ProSoundWeb Community

Please login or register.

Login with username, password and session length
Advanced search  

Pages: [1]   Go Down

Author Topic: Share your tips for mixing in rooms with poor acoustics  (Read 525 times)

Mark Scrivener

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 195
    • My Recording Studio
Share your tips for mixing in rooms with poor acoustics
« on: June 02, 2019, 05:40:10 am »

Just played a gig tonight in a room with horrible acoustics and got tons of complements on how great we sounded ;D. Obviously the sound was far from perfect, but good enough that people actually commented 8). Thought I'd share what worked for us and hopefully others have more tips - I want to make it even better next time.

The room we had to deal with tonight was your typical "not designed for music" venue, hard surfaces everywhere - glass, brick, long narrow room, noisy. We are a 4 pc group - drums, upright bass, elec and acoustic guitars, vocals. I play elec and had to run sound as well....not ideal but sometimes it happens. Everything except drums was amplified.

I think the biggest factor tonight was keeping the volume down. The drummer used plastic low volume sticks that really helped. We also noticed the room quickly became muddy with even moderate bass levels, so we kept the bass lower than we might have otherwise. And my experience has been that harsh rooms only get worse as you get louder.

Eliminating wedges was another big help. Our singer wore IEM's and the rest of us just stood close and dealt with it. Since I was mixing I really needed to hear the room (and was wireless so I could walk around during sound check).

Finally I think compressing all the sources (just knocking the peaks off) and doing the same on the master mix prevented transients from over exciting the room.

Of course there were some EQ tweaks for problem spots in the room, but I think keeping the volume down was the biggest factor.

So please share - what do you think has helped you sound better when mixing in poor acoustic spaces?

Chris Hindle

  • SR Forums
  • Hero Member
  • *
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 1957
  • Montreal, Quebec, Canada, Earth, Sol System,......
Re: Share your tips for mixing in rooms with poor acoustics
« Reply #1 on: June 02, 2019, 12:06:34 pm »

Used do a occasional wedding in a round room, with a domed roof.
Sat around 400. Roof was 10ft at the edge, and 25 or so in the middle.
Volume (or lack thereof) was the key. Tossed the 6 wedges, and used a couple of hot-spots for the keyboard and vocals. Drummer knew how to "play nice", and the guitars co-operated.  Food was good, and the check cashed.
Chris.
Logged
Ya, Whatever. Just throw a '57 on it, and get off my stage.

Mal Brown

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 909
Re: Share your tips for mixing in rooms with poor acoustics
« Reply #2 on: June 02, 2019, 12:33:14 pm »

Varies by the space...  keeping stage volume in line is never a bad idea though. 

In the space you describe.

1. For the bass.  Have the player slowly and at volume walk chromatically from his lowest note, usually B or E up maybe 2 octaves.  You are probable going to find a cluster of notes that really stand out as louder than the rest.  Room node.   Cut those freqs in the foh, and probably in multiples. 

I play one room where G just takes off. I cut 63, 125, 250 and 500 - I may also slightly cut adjacent sliders (or broaden my Q) particularly in the lower 3 bands to see if that adds or subtracts to the overall sound.

If he has an amp with EQ do it there too!

I am sure there are more scientific ways to do this but hey ! iím the bass player so I use the tools I know ;-)

Next if I am using speakers on sticks and there is open space / dance floor in front of the band, I would raise the speakers higher than normal tip them down and toe them inward.  Keep as much of the energy as possible focused on people and off the hard reflective walls.

On band dates I use a wireless and wander out front from time to time for a reality check.  I have my Ďmixerí on an iPad on my mic stand.  I have done many sound checks as the first couple of songs of the night from the audience.   

My primary act for the last several years is a vocal pop quartet doing the Rock Band unplugged vibe for at least the opening set.  Iíll get the guitarist and lady lead slacker to duet.  Maybe The Boxer from Simon and Garfarkle and half way through bring in kick and snare (brushes) and the bass.  Then something a little peppierwhile Iím still hanging out at the bar, an open table or otherwise boot legging some space for the iPad and then take the stage.

I have fair mic technique, use a very good vocal mic and in our harmony singing, if I can hear the chord, Iím in the right spot.

It isnít perfect and it is really a lot less fun than having a sound guy but in my area getting another hun for a guy to mix is not an easy sell... more or less that would limit the number of gigs we could take significantly.

If this gig was cabaret.  And paying audience is seated front to back, I would consider running a quiet delay, 12 and horn powered box if I could fit one in without creating a trip hazard.  Safety first...
« Last Edit: June 02, 2019, 12:36:58 pm by Mal Brown »
Logged
Bass player, sound guy.
Fb Gorge Sound and Light
WillyandNelson.com

Mark Scrivener

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 195
    • My Recording Studio
Re: Share your tips for mixing in rooms with poor acoustics
« Reply #3 on: June 02, 2019, 12:52:30 pm »

Thanks Mal - using the bass player for the "low end freq sweep" is a great idea! I'll add that to my sound check list.

And Chris - that room sounds like a sonic nightmare. Never played a round domed room....yet.
« Last Edit: June 02, 2019, 12:54:54 pm by Mark Scrivener »
Logged

Chris Hindle

  • SR Forums
  • Hero Member
  • *
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 1957
  • Montreal, Quebec, Canada, Earth, Sol System,......
Re: Share your tips for mixing in rooms with poor acoustics
« Reply #4 on: June 02, 2019, 03:12:30 pm »

Thanks Mal - using the bass player for the "low end freq sweep" is a great idea! I'll add that to my sound check list.

And Chris - that room sounds like a sonic nightmare. Never played a round domed room....yet.
Ya. NOT a room build for speeches, never mind a live band.
Sure looks purdy once the set designers do their craft.

For sweeps, I use Bink's Audio Test CD.
Chris.
Logged
Ya, Whatever. Just throw a '57 on it, and get off my stage.

Erik Jerde

  • Classic LAB
  • Hero Member
  • *
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 1018
Re: Share your tips for mixing in rooms with poor acoustics
« Reply #5 on: June 02, 2019, 08:44:41 pm »

I used to do sound for a 7 piece 3vox wedding band.  No sound check with the band ever.  Had to get the mix perfect immediately for the first song of the night (first dance hence most important song) every single time.  Of course the spaces were rarely acoustically passable.  Mostly my tactic was reading the room layout, aiming boxes as best possible to keep energy off the walls and on the dance floor.  I worked hard on a relationship with the musicians (large rotating bunch) that eventually gave me the cred to ask them to turn down, point amps a specific way, etc.  That helped with the ever present singers vs back line war that long pre-dates my involvement with the group.

Sometimes things turned out real well and it would sound great.  Other times it was a successful evening if I was just successful in keeping things from squeaking.  Fortunately the crowd was always well lubricated and easy to please.  At the end of the night if the person who wrote the check was happy that was the most important.
Logged

ProSoundWeb Community

Re: Share your tips for mixing in rooms with poor acoustics
¬ę Reply #5 on: June 02, 2019, 08:44:41 pm ¬Ľ


Pages: [1]   Go Up
 



Page created in 0.036 seconds with 22 queries.