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SoundGround >> live sound in small venues


4/3/09 11:32 AM
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The Noose
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I hope a few of you guys can help me with this. I am certainly no expert, but I have been playing bass in bands for about ten years. A consistent problem I have encountered and am currently dealing with in regards to getting a good live sound is STAGE VOLUME, especially with guitar players. What typically happens is that the guitar player has too much bass in his tone. Having a thick deep guitar sound is fine if you are playing alone in your room, but when you are playing with a band, it tends to get buried in the mix because it is competing with the same musical frequencies as the bass. So what does the stubborn guitar player do? They turn up their volume. If their are two guitars players, a volume war ensues and pretty soon the guy running the sound has no control over the mix because the stage volume is too loud and everything starts sounding like a muddy mess of shit. The crowd goes home with ringing ears, a headache, and no desire to see you play again. If the guitar players would simply cut some lows out of their tone, Maybe boost some highs and mids, they would cut through the mix better, sound better, and not have to turn up their guitar to rediculous levels. Convincing inexperienced guitar players (hell, even experienced players) that this is the case is a pain in the ass. Can someone post a link to any articles that talk about each instument and its place in the muscical spectrum? I need to find some documentation to back me up for a particularly stubborn guitar player. Also, if you are a sound engineer and there is something i have said that needs correction, please do so. I will refer them to this thread as well. I am more interested in the band sounding good than i am in being "right".
4/3/09 3:33 PM
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DasBeaver
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Speaking as a guitarist, I don't think it's physically possible for guitar players to turn down.

You shouldn't have that problem with just one guitar player, if you have two it's essential that they each have at least a slightly different tone, if they're both playing Les Pauls through Marshalls all you going to get is mud.
4/3/09 6:38 PM
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BarkLikeADog
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Very common problem, even at a professional level, especially now in the ProTools era where players learn very little about sound engineering during their careers.

At some point, you just have to step up & find a polite way to say "I don't tell you how to play & you don't tell me how to run sound."

Every instrument needs its place in the spectrum to be heard. If they aren't willing to give you those places, you have to take them.

There are a few technological solutions - sidechaining gates by frequency is tricky & expensive but the ultimate in effectiveness. In-ear monitors are great for controlling the stage volume & warfare aspects.

Beyond that, you just have to sit them down & explain it patiently. If they have wireless rigs, they can come out to FOH & hear the difference. Usually what I do is give one guy completely shitty tone & on its own, yeah it's crap, but they immediately lock on to the fact that you can pick both guys out in the mix. Then you nice it up a bit & you're suddenly God to them.

Hope that helps.

Also be aware that at a pro level a lot of times the players don't even have access to their rigs after soundcheck; the SOH guy keeps them behind a sound barrier for better control & micing.
4/8/09 5:58 PM
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lordbreakdown
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well.. I've been playing guitar/bass over 20yrs, worked in studios & played in bands for quite a while too.. their isn't an easy answer to that question. Its true each instrument occupies a certain frequency range that other instruments, if not corrected will interfere with. Let me guess, metal band, guitar players using EMG's and too much distortion? Here's one thing to remember; when recording you're not going to overcook the sound going in because you can't do much adjusting during the mix, but it's a little different playing live, ’a little’. Instead of the one guitar player tuning up, have one turn down, and maybe have them both adjust their midrange.. that is usually the problem with metal...and stubborn guitar players. Just let them know that no one in the back can hear them cause their sound has no mids, and all their doing is killing their hearing. I’m sure you’ve heard of a SansAmp bass driver, correct? If not def get one of those for a quick bass fix. I hope that helps some..
4/10/09 12:56 PM
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The Noose
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We dont really play any metal. We are pretty much a play anything cover band. Which is all the mroe reason that it is important to have good clear guitar sound instead of juts a muddy mess of shit. I have no problem having my bass heard, thats for sure, I just want the band overall to sound better. I mainly just want some kinda proof other than my own experience to convince these egotistical idiots that the problem isnt as much about how loud they are but more of an issue with their guitar tone.
4/10/09 3:32 PM
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lordbreakdown
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The Noose - We dont really play any metal. We are pretty much a play anything cover band. Which is all the mroe reason that it is important to have good clear guitar sound instead of juts a muddy mess of shit. I have no problem having my bass heard, thats for sure, I just want the band overall to sound better. I mainly just want some kinda proof other than my own experience to convince these egotistical idiots that the problem isnt as much about how loud they are but more of an issue with their guitar tone.



hahaha.. wow really? they must be more ego driven than at first thought! lol well.. the problem probably IS more related to their sound than anything else. are they using tube amps or transistor amps??.. their is a huge difference in what you need to do to mix them..especially live. hears some simple math for a tube amp.. they have a pre and a post volume... the pre volume is for the smaller pre amp tubes that generate the amp distortion, and the post powers the larger power tubes (overall volume).. I, even in a metal band rarely turn the pre past 6 (5150)..so if their past that, have them turn that down because that causes the signal to get more muddy.. transistor is a whole other monster.. lemmy know what their using (amp, guitar, type of pick ups/ single/humbucker).. maybe I can help.. depending on the venue size, and I'm sure you're probably not playing the Garden at this point, it is to a degree fairly mathematical..maybe I can offer some advice/presets..
6/1/09 11:42 AM
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The Hook
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We had an issue with our bass player being too loud.

He would stand directly in front of his cabinet and his sound would basically just pass him by and kill the people in the front row.
6/1/09 1:48 PM
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Hillbilly
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How do you get electric guitar players to turn down?

Put a piece of sheet music in front of him.
6/3/09 12:01 PM
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Hillbilly
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Dynamics is usually the hardest thing for a bands evolution.

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