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Title: My Stage is a great big horn - hw to tame it?
Post by: Fred Dorado on April 13, 2015, 03:19:26 am
I am at an older church built in 1931 - It was not designed for full band with drums, bass, electric etc, but for a choir.

We run full band most of the time, very unlikely we will go to in ear monitors, so we have 6 floor monitors. As you can guess the stage gets very loud. The electric guitar, bass and drums are all the back line and though our musicians do pretty good, but still very hot stage.

I was thinking that one of the simplest things that might have an impact is some acoustic paneling or heavy stage curtains.

I have searched and there are premade panels, make you own and everything in between of every kind of material.

The electric guitar, high hat and snare seem to get the most boost (and ring) since they are hot on stage and then we get whatever is coming out of the monitors. Bass isn't too much of a problem, except some shaking when it gets turned up.

What are the best options for taming the stage?
What panels actually work and don't?
Are there good diy options that would work and save money?
Any specific areas I should try and focus on?

I have been looking at new and used panels, hoping to find something on craigslist and have seen a few, but want to make sure that I get the right stuff.

here is what it looks like

(http://i.imgur.com/Bg9WN1c.jpg)

Title: Re: My Stage is a great big horn - hw to tame it?
Post by: Steve M Smith on April 13, 2015, 03:50:00 am
Looks like you are playing inside a large Martin B115!   http://medias.audiofanzine.com/images/normal/martin-audio-b115-176558.jpg

My advice would be to try to reduce your on stage levels.  Start with nothing... well, perhaps just vocals in the monitors then only add what you need.  When you start turning something up because it can't be heard due to the volume of something else, you end up in 'everything louder than everything else' territory.

(and lose those music stands - I hate the sight of them!!).


Steve.
Title: Re: My Stage is a great big horn - hw to tame it?
Post by: Lee Buckalew on April 13, 2015, 05:48:55 am
Looks like you are playing inside a large Martin B115!   http://medias.audiofanzine.com/images/normal/martin-audio-b115-176558.jpg

My advice would be to try to reduce your on stage levels.  Start with nothing... well, perhaps just vocals in the monitors then only add what you need.  When you start turning something up because it can't be heard due to the volume of something else, you end up in 'everything louder than everything else' territory.

(and lose those music stands - I hate the sight of them!!).


Steve.

Do what Steve mentioned and...get another (identical) monitor so the two guitar players up front each have one.  As it stands now neither will hear that single monitor that is firing between them until it is REALLY loud. 


Lee
Title: Re: My Stage is a great big horn - hw to tame it?
Post by: Scott Wagner on April 13, 2015, 07:54:09 am
Remember, this a sound reinforcement situation. The only things that get into the mix are things that are too quiet. Most likely, the snare will be your baseline - build your mix around the un-amplified snare level. If that's still too loud, there are a few things to try, but they will only result in minor improvements - unless you can convince the drummer to play E-drums.
Title: Re: My Stage is a great big horn - hw to tame it?
Post by: Jamin Lynch on April 13, 2015, 08:10:10 am
Deaden the stage with acoustical treatment. That should help keep the sound on the stage more.

Drum shield with top. This will let everyone else turn down.

Teleprompter. So you can get rid of the music stands.

What's the rest of the room like?
Title: Re: My Stage is a great big horn - hw to tame it?
Post by: Frank DeWitt on April 13, 2015, 08:56:01 am
I note that thee is a platform in front of the one you are in.  Have you tried setting up there?  Perhaps try it for a practice.  You rule out IEMs but we are in a old church with a chior horn like yours and the best thing we ever did for the quality of our sound was go to IEMs.  It can be done, and it can be done at low cost.

Frank
Title: Re: My Stage is a great big horn - hw to tame it?
Post by: Jeff Carter on April 13, 2015, 09:56:58 am
Floor monitors aren't very directional at low frequency, so a lot of the LF from the monitors will spill off the stage into the house. Rolling off some of the LF with EQ can really help reduce this.

I don't hate music stands as much as some of the other posters (it's a worship service so the band's not really the focus anyway), but do make sure that they're not positioned in between musicians and their monitors. The ones I can see in the photo look good in that respect.

Drum shields isolate drummers, which in my experience makes them tend to hit even harder. I view them as the weapon of last resort if you absolutely can't get drummers to play to a level that matches the rest of the band ("don't make me put you in the box....").
Title: Re: My Stage is a great big horn - hw to tame it?
Post by: Jamin Lynch on April 13, 2015, 09:59:38 am
In your situation, IEM's only help if the guitar players are willing to give up their amps. Doesn't make since to have everyone on in-ears and still have amps on stage. Or at least put their amps back stage.

I wouldn't get IEM's unless you are willing to spend the money to get a "good" quality in-ear system and know how to set it up and run it.  Too many churches purchase low quality and have bad experiences.

I often hear. "We tried IEM's and didn't like them."
Title: Re: My Stage is a great big horn - hw to tame it?
Post by: Fred Dorado on April 13, 2015, 11:25:01 am
Thanks - a couple of responses

I think my best bet is to do as Jamin Lynch said and deaden the stage. I am trying to find out what acoustical treatment to go with and how to set it up.

We do have different monitor feeds and try and keep as much out of the monitors as possible and that was a big help from having two channels with several monitors. But it still gets a bit crazy.

We don't setup on the front platform unless it is something special with the kids or choir (no choir anymore). We usually leave this open and this is where the preaching and other communication happens from.

The two guitars up front happened to be special - our usual setup is  up front: keys with vocals,1-2 vocals only , acoustic with vocals. Back room is electric with vocals, bass and drums.

I could probably start pushing in ears, problem is we have two different bands - English and Spanish - I know a couple of people would probably be ok, but not sure about the rest.

I am not a fan of the full drum cage and a half size would just reflect sound back to the back wall before it goes out. I will probably do a half one, but need to get the rest of stage tamed first.

Low freq isn't as much of an issue as the rest. We don't have any subs and don't reinforce the bass, so it may help a little.

Here is a pic from the back of the room

(http://i.imgur.com/Th6wOjZ.jpg)



Title: Re: My Stage is a great big horn - hw to tame it?
Post by: Jamin Lynch on April 13, 2015, 12:33:00 pm
Only deadening the stage may not "cure" the problem, but it sure won't hurt.
Title: Re: My Stage is a great big horn - hw to tame it?
Post by: Fred Dorado on April 13, 2015, 12:45:36 pm
Agreed, but I think it is a step in the right direction.... I just want to make sure that I don't stumble on that step.

Only deadening the stage may not "cure" the problem, but it sure won't hurt.
Title: Re: My Stage is a great big horn - hw to tame it?
Post by: Lee Buckalew on April 13, 2015, 06:31:05 pm
Agreed, but I think it is a step in the right direction.... I just want to make sure that I don't stumble on that step.

If you choose to "deaden" do your best to do it right.  Focusing only on 1" or 2" panels will only make Mid and Low frequency buildup worse.  You need to look at tuned bass traps and at focusing musicians own instruments at them rather than putting them in the monitors.  Get guitar amps up and aimed at the guitar players head.  Perhaps crossing or angling across the stage rather than flat out.  Get absorbing material between the amps and the back wall.  Move the bass amp around some and see if it creates any hot spots out in the house.  Playing band limited pink noise through it can be helpful.  You might be surprised how much of a difference giving the amp in different locations makes out front.  Also, using practice size amps of very low wattage for the instruments will allow the players to get the tone they want without having to drive them too loudly.  I can't stand when a Marshall stack shows up for a recording session.  It only causes problems.

A good drummer does not have to play like they are in the marching band.  Use heavier heads that aren't quite as loud.  Use lighter weight sticks.  Play with feeling like a jazz drummer.  Check out info that's available online from Carl Albrecht about worship drumming.  He's been a great resource.  I have had the pleasure of working with him on a number of Integrity Music teaching seminars and his insight is very useful.  Some great info there.

Try to provide to each performer only what they need in their monitors.  They shouldn't need the house mix.  If the performers rehearse in a physically different arrangement at other times during the week talk to the praise team leader and find out if they can play in that layout on Sunday (and/or other says).  Many musicians rehearse in one layout so that they can hear each other best but then perform in a different layout for other reasons.  The closer the performers can be in performance to what they are in rehearsal the better they will play together.
Also, if stage volume is quite high talk to them about trying to play with earplugs in, especially the drummer.  They will be surprised how much better and more clearly they hear what they need at lower monitor levels.  It seems counter intuitive but it can work.
You try it first during a rehearsal and walk around onstage with and then without earplugs and see what a difference it makes.

Lee
Title: Re: My Stage is a great big horn - hw to tame it?
Post by: Fred Dorado on April 13, 2015, 07:50:54 pm
Thanks, a couple questions - I googled base traps and it says they are for low freq Low freq isn't the main problem - We don't have subs, so bass amp does all it's own work and is rarely the problem, except when we need to turn it up because stage is loud.

We don't have too many guys using big amps, in fact we have a small church amp for guitar and another for bass that everyone uses, rather than bringing their own.

The guitar amp is in a corner, so I know it is loading up and getting extra gain.... I will move it this week and see how it goes.... we had it there mostly for space considerations.

You mention sound absorbing materials between amps and wall..... but also say focusing on 1" or 2" panels create more problems in mid and low freq worse.

Should I avoid them all together - or just make sure to get something to handle mid and low freq?

What materials should I be using? How much of the wall should they cover?

I found a local place that makes acoustic panels and they will come out and do an analysis and it's free if you buy their panels or $90 if you don't.

I don't mind paying the $90, but I want to make sure I am getting an actual analysis and not just a sales pitch.


I will have the band try earplugs - any specific kind? just the cheap foam ones?

thanks for the help

If you choose to "deaden" do your best to do it right.  Focusing only on 1" or 2" panels will only make Mid and Low frequency buildup worse.  You need to look at tuned bass traps and at focusing musicians own instruments at them rather than putting them in the monitors.  Get guitar amps up and aimed at the guitar players head.  Perhaps crossing or angling across the stage rather than flat out.  Get absorbing material between the amps and the back wall.  Move the bass amp around some and see if it creates any hot spots out in the house.  Playing band limited pink noise through it can be helpful.  You might be surprised how much of a difference giving the amp in different locations makes out front.  Also, using practice size amps of very low wattage for the instruments will allow the players to get the tone they want without having to drive them too loudly.  I can't stand when a Marshall stack shows up for a recording session.  It only causes problems.

A good drummer does not have to play like they are in the marching band.  Use heavier heads that aren't quite as loud.  Use lighter weight sticks.  Play with feeling like a jazz drummer.  Check out info that's available online from Carl Albrecht about worship drumming.  He's been a great resource.  I have had the pleasure of working with him on a number of Integrity Music teaching seminars and his insight is very useful.  Some great info there.

Try to provide to each performer only what they need in their monitors.  They shouldn't need the house mix.  If the performers rehearse in a physically different arrangement at other times during the week talk to the praise team leader and find out if they can play in that layout on Sunday (and/or other says).  Many musicians rehearse in one layout so that they can hear each other best but then perform in a different layout for other reasons.  The closer the performers can be in performance to what they are in rehearsal the better they will play together.
Also, if stage volume is quite high talk to them about trying to play with earplugs in, especially the drummer.  They will be surprised how much better and more clearly they hear what they need at lower monitor levels.  It seems counter intuitive but it can work.
You try it first during a rehearsal and walk around onstage with and then without earplugs and see what a difference it makes.

Lee
Title: Re: My Stage is a great big horn - hw to tame it?
Post by: Lee Buckalew on April 14, 2015, 12:08:23 am
Thanks, a couple questions - I googled base traps and it says they are for low freq Low freq isn't the main problem - We don't have subs, so bass amp does all it's own work and is rarely the problem, except when we need to turn it up because stage is loud.

We don't have too many guys using big amps, in fact we have a small church amp for guitar and another for bass that everyone uses, rather than bringing their own.

The guitar amp is in a corner, so I know it is loading up and getting extra gain.... I will move it this week and see how it goes.... we had it there mostly for space considerations.

You mention sound absorbing materials between amps and wall..... but also say focusing on 1" or 2" panels create more problems in mid and low freq worse.

Should I avoid them all together - or just make sure to get something to handle mid and low freq?

What materials should I be using? How much of the wall should they cover?

I found a local place that makes acoustic panels and they will come out and do an analysis and it's free if you buy their panels or $90 if you don't.

I don't mind paying the $90, but I want to make sure I am getting an actual analysis and not just a sales pitch.


I will have the band try earplugs - any specific kind? just the cheap foam ones?

thanks for the help

Low and high frequency is relative.  I can see where my using just the terms low and high could be confusing. 
Don't avoid thinner absorbers altogether.  My point was that you have a lot of build up onstage due to your monitors. 
Talk to an acoustical consultant for input. 
If you only absorb high(er) frequencies with 1" & 2" panels (1" is only a fairly good absorber down to about 300Hz, 2" can be fairly good down to about 125Hz) you may leave a lot of monitor sound that will be very boomy or muddy.  Not only does this not help your musicians with hearing each other well it also makes the stage bleed into the house very muddy.  You will cut down on the brighter sounds but not so much on the range that can really make things muddy.  You will notice that this overlap is also in the male vocal range. 

You may also benefit from spacing absorbing panels off of the walls.  Using standoffs (a number of acoustical panel manufacturers offer these) can increase the effective bandwidth of the absorber.  Again, talk to an acoustical consultant or provider.

You don't want the whole stage space to be dead.
I would think that treating behind and potentially above (yes, the ceiling) the drum kit with 3" panels and then looking at a positive/negative checkerboard from there on the walls with 2" may be very helpful.  By positive/negative I mean, on one side wall of the stage where there is an absorbing panel, directly opposite there is not.  You make a positive geometric layout on one side wall and a negative on the other.  Treating the corners of the stage with something like Auralex LENRD Bass Traps is quite easy, especially compared to creating a tuned bass trap. 
It could also be beneficial to consider diffusers, especially above the drum kit to the sides of the absorbing panels and in at least some of the negative space where there are no absorbers in your checkerboard pattern.  Having a checkerboard on the back wall of the stage along with diffusion in the negatives may be helpful.  Talk to an acoustical consultant.

When I say a small guitar amp I mean 20 watts or less if possible.  Bass amp 50 or 60 watts or so is large enough for most stage areas.  Often players have something larger already.  As long as they do not have to be too loud to get the tone that the player and worship leader want you should be O.K.  In any case aim the guitar amps at the guitar players head rather than across their shins and ankles.  This allows the player to hear the actual sound of the amp rather than the off axis sound.

Many/most of the acoustical treatment manufacturers will provide you with a suggested layout for your use.  I have had very good results from Acoustical Surfaces, Inc.  http://www.acousticalsurfaces.com/

As far as earplugs go check out http://www.etymotic.com/consumer/hearing-protection.html.  They have a good selection of relatively flat frequency response plugs at low prices.

You will be best served to talk to an acoustical consultant or a designer even if it is with a reputable treatment company.  DIY can be a waste of money as it is very difficult to get a good result through experimentation.

Lee
Title: Re: My Stage is a great big horn - hw to tame it?
Post by: Fred Dorado on April 14, 2015, 01:14:09 am
Lee - thank you for all the help and suggestions.

Roughly what should it cost to have an acoustic consultant do an analysis?

What do I look for? As an example, this is a place I found locally and would charge $90, but doesn't tell me what they actually do http://www.gmacousticdesign.com/#!testimonials/c3g8

I'm in Los Angeles and there seems to be a number used stuff on craigslist also.




You will be best served to talk to an acoustical consultant or a designer even if it is with a reputable treatment company.

Lee
Title: Re: My Stage is a great big horn - hw to tame it?
Post by: Lee Buckalew on April 14, 2015, 06:47:33 am
Lee - thank you for all the help and suggestions.

Roughly what should it cost to have an acoustic consultant do an analysis?

What do I look for? As an example, this is a place I found locally and would charge $90, but doesn't tell me what they actually do http://www.gmacousticdesign.com/#!testimonials/c3g8

I'm in Los Angeles and there seems to be a number used stuff on craigslist also.

Cost can vary significantly.  The website of the company to which you linked does not give me a very good impression that they know much at all about acoustics.  They repeatedly reference soundproofing but never discuss it, what they discuss is in room acoustical treatment.  They say their products are made from natural materials but the bass traps they show are foam. 

I would suggest a couple of options. 
One, you can contact the local chapter of the Audio Engineering Society and ask some questions.  See if you can get a handful of recommendations for acoustical consultants.  The contact info is at this link http://www.aes.org/sections/view.cfm?section=152

Another suggestion would be contact a manufacturer.  Many will provide analysis for free,.  I gave you a link in the last reply, here is another to a different page on the same manufacturers website http://www.asiproaudio.com.  This page has a contact phone # for questions regarding treatment.  They will provide assistance and recommendations based upon the needs you describe to them and the size, shape and surfaces of your room.  They can provide directions to install items yourself or they may be able to recommend local installers.

Proper acoustic treatment cost will vary depending upon what needs to be done. 

Lee
Title: Re: My Stage is a great big horn - hw to tame it?
Post by: Jamin Lynch on April 14, 2015, 06:59:15 am
Contact these guys. They have some of the best panels out there. They will help you with design and selecting the best panel. It's important to compare the NRC value of the various panel manufactures.

You may want to consider some treatment for the rest of the room as well.

http://www.perdueacoustics.com/

Tell them I sent you
Title: Re: My Stage is a great big horn - hw to tame it?
Post by: Jonathan Johnson on April 14, 2015, 01:50:40 pm
I don't hate music stands as much as some of the other posters (it's a worship service so the band's not really the focus anyway), but do make sure that they're not positioned in between musicians and their monitors. The ones I can see in the photo look good in that respect.

Anything between the HF driver and the performer's ears will defeat the purpose of the monitor. Music stands are the prime culprit -- but your stage looks pretty good in that respect, as Jeff mentioned. And I agree that the single monitor for both your guitarists isn't doing either of them a favor: it's not pointing at either of them, and when you try to satisfy both you'll satisfy neither, because A will hear B's guitar, and B will hear A's guitar.

Ideally, every monitor will have a different mix tailored to that performer's needs.

Sometimes it helps to do a "reset." Turn down ALL the monitors (leave a little of the keys in that monitor) and have the band play. (Do this during rehearsal.) Get the house mix right, and only then start ramping up the monitors.

What happens a lot of times is that the monitors end up becoming more important than the house mix, and you end up hearing the stage more than the house. When you do this reset, the spill from the house back to the stage should make up some of what you're taking out of the monitors, rather than the spill from the stage making up what you took out of the house mix.
Title: Re: My Stage is a great big horn - hw to tame it?
Post by: Irvin Pribadi on April 14, 2015, 06:41:46 pm
I think there's lots of good advice here.

Some of my thoughts:
1. Is the drum too loud? For my small church this has always been the culprit, and like someone said, having the drummer restrain him/herself is the best way: lighter sticks (7A, maple) or even thunder rods can help.
2. In ear monitor at least for some? The keyboardist may not mind using headphones fed from a monitor mix bus & headphone amp.
3. Individual monitor mixes is a good thing but do you have enough busses to have individual mixes for everyone? If not, the monitor can simply feed "me" for each musician. A DI box, if you already use one, can easily split the feed into a powered monitor.
4. Drum shield with acoustic panels behind the drum.

For starters I would not go the acoustic panel route just yet, instead try to tame the beast from its source.
Title: Re: My Stage is a great big horn - hw to tame it?
Post by: g'bye, Dick Rees on April 14, 2015, 06:54:42 pm
Place the amps in boxed enclosures off stage and mic them.

Otherwise, try and reverse the trend of seeking technical $olution$ for personnel problems.
Title: Re: My Stage is a great big horn - hw to tame it?
Post by: Fred Dorado on April 14, 2015, 07:05:39 pm
So what you are saying is that this is a personnel issue and has nothing to do with the shape of the stage or the fact that is was designed to help a choir project sound into the congregation.

Cool, thanks.


Otherwise, try and reverse the trend of seeking technical $olution$ for personnel problems.
Title: Re: My Stage is a great big horn - hw to tame it?
Post by: Fred Dorado on April 14, 2015, 07:11:39 pm
I have a couple of drummers... one of them is a little loud, but that is because he is fairly new and still learning. the other has no problem with volume. There are also certain freq that seem to be more of a problem than others..... the ride cymbal is very annoying.

I will talk to some of them about going to headphones, but some have done it before and would prefer not to again.

Electric guitar is a bit of a bigger issue, because even when he turns it down low, it tends to carry..... I think that has a lot to do with placement, so I will try and move it and see if it helps.

We have been talking about the drum shield, maybe half height, but I was worried about the back wall and the corner it's in being more of an issue that the direct sound.

I think there's lots of good advice here.

Some of my thoughts:
1. Is the drum too loud? For my small church this has always been the culprit, and like someone said, having the drummer restrain him/herself is the best way: lighter sticks (7A, maple) or even thunder rods can help.
2. In ear monitor at least for some? The keyboardist may not mind using headphones fed from a monitor mix bus & headphone amp.
3. Individual monitor mixes is a good thing but do you have enough busses to have individual mixes for everyone? If not, the monitor can simply feed "me" for each musician. A DI box, if you already use one, can easily split the feed into a powered monitor.
4. Drum shield with acoustic panels behind the drum.

For starters I would not go the acoustic panel route just yet, instead try to tame the beast from its source.
Title: Re: My Stage is a great big horn - hw to tame it?
Post by: Jamin Lynch on April 14, 2015, 07:27:18 pm
I have a couple of drummers... one of them is a little loud, but that is because he is fairly new and still learning. the other has no problem with volume. There are also certain freq that seem to be more of a problem than others..... the ride cymbal is very annoying.

I will talk to some of them about going to headphones, but some have done it before and would prefer not to again.

Electric guitar is a bit of a bigger issue, because even when he turns it down low, it tends to carry..... I think that has a lot to do with placement, so I will try and move it and see if it helps.

We have been talking about the drum shield, maybe half height, but I was worried about the back wall and the corner it's in being more of an issue that the direct sound.

A drum shield with acoustical treatment on the wall behind the drum kit. A full or partial acoustically treated top will certainly help. There's a company that makes "acoustical panel" tops but I can't think of their name.

Headphones don't really help if you still have loud guitar amps or drummers on stage. I find drummers are even louder when on headphones or IEM's. They don't realize how loud they are.

Make sure the guitar amps are aimed at the guitar players ears. Not at his knees. Get a kick back stand.

Musicians will get frustrated and not want to play if they are constantly told to turn down. 

Your problem is common in a lot of churches your size. And not just because of the stage design.

Do you have a sub woofer? Sometimes adding a sub will give the "appearance" of lower volume because the audience is not hearing only mids and highs which can sound harsh....loud



Title: Re: My Stage is a great big horn - hw to tame it?
Post by: g'bye, Dick Rees on April 14, 2015, 07:41:51 pm
Place the amps in boxed enclosures off stage and mic them.

Otherwise, try and reverse the trend of seeking technical $olution$ for personnel problems.
So what you are saying is that this is a personnel issue and has nothing to do with the shape of the stage or the fact that is was designed to help a choir project sound into the congregation.

Cool, thanks.


You focused on the "otherwise" and missed the helpful part...

Sound treatment will not reduce the onstage volume.  Reducing the onstage volume will reduce the onstage volume.  Moving the amps off stage means your onstage sound will be less PLUS you'll be able to turn your monitors down, lessening the onstage volume even more.

It's not complicated or expensive to build amp-miking boxes.  Just make sure they're ventilated to avoid heat buildup.

You're welcome...
Title: Re: My Stage is a great big horn - hw to tame it?
Post by: Jamin Lynch on April 14, 2015, 07:48:36 pm
Found it.

http://www.clearsonic.com/sorber.htm

They also have shields for amps
Title: Re: My Stage is a great big horn - hw to tame it?
Post by: Lee Buckalew on April 14, 2015, 09:13:23 pm

Reducing the onstage volume will reduce the onstage volume.  Moving the amps off stage means your onstage sound will be less PLUS you'll be able to turn your monitors down, lessening the onstage volume even more.


This right here. 

As Dick said, and was said in the first few posts, your best starting point is to get the levels down.  If you also want to do treatment, that can certainly help the venue but it may not help with your specific problem.

Lee
Title: Re: My Stage is a great big horn - hw to tame it?
Post by: Jamin Lynch on April 14, 2015, 09:30:27 pm
This right here. 

As Dick said, and was said in the first few posts, your best starting point is to get the levels down.  If you also want to do treatment, that can certainly help the venue but it may not help with your specific problem.

Lee

I'll bet the OP has already gone down the "please turn down" road several times.....looking for other options.

Some strategically placed acoustical treatment on the stage will certainly keep down reflections from the stage walls that end up in the audience. May not help a lot, but I think it would be worth it. It's helped with similar situations before.

If the drummer can't play any quieter, it's time for other options....drum shield, electronic drums

If the guitar player can't play any quieter, it's time for other options....amps off the stage,amp in an box or shielded.

Not much else you can do.
Title: Re: My Stage is a great big horn - hw to tame it?
Post by: g'bye, Dick Rees on April 14, 2015, 09:52:38 pm
This right here. 

As Dick said, and was said in the first few posts, your best starting point is to get the levels down.  If you also want to do treatment, that can certainly help the venue but it may not help with your specific problem.

Lee

I want to offer a bit of an apology for the strident tone taken in giving advice.  I meant it as emphasis, not criticism. 

That said, any attempt at using sound absorption to compensate for too much on-stage sound is like putting band-aids on an open wound.  The proper trouble-shooting always starts at the source of the problem, or as the old saying has it, prior to the horse leaving the stable.
Title: Re: My Stage is a great big horn - hw to tame it?
Post by: Fred Dorado on April 15, 2015, 12:25:22 am
thanks for the help guys.

Thursday is rehearsal and I have already decided we are going to move the guitar amp to a different location to see if that helps. My more experienced drummer is on this week so that should help me try and get some control.

As has been said, I have done the "turn it down" thing like crazy - I will continue to do so, but I am trying to find other things that would help so that "turn it down" is not the only tool in the tool box.

Dick, thanks and I understand.

I have thought about isolation boxes in the past but had a few problems as our system wasn't quite there to do that well and a few of the monitors were not that great.

I am in the process of making some other changes to fix that and am improving the mains and monitors. I thought controlling some of the sound would be part of the puzzle.

Anybody have any plans for making isolation boxes? If I move them off stage to another room, do I just run an extra long 1/4" cable from the guitarist?

I will also turn everything off in the monitors and add back in as needed.

Title: Re: My Stage is a great big horn - hw to tame it?
Post by: Steve M Smith on April 15, 2015, 02:52:15 am
I have already decided we are going to move the guitar amp to a different location to see if that helps.
I wasn't joking in my first post about it looking as if you were playing in a giant Martin B115.  That speaker approximates an exponential horn but with flat sides - as do the walls of your stage area.  You might find that you have some positions on stage which are at focal points of the shape and project sound more than other areas.  Keeping loud amplifiers out of those areas could make quite a difference.


Steve.
Title: Re: My Stage is a great big horn - hw to tame it?
Post by: Lee Buckalew on April 15, 2015, 09:05:54 am
thanks for the help guys.

Thursday is rehearsal and I have already decided we are going to move the guitar amp to a different location to see if that helps. My more experienced drummer is on this week so that should help me try and get some control.

As has been said, I have done the "turn it down" thing like crazy - I will continue to do so, but I am trying to find other things that would help so that "turn it down" is not the only tool in the tool box.

Dick, thanks and I understand.

I have thought about isolation boxes in the past but had a few problems as our system wasn't quite there to do that well and a few of the monitors were not that great.

I am in the process of making some other changes to fix that and am improving the mains and monitors. I thought controlling some of the sound would be part of the puzzle.

Anybody have any plans for making isolation boxes? If I move them off stage to another room, do I just run an extra long 1/4" cable from the guitarist?

I will also turn everything off in the monitors and add back in as needed.

Fred,
I consistently run into guitar players that use amps that have much higher output level than is required.  When they do this they need to "turn it up" in order to overdrive the amp correctly to achieve the tone they want.  Often good quality lower power amps are far less costly than acoustic treatment.

Lee
Title: Re: My Stage is a great big horn - hw to tame it?
Post by: Fred Dorado on April 15, 2015, 10:33:09 am
right now all of our regular guys use the "house" amp... nothing special, I think it is a Marshall valvestate - kind of an all in one - then they bring in their own pedals, guitar etc.

What would be a good option to replace it with? I would bet they might like something with an actual tube in it.

I am open to solutions and could easily make changes in stages. I just don't want to go backwards while doing that.

Fred,
I consistently run into guitar players that use amps that have much higher output level than is required.  When they do this they need to "turn it up" in order to overdrive the amp correctly to achieve the tone they want.  Often good quality lower power amps are far less costly than acoustic treatment.

Lee
Title: Re: My Stage is a great big horn - hw to tame it?
Post by: Lee Buckalew on April 15, 2015, 10:39:56 am
right now all of our regular guys use the "house" amp... nothing special, I think it is a Marshall valvestate - kind of an all in one - then they bring in their own pedals, guitar etc.

What would be a good option to replace it with? I would bet they might like something with an actual tube in it.

I am open to solutions and could easily make changes in stages. I just don't want to go backwards while doing that.

Which Valvestate amp from Marshall?

Lee
Title: Re: My Stage is a great big horn - hw to tame it?
Post by: Jamin Lynch on April 15, 2015, 11:20:05 am
right now all of our regular guys use the "house" amp... nothing special, I think it is a Marshall valvestate - kind of an all in one - then they bring in their own pedals, guitar etc.

What would be a good option to replace it with? I would bet they might like something with an actual tube in it.

I am open to solutions and could easily make changes in stages. I just don't want to go backwards while doing that.

There's one problem. IMO  ::)

I'm assuming the band plays light contemporary Christian music....a Marshall amp would not be my first choice
Title: Re: My Stage is a great big horn - hw to tame it?
Post by: Fred Dorado on April 15, 2015, 12:22:49 pm
I just went and checked. It is a Marshall Vavlestate 50



Totally, this is what I think when I look at it.... not about the Martin, just that it looks like a giant horn and acts like one.

I will move some stuff around, unfortunately I don't have any real options with the drums. They need to be in the back row... I might be able to move them to the center, but behind the cross is our baptistry and I am not sure how that impact the view.

I wasn't joking in my first post about it looking as if you were playing in a giant Martin B115.  That speaker approximates an exponential horn but with flat sides - as do the walls of your stage area.  You might find that you have some positions on stage which are at focal points of the shape and project sound more than other areas.  Keeping loud amplifiers out of those areas could make quite a difference.


Steve.
Title: Re: My Stage is a great big horn - hw to tame it?
Post by: Lee Buckalew on April 15, 2015, 06:36:41 pm
I just went and checked. It is a Marshall Vavlestate 50

If this is too loud Marshal makes 5 watt, 15 watt, and 20 watt amps.

Lee
Title: Re: My Stage is a great big horn - hw to tame it?
Post by: Kent Thompson on April 16, 2015, 04:17:15 pm
You really did not say what type of mixer you have or if you have the auxes for several in ear mixes but, something like a Presonus HP60 could help out by giving up to 6 people a stereo mix and the ability to add in a signal from their individual instrument. The headphone amp is powerful enough to drive a couple headphones per channel which means you could probably run about 16 headphones off of it in a pinch at a really low price point (this is using up to 3 20' headphone extension in some cases). We did this as a low budget way to get everyone on headphones or earphones. I don't see any musicians that are so mobile they could not use a set of hard wired earphones or headphones in the picture. What you need to do is get leadership on board with the in ears. Convince them that this will make the biggest difference bang for the buck (including getting amps off stage and quieting drums) and have the edict come from the pastor or whoever is in charge of this part of the ministry. No one will argue as much when it comes from the top down. If it becomes necessary down the road you could budget for a couple of wireless in ears for the lead singers. Your mix levels as they are are really being determined by the loudness of your drums. Get those under control and your whole stage level will go down.

We went the electronic drum route at our church because we could not tame the drummer beast. The people in the front row would suffer when they whacked those 1/4 thick cymbals...There was a sacrifice  in doing so but, it was cheaper than buying a drum cage and then dealing with all the phases issues in microphones when you cage the drums. Not to mention we could never get the drummers to tune the drums regularly so I had a talk with leadership and had him sit in front of the drums one Sunday and the next week we found a way to get electronic drums. It did wonders for the clarity of the mix. There was a little sacrifice of potential sound quality (which was never achieved) but, the benefits far outweighed the sacrifices.

You still will have to deal with the acoustical issue of the room but, this could get you a heck of a lot closer.
Title: Re: My Stage is a great big horn - hw to tame it?
Post by: Fred Dorado on April 16, 2015, 05:10:03 pm
We have a GL2400-24 - 5 mono aux to monitors and 1 for effects

The pastor isn't really big into Edicts and though he is not a musician, he is not a fan of in ears.

drums as a whole aren't the biggest issue - some of the cymbals are... I was told this week that our cymbals are not very good.

I am not sure about electronic drums. I have heard about churches that switch and end up going back. this is one of those things where people will play what we have, so we can make the switch, but have been reluctant. What kind did you get? and how did the drummers feel about the switch?

I will ask some drummer friends how they feel about them.

thanks

You really did not say what type of mixer you have

What you need to do is get leadership on board with the in ears. Convince them that this will make the biggest difference bang for the buck (including getting amps off stage and quieting drums) and have the edict come from the pastor or whoever is in charge of this part of the ministry. No one will argue as much when it comes from the top down. If it becomes necessary down the road you could budget for a couple of wireless in ears for the lead singers. Your mix levels as they are are really being determined by the loudness of your drums. Get those under control and your whole stage level will go down.

We went the electronic drum route at our church because we could not tame the drummer beast. The people in the front row would suffer when they whacked those 1/4 thick cymbals...

 I had a talk with leadership and had him sit in front of the drums one Sunday and the next week we found a way to get electronic drums. It did wonders for the clarity of the mix. There was a little sacrifice of potential sound quality (which was never achieved) but, the benefits far outweighed the sacrifices.

You still will have to deal with the acoustical issue of the room but, this could get you a heck of a lot closer.
Title: Re: My Stage is a great big horn - hw to tame it?
Post by: John L Nobile on April 16, 2015, 05:29:13 pm

I am not sure about electronic drums. I have heard about churches that switch and end up going back. this is one of those things where people will play what we have, so we can make the switch, but have been reluctant. What kind did you get? and how did the drummers feel about the switch?

I will ask some drummer friends how they feel about them.

thanks

We went the electronic drum route years ago. Lasted about 3 years and hated it. Went back to real drums. Everyone was much happier. Personally, I never want to work with electronic drums again. I'd rather use tracked drums. Which is what we have been doing for the past few years but next month, we get a real drummer back
Title: Re: My Stage is a great big horn - hw to tame it?
Post by: Jamin Lynch on April 16, 2015, 06:09:28 pm
We have a GL2400-24 - 5 mono aux to monitors and 1 for effects

The pastor isn't really big into Edicts and though he is not a musician, he is not a fan of in ears.

drums as a whole aren't the biggest issue - some of the cymbals are... I was told this week that our cymbals are not very good.

I am not sure about electronic drums. I have heard about churches that switch and end up going back. this is one of those things where people will play what we have, so we can make the switch, but have been reluctant. What kind did you get? and how did the drummers feel about the switch?

I will ask some drummer friends how they feel about them.

thanks

Most drummers don't like electronic drums due to the way they look. There are electronic drum heads that you can put on real drums that have built in triggers. Real drum look....electronic drum benefits. The audience (which are the people you're trying to please) will thank you.

The other reason for the dislike is most people get cheapies modules with crappy sounds. Please get a good module.

Make sure the module has at least 4 outputs. 1-kick, 1-snare, 1-toms 1&2, 1-floor tom. This will give you individual control and EQ for each output. Electronic drums CAN be made to sound good IF you are willing to spend the time. I know of a couple of churches who use them and are glad they got them.

I try to use acoustic cymbals if possible. You may not be able to in your situation.

Again...In Ear monitors will not lower the stage volume IF there are still loud guitar amps and /or drums on stage. They often times make it worse.
Title: Re: My Stage is a great big horn - hw to tame it?
Post by: Kent Thompson on April 16, 2015, 06:38:47 pm
A lot of drummers will object because they don't sound and play like "real" drums most will play them anyways. If they can be convinced that it is better for the over all sound you will be more successful. It like most major changes (amps off stage, earphones) will have to be "top" driven to get them done. It makes the things go a lot smoother and you will get less resistance to change. We use a Roland T-30 set but, There are a few companies that make them now. You can also find nice drum sounds that you can trigger by midi by the set. Some sound pretty decent.

Obviously real drums in the right environment can be better sounding and more "responsive" to the drummer but, sometimes sacrifices are needed for the better good.

If you go back to the root of loud stage volume drums are typically the biggest driver of stage levels because the guitarists keyboardist and bass players all turn up their amps to overcome the stage levels of the drums. The drums bleed into all the vocal mics which compounds the problem of the drums getting too loud so everyone starts turning up monitors, amps etc so they can hear. I believe it is a bigger contributor than you are giving credit for.

We did replace the cymbals we had with thinner ones and that helped a lot but, somehow those gongs kept finding their way back on stage....

Like I mentioned real drums are better no doubt but, if you can't tame the beast electrics will get you there. In fact with limited stage size and space they are an advantage rather than disadvantage.
Title: Re: My Stage is a great big horn - hw to tame it?
Post by: Taylor Phillips on April 16, 2015, 09:56:31 pm
I'm no fan of electronic drum kits for several reasons: 1. You have to spend a lot of money to get a good sounding module, and even more money to get a good sounding module with more than just left/right outputs.  2. If you have a good sounding module, but only L/R outputs, balancing the kit with itself is a nightmare.  Even with the older modules which still used sliders to mix the kit (why did these disappear on the newer e-drums?) it's difficult to get it right.  Especially when you hear it one way in the house and the drummer hears it differently from his monitor.  3. You have to hit them harder than a real drum to make them sound.  Leads to bad habits for the drummer if he is to play anywhere else on a real drum kit.  4.  Rolls.  Just don't do a drum roll on a electric kit. 5. Dynamic range - electric kits have much less dynamic range than real drums.  How loud the drums are is totally at the control of the sound guy. I mixed for a service a few years back and the preacher did an alter call after the message with the band playing soft music behind him and I had the drums at the same level as the loud rock song that played before the message.  We didn't need a fire & brimstone message because that kick drum scared the Hell out of the people! 6. If your not using IEMs, you're likely going to have as much on stage drum volume as a real kit, but with all the sound pointed in the wrong direction.  We switched to real drums for the aforementioned service I worked, and I actually had to put more drums in the main mix!

If you must get an electric kit - make sure you get multiple outputs and use mesh drum heads.

As far as taming a loud drummer, the most effective and least resisted method I've used is using Hot Rod type sticks.  They have a slightly different sound than regular sticks, but not enough that most people will notice, and a many of those who do notice may actually like the sound better.   I even had a couple drummers begin to prefer them over regular sticks.

As far as the original post and the stage design, I think the best thing to do is adjust the positioning of the instruments and monitors to prevent the sound from being amplified by horn-shaped walls.
Title: Re: My Stage is a great big horn - hw to tame it?
Post by: Irvin Pribadi on April 17, 2015, 12:25:10 am
My small church had used Roland V-drums about 10 years ago .. lasted 3 years or so then sold it at a big loss. Back then the pads were much worse than they are nowadays but I doubt the issues are sufficiently resolved: feel, touch, dynamic range, sound. Looks was never an issue for us.

Anyway, similar to my earlier reply:
1. In ears monitors. Start with the keyb to try to win him/her over and expand from there. Drummer playing louder with in-ears? Not a problem, just stick an ambient mic at the drum kit, HPF around 1K and feed into (and only into) the drummer's monitor bus/aux.
2. I know you mentioned the drums are not the issue, but please be sure they aren't. Thunder/hot rods, thinner cymbals (some with holes on them) all help. Moon gels, gaffer tape ... not so much.
3. Drum shield with acoustic panels behind the drums also help but together will cost about a grand.
Title: Re: My Stage is a great big horn - hw to tame it?
Post by: Fred Dorado on April 23, 2015, 10:06:54 pm
A quick update -

Last week I moved the electric guitar  amp away from the corner - it helped, still have issues, but better - I can now have more control from foh

After rehearsal last week we had several of the musicians in back talking and another guy got on the electric rig and started playing - they all looked at me and said " is that how loud it normally is?"

I said yes and they said keep telling me to turn it down. We had some brief discussions about moving amps off stage and in ears - they seemed somewhat open to it.

Rehearsal right now is a little better - I am typing from front foh

I have a friend who suggested some Sabian HHX cymbals and is giving me one. Said that might help, apparently our cymbals are pretty crappy.

We still have a long way to go, but are taking tiny steps forward with some of the simple solutions suggested.

I think we are going to need to go all in ear or tone down the acoustics.

thanks for the help - appreciate the suggestions and am working on them
Title: Re: My Stage is a great big horn - hw to tame it?
Post by: g'bye, Dick Rees on April 23, 2015, 10:22:20 pm
A quick update -

Last week I moved the electric guitar  amp away from the corner - it helped, still have issues, but better - I can now have more control from foh

After rehearsal last week we had several of the musicians in back talking and another guy got on the electric rig and started playing - they all looked at me and said " is that how loud it normally is?"

I said yes and they said keep telling me to turn it down. We had some brief discussions about moving amps off stage and in ears - they seemed somewhat open to it.

Rehearsal right now is a little better - I am typing from front foh

I have a friend who suggested some Sabian HHX cymbals and is giving me one. Said that might help, apparently our cymbals are pretty crappy.

We still have a long way to go, but are taking tiny steps forward with some of the simple solutions suggested.

I think we are going to need to go all in ear or tone down the acoustics.

thanks for the help - appreciate the suggestions and am working on them

Cool.  Consensus is a good thing.
Title: Re: My Stage is a great big horn - hw to tame it?
Post by: Jonathan Johnson on April 24, 2015, 03:26:59 pm
After rehearsal last week we had several of the musicians in back talking and another guy got on the electric rig and started playing - they all looked at me and said " is that how loud it normally is?"

Getting the musicians off the stage (and listening to the rest) is a powerful tool for helping them understand the problem.
Title: Re: My Stage is a great big horn - hw to tame it?
Post by: Mike Caldwell on April 24, 2015, 07:52:36 pm
Moving the amps off stage and electronic drums would make a huge difference.

There are good sounding and playing electronic drums available, no drummer is going to say they like playing them though.

Even the best E drum kit is not going to play just like an acoustic kit, they don't look as cool as a full acoustic kit, but remember NO ONE in the audience will care but they will appreciate the overall control of the volume level.

When your mixing to a loud stage (and we all have done it) things never really sound "hooked up" with all the different sound sources
entering the room.

Title: Re: My Stage is a great big horn - hw to tame it?
Post by: Fred Dorado on April 30, 2015, 06:00:54 pm
OK.... next question - Is there something I can use that takes the signal going into the monitors from the amplifiers and attenuates it so it will work on headphones instead?

I was thinking this might be easier that running all new wires if there is a simple converter.
Title: Re: My Stage is a great big horn - hw to tame it?
Post by: Jeff Carter on April 30, 2015, 06:44:30 pm
OK.... next question - Is there something I can use that takes the signal going into the monitors from the amplifiers and attenuates it so it will work on headphones instead?

I was thinking this might be easier that running all new wires if there is a simple converter.
Rolls PM52 (http://www.rolls.com/product.php?pid=PM52) headphone tap?
Title: Re: My Stage is a great big horn - hw to tame it?
Post by: g'bye, Dick Rees on April 30, 2015, 06:46:04 pm
OK.... next question - Is there something I can use that takes the signal going into the monitors from the amplifiers and attenuates it so it will work on headphones instead?

I was thinking this might be easier that running all new wires if there is a simple converter.

You can get DI's that take speaker level signals.

http://whirlwindusa.com/catalog/black-boxes-effects-and-dis/direct-boxes/director


How much distance between the amps and the monitors?  You could split the signal just prior to the amp and run XLR line level to the stage.
Title: Re: My Stage is a great big horn - hw to tame it?
Post by: lindsay Dean on May 19, 2015, 04:15:23 pm
 Panel the stage walls up to about 80 percent
   here is the plans for the panels   http://ethanwiner.com/BTPlans.gif
the multiband is the one youll get the most difference from overall
every panel is like creating an open window and defeating the reflections down to about 250hz

703 series http://www.amazon.com/Owens-Corning-703-Fiberglass-Boards/dp/B005V3L834

 Burlap
clothhttp://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_ss_c_0_6/186-7299421-0882558?url=search-alias%3Dmi&field-keywords=burlap%20fabric&sprefix=burlap%2Cmi%2C174#/ref=nb_sb_noss_1?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=burlap+fabric+roll&rh=i%3Aaps%2Ck%3Aburlap+fabric+roll covering

 treated with fire retardant spray
http://www.amazon.com/s/?ie=UTF8&keywords=fabric+fire+retardant+spray&tag=googhydr-20&index=aps&hvadid=35016456444&hvpos=1t2&hvexid=&hvnetw=g&hvrand=17788084990098927961&hvpone=&hvptwo=&hvqmt=b&hvdev=c&ref=pd_sl_5zqk7pfxdb_b
 

 
aim the monitors at the musicians as direct as possible
and amps toward musicians as well control the stage volume

its not going to be a cure all but you will be impressed by the difference

Title: Re: My Stage is a great big horn - hw to tame it?
Post by: Tim Padrick on May 20, 2015, 12:16:01 am
http://www.radialeng.com/hamp.php
Title: Re: My Stage is a great big horn - hw to tame it?
Post by: Tom Roche on May 20, 2015, 04:43:28 pm
Sounds like you don't need any electronic drums since only the snare drum and cymbals were mentioned as part of the overall problem.  Is there something on the snare to cut down ring? If not, consider using a dampening ring or Moongel.  A more cost-effective alternative to Moongel can be found in dollar stores.  Look for those gel-like décor items that stick to windows.  Cut to size to get desired result.

As previously mentioned, thinner (good quality) cymbals are better in a lively space such as your church than thick ones as they take less force to speak.  Yes, the Sabian HHX series are thinner and may work for you.  Other contenders: Zildjian K Custom, Zildjian A Custom, and Paiste 602.  These are not cheap new.  With little effort and some patience, peruse your local classifieds for used ones, especially old Zildjian A (Avedis) from the 70s and older.