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Title: Live sound tips and tricks
Post by: TimHackford on December 25, 2016, 09:30:49 pm
Originally asked over at Gearslutz and got told to ask here.

I haven't posted here in a while not really had the need too, been very busy with the band and family life but I appreciate all the help I've been given on this forum and continue learning the more I read on here. So a bit of background on me, I run live sound for my function band playing gigs all over the UK each week for various weddings and parties..always a different venue etc.
Our equipment is very simple 2 RCF 732a tops and 2 RCF 905 subs..does the job we love the sound of the speakers and have no intention of changing them. I use a Yamaha o1v96i to mix our sound on, we all run IEM's so no floor monitors. Mics used.. Sennheiser e935 for main vocal, 2 e945's for backing vocals, we use Shure 57a betas on guitar cabs and Di the bass amp and acoustic guitar into the desk..drums mic'd with AKG 's and a Shure 91 beta pressure mic in the bass drum.

I saw a few weeks back a video of Ken Pooch Van Druten talk about his FOH sound for Linkin Park, it was a 3 part video for Waves which showed some of the plugins he used with LP to achieve certain sounds. On the video he told us about some "old club tricks" he used to get an easy big guitar sound which consisted of using a pre delay on one side of a group with a 100% mix and 30sec delay time so it really widens things up..I thought that's amazing and tried it and to my surprise it actually worked! Since then we have had an amazing full sounding guitar mix that I've been more then happy with. I tried looking more into tricks for live sound but didn't really turn anything up and it really got me wondering what other "old club tricks" are out there and if any of you mind sharing?
Title: Re: Live sound tips and tricks
Post by: Ivan Beaver on December 25, 2016, 10:03:19 pm
On the video he told us about some "old club tricks" he used to get an easy big guitar sound which consisted of using a pre delay on one side of a group with a 100% mix and 30sec delay time so it really widens things up..I thought that's amazing and tried it and to my surprise it actually worked!
You are mistaken.  30sec delay will really screw things up.

If you are talking about 30ms (0.03 seconds), then that is a totally different issue.

30ms is right on the edge of where we detect 2 different arrivals.

Yes it can "fatten up" the sound-maybe-but will also detract from the details in the sound source.

It is like an effect and understood as such.

So it depends on what you are "looking for" in a sound.

What works for somebody DOES NOT mean that it will work for you, unless you are trying to "get the same sound".

So "it depends" on whether it will work for you the way you want.

As with any effect-it is important to understand exactly what is going on (and what you are trying to achieve) in order to be able to use it effectively.
Title: Re: Live sound tips and tricks
Post by: Jamin Lynch on December 25, 2016, 10:24:24 pm
They are not tricks. They are techniques.
Title: Re: Live sound tips and tricks
Post by: Tim Weaver on December 25, 2016, 11:54:49 pm
On the O1v you can use the LCR delay and pick 3 different times. Keep them all under 15-20 ms and it does wonders for making something sound big.

My biggest club technique is to get the stage as quiet as possible. Iems, small amps, and a light drummer. That goes so much further than anytbing else.

Title: Re: Live sound tips and tricks
Post by: Don T. Williams on December 26, 2016, 10:49:52 am
My biggest club technique is to get the stage as quiet as possible. Iems, small amps, and a light drummer. That goes so much further than anything else.

+1 for Tim.  Works in clubs, churches, almost any live event!  Best "trick" ever. 
Title: Re: Live sound tips and tricks
Post by: Bob Faulkner on December 26, 2016, 01:28:47 pm
They are not tricks. They are techniques.
+100 

<< on soapbox>>
"tricks" end up feeding other tricks, which feeds others, and so on... and so on.. end result is a huge f** up mix.  And the engineer wonders why their mix is shit.  "I've done all the tricks and it still sounds bad..." -sigh-

TimH - follow what Ivan and others are saying about the techniques.  Just because it works for them (or others) does not mean it's going to work for you.  So don't load up your board (or signal chain) with tricks/techniques and wonder why it's not working.

Spend the time to learn what's going on and what the benefit is of what you want to do... rather than learning what "preset" or plugin is supposed to be used to fix or add "value" to something that isn't really broken.
<< off soapbox>>

My apologies for the rant... been around too many people that don't know/understand sound, but know everything about their presets and plugins.


Title: Re: Live sound tips and tricks
Post by: Caleb Dueck on December 26, 2016, 02:08:59 pm


My biggest club technique is to get the stage as quiet as possible. Iems, small amps, and a light drummer. That goes so much further than anything else.

For sure.  Quality speakers/subs and well deployed, quality mics/DI's/wireless, quiet stage, simple but accurate EQ, basic compression and gating - if these are done well you're 99% there and don't need tricks.
Title: Re: Live sound tips and tricks
Post by: Bob Kidd on December 26, 2016, 02:14:15 pm
You are mistaken.  30sec delay will really screw things up.

If you are talking about 30ms (0.03 seconds), then that is a totally different issue.

30ms is right on the edge of where we detect 2 different arrivals.

Yes it can "fatten up" the sound-maybe-but will also detract from the details in the sound source.

It is like an effect and understood as such.

So it depends on what you are "looking for" in a sound.

What works for somebody DOES NOT mean that it will work for you, unless you are trying to "get the same sound".

So "it depends" on whether it will work for you the way you want.

As with any effect-it is important to understand exactly what is going on (and what you are trying to achieve) in order to be able to use it effectively.

It's got to be 30ms. 30sec you would definitely be suprised. Lol
Title: Re: Live sound tips and tricks
Post by: Steve Garris on December 26, 2016, 02:26:46 pm
It's got to be 30ms. 30sec you would definitely be suprised. Lol

I'm curious as to how much pre-delay is used, and what is meant by "on one side of a group".
Title: Re: Live sound tips and tricks
Post by: Tim McCulloch on December 26, 2016, 02:47:15 pm
A "trick" is something like using the same EQ (say, -12dB 500Hz Q0.9) on every drum input except the snare.  It may not be what the drum kit needs, but hey, you heard about it on the internet because some big-time guy allegedly said it....

Tim H, there are several participants here that spend a lot of time talking about mixing and lament that too many live soundpersons are not skilled in the craft of mixing.  Because it's a craft there are no genuine shortcuts or tricks, only the knowledge and wisdom that come with experience.

The technique that Pooch mentioned is something he used when he was mixing a band that presented a fair bit of stage SPL that he had to work with/against/over.  Using the delay created a wider sonic image even for the folks on the delayed side of the PA (referenced against the guitar amp on stage).  It sounds different if you can't hear the stage contribution - it still kind of works but it presents a different auralization.

The real take-away is that he was having to use the guitarist's stage sound as part of mix, an input over which he had no control.  Pooch had to find a way to add to that sound and spread it around without making it louder.  Whether or not the resulting sound is what YOU need is another matter entirely.

Don't get hung up on what other people do until you've got the rest of the mix happening - your killer guitar sound won't mean shit to the 90% of the audience that are tying to hear the singer, for example.  Also avoid the idea that you need to do something to an input simply because you can do it.  We mix *songs* as much or more than we mix *sound* so our job is to make the song work, based on the way the band is playing and the singers are singing, as best we can in the acoustic environment we're working in with whatever the Rig du Jour happens to be.
Title: Re: Live sound tips and tricks
Post by: brian maddox on December 26, 2016, 03:51:15 pm
...
My biggest club technique is to get the stage as quiet as possible. Iems, small amps, and a light drummer. That goes so much further than anytbing else.

My biggest Club Technique is NEVER EVER Go to Clubs, much less mix in them.  :)

I am officially like Danny Glover in Lethal Weapon.  Waaaay too old for this sh*t...
Title: Re: Live sound tips and tricks
Post by: Rick Powell on December 26, 2016, 03:54:35 pm
One thing I try to do is, whenever there is a sound deficiency, look for the "acoustic" solution first before looking for the "electronic" solution. This goes for everything from controlling the stage volume to placing the floor monitors out of the feedback path to proper drum tuning and drum mic placement. When the acoustic issues are addressed, it becomes so much easier to apply the electronics to put the finishing touches on the mix rather than using them to fight uphill against mother nature.
Title: Re: Live sound tips and tricks
Post by: Jamin Lynch on December 26, 2016, 04:12:44 pm
One thing I try to do is, whenever there is a sound deficiency, look for the "acoustic" solution first before looking for the "electronic" solution. This goes for everything from controlling the stage volume to placing the floor monitors out of the feedback path to proper drum tuning and drum mic placement. When the acoustic issues are addressed, it becomes so much easier to apply the electronics to put the finishing touches on the mix rather than using them to fight uphill against mother nature.

Exactly.

If you're having to use "tricks" to get a better guitar sound, you may want to have a conversation with the guitar player first. If that doesn't work, then try some mixing techniques that you've had experience with to make it as good as you can without going overboard.

Same thing for all the instruments on stage. Fix it at the source first, then use creative mixing techniques only if you have to.

Not every musician is open to constructive criticism though. Sometimes you just have to deal with it best you can.
Title: Re: Live sound tips and tricks
Post by: TimHackford on December 26, 2016, 04:37:20 pm
Hey guys I reallly appreciate the input..I should be a little more clear on things as I was hoping this thread could be a useful tool to everyone not just me and a place where a few people could share a few things they have learned over the years!

I didn't mean 30sec that was me being stupid I meant 30ms however I have dialed it back to 21 for a spot where things sounded really good.

A point I make with the band is to keep our stage volume to a minimum, we have two stage setups one with an electric kit Roland TD 15 and we DI all guitars from amp heads going into our pedal boards, bass amp Di out etc to eliminate any stage volume and it's much easier to get a really great sounding mix when it's all done off the desk.
   We only really use the electric setup as we like to call it when it's a small room and the acoustic drum kit is going to be too loud for the room or if there is a sound limiter.

When we use the drummers acoustic kit for the bigger venues or whenever it's suitable it's a different story because obviously we have our amps..the amps have to be up to be picked up well enough in the mic but they are never at deafening levels. It's then when I try to compensate for that on the desk as our other guitarist isn't always playing his guitar and sometimes on an acoustic guitar or sometimes just singing I try to make the main guitar a really good mix that sits just under the vocal at all times because i cant always be riding the faders and playing and if i need to pull back in the mix a little i will do it from my pedal board etc. That way when the other guitar drops out it doesn't take away from the mix too much that it sounds empty or thin.

The delay technique achieved this and gave me a much wider sounding guitar and seemed to be more what I wanted it to sound like. I've recently discovered how to end one input to two outputs by patching them from desk..didn't know the o1v96 could do that and so far have been very surpised..can't see me using this on many things tho. This thread wasn't to take everyone's tricks and use them all I know I need to find what works for me and that's exactly what I'm doing I just wondered what other techniques were out there to achieve different sounds.

I mean this all with good intentions and with no bad feeling towards anyone..I appreciate your input!

Tim
Title: Re: Live sound tips and tricks
Post by: Robert Piascik on December 26, 2016, 04:38:53 pm
My biggest Club Technique is NEVER EVER Go to Clubs, much less mix in them.  :)

Damn! I was hoping to pick up some "tricks" myself from some of the veterans here. Instead all I'm getting is "good advice."

C'mon! Quit holding out! I KNOW you've got some secret "tricks" up your sleeve!

Title: Re: Live sound tips and tricks
Post by: Jamin Lynch on December 26, 2016, 04:52:51 pm
Damn! I was hoping to pick up some "tricks" myself from some of the veterans here. Instead all I'm getting is "good advice."

C'mon! Quit holding out! I KNOW you've got some secret "tricks" up your sleeve!

LMAO

I've found that a lot of veterans don't easily give up their secrets.
Title: Re: Live sound tips and tricks
Post by: Stephen Kirby on December 26, 2016, 06:30:37 pm
A "wide" sound only really works for people fairly equidistant from the multiple sources.  Years ago I put a slave on the other side of the stage and ran a stereo chorus.  Drove the singers in the middle nuts.   ;D  I've played folks rigs who have the wet/dry or wet/dry/wet setup with multiple amps or a couple of PA speakers straddling the amp, a la Larry Carlton.  Sounds great right behind you.  Very difficult to get that effect out to the audience through the PA.  A small amount of decorrelation as in a reverb can spread a sound a bit.  The old recording trick of just flipping the polarity on opposite channels can make the sound wider for anyone in the middle.  Folks near one side or the other of the PA aren't going to really get any time based effects.  And as mentioned, time longer than a moderate phase shift may sound odd to someone hearing the delayed sound louder than the primary.
Title: Re: Live sound tips and tricks
Post by: Douglas R. Allen on December 26, 2016, 07:58:54 pm
I've recently discovered how to end one input to two outputs by patching them from desk..didn't know the o1v96 could do that and so far have been very surpised..can't see me using this on many things tho.
Tim

Tim;

As an o1v and o1v96 user I've used the double patch system for many years.
Need to eq a monitor send different from the main mix ? Assign what you need to another layer or channel.
Assign the bass guitar to 2 channels. Have one with no compression and the other squash it somewhat. Try the compressor for just the lows. Bring your high cut down to 400hz on the compressed channel and the low cut up to 400hz on the non compressed channel. Gives you a multi band compressor of sorts if needed. Try different eq and flip the polarity back and forth one one of those channels as well.
Same with bass drum. I like to have 2 channels used on my bass drum.  I use Aux fed subs. One channel will be compressed  to taste and sent to the L/R mid highs but not the aux that feeds the subs.  The other channel will have no compression and will not be patched to the L/R but will be sent to the sub's via the aux. Now I can have 4 parametrics for the mid/highs and have an easy way to control song for song if slight bottom adjustments are needed.(end of a song thump as an effect )  Keep in mind how this changes the relationship at the crossover for this one channel.
I do the same for a guitar. I use 20 ms ;-)

To me its really not a trick. Its mixing. As long as those on stage like what they hear and it is OK 'ed by them I use double patching if it improves the mix. If it is not needed its just as easy to not use the second channel. Like an eq,compressor, gate, speaker system processor etc its a tool to be used....if needed.

I like to record tracks then setup the pa in a good room and take the time with the drummer,bass player etc.to get what they like.

Douglas R. Allen
Title: Re: Live sound tips and tricks
Post by: TimHackford on December 26, 2016, 09:29:43 pm

All amazing replies and exactly the type of thing I hoped for! For "effects" I tend to really only use a bit of compression, some gating on the drums, reverb and recently a little delay.

My main focus is really trying to get that three dimensional sound nailed as best as I can, of course it will change a little room to room but the amps, mic, instruments and PA doesn't change and is the same 3 - 4 nights a week with me manning the sound so I can experiment more.
With the o1v96 I have found a few times I've run out of eq bands once I use a hpf and a lpf so the duplication of tracks might give me a little more eq possibilities to get things really polished.

Parallel processing is new to me and is exactly the kind of "tricks" I was thinking of. We have a low stage volume and sense of dynamics, we know our instruments and the sound they make its getting that and enhancing it with our PA that I'm trying to achieve.

Doug thanks very much for those tips to me it's something I didn't know was possible with the o1v96 till a few days ago and will give everything you said a go. The band trusts me on the sound..not had any complaints and am free to try whatever will work or enhance our sound. We rent a hall to practise and have plenty of time to tweak.

Thanks again
Tim
Title: Re: Live sound tips and tricks
Post by: dave briar on December 27, 2016, 12:26:12 am
--snip--
My biggest club technique is to get the stage as quiet as possible. Iems, small amps, and a light drummer. That goes so much further than anytbing else.
This!
   ...along with parallel compression on the vocals;)

   ..dave
Title: Re: Live sound tips and tricks
Post by: Yoel Farkas on December 27, 2016, 12:25:49 pm
Damn! I was hoping to pick up some "tricks" myself from some of the veterans here. Instead all I'm getting is "good advice."

C'mon! Quit holding out! I KNOW you've got some secret "tricks" up your sleeve!
Well there is a lot of good stuff here. I'm not a veteran but i will share some "advice".

Some people think that there is some "trick" that is a push of a button and it makes everything sounds good, and they want the secret trick. but in reality there is NO magic. Sound amplification is a combination of the Acoustic and electronics, and you have to deal with both, in order to have an honest sound.

I see some people focusing on the mix (mixer), where they try to correct everything with a ton of processing. rather than fixing it in the first place at the source.

Sound amplification is a bunch of compromises.

In acoustical domain we have only a single direct source with additional reverb (echo).

In the amplified sound system we have the same signal arriving at the mic from 1)Source 2)Monitors 3)Main PA 4)Reflections, and it is than being multiplied by a number of load-speakers, arriving at the listener from multiple points.

My goal in sound system is to reduce the amount i have to compromise. the trick or technique is "ISOLATION" at both ends, at the input (microphone) and at the output (speakers) stages. if you have clean signal and a coherent system you don't need much processing.

Input
1) Use microphones with tight pickup pattern and good rear rejection. it will also help for GBF.
2) Point the microphones to the source, and closes possible to the source.
3) Use close miking technique.
4) Use In ear monitors instead of monitor wadges.
5) If you have to use monitors, align the monitors that they should be at the cancelling point of the microphones.
6) Use carpet on the floor to reduce reflections.
7) Use shield panels for drums.
8 ) Use direct input for guitars/bass instead of amp miking.

Output
1) Use the least speakers possible. 2 bigger speakers are better than 4 smaller.
2) Use speakers that have a tight pattern control (down to the low frequency).
3) Point the speakers where you want the sound energy to go, not on the ceiling and walls. hang the speakers and tilt it down, if possible.
4) Try to have as much of the speakers coverage at isolation zone.
5) Use delay speakers when needed. and align time and phase to the mains.
6) Center the subs, and align phase to the mains.
7) Balance the subs and the speaker levels. raise lows in the mix if needed.

If you do all of this, and advice from the veterans here. you don't need "tricks" to make it sound good. And if you use tricks you will be able to enjoy it, because the system will reproduce those "tricks".

Yeh, i know i put a lot of points here. The best advice i can give someone here is take training, listen to others, share with others and help others. this way you learn and grow.

Enjoy
Yoel Farkas
Title: Re: Live sound tips and tricks
Post by: Scott Holtzman on December 27, 2016, 01:14:17 pm
One thing I try to do is, whenever there is a sound deficiency, look for the "acoustic" solution first before looking for the "electronic" solution. This goes for everything from controlling the stage volume to placing the floor monitors out of the feedback path to proper drum tuning and drum mic placement. When the acoustic issues are addressed, it becomes so much easier to apply the electronics to put the finishing touches on the mix rather than using them to fight uphill against mother nature.

This is very true.  I watched a guy screw up his gain structure on a guitar amp.  He is making crazy changes at the mixer and getting frustrated.  I could not take it any longer and pointed out that the mic stand had gotten knocked over before he cranked up so much gain that the whole stage broke loose.

Title: Re: Live sound tips and tricks
Post by: Stephen Kirby on December 27, 2016, 05:33:03 pm
This is very true.  I watched a guy screw up his gain structure on a guitar amp.  He is making crazy changes at the mixer and getting frustrated.  I could not take it any longer and pointed out that the mic stand had gotten knocked over before he cranked up so much gain that the whole stage broke loose.
The most common mic stand problem I see are kick drum mics.  They either get knocked into the hole where they start booming or feeding back, or get knocked away from the drum so there's no kick in the PA.

Micing a guitar amp is a real art.  Getting the sound of the amp in a room though a 1" aperture is tough.  Especially with the mic close.  You can get close to the timbre with the mic off axis, but not the sense of size or space.  With an open back cab a rear mic a bit off the cab can help.  If you have space in front of the cab on a larger stage a large ribbon or LDC placed more than a foot out in front can help as well.  You can time align the close mic but the slight phase shift from the 15-24" can add a bit of thickness as well.
Title: Re: Live sound tips and tricks
Post by: Tom Roche on December 27, 2016, 05:42:19 pm
The most common mic stand problem I see are kick drum mics.  They either get knocked into the hole where they start booming or feeding back, or get knocked away from the drum so there's no kick in the PA.

Yup, and it's a great way to tear the reso drum head.  I got tired of people not paying attention to where their feet are.  Consequently, I now place the mic on top of the laundry (usually fleece blanket) in the bass drum.  Works great for me.
Title: Re: Live sound tips and tricks
Post by: Roland Clarke on December 28, 2016, 07:51:10 am
Damn! I was hoping to pick up some "tricks" myself from some of the veterans here. Instead all I'm getting is "good advice."

C'mon! Quit holding out! I KNOW you've got some secret "tricks" up your sleeve!

In my experience, the "tricks" that some well known engineers employ are probably the last things that you want to copy.  Most top guys employ good, solid, technique. 

Many of the good guys also mix to get a "vibe" rather than the most accurate sound.  Most tend to get the bands musical ideas across.

Second level engineers tend to get too caught up in the technology or the drum/guitar/vocal "sound", or using great kit when it's not necessarily appropriate. They also often miss the musical aspects of what the band are doing even when the balance might be quite good.

Lower level engineers tend to use bad planning, poor technique, poor balance and bad musical judgement.

Being at the top isn't just about your mix chops, things like being able to handle/work with a whole variety of people, have the bands respect etc all play a part.  I get called in for gigs where there are many good engineers also on the job, system teching, mixing monitors, sometime just there to "babysit" and sort out any issues.  Often these guys and girls are extremely knowledgeable and have great skills, yet I'm the one being paid to do the mix and get the "bands sound".  I sometime wonder why, but It reminds me of the the orchestral conductors joke,  80% of the orchestra think they can do a better job, 20% are probably right! 😉
Title: Re: Live sound tips and tricks
Post by: Brano Fabry on January 03, 2017, 11:08:40 am
I see this 30ms technique as a kind of "power mono". For people who are placed too much on side won't do any harm and for people more in the middle makes the sound really spacious.
I usually place one harmonic instrument (guitar) to the right (delaying the left side) and one (keys or the other guitar) to the left (delaying the right side), according to which side the particular musician stays on. All the vocals in the middle.
I tried to delay toms, but that was unusable. Too peaky material caused the effect to be heard.
Title: Re: Live sound tips and tricks
Post by: Brano Fabry on January 03, 2017, 11:46:44 am
I am also a guitarist/keyboardist and bought an effect just for this thing to have it right in the instrument instead of explaining the mixers what I want from them.
Title: Posting Rules
Post by: Mac Kerr on January 03, 2017, 12:15:09 pm
I am also a guitarist/keyboardist

Please go to your profile and change the "Name" field to your real first and last name as required by the posting rules displayed in the header at the top of the section, and in the Site Rules and Suggestions (http://forums.prosoundweb.com/index.php/board,36.0.html) in the Forum Announcements section, and on the registration page when you registered.

Mac
Title: Re: Live sound tips and tricks
Post by: Jamin Lynch on January 03, 2017, 02:00:18 pm
One technique I'd like to offer is what I call: "Don't mix from the kick drum up, but rather the main vocals down."

Too often I see sound guys trying to obtain the biggest chest thumping kick they can possibly get and then try to put everything else on top of it. Sometimes even if the bands music doesn't call for big kick drum.

It's not all about kick drum. There's a whole other group of instruments and vocalist that need to be heard.

When mixing, make sure you can hear the main vocals and lead instruments at or preferably above all the other instruments.

Title: Re: Live sound tips and tricks
Post by: John L Nobile on January 03, 2017, 02:36:04 pm
One technique I'd like to offer is what I call: "Don't mix from the kick drum up, but rather the main vocals down."

Too often I see sound guys trying to obtain the biggest chest thumping kick they can possibly get and then try to put everything else on top of it. Sometimes even if the bands music doesn't call for big kick drum.

It's not all about kick drum. There's a whole other group of instruments and vocalist that need to be heard.

When mixing, make sure you can hear the main vocals and lead instruments at or preferably above all the other instruments.

No one buys a ticket to see "Kick Drum" . Seen a lot of guys who think it's the headliner.
Title: Re: Live sound tips and tricks
Post by: Tim McCulloch on January 03, 2017, 04:42:00 pm
One technique I'd like to offer is what I call: "Don't mix from the kick drum up, but rather the main vocals down."

Too often I see sound guys trying to obtain the biggest chest thumping kick they can possibly get and then try to put everything else on top of it. Sometimes even if the bands music doesn't call for big kick drum.

It's not all about kick drum. There's a whole other group of instruments and vocalist that need to be heard.

When mixing, make sure you can hear the main vocals and lead instruments at or preferably above all the other instruments.

Preach it, brother!

I'll toss in that sound is an additive-only process.  You can't dial in the "sponge" to soak up the guitar or cymbals or bass rig.  You can only add your SPL on top of whatever is already making noise.

So if the loudest thing on stage is the guitar, as Jamin says, get that vocal on top the GTR so people who don't already know the words can understand the words.  Then fill in what you can.  You just might get a nice fat kick drum sound or you may not, but you're not working against your employer this way.
Title: Re: Live sound tips and tricks
Post by: Scott Olewiler on January 03, 2017, 04:59:09 pm
One technique I'd like to offer is what I call: "Don't mix from the kick drum up, but rather the main vocals down."

Too often I see sound guys trying to obtain the biggest chest thumping kick they can possibly get and then try to put everything else on top of it. Sometimes even if the bands music doesn't call for big kick drum.

It's not all about kick drum. There's a whole other group of instruments and vocalist that need to be heard.

When mixing, make sure you can hear the main vocals and lead instruments at or preferably above all the other instruments.

I don't know why this concept is so hard for sound guys to understand. #1 goal of all my mixes is that every word can be clearly understood and then that all instruments are audible in the mix. If I can get chest thumpin kick and toms to fit into the mix; even better.  It is lot easier to add drums to a mix that already has a prominent vocal than the other way around.

Of course if you start off by tuning your system so the subs are 10-20 db higher then the tops you're fighting an uphill battle already.
Title: Re: Live sound tips and tricks
Post by: John Chiara on January 03, 2017, 07:46:15 pm
I don't know why this concept is so hard for sound guys to understand. #1 goal of all my mixes is that every word can be clearly understood and then that all instruments are audible in the mix. If I can get chest thumpin kick and toms to fit into the mix; even better.  It is lot easier to add drums to a mix that already has a prominent vocal than the other way around.

Of course if you start off by tuning your system so the subs are 10-20 db higher then the tops you're fighting an uphill battle already.

Yep. I advise students...especially in more challenging sonic environments, that getting the system to reproduce the vocals in the best possible manner, will set the stage for the other instruments to be as you'd as they can in context. I think that this focus is one of the most useful concepts to pass along. At least the civilian listeners will hear what they understand. Without that, it can just be 'noise.'
Title: Re: Live sound tips and tricks
Post by: Jonathan Johnson on January 03, 2017, 11:11:12 pm
Since half the posts here seem to be arguing semantics, I'll throw my 2 centidollars in:

I see a trick as doing something in an unconventional manner or using equipment in a way it wasn't intended to be used.

A technique is the opposite: using well established methods and equipment as designed to achieve a positive result.

When a "trick" becomes commonplace it becomes a technique (but not necessarily a good one). When a good technique becomes rare, it becomes a trick.

Sometimes I have put a bit of delay (a few ms) in the FOH mains to tame feedback in resonant rooms. I don't know if that's a trick or a technique, but I'll throw it out there for your consideration anyway.
Title: Re: Live sound tips and tricks
Post by: Stephen Kirby on January 04, 2017, 01:10:23 am
I got a great summer series gig simply because I had performed at one and brought my own rig.  The town got a lot of feedback that it was the first time in years that they could hear the singing.  There are three components to music for me.  The lead voice (singing or soloist) that people want to hear.  The rhythm (drums, bass and maybe one instrument that is doing something important) that makes people move.  And then everything else that fills in the spaces.  Mixing in that order will sound cleaner and more engaging to an audience.  And as said, if the acoustic noise coming off the stage contradicts with this, you do the best to get the lead voice out there and deal with the rest.
Title: Re: Live sound tips and tricks
Post by: Jamin Lynch on January 04, 2017, 10:08:15 am
I don't know why this concept is so hard for sound guys to understand. #1 goal of all my mixes is that every word can be clearly understood and then that all instruments are audible in the mix. If I can get chest thumpin kick and toms to fit into the mix; even better.  It is lot easier to add drums to a mix that already has a prominent vocal than the other way around.

Of course if you start off by tuning your system so the subs are 10-20 db higher then the tops you're fighting an uphill battle already.

I saw ZZTop at our local arena no long ago. About 10,000 fans. We were a few rows in front of FOH. There was this massive amount kick drum. Moved my pants with every hit. Way too much. But that's all there was. Hardly any vocals. Could barley hear guitar. 

Can you imagine going to see ZZTop and not being able to hear the guitar?? WTF?

How do you screw up a 3 piece band?
Title: Re: Live sound tips and tricks
Post by: Tim McCulloch on January 04, 2017, 11:28:09 am
I saw ZZTop at our local arena no long ago. About 10,000 fans. We were a few rows in front of FOH. There was this massive amount kick drum. Moved my pants with every hit. Way too much. But that's all there was. Hardly any vocals. Could barley hear guitar. 

Can you imagine going to see ZZTop and not being able to hear the guitar?? WTF?

How do you screw up a 3 piece band?

They were recently at a lovely restored art deco theater not too far from me and one of my guys was subbing with the production company.  He observed several discussions and interactions that largely ended with one of the band members giving *very* specific instructions to the BE about how to mix that show.  It was everything you describe, only in a more intimate setting.

I think the band members should play more golf and play fewer gigs.
Title: Re: Live sound tips and tricks
Post by: Don T. Williams on January 04, 2017, 04:41:11 pm
Since half the posts here seem to be arguing semantics, I'll throw my 2 centidollars in:

I see a trick as doing something in an unconventional manner or using equipment in a way it wasn't intended to be used.

A technique is the opposite: using well established methods and equipment as designed to achieve a positive result.

When a "trick" becomes commonplace it becomes a technique (but not necessarily a good one). When a good technique becomes rare, it becomes a trick.

Very well stated!