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Author Topic: Live Sound Mixing Help  (Read 5119 times)

Tony "T" Tissot

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Re: Live Sound Mixing Help
« Reply #10 on: December 08, 2006, 03:48:37 pm »

- Do not look for an equipment solution
- Do not buy IEMs
- Do not do anything


- Turn it down to a level where you can all hear
- Give your drummer lighter sticks - and make him play more quietly (I am a drummer it can be done).
- Tell you guitar players that they can get "their tone" at reduced levels.

I wish I had a quote from Andy Peters - who always has a snappy and insightful post in response to queries that seek "product" solutions to problems that cannot be solved with more audio equipment.

"If you want to "flatten" a room - get a D-9."

If you want to hear - play more quietly.
ProSoundWeb - Home of 50,000 audio professionals - and two or three curmudgeonly SOBs.


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Re: Live Sound Mixing Help
« Reply #11 on: December 08, 2006, 04:05:21 pm »

There are a number of good suggestions here.
My take on this is that, since you have a small PA, it may be a good approach to let the drummer play with only a kick mic, have the bass player only get a touch of bass (DI) into the PA, have the guitar players try to give the audience and the other band members their sound directly... and then puch the vocals into the house AND the monitors.
Keep the kick and bass out of the monitors. The band needs to listen to the instrument stage mix without the monitors working.
Angling the guitar amps in and getting them raised up a little will help the stage sound.

When you get a MUCH bigger PA and can get your stage volume a lot lower, your sound mixer will be able to balance your sound and give the players a good monitor mix. Until then, you guys will have to start listening!

P A  To Go

Doug Sprinthall

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Re: Live Sound Mixing Help
« Reply #12 on: December 08, 2006, 04:35:04 pm »

What kind of guitar amps are you using?  Years ago I had a 100 watt marshall non-mv.  Cool thing about it and lots of other amps is that you can pull out 2 of the power tubes (if equiped with 4) and cut down on the volume.  It wont cut the volume in 1/2 but it will help.  If your using SS amps, try backing over them with the truck before the gig...........sorry, couldn't resist.

If you can get the guitar and bass volume down your drummer may follow suit.  He may be bashing because he's trying to keep up.  Usually what happens.

Tom Reid

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Re: Live Sound Mixing Help
« Reply #13 on: December 09, 2006, 05:35:14 am »

What they said.

Some of the best sounding bands I do have 2x12 cabs, the bottom of the cab is about belt high.  That stuff is right in yer face.

Play into a circle around the drummer.  Forget placements that try to get you to the back of the room.  That's what the PA is for.

Besides, if you blast your cab at the soundman, you get less in the PA.  He has to base part of his overall level on your twin stack smacking him in the face.  You're not giving him much to work with, everything else has to fit within that level. It ain't right.  

I gotta disagree with micing the whole kit. I mic a whole kit every time.  And I check it loud.  It gets the crowd riled up, and your drummer is happy for the rest of the night.
So what if the kit and high hat are the only thing on the bus when they start, if they'll fit, I'll bring them in.
I can take a drum channel off the bus, and still use the FX send for a little fill.  Besides, I'd rather have it then need it.

Check out Tim Padricks website, he has a lot of info for bands.
I've got a few blogs on myspace about this stuff.

What does Buddha do on his day off?

Michael Dahlen

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Re: Live Sound Mixing Help
« Reply #14 on: December 09, 2006, 10:15:49 am »

You might want to consider the size of the pub/bar/venue, maybe its small enough to not put guitars in the PA? that guitars are all from the stage, but then remember that you can't do that crossfire thing, obviously.

Maybe place mics on the cabs, but don't have them in the PA, but if the place gets filled up so much that guitars are drowning in the first few rows, add some in the PA so the people in the back also gets to hear the fun.

Make someone play the bass as you take the bassplayer for a walk in the room, he might get quite surprised that his sound is massive out in the room, contra up on the stage, this will maybe make him understand why to turn down.

Bob Leonard

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Re: Live Sound Mixing Help
« Reply #15 on: December 09, 2006, 11:00:10 am »

Hey Brett - What your not saying here is what a small club is to you. If your playing a club that's got a room size of about 40'x70', holds about 200 people why do you bother putting anything through the FOH with the equipment your using. You've already stated that the mix on stage is one giant ball of sound, but sounds OK in the room.
You've also stated that the band has decent equipment to play through so I guess the real question I'm asking is have you tried setting the vocal levels FIRST, then setting the levels for the instruments after (drums being the exception)?? Not to be a smart ass but believe it or not there was a time when everything couldn't be run through the FOH. And there was a time when this old guy could put drums, a horn section, B3, 2 guitars, bass, backup vocals and lead singer on the stage without putting a mike on everything from snare to toilet.
If your using Marshall half stacks just consider the fact that James Marshall designed them to be LOUD. Why, because there was NO FOH for anything but vocals. Four 12" Celestions is a pretty big mass of air to be pushing around and due to design your guitar players probably won't get the sound and feel they want until they reach a volume that's to loud for the crowd, and to much for the room. And beleive it or not, most effects pedals manufactured today are designed to give an old school sound at LOWER volumes. Not to mention the guitar player on stage competition to be heard, common with budding stars. All of the tips I've read here are valid so here's some old school stuff that might just help as well.

Old school 101;

1. Set up the backline with the amps against the back wall of the stage, drummer as far back as you can get him.
Looking at the stage - BASS-----DRUMMER-----GUITAR---GUITAR

 Players------------------------BP--------------------------- ---GP-----------GP

 FOH-------------SPEAKER------------------------------------- -------------------SPEAKER  

2. Bring up the FOH. Get the system as loud as you can before it starts to feedback, all mikes open. Bring up the monitors last if you have any.

3. Guitar Amps - Buy some plexi glass at the hardware store to put about 4" in front of the bottom two 12" speakers on the Marshall cabs. I assume (bad thing) they have angled tops and closed backs so you won't need to tilt them *.

4. Amp volume still to loud? Angle them towards the side wall.
5. Still to loud?? Use the volume knob.
6. Extreme last resort. Try facing the Marshalls towards the back wall with about 2-3 feet between the wall and the speakers, head facing front. And this only works if the wall has no treatment, is hard, and is flat.  
7. Bass player - Open cabinet, facing crowd or slightly angled towards the guitar players.
8. Drummer - Lighter sticks or buy a surround if he's that heavy fisted.

Get the bass player and drummer to start playing and have the bass player adjust his volume to taste. The drums and bass should blend. Bring in the rhythm player next, lead last. If you can't hear the bass and drums or vocals turn down the guitars or work with amp position.

It's pretty basic and this should probably be in the other forum, but it illustrates a point. The vocals are your reference. Crude but still a reference. Everything else falls in line behind the vocals. You have a very basic system, probably want to make some money before you spend more money and have a desire to produce a good product. The better the mix on stage, the better the mix OFF stage. Learn how to control the environment that surrounds you using the equipment you have and from that point on it will only get better. Have fun, stay happy.

* Fender amps with the legs are designed for tilting and tilt at about a 45 degree angle. This tends to put the sound at a players head and reflects the sound off of the overhead in a small club if it's not to high. Smaller amps can be tilted easily using an amp wedge, tilt back stand or equal. Larger Fender amps, Bandmasters, Showman, Bassman have heads that attach to the speaker cabinet and they can also be tilted. Marshall stacks were not designed to be tilted which is why the top cabinet has a slight angle built into the cabinet for the top 2 12" speakers. Marshall cabinets, the 1960 as an example, will probably fall if tilted and the head will need to be put on the floor, chair or case. Hence the use of a speaker mute for the bottom 2 speakers, such as a plexiglass square.
The roar of the grease paint, the smell of the crowd.

Geren W. Mortensen, Jr.

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Re: Live Sound Mixing Help
« Reply #16 on: December 09, 2006, 12:13:46 pm »

In one of your follow-up messages, it sounds like you've found the key -- turn everything down!

If you're not running everything (guitars, bass, etc.) through the PA, it takes a lot of experience to get a good vocals mix that can blend well with the sound of the stage amps.

Monitors on stage is yet another matter. Until you gain some considerable experience, I would stay away from an in-ear solution. Quite simply, it's unsafe. One squeal of feedback, and someone could lose their hearing. That said, if you back the volumes on the amps down to a reasonable level, you should be better able to hear the vocal monitors.

Ideally, with everything running through the board, the on stage amps should only be loud enough for the player to hear them -- no louder. This includes bass.

Also, it sounds as if your drummer may need to back off a bit, too. He or she will discover that they don't need to seriously whack on the drums to get the sound their after, they'll have better control, and be able to finesse their parts. And everyone on stage will be more comfortable.

I would recommend that you hire a competent FOH engineer for at least a couple of gigs to help you get a feel for what you're doing. Just explain that you need help for a couple of gigs. Yeah, it costs money, but it will pay dividends in your mix.

Also, mixing from the stage is really difficult, even for experienced engineers/players, when only a portion of the mix is running through the house PA. When I was still playing keyboards, I had to mix from the stage in my last group. I insisted that everything come through the board, and took my monitor feed from the main mix. It was a little harder on my playing, but our mix was always good that way.

I didn't notice what area you're from, but, if it's the Baltimore-Washington area, I'd be glad to talk to you in person about your setup. Even though I don't do much "rock-n-roll" any more (I specialize now in acoustic music), I've done a fair amount over the years in a lot of different situations.
Geren W. Mortensen, Jr.
Owner / Engineer

Rob Spence

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Re: Live Sound Mixing Help
« Reply #17 on: December 10, 2006, 12:33:58 am »

I did a walk-in job last night for a local club. The band was bass, 2 gutars and a massive drum kit (5 toms and more cymbols than I could count).
The guitarists and the bass player did vocals. Two of them brought their own mics - a Beyer and an OM5. I gave the other guy an OM2 (not my mic kit).
The 2 guitarists each had a great tiltback stand they used for their amps. Got em about 18" off the floor and aimed at their ears. They were at opposite ends of the stage with the amps pointed toward the middle. From the mix position I could never hear their amps.
I put lots of mics on the drum kit (all the venue supplied for drums - Beta52, SM57 and Audix F10s and F12) and the drummer still wanted one more for the high hat so I did it.
Sound checked all the kit. Turned up the kick only for the show for the most part - gave a little snare and toms in the last set.
The only issue I had was trying to balance the sound over the drums.
For monitors they each wanted all the vocals and the guitars wanted the other guys guitar while the drummer wanted the guitars, kick and some bass.

Had lots of headroom and no feedback at all after ringing out the monitors.

Oh, the pa was Yorkies - a pair of LS1004s and a pair of LS2152s with power by Crown Macrotechs.

So, yes, get the stage volume down and point the amps the right way.

Sorry to be so long winded.
Rob Spence
Lynx Audio Services
E-Mail Rob -at- LynxAudioServices -dot- com

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