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Author Topic: How do you keep your stage volume down?  (Read 12332 times)

Rich Bruchal

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Re: How do you keep your stage volume down?
« Reply #10 on: April 26, 2004, 03:49:17 pm »

Beefcake wrote on Fri, 23 April 2004 18:44

The thing that i just started doing this month is putting the monitors on amp stands. This helps becuase it puts the monitors (ussually feet height) to over-waiste height.

We've been doing that for a while - seems to work pretty well.  We're also trying out some Hot Spots.  Those can be chest to shoulder height and thus can be even lower volume.

Quote:

Dang, i wish i had a drumcage!!

Same here.
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John C. Austin

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Re: How do you keep your stage volume down?
« Reply #11 on: May 04, 2004, 11:36:01 pm »

http://www.geocities.com/stripesace/drumshield.htm

Thats a full drum encloure in the middle of a stage. I'm not quite sure of your situation but this is what we use.ClearSonic wouldnt make us a room so we ordered our won henges and made one ourselves out of PVC , wood, and clear sonic panels... DOES WONDERS! we've acutally had to drill some holes on the bottom to relieve some of the pressure that the room has because our drummer.... well.... he's just loud. He overloaded a Mic, not a channel, but a tom mic....
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Les

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Re: How do you keep your stage volume down?
« Reply #12 on: May 05, 2004, 08:46:05 am »

How do you keep the poor drummer from passing out from heat exhaustion ?
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Les Rupp

Tim Padrick

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Re: How do you keep your stage volume down?
« Reply #13 on: May 05, 2004, 08:59:27 am »

We are pleased that you have joined us to spread His word through the wonder of music.  If you will please read the following and take it to heart, you will surely bless everyone by making a more joyous noise unto the Lord.


Drummers and Percussionists: Please get your emotional high from creating the groove of the music, not from the physio-psychological pleasure of pounding on things.  If you are too loud, it will be impossible to make the vocals audible above you.  When this is the case you are not a vessel from which His word flows, you are the cork in the bottle.  (Have you ever seen what they do to bottle corks? Smile

Guitarists, bassists, and keyboardists: Please note that the volume control on your amplifier has settings between those of 0 and 11.  Please use them.  So you can hear yourself, please point your amp at your head - unless your ears are on the back of your knees.  As with the drums, if you are too loud, it will be impossible to make the vocals audible above you.  You will be doing everyone a grave disservice, and He will surely take note of this.  (You may still make it to heaven, but don't be surprised if your room is next to the one where they give the beginner banjo and accordion lessons.)

Vocalists:  Sing as loudly as you like, no problem!  (Please keep in mind that the more even you keep your volume level, the easier it is for the soundperson to keep you both audible and un-distorted.)  No matter how you sing however, in order for you to be heard you must sing straight into your microphone, as stage mics are designed to resist the pickup of sounds other that those that are coming from straight ahead.   You must also be very close the the microphone, preferably at 0" but certainly no more than 2" (especially when speaking).  If not, your tone will become very thin and it will likely become impossible to turn your volume up loud enough before feedback occurs.  If you feel you are too loud, do not back off of the microphone, just ask the soundperson to turn you down in the monitors.  (Few people ever ask to be turned down in the monitors.  Your doing so will make the soundperson very happy!)

kb1473

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Re: How do you keep your stage volume down?
« Reply #14 on: May 05, 2004, 05:53:10 pm »

Yes, and while we're keeping everything nice and quiet, let's ask the preachers to please keep their voices to a whisper.  This is the vocal equivalent of running a tube amp at a level of 0-2, or lightly tapping on the drumheads.  

I fully understand the importance of managing the stage levels, but as both a worship leader, musician, and sound operator, I would rather play at a REASONABLE volume--not too loud, but loud enough for things to produce a quality sound.  In my experience, if the MIX is right--which is, unfortunately, an extremely rare occurence in churches--then the listeners will enjoy their worship experience, even at moderately high SPL (by church standards, not by touring rig standards).  A well-managed mix of instruments played at normal playing levels produces a much more pleasant tone than any mix can provide with the emaciated tone produced by underdriven guitar amps and drums not being hit hard enough to produce any snap.  Drum shields work wonders.  Aiming the guitar amps at the players, not the audience, helps.

Another aspect to consider is selecting the RIGHT guitar amp--nobody in a worship center needs a 100w Marshall.  In order to run the amp in its 'sweet spot' a 15-25w tube amp is more than adequate.  I use a blackface Fender Bassman set at the lower end of it's sweet spot (around 2-3) and it's not overpowering. Nice, thick guitar tone.

Tip for Drums:  Most churches aren't blessed with truly gifted drummers...a little helpful suggestion you can pass on that can help them improve: to get a more punchy vibe, play more lightly on the hi-hats--use the stick tips instead of the edge--allowing the punch of the kick & snare to be more prominent.  If your drummer's any good, this will add some serious groove AND lower the overall level.  A massive wash of hi-hat can quickly kill any potential groove.

Finally, instead of constantly nagging everyone to 'turn it down', at each rehearsal--and before each service--gently remind them of how important their role is in the overall worship experience for the audience.  If everyone's in sync concerning the purpose of being there in the first place, then it's not so hard getting everyone to play accordingly.
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Mark T

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Re: How do you keep your stage volume down?
« Reply #15 on: May 07, 2004, 12:41:53 pm »

Lot's of great suggestions for reducing stage volume.  One big help that I didn't see posted is to use in-ear monitors instead of wedges/amps.

We've got everyone on headphones or earbuds except vocalists.  As soon as we can afford wireless IEMs they're going too.

Our drums are acoustic and in a cage with the drummer on phones.  Another volume technique for drums is to adjust the drum volume in the drummers phones.  If you bring up drum level in the phones, the drummer tends to play a little softer and vice-versa.  

You can do the guitar amp-sim thing pretty cheap.  I play guitar and use a Behringer (yeah, I know) V-Amp Pro2.  It has balanced outs and does a decent job tonewise.  It's less than $200.

Now if I can build a cage for the grand piano and our horn section...

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Stirling Flynn

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Re: How do you keep your stage volume down?
« Reply #16 on: May 17, 2004, 09:53:28 am »

I am the full time audio engineer but I occasionally play as the piano/keyboard player just to make sure that I don't lose that connection with the band.

For one, make sure that the band knows that you are there to serve with them. I forgot this for a while and I am still rebuilding those relationships. If, during a rehearsal, you are constantly nagging the whole band to turn down, you're just a nag. But if you're one of them and say "hey, guys, the stage volume's getting a little over the top," they seem to respond much better. If they can't trust you as the sound guy, you've already lost control of the room.

However, if you can approach the bass player and ask him to roll off the lows on his amp and let your house subs do more of the work, he will have to trust you because he's not going to benefit from your house mix. And if the drummer can hear the bass player's notes (without the low end mush that you just rolled out on stage), they'll still maintain the beat.

And if you can get the guitar players to face their amps away from you and the audience (be sure to cover the back, too), you will also be happier.

We've started to switch to In Ear Monitors but they've been slow in helping me reduce stage volume UNTIL we put the drummer on headphones. Yes, we used to use Vdrums and they hated it and we do use shields but no lid, and we've tried lighter sticks and so on.

But when we tried headphones and we return the drums to the drummer's mix, they hear themselves and suddenly they're playing under control.

Bass player is next on my IEM list...
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Mark T

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Re: How do you keep your stage volume down?
« Reply #17 on: May 17, 2004, 09:11:32 pm »

Stirling Flynn wrote on Mon, 17 May 2004 14:53


But when we tried headphones and we return the drums to the drummer's mix, they hear themselves and suddenly they're playing under control.



We had the same experience.  It's almost like having a volume control for the drums!  You raise the monitor level, the drummer plays softer.  You lower the level and the drummer plays louder.  We're still trying to keep it a secret though, don't want the drummer feeling too manipulated. Wink
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Mark Allen

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Re: How do you keep your stage volume down?
« Reply #18 on: May 22, 2004, 03:39:27 pm »

I've read all the replies, but I'd like to contribute one angle that I've rarely seen in Church Sound discussions - seasoned live sound TECHNIQUE!  When I talk to my FOH friends who've done non-church venues all their life, they're bemused by the fact that church sound personnel seem to require a silent, or very nearly silent stage volume in order for them to accomplish their task.  This is sound REINFORCEMENT folks, not a controlled studio environment.  

I agree that a certain amount of compromise on the part of the musicians is usually in order due to the typical live church environment.  However, it seems to me that compromise on the part of the musicians should be balanced by expertise on the part of the sound personnel.  Unfortunately, I've found that often musicians turn down, churches buy expensive 'frisbees' (V-Drums), and the end result is a ridiculously out of balance, vocal heavy mix.  Simply put, if you're going to be handed the "gift" of a silent stage, you'd better have the chops to produce a quality mix!

On the other hand, if you're dealing with acoustic drums, amps, etc. there are a lot of great suggestions listed here to help get those levels under control. After that, maybe we can talk about techniques that work with the resultant acoustic energy rather than just treated it as so much noise.  I fully realize this won't work in every situation - some rooms are just too reflective, some musicians just not cable of playing at less than "11", but I do think it is a profitable discussion for many church situations!

In short, I'd love to get a dialog going about improving the skill level of the church sound personnel. I DON'T feel it's profitable to develop a church sound 'culture' that feels a silent stage is the only way one can be expected to do their job.  Developing reasonable expectations that take into account the venue, the church's culture, and the resources available seems to me to be a positive approach.  
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"Those who hear not the music think the dancer is mad." - anonymous

Mark T

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Re: How do you keep your stage volume down?
« Reply #19 on: May 23, 2004, 11:47:03 am »

Can you give some examples of the seasoned live sound technique you're referring to?

We continually strive to improve the level of understanding among our volunteers (no paid tech staff).  One other tech and I have a fair amount of prodcution experience and we constantly work to impart our knowledge (limited though it may be) to the newbies.  I'm always looking for new info.

I agree with you that sound techs need to mix well. But that applies in any situation, V-Drums or not, doesn't it?  I've found it to be much easier to teach someone to dial in a mix when they're not fighting stage volumes.

The hard part is trying to get them to be objective and take their personal taste out of the mix (so to speak).  One of our techs sings in the choir, he likes a vocal heavy mix.  I play guitar and I have force myself to pay attention to what I'm doing or I end up heavy there.  The only cure I've found for that is practice and constructive criticism (I would say feedback but that scares me).

Thoughts?
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ProSoundWeb Community

Re: How do you keep your stage volume down?
« Reply #19 on: May 23, 2004, 11:47:03 am »


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