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Title: Making a blog/website - Top 3 band tips for a killer live sound
Post by: Kevin McDonough on November 09, 2015, 09:29:24 am
hey

While I work a lot of professional gigs with signed and touring bands who know what they're doing and have a great live sound, I also still do a fair bit of work with smaller acts: everything from little mosher kiddies doing their first metal show to relatively experienced bar and club bands who may play up to 1000 people or so and should know better but are stuck with some very bad habits that make them a nightmare to do sound for. 

Being a bit fed up of saying the same thing to bands over and over again, I though I'd make up a website or blog with some helpful advice, from sound engineers to musicians, that can be spread about and linked to, which will make the situation a bit better and hopefully at least some of them can learn their mistakes and correct things.

Mostly this would be aimed at bands who are working with a house engineer, though I'm sure most of it would also be applicable and help out bands running their own PA as well.

I have a fair idea of the kind of things that I'm gonna put in it, but thought I'd also open it up to you guys and see what suggestions you had.

So, if you had a top three key bits of advice to say to a band to achieve a killer live sound, what would they be?

k




Title: Re: Making a blog/website - Top 3 band tips for a killer live sound
Post by: Bob Leonard on November 09, 2015, 09:58:16 am
Did you actually mean the top 3000 bits of advice?

Loud does not equal good.

Achieve a good stage mix first.

Clean under your finger nails.
Title: Re: Making a blog/website - Top 3 band tips for a killer live sound
Post by: John L Nobile on November 09, 2015, 10:26:04 am
Practice

Practice

Practice

Nothing worse that mixing a band that can't play more than 3 random chords or sing in tune.

Title: Re: Making a blog/website - Top 3 band tips for a killer live sound
Post by: TJ (Tom) Cornish on November 09, 2015, 10:56:09 am
hey

While I do work a lot of professional gigs with signed and touring bands who know what they're doing and have a great live sound, I also still do a fair bit of work with smaller acts: everything from little mosher kiddies doing their first metal show to relatively experienced bar and club bands who may play up to 1000 people or so and should know better but are stuck with some very bad habits that make them a nightmare to do sound for. 

Being a bit fed up of saying the same thing to bands over and over again, I though I'd make up a website or blog with some helpful advice, from sound engineers to musicians, that can be spread about and linked to, which will make the situation a bit better and hopefully at least some of them can learn their mistakes and correct things.

Mostly this would be aimed at bands who are working with a house engineer, though I'm sure most of it would also be applicable and help out bands running their own PA as well.

I have a fair idea of the kind of things that I'm gonna put in it, but thought I'd also open it up to you guys and see what suggestions you had.

So, if you had a top three key bits of advice to say to a band to achieve a killer live sound, what would they be?

k

- The sound system/sound person will never make you sound better, only louder.  If you want to sound good, be good.
- Stage volume, stage volume, stage volume - AKA "I can't control what doesn't go through the sound system".  Use in-ears, drum sticks smaller than 2x4s, raise guitar amps so they point at guitar players' ears.
- Monitor wedges are not intended to give you Dolby THX.  Learn to live with only what you need to do your job.  See point 2.
- If patrons are running out the doors with hands over their ears, you are too loud, even if it's "your sound".
- My two personal sound rules: 1. At the end of the night, nothing can be broken.  2. Whoever signs my check is who I will work to please in the event of conflicting priorities.
Title: Re: Making a blog/website - Top 3 band tips for a killer live sound
Post by: John L Nobile on November 09, 2015, 11:31:42 am
2. Whoever signs my check is who I will work to please in the event of conflicting priorities.

That's the most important tip for a band.
Title: Re: Making a blog/website - Top 3 band tips for a killer live sound
Post by: Dave Garoutte on November 09, 2015, 02:19:22 pm
I've been contemplating putting together an occasional seminar for vocalists and bands, called 'Sound practices 101'?
Basically teaching them how to communicate with the sound guy.
I find nothing more frustrating than someone asking for more 'something' in their monitor and then walking away while you're trying to change the level.
They need to understand that sound check is work time, not the opportunity to visit with their band mates.
Also, the seminar would help vocalists with mic technique and experimenting to find the best mic (and EQ) for their voices.
Title: Re: Making a blog/website - Top 3 band tips for a killer live sound
Post by: Steve M Smith on November 09, 2015, 02:25:55 pm
Mainly aimed at guitarist - when you are asked to play something to get a level, don't spend the next two minutes tuning up.  Get the level sorted first and tune up when the engineer has finished with you.

Whoever signs my check is who I will work to please in the event of conflicting priorities.

Whilst that is true, I am primarily there for the audience's benefit, regardless of who is paying.


Steve.
Title: Re: Making a blog/website - Top 3 band tips for a killer live sound
Post by: Brian Jojade on November 09, 2015, 03:32:02 pm
1. Keep the stage as quiet as you possibly can. The sound guy can always turn things up if needed, but can't turn it down. He's got to mix everything up to the loudest thing on the stage at minimum, which often times ends up way too loud for the room.

2. If your piece of equipment is buzzing and making noise, it's probably because your piece of equipment is a piece of junk.  If it's only a problem when you 'connect to another system' then your piece of equipment is junk, not every system you connect it to.

3. The sound guy IS part of the band, just as much as the bass player, or the drummer, or the conga player.  While it may look like they have things in control, and it's an easy job, they were there long before you arrived late to sound check, and they will be there long after you leave to finish strike.  Respect them, and they will respect you.
Title: Re: Making a blog/website - Top 3 band tips for a killer live sound
Post by: TJ (Tom) Cornish on November 09, 2015, 03:38:10 pm
Quote from: TJ
Whoever signs my check is who I will work to please in the event of conflicting priorities.
Whilst that is true, I am primarily there for the audience's benefit, regardless of who is paying.
Me too, assuming the priorities of getting paid and pleasing the audience (or at least doing what I think would please the audience) don't conflict; however perhaps you've encountered situations where disobeying management which results in not being asked back is actually what's to the audience's greatest benefit, in which case, YMMV.
Title: Re: Making a blog/website - Top 3 band tips for a killer live sound
Post by: Luke Geis on November 09, 2015, 07:08:59 pm
I say that I have three groups of people in which I must please. The band, the venue owner / production holder and the crowd. The one who is paying me trumps all, but I will do what I humanly can to please the other parties.

Monitors are meant to be heard, not sound pretty. If you can get the level needed with ample GBF, then you can make the monitors sound pretty. So be quiet :)

If you can hear yourself at all, your already too loud. I don't understand how you can't hear yourself though?

If you don't ask for it, I won't give it to you. I can't read minds and I don't want to give you something you don't want.

What you want your band mix to sound like is not what I want your band mix to sound like and no one else will want it to sound like either of ours; so you do your best job at playing, let me do my best at interpreting it, and between us, we should pull a win. By the way your bass is too loud.........

I'm an adult babysitter, my job is to get adults to do what I want them to, by making them think they came to the conclusion on their own.....

Sound guys are so grumpy because they work so hard to get everything perfect and everyone else does something to screw it up. Then to boot, everyone else thinks that they can do it better than you.......

A monkey can walk up, twist the knobs and make things sound good, but can he set the whole system up and make it sound that good on his own?

Live sound is a science without a degree, your not a live sound engineer unless you do it for a living.

I don't walk into your office and tell you how to do your job do I?

I will end with this one because it wins most of the time :) : The microphone is an ice cream cone, not a penis.........

If your offended by the last one I apologize, however I will say this. The next time you get someone that is cupping the mic and trying to eat it because they think its cool, will likely change their way really quick when you tell them this. Especially if you do it in the presence of their band mates. Test it out on a band that has no effect on your life though first. Obviously you won't be saying that to the guy signing your check...... Revert to rule one in this case.

Title: Re: Making a blog/website - Top 3 band tips for a killer live sound
Post by: Ray Aberle on November 09, 2015, 08:35:48 pm
I will end with this one because it wins most of the time :) : The microphone is an ice cream cone, not a penis.........

Totally using this line when we work Seattle Pride next year...

-Ray
Title: Re: Making a blog/website - Top 3 band tips for a killer live sound
Post by: Woody Nuss on November 09, 2015, 10:09:23 pm
So, if you had a top three key bits of advice to say to a band to achieve a killer live sound, what would they be?

1) Turn your amps down and play the drums with dynamics.
2) Point the monitor at your head. You have no ears in your crotch. (at least while you're on stage)
3) Balance your playback tracks and keyboard patches so everything is at even levels from song to song and patch to patch. Do this on a loud sound system and make sure things don't jump out or drop out. 
Title: Re: Making a blog/website - Top 3 band tips for a killer live sound
Post by: David Morison on November 10, 2015, 08:13:51 am
Seems like some sound engineers have trouble counting to three (or paying attention to the question asked in the first place?)....

Maybe such people shouldn't be telling others what to do in the first place...  ;)
Title: Re: Making a blog/website - Top 3 band tips for a killer live sound
Post by: Scott Slater on November 10, 2015, 09:29:41 am
1.  Keep stage volume as low as possible
2.  You are playing for the audience, not for yourselves (refer to item 1).
3.  If you need changes to your mix, ask.  Don't wait until after the show to mention it.
Title: Re: Making a blog/website - Top 3 band tips for a killer live sound
Post by: Kevin McDonough on November 10, 2015, 11:13:49 am
hey


some brilliant ideas here guys, pretty much all what I was thinking anyway but some especially good one liners that I may steal to describe certain things if people don't mind.  ;D

Think what I'll do first is an overview of the basic principals, a 10 Commandments of Live Sound (maybe even do it in mock old fashioned language, thou shall not.... etc) as a first page on the site, before delving a little deeper and more in depth on particular issues.

Feel free to keep them coming.


k
Title: Re: Making a blog/website - Top 3 band tips for a killer live sound
Post by: Stephen Kirby on November 10, 2015, 02:21:17 pm
What it sounds like on stage is not what it sounds like out front

Less is more, that big wonderful sound you've achieved is obscuring what your bandmates are doing.  Work together.

And yet another vote for; The monitors are so you can hear your pitch and timing.  They are not a fully produced studio playback.
Title: Re: Making a blog/website - Top 3 band tips for a killer live sound
Post by: Scott Holtzman on November 11, 2015, 02:13:46 am
Totally using this line when we work Seattle Pride next year...

-Ray
Pride is a trip,  I am the most open minded WASP you will ever meet however I have a hard time taking anybody serious that is dressed up like genitalia.


Update - I was talking about one participant I ran into, not the entire event. 


Sent from my SM-T800 using Tapatalk

Title: Re: Making a blog/website - Top 3 band tips for a killer live sound
Post by: Steve M Smith on November 11, 2015, 05:07:27 am
your not a live sound engineer unless you do it for a living.

I can't agree with that.  I hardly make anything from live sound (I have a full time day job) but when I am doing live sound, I am as much of a sound engineer as anyone else doing it.

Likewise, during the day, I am either an electronic engineer or a mechanical engineer (depending on what I am doing).

The amount of money you earn from something has nothing to do with professionalism or competence.


Steve.
Title: Re: Making a blog/website - Top 3 band tips for a killer live sound
Post by: Gordon Brinton on November 11, 2015, 05:58:24 am
1. You get what you pay for in a sound company. Far too many local bands believe that the sound company is just a necessary evil that takes their pay away. They tend to descend toward the cheapest ones that they can find on the planet...big mistake. If you care about your show and your reputation, sacrifice your pay for now to hire a good company. If your show is entertaining AND the stage production looks and sounds great, the pay will catch up soon enough.

2. The worst thing that any musician can do during a performance is to constantly stand at the mic like a mannequin and look unenthusiastic or indifferent. It looks bad and bores the audience. Move about, dammit! Keep smiling. Make eye contact with the audience. Interact with other band mates. At least try to look like you are having a good time up there even when you are not. It's no wonder so many bands play in empty bars.

3. Eliminate dead air time between songs. Just like when we are stuck sitting at a traffic light, the seconds seem to drag on like minutes. So too does the time between songs for the audience. Keep the music coming and keep the dance floor filled. Always start the next intro immediately. If you need to talk, bring it down a bit and talk over the intro. If you need to tune your piece-o-shitsu guitar, then learn to tune quietly during verses when no one is paying attention to the guitar. Keep the show moving at all costs. Rehearse it that way.

Bonus Tip:
Stop taking long breaks. 10 minutes is all you really need. Piss, grab a fresh water, tune, and get back up there. Talk to your fans after the show.

EDIT: What's this got to do with helping the sound guy? It's going to help fill the clubs with people. And full clubs are easier to mix than empty clubs. :D
Title: Re: Making a blog/website - Top 3 band tips for a killer live sound
Post by: Kevin McDonough on November 11, 2015, 07:07:30 am
1. You get what you pay for in a sound company. Far too many local bands believe that the sound company is just a necessary evil that takes their pay away. They tend to descend toward the cheapest ones that they can find on the planet...big mistake. If you care about your show and your reputation, sacrifice your pay for now to hire a good company. If your show is entertaining AND the stage production looks and sounds great, the pay will catch up soon enough.

2. The worst thing that any musician can do during a performance is to constantly stand at the mic like a mannequin and look unenthusiastic or indifferent. It looks bad and bores the audience. Move about, dammit! Keep smiling. Make eye contact with the audience. Interact with other band mates. At least try to look like you are having a good time up there even when you are not. It's no wonder so many bands play in empty bars.

3. Eliminate dead air time between songs. Just like when we are stuck sitting at a traffic light, the seconds seem to drag on like minutes. So too does the time between songs for the audience. Keep the music coming and keep the dance floor filled. Always start the next intro immediately. If you need to talk, bring it down a bit and talk over the intro. If you need to tune your piece-o-shitsu guitar, then learn to tune quietly during verses when no one is paying attention to the guitar. Keep the show moving at all costs. Rehearse it that way.

Bonus Tip:
Stop taking long breaks. 10 minutes is all you really need. Piss, grab a fresh water, tune, and get back up there. Talk to your fans after the show.

EDIT: What's this got to do with helping the sound guy? It's going to help fill the clubs with people. And full clubs are easier to mix than empty clubs. :D

All great points, and not the initial ones I had first thought of like stage volume etc!

Point one, and the advantages of paying for a decent sound company with pro gear and not expecting to just pay petrol money and a couple of beers, will make a nice wee article, and stage presence and performance taking in points 2 and 3 will make another.

While not initially about sound, they're definitely all part of putting on a great live show.


k
Title: Re: Making a blog/website - Top 3 band tips for a killer live sound
Post by: Luke Geis on November 13, 2015, 07:34:03 pm

Live sound is a science without a degree, your not a live sound engineer unless you do it for a living.

I can't agree with that.  I hardly make anything from live sound (I have a full time day job) but when I am doing live sound, I am as much of a sound engineer as anyone else doing it.

........
Steve.

While there is no argument about your contributions to this forum and your abilities to do sound, you are in essence saying that anyone that does sound at all is a sound engineer. When I build a wall in my house, or re-wire an electrical receptacle I do not refer to myself as a general contractor, or electrician. When I open up my tube amps and modify the circuits to suit my desires by adding a choke, additional R/C circuits and altering other resistor and cap values, I don't say I'm an electrical engineer. During the day, I am a sound engineer and that is all I do to make money. You fall under the weekend warrior, or hobbyist category. You do live sound when it suits you, for fun, or whatever reason motivates you, and that is perfectly fine. My point for making the distinction was more to add jest to the fact that many people come along and say I am a sound guy / ( add fancy title here ) and probably couldn't tell you what the phase shift of a first order filter is; let alone the mathematics behind the inverse square law, ohm's law, GBF calculations like PAG and how much gain you may need to begin with calculations like NAG. You are not a ( fill the fancy title here ) unless you do it as a profession, for an appropriate amount of money and for a living; otherwise it's a hobby or a passion. I am not a general contractor, electrician, or electrical engineer even though I can do some of the tasks better than those who make a living doing it. I can at least put a wall up and cut the receptacles in square, unlike the guy that did it before me......

Sound support is a pretty unregulated industry if you think about it. Anyone that can purchase a PA, can put it to work. And many do it without paying the proper taxes and licensing fee's. Yet most people ( who may not even do sound at all ) think that they can do it better than you. It's a taken for granted industry. We are often blamed for a problem that we may not have even been responsible for at all. Some of us take it very seriously and others do it because they simply can. That distinction in easy terms, is one of a title which describes that persons role at their primary form of employment. If you have a degree in electrical engineering, but you flip burgers at Burger King for a living, you are an associate working at Burger King as a burger flipper, not an electrical engineer. Don't laugh, there are many who are in this exact scenario....

Please do not take this as a personal attack or that I meant to demean you or anyone else in a personal or professional way. I am certain that if you were on a mechanical engineering forum and I came in saying I am one too because I do it on the weekends, you and many others would be on me like white on rice....... Just about anyone with an interest in a craft can purchase the equipment to do it. Their ability to do it or not has nothing to do with anything except that; their ability. What they do with that talent is the question? Do they turn it into an occupation, career or profession, or do it for fun? Case in point, you own a race car, but you don't hold a race license and you only go to track day events where a race license is not required. Lets also say your faster than most drivers in a similar class as your car; your still not a race car driver, you just own a race car and have a talent to drive it. A race car driver is one who holds a license to do it in sanctioned events and can compete to win monies and points towards a championship. Racing a car would not be your profession, or occupation and you don't have a career ( a record of achievements ) racing cars, so that makes it a hobby. The only reason I truly disagree with you on your statement is that you are in essence saying that anyone who is doing it, is one. There is not a distinction between who is doing it as a hobby vs. someone who does it for a living. The unfortunate thing is that there is no Live Sound Degree that gives the clear distinction between one that is, or isn't one such person. The only standard that we have is if your employed to do it primarily, or not. If the answer is not employed primarily, then you fall under the " weekend warrior " distinction we have on this forum. Your level of talent is not in question at all, the only difference is your occupational standpoint. There is no performance standard to measure between you, me, or anyone else, only that I and many others are employed as a sound engineer ( or some other form of audio engineering ) for 100% of our income and you and many others are not. I hope you understand where I am coming from, Like I said it is not meant do take anything away from anyone, only to form the distinction between hobby and occupation. A persons talent is not in question at all with that standard and the jocose statement I made was aimed more at the spectator community who should know better anyway.

Now to get this back on track and taking the literal interpretation of the OP's request without bias, I will follow with:

1. Quiet is better than loud. The sound guy can and will beat you in the volume war if he has to, but that does not mean it will sound good, or keep people interested in you. Let the sound guy have control over the mix and you may be surprised when you find a great engineer that can get you to the next level. If you never give that control, you never allow that possibility to happen. More often than not, the engineer is not responsible for bad sound. They don't typically make it any worse than it was to begin with. If your paying a guy to do sound for you, let him have control, after all it's your money, let him fail on his own, don't chose his destiny for him. Bands create most all of their own problems. A sound guys job is to mitigate those problems. It would be a pretty hard thing to do for a sound guy in any capacity to ruin a show.

2. Know your place in the game. If your not rehearsed enough and room recordings of your band don't sound interesting and good, then your probably in need of work. If a room recording sounds bad, then it probably won't be any better at a venue. It has to be right from the source and a simple recording of you in a space can detail a lot about your stage mix balance, your overall sound and your recital. The unbiased room recording can tell you all that stuff right away so you can know what to work on.

3. Understand the purpose of monitoring. Monitors are meant to make what is not able to be heard possible to hear. Abuse of that power can effect the overall mix negatively. The goal is to not try and create a studio quality mix as much as add in what you need to perform. It often takes less than you think. How little can you get away with and still perform well? If you can hear the vocals clearly, but want more because you simply want more, really can make the vocals sound hollow and boxy in the main mix that the listeners hear. If your having a tough time hearing an instrument because another one is predominate in the mix, it is probably a sign that the predominate instrument simply needs to be turned down. If balance can be achieved with the instruments without monitoring, then you should in theory require less of it. The instruments should each have their own space in the sonic realm and should be at just enough volume to be heard. If you are all in your own sonic space and are only as loud as is needed to hear each other, then mixing yourself on stage will be easier. It is a simple concept really. 1- Can you hear yourself? 2 -Can you hear the other instruments? If the answer is yes to 1 and no to the other, then your too loud. Turn down until you blend with the others and repeat. Allow the drums to be a little loud if need be, so long as you can hear yourself and the others. Ideally you will all be about the same volume and the mix that is created will be easy to modulate as needed. If there is a solo and you can't hear the guy playing it, the rest of the band needs to lay back so that the solo can be heard, it's that simple.
Title: Re: Making a blog/website - Top 3 band tips for a killer live sound
Post by: TJ (Tom) Cornish on November 14, 2015, 07:49:40 am
While there is no argument about your contributions to this forum and your abilities to do sound, you are in essence saying that anyone that does sound at all is a sound engineer.
Luke, your argument is ridiculous.  What other income a person may have has no bearing on their talent, professionalism, or quality of mix.  There's no test you have to pass to call yourself a "sound engineer", and I have a feeling we could come up with more than a few examples of full-time sound engineers by your definition that thoroughly suck at what they do, and I can give you many examples of fantastic part-time people.

Let the results stand for themselves and don't try to enforce some kind of barrier that isn't really there. 
Title: Re: Making a blog/website - Top 3 band tips for a killer live sound
Post by: Steve M Smith on November 14, 2015, 08:15:12 am
I appreciate some of the points Luke is making, but in the end, it's just a word and the qualification to use it.

Competence trumps qualification every time in my opinion.

I might only be a part time sound engineer but whilst I am engineering sound, that is what I will call myself as that is what I am doing.

Although I have done it part time for thirty years, there are obviously many more qualified and capable than me but I know that there are some full timers who are not as good as well.

Just to further this point, I mentioned earlier that my day job was electronic and mechanical engineering.  Well, I don't have an engineering degree. There are people who think I shouldn't use the term engineer for my day job too, but as that is what I do, that is what I (and the company) will call it.


Steve.
Title: Re: Making a blog/website - Top 3 band tips for a killer live sound
Post by: Aaron Maurer on November 14, 2015, 02:07:23 pm
From a drummers perspective I have a few suggestions. Don't know if this is exactly what your after from a suggestions point of view but will share it anyway. As we all know drummers can often control stage volume.

1. Reduce the amount of cymbal crashes per measure. That also goes along with learning how to properly crash a cymbal.
2. Consistent kick is very important and having a heavy foot for two measures and a light foot for the four following measures is like having levels on an instrument climbing all over the place. An inconsistent kick is just down right hard to deal with as a sound engineer.
3. Learn how to truely tune drums. Stuffing the kick full of old Return of the Jedi electric blankets is not the answer and owning a kit for 10 years with the original heads is unacceptable.

I will keep it to three but a lot more can be said about dynamics which goes with all instruments but when not found in a drummer can be pretty bland in the mix.
Title: Re: Making a blog/website - Top 3 band tips for a killer live sound
Post by: Scott Holtzman on November 14, 2015, 04:02:36 pm
I appreciate some of the points Luke is making, but in the end, it's just a word and the qualification to use it.

Competence trumps qualification every time in my opinion.

I might only be a part time sound engineer but whilst I am engineering sound, that is what I will call myself as that is what I am doing.

Although I have done it part time for thirty years, there are obviously many more qualified and capable than me but I know that there are some full timers who are not as good as well.

Just to further this point, I mentioned earlier that my day job was electronic and mechanical engineering.  Well, I don't have an engineering degree. There are people who think I shouldn't use the term engineer for my day job too, but as that is what I do, that is what I (and the company) will call it.


Steve.

Steve,  I am with you on this.  From a definition stand point as soon as you charge $1.00 for your work that makes you a professional in any vocation.

I, like you have had engineer, senior engineer,  engineering director, director of engineer and now CTO on my business card.  Educationally I have an undergraduate degree in MIS, two minors in finance and economics (I don't even think they call them that anymore) an unfinished MBA and about 20 credit hours towards an MSEE/Physics.  None of that matters to the quality or capability of my work.

However, I understand why this strikes an emotional cord.  I have a friend who uses me for gigs he can't cover and toss's me his bones (gigs perceived as too small or beneath him).  He told me flat out that the uninsured, "trunk slammers" give the business a bad name and drive the value of his services down, that he depends on as his primary income.  Some folks get emotional about this, he chooses not to. 

Thinking along these lines freelancers of varying degrees of experience exist in every trade at the fringes of the professional community.

Lastly as life is a bell curve, everyone is going to fall somewhere along the lines of qualifications, quality of gear and professionalism.  There are many providers, without full time employees that execute with excellence and strive to be masters of their craft.  I consider myself in that category.   
Title: Re: Making a blog/website - Top 3 band tips for a killer live sound
Post by: Dave Scarlett on November 16, 2015, 05:41:49 pm
I know the term Engineer has been used far too long in the sound business for a change to be made.

Sincerely
D.R. Scarlett P.Eng
Title: Re: Making a blog/website - Top 3 band tips for a killer live sound
Post by: John L Nobile on November 16, 2015, 07:39:46 pm
I know the term Engineer has been used far too long in the sound business for a change to be made.

Sincerely
D.R. Scarlett P.Eng

Engineer is a very loose term. Years ago, they changed the name of the maintenance department at the hotel to the engineering dept. So if you have a clogged toilet or need a light bulb replaced, an "engineer" will be there to fix that.
BTW I'm not kidding.
Title: Re: Making a blog/website - Top 3 band tips for a killer live sound
Post by: Tim McCulloch on November 17, 2015, 01:11:39 pm
Engineer is a very loose term. Years ago, they changed the name of the maintenance department at the hotel to the engineering dept. So if you have a clogged toilet or need a light bulb replaced, an "engineer" will be there to fix that.
BTW I'm not kidding.

In the military, "engineers" are the guys that blow up stuff.  Perhaps your hotel analogy is more apt than you think... ;)
Title: Re: Making a blog/website - Top 3 band tips for a killer live sound
Post by: John L Nobile on November 17, 2015, 01:43:38 pm
In the military, "engineers" are the guys that blow up stuff.  Perhaps your hotel analogy is more apt than you think... ;)

Good one. :). They screw things up a lot more than blow things up.
Title: Re: Making a blog/website - Top 3 band tips for a killer live sound
Post by: Brian Jojade on November 18, 2015, 07:06:17 pm
From a drummers perspective I have a few suggestions. Don't know if this is exactly what your after from a suggestions point of view but will share it anyway. As we all know drummers can often control stage volume.

1. Reduce the amount of cymbal crashes per measure. That also goes along with learning how to properly crash a cymbal.
2. Consistent kick is very important and having a heavy foot for two measures and a light foot for the four following measures is like having levels on an instrument climbing all over the place. An inconsistent kick is just down right hard to deal with as a sound engineer.
3. Learn how to truely tune drums. Stuffing the kick full of old Return of the Jedi electric blankets is not the answer and owning a kit for 10 years with the original heads is unacceptable.

I will keep it to three but a lot more can be said about dynamics which goes with all instruments but when not found in a drummer can be pretty bland in the mix.

This set of rules should be included with every drum kit, or drum accessory sold.  The majority of my sound issues would be solved if these 3 rules were followed.
Title: Re: Making a blog/website - Top 3 band tips for a killer live sound
Post by: Stephen Kirby on November 18, 2015, 07:26:30 pm
Having been an engineering manager and having inherited staff of both degreed and non-degreed "engineers" I fall back on something I saw years ago (and use this to inspire both types to think first).

A technician has to try it to see if it will work.

An engineer can work it out ahead of time and know that it will work.

Which kind of flies in the face of the "fail fast, fail hard" idiocy pervading tech these days.  A case of cause and effect confusion from not so smart people observing smart people developing something in a directed way that is not obvious to them.
Title: Re: Making a blog/website - Top 3 band tips for a killer live sound
Post by: Steve M Smith on November 19, 2015, 04:52:41 am
A technician has to try it to see if it will work.

An engineer can work it out ahead of time and know that it will work.
Possibly... but no one ever learned anything by getting it right first time, every time.
One of my heroes is Edwin Land, the inventor of Polaroid photography who dropped out of Harvard to set up his company. 

He absolutely hated coming up with a solution straight away.  He much prefered to get it wrong in every way possible before getting the solution, as that way, you know all of the paramaters of the process you are dealing with.

In contrast to that, another one of my heroes is Nikola Tesla who could visualise whole pieces of equipment then go on to make a working machine straight away.

I suppose that proves that you can't generalise and that everyone works in different ways, none of which can be consider correct or superior to another method.


Steve.
Title: Re: Making a blog/website - Top 3 band tips for a killer live sound
Post by: Stephen Kirby on November 19, 2015, 01:50:01 pm
Steve,  I would submit that "screening" something by working to experimentally determine a processes boundaries is still a scientific method.  The third leg of that meme is that the scientist conceives it and experimentally verifies it.  That information is then taken by the engineer to detail out a working solution.

e.g. a scientist conceives of the concept of capacitance and experimentally works up a set of laws on it's behavior.  An engineer uses those laws to put a desired influence on a signal.  A technician gets a bunch of capacitors and tries them until he likes the sound.
Title: Re: Making a blog/website - Top 3 band tips for a killer live sound
Post by: Peter Kowalczyk on November 19, 2015, 04:25:27 pm
To continue off-topic about engineers and scientists, a pearl of wisdom from my own engineering manager:

"when an engineer builds something, it works, but he doesn't know why it works.
When a scientist builds something, it doesn't work, but he knows exactly why it doesn't work."

(not really sure where to fit technicians into this sarcastic axiom...)
Title: Re: Making a blog/website - Top 3 band tips for a killer live sound
Post by: Steve M Smith on November 20, 2015, 02:52:33 am
I'm sure engineers have built lots of things wich didn't work as planned!


Steve.
Title: Re: Making a blog/website - Top 3 band tips for a killer live sound
Post by: Ray Aberle on November 20, 2015, 09:47:47 am
To continue off-topic about engineers and scientists, a pearl of wisdom from my own engineering manager:

"when an engineer builds something, it works, but he doesn't know why it works.
When a scientist builds something, it doesn't work, but he knows exactly why it doesn't work."

(not really sure where to fit technicians into this sarcastic axiom...)
... When a technician builds something, he's actually assembling a kit, and when it doesn't work, he knows who to blame.

Would that work? :)
Title: Re: Making a blog/website - Top 3 band tips for a killer live sound
Post by: Dave Garoutte on November 20, 2015, 01:39:40 pm
I do CNC machine work as my main business.
I find mechanical engineers often don't have real world experience and I need to fix a lot of their mistakes; things that will fail or not function as intended, or be impossible to make at all or for a reasonable price.
I have a friend who has an extremely deep understanding of electronics and video, but because he doesn't have a degree (completely self-taught) he get's no respect from the 'engineers' above him who actually know less than he does.
I think the balance of real-world experience and an understanding of underlying processes and science makes for the most effective outcome, no matter what profession.
Title: Re: Making a blog/website - Top 3 band tips for a killer live sound
Post by: Keith Broughton on November 20, 2015, 02:07:01 pm

3. Learn how to truely tune drums.
Give this man a cigar!!! ;D