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Author Topic: musicians amps on stage  (Read 1259 times)

Ed Taylor

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Re: musicians amps on stage
« Reply #10 on: June 11, 2021, 11:41:53 AM »

Church music is about connecting people to God via worship.  Everything else is subservient to that end.  Usually that involves moderate not high room SPL and a vocal that is more prominent than at a concert.

In a modern worship setting that need for a lower SPL has necessitated remote amps or modeling and often drums in a box.  Sound engineers have gotten really tired of having to be the SPL police because leadership has given a SPL ceiling and then hired animal as the drummer and a guitar player with the knob stuck at 10.

If you want to have your amp on stage then the beat way to go about it is start by playing inside the rules they have.  Do a good job, develop positive relationships with the engineer.  Then once you have a relationship broach the question of just trying it out.  Be prepared for a no.  It may not even be their decision to make.  There may be reasons behind that no that youíre not aware of and they donít have the desire to get into.  Donít be a dick about it if you donít get the answer you want.

I for one prefer drums out of the box, amps and all that on stage.  Unfortunately there are some rooms and some players where it just isnít possible while serving the main goal.  Keep the goal in mind and be part of the team working toward that.

nice even-handed response Erik..thanks.  I too am/have been , both...player and audio guy...and director of worship& arts for 2500 seated church.
An old school Red box from Hughes would go a long way into keeping a guitar signal sounding like a guitar, and a drum shield meant the sopranos (we know how they can be) up front are at least a little bit happier.
The one thing I've noted, you get the stage quiet, get everyone on ears and things get sterile. The musicians start playing to "track" rather than playing like a band...there's something extra that happens on a tight stage in an old bar where you're on top of eachother and stage volumes are moving you. You actually play together.  I want that for my church again. I miss it when I'm on guitar or bass or keys  or vocals.
I even miss it when I'm back at FOH position.
the organics are gone.
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Brian Jojade

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Re: musicians amps on stage
« Reply #11 on: June 11, 2021, 02:57:16 PM »

In a church environment, controlling stage volume is of utmost importance.  I've been to services where the preacher does his thing, and then the band kicks in and it's at rock concert volume.  Not appealing in any way whatsoever.  Additionally, you're often in a relatively small space which makes it even more difficult to keep things under control.  Also consider that where the sound quality actually matters is in the seats, not in the musician's ears.  Yeah, it's got to be reasonable so that the musicians can play, but that's about it.

An interesting concept is if you participate in a studio recording.  If you sit back and try to listen to the musicians within the studio, it probably won't sound that great.  However, in the mix position, isolated from everything, the engineer can put it all together to get an amazing mix.

Performing live means you have to figure out how to get that amazing mix to mesh nicely throughout the room with the slop that is created on stage. Remember that your guitar amp might sound great on stage and in the first couple rows, but after that, the coverage is all over the place.  Now the sound guy has to compromise either the sound in the first few rows, or all of the other rows to get the best mix.  Usually it's somewhere in between so that everyone suffers a little.  The question then becomes, is the 'tone' difference of using a modeled amp worse for the listeners than the compromises that the sound guy needs to make to even things out for everyone?

My feeling on this is typically, NO.  A quieter stage is the way to go.  Give full mix control to the sound guy who is IN the area where it needs to sound good.

To solve this, there are a few options.

1. No amps. This gives the sound guy maximum control.  You still have to deal with loud instruments, but the less you have to deal with, the easier it is for their job.  Eg, a regular set of drums can overpower just about anything and maintaining a quiet stage becomes nearly pointless.  If you move to all electronic instruments, you can have a nearly silent stage, which is great for church type events.  Yes, there are some trade-offs regarding the purity of sound, but in a small venue, this option would give you the closest to a 'recorded playback' sound that you could get.

2. Allow amplification, but set very specific guidelines on how loud each player can set their equipment.  In theory, it could work.  In reality, I'd want to be paid a hell of a lot more to be the 'asshole' that always has to tell people to turn their gear down, or point things in another direction.  From a volunteer standpoint, yeah, I wouldn't be the guy for that.

3. Not care at all and let musicians make the decision.  Result of this is the experience of volume of the music probably not matching the volume of the service.  Note, I say probably. It's possible to get professionals that know what they are doing, but those are few and far between, especially in a volunteer environment.
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Brian Jojade

Erik Jerde

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Re: musicians amps on stage
« Reply #12 on: June 11, 2021, 05:22:49 PM »

In a church environment, controlling stage volume is of utmost importance.  I've been to services where the preacher does his thing, and then the band kicks in and it's at rock concert volume.  Not appealing in any way whatsoever.  Additionally, you're often in a relatively small space which makes it even more difficult to keep things under control.  Also consider that where the sound quality actually matters is in the seats, not in the musician's ears.  Yeah, it's got to be reasonable so that the musicians can play, but that's about it.

An interesting concept is if you participate in a studio recording.  If you sit back and try to listen to the musicians within the studio, it probably won't sound that great.  However, in the mix position, isolated from everything, the engineer can put it all together to get an amazing mix.

Performing live means you have to figure out how to get that amazing mix to mesh nicely throughout the room with the slop that is created on stage. Remember that your guitar amp might sound great on stage and in the first couple rows, but after that, the coverage is all over the place.  Now the sound guy has to compromise either the sound in the first few rows, or all of the other rows to get the best mix.  Usually it's somewhere in between so that everyone suffers a little.  The question then becomes, is the 'tone' difference of using a modeled amp worse for the listeners than the compromises that the sound guy needs to make to even things out for everyone?

My feeling on this is typically, NO.  A quieter stage is the way to go.  Give full mix control to the sound guy who is IN the area where it needs to sound good.

To solve this, there are a few options.

1. No amps. This gives the sound guy maximum control.  You still have to deal with loud instruments, but the less you have to deal with, the easier it is for their job.  Eg, a regular set of drums can overpower just about anything and maintaining a quiet stage becomes nearly pointless.  If you move to all electronic instruments, you can have a nearly silent stage, which is great for church type events.  Yes, there are some trade-offs regarding the purity of sound, but in a small venue, this option would give you the closest to a 'recorded playback' sound that you could get.

2. Allow amplification, but set very specific guidelines on how loud each player can set their equipment.  In theory, it could work.  In reality, I'd want to be paid a hell of a lot more to be the 'asshole' that always has to tell people to turn their gear down, or point things in another direction.  From a volunteer standpoint, yeah, I wouldn't be the guy for that.

3. Not care at all and let musicians make the decision.  Result of this is the experience of volume of the music probably not matching the volume of the service.  Note, I say probably. It's possible to get professionals that know what they are doing, but those are few and far between, especially in a volunteer environment.

I've worked in #1 and #3.  #3 with true world class pros (consummate side-men/women not stars looking for the spotlight) can be amazing.  Not really because the volume isn't an issue but because of the quality of the musicians.  I do #1 most of the time but I prefer real cage-free drums and a drummer who can play the room.  Fortunately I usually get that these days.  It's pretty nice!
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Tim Weaver

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Re: musicians amps on stage
« Reply #13 on: June 11, 2021, 06:06:24 PM »

My situation is probably 1.5. They can and do have amps which can be as loud as they want. But I put them in a closet where my mains amps and monitor desk are. It's side of stage and has doors that remain closed. I provide SGI's for the guitar guys that want amps. My current and most stable guitar player has a modeler of some kind. I think it's from Fractal Audio? idk.
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Bullwinkle: This is the amplifier, which amplifies the sound. This is the Preamplifier which, of course, amplifies the pree's.

Mark Norgren

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Re: musicians amps on stage
« Reply #14 on: June 12, 2021, 08:05:23 PM »

My perspective comes from a musician.  I find that my stage volume follows the drummer.  Some drummers play crazy loud!  You have to be able to hear yourself and others on stage.  Put the drummer behind some plexiglass, most stage volume problems will disappear.  MHO
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Re: musicians amps on stage
¬ę Reply #14 on: June 12, 2021, 08:05:23 PM ¬Ľ


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