 2015, 06:05:29 pm »

Decisions about working with clients, I believe, is best based on business footing.  I work with a lot of bands of varying calibre.  Some are local "wanabe's " others are greats with CV's to match.  The results I get vary with the bands quality, though I pride myself on doing the best I can for each client, regardless of their ability. 

On a basic level, doing live sound, you are a technician, making sure everything works and at a higher level you are responsible for helping the musicians to achieve their goal of putting their music across in the best possible fashion.

Just a couple of personal thoughts:

If you are having problems with stage volume as the audio professional they are hiring, I think you should look for solutions and discuss this with the band, rather than planning your exit strategy.  If they won't listen to your advice and work with you to find a solution, perhaps they are not the client for you.  Always try and keep all your dealings with any client as amicable as possible, because people going round and telling others that you are not good to work with will do you more damage than mixing a couple of less than stellar shows. 

Don't get het up on working with bands who's music you absolutely love, most people in this industry consider themselves lucky to work with people whom they respect and enjoy working with.  Working with your favourite bands can have far more drawbacks.
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David Hayes

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Re: Firing the Client Because They're Hard To Mix
« Reply #17 on: November 30, 2015, 08:19:20 pm »

As a bass player in a fairly loud band who also mixes his band from the stage on occasion as well as other local bands, my opinion is this.

Tell them your concerns and if they can't or won't address their unreasonable stage volume, quit working for them.  Their primary concern should be sounding good and if they're unwilling to play at a reasonable volume level so you can help them do that then it's a lost cause.
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Bob Leonard

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Re: Firing the Client Because They're Hard To Mix
« Reply #18 on: November 30, 2015, 08:34:44 pm »

You've already committed to the next gig. Try to work with them and if you can't let them go. A tarnished rep is pretty hard to repair and those few jobs won't amount to a piss hole in the snow in the long run.
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Patrick Bouldin

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Re: Firing the Client Because They're Hard To Mix
« Reply #19 on: November 30, 2015, 10:06:00 pm »

I like and agree with many of the responses - I'd add - this is not just a sound business question - it really applies to any professional service. If your client isn't a pro then it's unlikely "fairness" will be top of mind. By fairness - not blaming you for advice they don't take for example. By fairness - giving you credit when they screw up, yet they know you did a great job.

Having said that, you/we also must be pros. We have to be open to having our perfectly sound advice rejected out of hand. If the other factors mentioned above are in-place then we have to be ok with their (the customer's) decision. It is their money.

Trust then is at the root of both ends of the relationship - and you can't beat a good track record. I doubt a show-gone-bad would be associated with the sound man if the band just isn't very good - or even if they are decent and made bad decisions - most especially if you already showed up with a legacy of success and quality.

I agree with sticking it out, as long as the trust is there.

Patrick
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Re: Firing the Client Because They're Hard To Mix
« Reply #19 on: November 30, 2015, 10:06:00 pm »


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