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Author Topic: Making a blog/website - Top 3 band tips for a killer live sound  (Read 7418 times)

Luke Geis

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Re: Making a blog/website - Top 3 band tips for a killer live sound
« Reply #20 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.
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TJ (Tom) Cornish

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Re: Making a blog/website - Top 3 band tips for a killer live sound
« Reply #21 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. 
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Steve M Smith

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Re: Making a blog/website - Top 3 band tips for a killer live sound
« Reply #22 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.
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Aaron Maurer

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Re: Making a blog/website - Top 3 band tips for a killer live sound
« Reply #23 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.
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Scott Holtzman

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Re: Making a blog/website - Top 3 band tips for a killer live sound
« Reply #24 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.   
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Dave Scarlett

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Re: Making a blog/website - Top 3 band tips for a killer live sound
« Reply #25 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
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John L Nobile

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Re: Making a blog/website - Top 3 band tips for a killer live sound
« Reply #26 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.
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Tim McCulloch

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Re: Making a blog/website - Top 3 band tips for a killer live sound
« Reply #27 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... ;)
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"Practicing an art, no matter how well or badly, is a way to make your soul grow, for heaven's sake. Sing in the shower. Dance to the radio. Tell stories. Write a poem to a friend, even a lousy poem. Do it as well as you possible can. You will get an enormous reward. You will have created something."  - Kurt Vonnegut

John L Nobile

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Re: Making a blog/website - Top 3 band tips for a killer live sound
« Reply #28 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.
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Brian Jojade

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Re: Making a blog/website - Top 3 band tips for a killer live sound
« Reply #29 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.
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Brian Jojade

ProSoundWeb Community

Re: Making a blog/website - Top 3 band tips for a killer live sound
« Reply #29 on: November 18, 2015, 07:06:17 pm »


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