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Author Topic: Live sound tips and tricks  (Read 6805 times)

Yoel Farkas

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Re: Live sound tips and tricks
« Reply #20 on: December 27, 2016, 12:25:49 pm »

Damn! I was hoping to pick up some "tricks" myself from some of the veterans here. Instead all I'm getting is "good advice."

C'mon! Quit holding out! I KNOW you've got some secret "tricks" up your sleeve!
Well there is a lot of good stuff here. I'm not a veteran but i will share some "advice".

Some people think that there is some "trick" that is a push of a button and it makes everything sounds good, and they want the secret trick. but in reality there is NO magic. Sound amplification is a combination of the Acoustic and electronics, and you have to deal with both, in order to have an honest sound.

I see some people focusing on the mix (mixer), where they try to correct everything with a ton of processing. rather than fixing it in the first place at the source.

Sound amplification is a bunch of compromises.

In acoustical domain we have only a single direct source with additional reverb (echo).

In the amplified sound system we have the same signal arriving at the mic from 1)Source 2)Monitors 3)Main PA 4)Reflections, and it is than being multiplied by a number of load-speakers, arriving at the listener from multiple points.

My goal in sound system is to reduce the amount i have to compromise. the trick or technique is "ISOLATION" at both ends, at the input (microphone) and at the output (speakers) stages. if you have clean signal and a coherent system you don't need much processing.

Input
1) Use microphones with tight pickup pattern and good rear rejection. it will also help for GBF.
2) Point the microphones to the source, and closes possible to the source.
3) Use close miking technique.
4) Use In ear monitors instead of monitor wadges.
5) If you have to use monitors, align the monitors that they should be at the cancelling point of the microphones.
6) Use carpet on the floor to reduce reflections.
7) Use shield panels for drums.
8 ) Use direct input for guitars/bass instead of amp miking.

Output
1) Use the least speakers possible. 2 bigger speakers are better than 4 smaller.
2) Use speakers that have a tight pattern control (down to the low frequency).
3) Point the speakers where you want the sound energy to go, not on the ceiling and walls. hang the speakers and tilt it down, if possible.
4) Try to have as much of the speakers coverage at isolation zone.
5) Use delay speakers when needed. and align time and phase to the mains.
6) Center the subs, and align phase to the mains.
7) Balance the subs and the speaker levels. raise lows in the mix if needed.

If you do all of this, and advice from the veterans here. you don't need "tricks" to make it sound good. And if you use tricks you will be able to enjoy it, because the system will reproduce those "tricks".

Yeh, i know i put a lot of points here. The best advice i can give someone here is take training, listen to others, share with others and help others. this way you learn and grow.

Enjoy
Yoel Farkas
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Yoel Farkas
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Scott Holtzman

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Re: Live sound tips and tricks
« Reply #21 on: December 27, 2016, 01:14:17 pm »

One thing I try to do is, whenever there is a sound deficiency, look for the "acoustic" solution first before looking for the "electronic" solution. This goes for everything from controlling the stage volume to placing the floor monitors out of the feedback path to proper drum tuning and drum mic placement. When the acoustic issues are addressed, it becomes so much easier to apply the electronics to put the finishing touches on the mix rather than using them to fight uphill against mother nature.

This is very true.  I watched a guy screw up his gain structure on a guitar amp.  He is making crazy changes at the mixer and getting frustrated.  I could not take it any longer and pointed out that the mic stand had gotten knocked over before he cranked up so much gain that the whole stage broke loose.

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Stephen Kirby

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Re: Live sound tips and tricks
« Reply #22 on: December 27, 2016, 05:33:03 pm »

This is very true.  I watched a guy screw up his gain structure on a guitar amp.  He is making crazy changes at the mixer and getting frustrated.  I could not take it any longer and pointed out that the mic stand had gotten knocked over before he cranked up so much gain that the whole stage broke loose.
The most common mic stand problem I see are kick drum mics.  They either get knocked into the hole where they start booming or feeding back, or get knocked away from the drum so there's no kick in the PA.

Micing a guitar amp is a real art.  Getting the sound of the amp in a room though a 1" aperture is tough.  Especially with the mic close.  You can get close to the timbre with the mic off axis, but not the sense of size or space.  With an open back cab a rear mic a bit off the cab can help.  If you have space in front of the cab on a larger stage a large ribbon or LDC placed more than a foot out in front can help as well.  You can time align the close mic but the slight phase shift from the 15-24" can add a bit of thickness as well.
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Tom Roche

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Re: Live sound tips and tricks
« Reply #23 on: December 27, 2016, 05:42:19 pm »

The most common mic stand problem I see are kick drum mics.  They either get knocked into the hole where they start booming or feeding back, or get knocked away from the drum so there's no kick in the PA.

Yup, and it's a great way to tear the reso drum head.  I got tired of people not paying attention to where their feet are.  Consequently, I now place the mic on top of the laundry (usually fleece blanket) in the bass drum.  Works great for me.
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Roland Clarke

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Re: Live sound tips and tricks
« Reply #24 on: December 28, 2016, 07:51:10 am »

Damn! I was hoping to pick up some "tricks" myself from some of the veterans here. Instead all I'm getting is "good advice."

C'mon! Quit holding out! I KNOW you've got some secret "tricks" up your sleeve!

In my experience, the "tricks" that some well known engineers employ are probably the last things that you want to copy.  Most top guys employ good, solid, technique. 

Many of the good guys also mix to get a "vibe" rather than the most accurate sound.  Most tend to get the bands musical ideas across.

Second level engineers tend to get too caught up in the technology or the drum/guitar/vocal "sound", or using great kit when it's not necessarily appropriate. They also often miss the musical aspects of what the band are doing even when the balance might be quite good.

Lower level engineers tend to use bad planning, poor technique, poor balance and bad musical judgement.

Being at the top isn't just about your mix chops, things like being able to handle/work with a whole variety of people, have the bands respect etc all play a part.  I get called in for gigs where there are many good engineers also on the job, system teching, mixing monitors, sometime just there to "babysit" and sort out any issues.  Often these guys and girls are extremely knowledgeable and have great skills, yet I'm the one being paid to do the mix and get the "bands sound".  I sometime wonder why, but It reminds me of the the orchestral conductors joke,  80% of the orchestra think they can do a better job, 20% are probably right! 😉
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Brano Fabry

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Re: Live sound tips and tricks
« Reply #25 on: January 03, 2017, 11:08:40 am »

I see this 30ms technique as a kind of "power mono". For people who are placed too much on side won't do any harm and for people more in the middle makes the sound really spacious.
I usually place one harmonic instrument (guitar) to the right (delaying the left side) and one (keys or the other guitar) to the left (delaying the right side), according to which side the particular musician stays on. All the vocals in the middle.
I tried to delay toms, but that was unusable. Too peaky material caused the effect to be heard.

Brano Fabry

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Re: Live sound tips and tricks
« Reply #26 on: January 03, 2017, 11:46:44 am »

I am also a guitarist/keyboardist and bought an effect just for this thing to have it right in the instrument instead of explaining the mixers what I want from them.

Mac Kerr

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« Reply #27 on: January 03, 2017, 12:15:09 pm »

I am also a guitarist/keyboardist

Please go to your profile and change the "Name" field to your real first and last name as required by the posting rules displayed in the header at the top of the section, and in the Site Rules and Suggestions in the Forum Announcements section, and on the registration page when you registered.

Mac
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Jamin Lynch

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Re: Live sound tips and tricks
« Reply #28 on: January 03, 2017, 02:00:18 pm »

One technique I'd like to offer is what I call: "Don't mix from the kick drum up, but rather the main vocals down."

Too often I see sound guys trying to obtain the biggest chest thumping kick they can possibly get and then try to put everything else on top of it. Sometimes even if the bands music doesn't call for big kick drum.

It's not all about kick drum. There's a whole other group of instruments and vocalist that need to be heard.

When mixing, make sure you can hear the main vocals and lead instruments at or preferably above all the other instruments.

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John L Nobile

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Re: Live sound tips and tricks
« Reply #29 on: January 03, 2017, 02:36:04 pm »

One technique I'd like to offer is what I call: "Don't mix from the kick drum up, but rather the main vocals down."

Too often I see sound guys trying to obtain the biggest chest thumping kick they can possibly get and then try to put everything else on top of it. Sometimes even if the bands music doesn't call for big kick drum.

It's not all about kick drum. There's a whole other group of instruments and vocalist that need to be heard.

When mixing, make sure you can hear the main vocals and lead instruments at or preferably above all the other instruments.

No one buys a ticket to see "Kick Drum" . Seen a lot of guys who think it's the headliner.
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Re: Live sound tips and tricks
« Reply #29 on: January 03, 2017, 02:36:04 pm »


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