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Author Topic: Reverberant room  (Read 3562 times)

Stephen Kirby

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Re: Reverberant room
« Reply #30 on: September 27, 2018, 05:10:14 pm »

I feel the need to defend guitar players a bit here.  I've been reduced to playing by braille on many occasions following this "use a tiny amp/turn it down and I'll control it from the board" mantra.  Where I can dimly hear reflections from the back wall over the sound of the cabinet on stage.  Which obviously aren't in time with my hands.  And this on solos.  My personal mantra on comping is that if you can hear yourself clearly, you're too loud.  But when you're trying to tell a story with a blues guitar solo, not being able to hear what is going on or being able to use any subtle dynamics sucks all the music out of it.
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Tim McCulloch

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Re: Reverberant room
« Reply #31 on: September 27, 2018, 06:37:00 pm »

I feel the need to defend guitar players a bit here.  I've been reduced to playing by braille on many occasions following this "use a tiny amp/turn it down and I'll control it from the board" mantra.  Where I can dimly hear reflections from the back wall over the sound of the cabinet on stage.  Which obviously aren't in time with my hands.  And this on solos.  My personal mantra on comping is that if you can hear yourself clearly, you're too loud.  But when you're trying to tell a story with a blues guitar solo, not being able to hear what is going on or being able to use any subtle dynamics sucks all the music out of it.

I think your example situation is a little different from playing society gigs, wedding receptions and corporate events.

If you want to see extraordinary grimacing as the result of Guitar as a Weapon, find the episode of the TV cooking show that had Pat Benetar with Neil sitting in with the house band...

Perhaps one of our NYC folks who do network TV stuff can tell us how loud The Roots are on the Tonight Show?  My recollection of them was "ear plugs ain't enough" in concert settings.  I presume that's not the case in the TV studio...
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brian maddox

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Re: Reverberant room
« Reply #32 on: September 27, 2018, 07:54:48 pm »

I feel the need to defend guitar players a bit here.  I've been reduced to playing by braille on many occasions following this "use a tiny amp/turn it down and I'll control it from the board" mantra.  Where I can dimly hear reflections from the back wall over the sound of the cabinet on stage.  Which obviously aren't in time with my hands.  And this on solos.  My personal mantra on comping is that if you can hear yourself clearly, you're too loud.  But when you're trying to tell a story with a blues guitar solo, not being able to hear what is going on or being able to use any subtle dynamics sucks all the music out of it.

Just to be clear, i get to pick on guitar players 'cause i are 1...  :)

My little soapbox speech was in regards to guitar players cranking amps simply for the difference in tone that provides [which i do understand and agree is a thing].  If you're on stage and you have to turn up your amp just so you can hear yourself, that is another thing altogether.  Turning everything down on stage to "clean up the FOH sound" at the expense of the performers being able to actually hear themselves is not the point at all.  The point is to work together to make BOTH work, and that is an achievable goal if everyone involved actually works towards it together.
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Tim McCulloch

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Re: Reverberant room
« Reply #33 on: September 27, 2018, 07:59:53 pm »

Just to be clear, i get to pick on guitar players 'cause i are 1...  :)

My little soapbox speech was in regards to guitar players cranking amps simply for the difference in tone that provides [which i do understand and agree is a thing].  If you're on stage and you have to turn up your amp just so you can hear yourself, that is another thing altogether.  Turning everything down on stage to "clean up the FOH sound" at the expense of the performers being able to actually hear themselves is not the point at all.  The point is to work together to make BOTH work, and that is an achievable goal if everyone involved actually works towards it together.

And that take us back to the concept of ENSEMBLE PLAYING.... where you can hear yourself and each other without heroic efforts (whether fortissimo or pianissimo).

I'm waaaay over the "5 soloists on stage".  I'd rather have a band... ;)
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"Practicing an art, no matter how well or badly, is a way to make your soul grow, for heaven's sake. Sing in the shower. Dance to the radio. Tell stories. Write a poem to a friend, even a lousy poem. Do it as well as you possible can. You will get an enormous reward. You will have created something."  - Kurt Vonnegut

Rob Spence

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Re: Reverberant room
« Reply #34 on: September 27, 2018, 10:10:45 pm »

I feel the need to defend guitar players a bit here.  I've been reduced to playing by braille on many occasions following this "use a tiny amp/turn it down and I'll control it from the board" mantra.  Where I can dimly hear reflections from the back wall over the sound of the cabinet on stage.  Which obviously aren't in time with my hands.  And this on solos.  My personal mantra on comping is that if you can hear yourself clearly, you're too loud.  But when you're trying to tell a story with a blues guitar solo, not being able to hear what is going on or being able to use any subtle dynamics sucks all the music out of it.

Is the amp playing to your ankles?

Best bar gig I ever did, both guitar players fetched chairs and set their amps on them and aimed them cross stage at their ears. Stage wash from the guitars was minimal. The Neil Pert drum kit was another story.


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Stephen Kirby

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Re: Reverberant room
« Reply #35 on: September 28, 2018, 01:24:48 am »

Is the amp playing to your ankles?

Best bar gig I ever did, both guitar players fetched chairs and set their amps on them and aimed them cross stage at their ears. Stage wash from the guitars was minimal. The Neil Pert drum kit was another story.


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I'm probably going to go hoarse repeating this but a guitar amp pointed directly at your ears from 4 feet away sounds nothing like it would in the middle of a room it's pointed into.  Any more than a close mic'd drum sounds anything like that actual drum does acoustically.  I've done sound where someone bought into this nonsense and had cut all the highs from their amp so it sounded normal to them.  No amount of eq in the mains could restore it to anything like a decent tone.

Typically putting a smaller single 12 combo amp up on a chair doesn't point it at a player's ears.  In fact I've found that on small stages that it's pretty much the optimum.  Having the speaker at hip height ends up sounding to the player in front of it pretty much the same as it does in most of the room.  Unless one uses something like a Beam Blocker there will be a bit of a beam directly on axis with the cabinet but as is often said, live sound is a compromise to get the best sound to the largest number of listeners.  Not to cripple a musician simply because someone can stand right in front of their amp and say it sounds harsh or loud.

Personally, I use 1-12 cabinets unless I'm on a very large stage.  I carry around a folding sling type camp stool for a stand.  Setting the amp into the sling lets me get a few degrees of tilt back and I can adjust that to get a decent sound to my ears and be able to hear myself.  If the stage is really elevated so that this would put the speaker right at dancers ear level, I put it on the floor and use a plexi shield to funnel the sound up at me.  This puts me at the mercy of the house PA and whoever's flying it.  But I have a mic with a clamp that fixes the position on the cabinet borne of much recording so I know that what's going into the board is close to what I'm hearing.
I should note that much of my gigs over the last several years have been corporate function/wedding things.  And not with a "classic rock" band.  I've never understood how such bands book corporate gigs.  I've played for one CEO's private parties where he personally liked that but for his company's Christmas parties and such it was Top 40, R&B.  We also play a bit of Latin music, how much depending on the event coordinator.  So as such I'm called on to produce many different guitar tones.  Not just ZZ Top.  So, I need to be able to hear what the audience hears so that I can re-create the essence of the song.  Not by having a million pedals and geeking out on the original gear.  But by having good versatile stuff and using my hands.
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brian maddox

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Re: Reverberant room
« Reply #36 on: September 28, 2018, 10:22:10 am »

I'm probably going to go hoarse repeating this but a guitar amp pointed directly at your ears from 4 feet away sounds nothing like it would in the middle of a room it's pointed into.  Any more than a close mic'd drum sounds anything like that actual drum does acoustically.  I've done sound where someone bought into this nonsense and had cut all the highs from their amp so it sounded normal to them.  No amount of eq in the mains could restore it to anything like a decent tone.

Typically putting a smaller single 12 combo amp up on a chair doesn't point it at a player's ears.  In fact I've found that on small stages that it's pretty much the optimum.  Having the speaker at hip height ends up sounding to the player in front of it pretty much the same as it does in most of the room.  Unless one uses something like a Beam Blocker there will be a bit of a beam directly on axis with the cabinet but as is often said, live sound is a compromise to get the best sound to the largest number of listeners.  Not to cripple a musician simply because someone can stand right in front of their amp and say it sounds harsh or loud.

Personally, I use 1-12 cabinets unless I'm on a very large stage.  I carry around a folding sling type camp stool for a stand.  Setting the amp into the sling lets me get a few degrees of tilt back and I can adjust that to get a decent sound to my ears and be able to hear myself.  If the stage is really elevated so that this would put the speaker right at dancers ear level, I put it on the floor and use a plexi shield to funnel the sound up at me.  This puts me at the mercy of the house PA and whoever's flying it.  But I have a mic with a clamp that fixes the position on the cabinet borne of much recording so I know that what's going into the board is close to what I'm hearing.
I should note that much of my gigs over the last several years have been corporate function/wedding things.  And not with a "classic rock" band.  I've never understood how such bands book corporate gigs.  I've played for one CEO's private parties where he personally liked that but for his company's Christmas parties and such it was Top 40, R&B.  We also play a bit of Latin music, how much depending on the event coordinator.  So as such I'm called on to produce many different guitar tones.  Not just ZZ Top.  So, I need to be able to hear what the audience hears so that I can re-create the essence of the song.  Not by having a million pedals and geeking out on the original gear.  But by having good versatile stuff and using my hands.

This is a very good explanation about how one can place an amplifier to ensure that the sound heard by the player is what is heard by everyone else.  And i very much appreciate the obvious attention to detail in this.  Just know that for most of us, when we say "point the amp at the player's ears" we mean this in the macro sense of "stop pointing the amp at the back of your knees and the ears of the front row of your audience because nothing good can come of that".  If we can get a guitarist to take that macro step, then it's a short trip to finessing the details to the level you are describing.

I was just thinking about John Fogarty's live setup where the amps are essentially blowing into the ceiling [i think The Boss does this as well].  Obviously a big part of that is because he likes to wind them up and that way they are less deadly.  But it also means that the off axis sound that he is hearing on stage more closely approximates what the front rows of his show may be hearing....
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"It feels wrong to be in the audience.  And it's too peopley!" - Steve Smith

brian maddox
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'...do not trifle with the affairs of dragons...

       ....for you are crunchy, and taste good with ketchup...'

Rob Spence

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Re: Reverberant room
« Reply #37 on: September 28, 2018, 07:38:11 pm »

I had one guitar player at a outdoor festival ask me if it would be ok to put his amp (single 12 I think) next to the stage monitor & tilted back aimed at him. I was happy to say yes.


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Scott Holtzman

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Re: Reverberant room
« Reply #38 on: September 28, 2018, 07:40:45 pm »

I had one guitar player at a outdoor festival ask me if it would be ok to put his amp (single 12 I think) next to the stage monitor & tilted back aimed at him. I was happy to say yes.


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I had a fellow do that on a chair.  Unfortunately it was an open back amp!

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Scott AKA "Skyking" Holtzman

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Re: Reverberant room
« Reply #38 on: September 28, 2018, 07:40:45 pm »


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