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Author Topic: Issues with Mic'g band to the PA  (Read 4143 times)

Steven Danger

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Issues with Mic'g band to the PA
« on: April 13, 2011, 03:08:35 pm »

Hello All,

New guy here.  We play mostly club dates and have only been mic'g vocals through the PA.  Have been getting resistance from band members to either mic or DI to the PA.  Our sound is very uneven and mostly too loud from certain players and drowns out the vocals.  What is everyone doing here?  And if you are mic'g is that EVERYONE, including the bass player (he is the most resistant) and drums?  Also are you mic'g or going the DI route.

Would like to get some reinforcemnt to make my case, if I'm indeed on the right track, so they all know it's not just me that thinks we should do it. Thanks!
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Taylor Phillips

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Re: Issues with Mic'g band to the PA
« Reply #1 on: April 13, 2011, 05:03:09 pm »

Hello All,

New guy here.  We play mostly club dates and have only been mic'g vocals through the PA.  Have been getting resistance from band members to either mic or DI to the PA.  Our sound is very uneven and mostly too loud from certain players and drowns out the vocals.  What is everyone doing here?  And if you are mic'g is that EVERYONE, including the bass player (he is the most resistant) and drums?  Also are you mic'g or going the DI route.

Would like to get some reinforcemnt to make my case, if I'm indeed on the right track, so they all know it's not just me that thinks we should do it. Thanks!
So, the other musicians are not wanting to mic'd?  Mic'ing up everything won't keep the vocals from being drowned out, but if can get volume from the amps and drum kit under control, it's the way to go.  It sounds to me, this is where you need to start.  Some suggestions would be to turn the amps around, aim the up at the players like a stage monitor, or put them off stage somewhere.  As far as mics vs. DI - mic the guitar amps, DI the bass, if you have enough channels you can put a mic and a DI on all of them and mix to taste.  Mic'ing drums will depend on how loud the kit is, the size of the venue and the style of music you're playing.  .   
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David Parker

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Re: Issues with Mic'g band to the PA
« Reply #2 on: April 13, 2011, 07:15:54 pm »

Hello All,

New guy here.  We play mostly club dates and have only been mic'g vocals through the PA.  Have been getting resistance from band members to either mic or DI to the PA.  Our sound is very uneven and mostly too loud from certain players and drowns out the vocals.  What is everyone doing here?  And if you are mic'g is that EVERYONE, including the bass player (he is the most resistant) and drums?  Also are you mic'g or going the DI route.

Would like to get some reinforcemnt to make my case, if I'm indeed on the right track, so they all know it's not just me that thinks we should do it. Thanks!

a lot of guitar players think their guitar will sound better if the audience hears their amp rather than the pa. That, of course, is not true. The sound of the guitar amp is different offstage and onstage. Also, the guitar amp does not distribute the sound evenly. If they ever had the chance to A-B, hear their amp coming off stage, and hear their amp mic'd in the pa, they'd see the HUGE difference it makes. Get the stage volume down so that you can bring the guitar up in the mains. Ask them what they hear when they listen to a recording of their favorite guitarist? Do they hear the guitar amp or do they hear what a mic picks up?
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Charlie Zureki

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Re: Issues with Mic'g band to the PA
« Reply #3 on: April 14, 2011, 12:22:48 am »

Hello All,

New guy here.  We play mostly club dates and have only been mic'g vocals through the PA.  Have been getting resistance from band members to either mic or DI to the PA.  Our sound is very uneven and mostly too loud from certain players and drowns out the vocals.  What is everyone doing here?  And if you are mic'g is that EVERYONE, including the bass player (he is the most resistant) and drums?  Also are you mic'g or going the DI route.

Would like to get some reinforcemnt to make my case, if I'm indeed on the right track, so they all know it's not just me that thinks we should do it. Thanks!

  Hello,

1.) If you are serious about a career in music...join a group that shares that same interest. That means..willing to compromise for the sake of the group's performance.

2.) As, others have written, get a handle on the stage levels of the other musicians. Turning amps, Drummer learning control over his kit, will yield the fastest results.

3.) get a  couple of stage monitors  (or in-ear systems, even better on small stages)

4.) find a Sound guy to work with you, helping to sort out the other numerous factors in getting a good stage level and house sound.... and not some volunteer...someone that has some real knowledge and experience.  Expect to PAY the Sound Tech. 

   Let him get a good house mix with decent levels and then allow your musician buddies to walk the room while playing, (except the drummer) so you can hear approximately what the audience will hear. 

  good luck,
  Hammer

   
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Dave Marra

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Re: Issues with Mic'g band to the PA
« Reply #4 on: April 14, 2011, 12:18:24 pm »

  Hello,

1.) If you are serious about a career in music...join a group that shares that same interest. That means..willing to compromise for the sake of the group's performance.

2.) As, others have written, get a handle on the stage levels of the other musicians. Turning amps, Drummer learning control over his kit, will yield the fastest results.

3.) get a  couple of stage monitors  (or in-ear systems, even better on small stages)

4.) find a Sound guy to work with you, helping to sort out the other numerous factors in getting a good stage level and house sound.... and not some volunteer...someone that has some real knowledge and experience.  Expect to PAY the Sound Tech. 

   Let him get a good house mix with decent levels and then allow your musician buddies to walk the room while playing, (except the drummer) so you can hear approximately what the audience will hear. 

  good luck,
  Hammer
 

Big ditto.  I just started running sound for a couple of local bands at bars and restaurants as well as one contemporary Christian rock band that plays purely at benefit type places like 1/2-way houses and soup kitchens.  These guys have one thing in common; they realize that a soundguy is KEY to their sounding good.

Part of this is running sound at a local open-mic.  I've had the "enjoyable" opportunity to have folks that insisted that their double-stack Marshall amp system absolutely had to be on 11.  Even with people walking out, and my suggestion that I mic his amp so he could turn it down did nothing.  I ended up just barely putting his vocals through the PA as any real attempt to do so would generate feedback because his amp was so loud.  It was pathetic.

Back to the story.  The stage volume should be at a minimum.  Amps do NOT have to be on 11 to sound good.  Currently one band is 100% through the PA, the others use some stage amps which I mic or run through the DI.  I have 2 channels (up to 4) of stage monitors that I can send back.  This way YOU (the soundman that is - when you find or pay one) get to make sure that the mix is perfect all the time.  I've found that this is NOT set-it-and-forget-it; at least not for me.  I'm constantly tweaking the levels of different instruments so that vocals can be always heard and "solo's" can be boosted accordingly.  That's me anyway.

Remember it's not about the musicians; it's about the audience.  You could be the best musician in the world, but if the mix sux then no-one in the audience will think you're good.

Soundtech guys spend their time making YOU (the musician) sound good.  I spend my [venture] money on gear so that you sound better than you are ;).

 - .dave.

Kingdom Sound, LLC
Milford NH
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Kingdom Sound, LLC
Milford NH

Tim Wirtala

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Re: Issues with Mic'g band to the PA
« Reply #5 on: April 14, 2011, 11:52:39 pm »

Hello All,

New guy here.  We play mostly club dates and have only been mic'g vocals through the PA.  Have been getting resistance from band members to either mic or DI to the PA.  Our sound is very uneven and mostly too loud from certain players and drowns out the vocals.  What is everyone doing here?  And if you are mic'g is that EVERYONE, including the bass player (he is the most resistant) and drums?  Also are you mic'g or going the DI route.

Would like to get some reinforcemnt to make my case, if I'm indeed on the right track, so they all know it's not just me that thinks we should do it. Thanks!
My band plays similar gigs. We like to adjust to the drummer, since changing the volume of his playing wouldn't lend the same dynamic to our songs as we like. Things that work for us:
1) guitar amps turned around, and use the monitors instead of amp volume to hear
2) run bass to a DI and use the link or thru output to his amp, this way the volume of his amp has no effect on FOH
3)run a compressor on vocals if possible
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Ned Ward

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Re: Issues with Mic'g band to the PA
« Reply #6 on: April 15, 2011, 12:23:20 am »

Hello All,

New guy here.  We play mostly club dates and have only been mic'g vocals through the PA.  Have been getting resistance from band members to either mic or DI to the PA.  Our sound is very uneven and mostly too loud from certain players and drowns out the vocals.  What is everyone doing here?  And if you are mic'g is that EVERYONE, including the bass player (he is the most resistant) and drums?  Also are you mic'g or going the DI route.

Would like to get some reinforcemnt to make my case, if I'm indeed on the right track, so they all know it's not just me that thinks we should do it. Thanks!

Welcome to my world. I'm leader of a band, sometimes do sound for us if it's a smaller bar that doesn't have their own PA.

It's all about balanced sound, and if it's bigger than a 50 person club, you'll need mixing.

3 reasons I can think of (without making a huge list) why bass players and guitarists turn up too loud:

1. They're deaf. Our older other guitar player (as in 65 and when he retired from the company is no longer playing with us) lost most of his high end (>4K) hearing playing through a 50 watt Marshall stack in Hong Kong Bars in the 80's. they can't hear, so they turn up.
Solution - put their amp up on a bar chair, road case, tilt-back (Ultimate and others make fine ones) so that the amp is pointed towards their ears, not their ankles. It helped with our guy. With a mic on the amp, you can also have the monitor engineer put their guitar into the monitor in front of them.


2. "Dude, I can't get my sound if it's not cranked!" Guitarists will bemoan that unless their Marshall Plexi is on 10 across the dials, it won't sound as good. Solution: Have them get the right amp for the right venue. I have a 5-watt, 20 watt, and 40 watt guitar amps, and depending on the venue, if it's mic'd with a good sound crew will help me figure out what to bring. My Dr. Z Mini Z is all of 5 watts, but still remarkably loud; with a Sennheiser e906 in front of it through the PA it sounds great.
Alternate: Many companies, such as Dr. Z, Weber, etc. make speaker attenuators that reduce the volume from the power amp into the speakers. Yes, it may mess with tone slightly, but if they have a prized amp that they won't turn down, this lets you get the power tube distortion without all the stage volume. I have a Dr. Z Brake Lite installed in my '65 Bandmaster combo for precisely that reason.


3. Bass player can't "feel" or hear the notes - This is one we're battling now, as we have a Radial JDI on his bass, but we're trying to find the balance between stage bass volume and FOH bass volume so that he can hear himself on stage whether or not we have monitors (some small bars yes, sometimes no or just vocals). Our guy has a small Ampeg B50R solid state 12" that is usually more than enough to hear.

Overall, the band should be able to balance their levels without micing so that adding mics balances things out. If you can't get the band's stage volume to a place where just running the vocals into the PA lets them be heard, micing instruments won't do it - you need to ensure that vocals are clear and heard well by everyone.

Have your overwhelming players heard just how overwhelming they are out on the floor? Two things can help:

Buy/make a 100ft. guitar cord so that during soundcheck, they can hop off stage and go 10-20 feet away and hear the mix. Hopefully they will be shocked and horrified. If they turn up even louder at this point, look for new band members.

Buy a 2-track digital recorder (we use the Zoom H2) and stick it back at mix position and record the show. Won't be a great recording, but it will record everyone's levels, and will show if one person's amp was dominating the venue.

If you're playing at a venue with the ability to record a 2-track off the main mix, this can be even more telling - because now instead of the offender being the loudest, he won't even be in the mix. Why? Because his/her amp is so loud the engineer turned his fader all the way down after asking him to turn down his amp nicely 3 times.

Hope this helps. It would also probably help if you noted what kind of gear the band members have in terms of amps, etc.

Good luck!
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Re: Issues with Mic'g band to the PA
« Reply #6 on: April 15, 2011, 12:23:20 am »


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