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Do you always mic everything?

sessojb

Member
Messages
90
I’m in a cover band that plays mostly small clubs. We have a small 8 channel PA that my bass player and I believe works well in most of the clubs we play. Our singer and drummer believe we should use our 24 channel board and mic everything all the time. We really do not have a sound man. From time to time we have a friend who will adjust volumes up or down as needed but no real “mixing” is being done. We are all in our mid to late 40’s and setting up all that gear is getting tiring. :) Plus, we actually get more compliments when we use the smaller system. We are not as loud, people can talk with each other and they do not have to scream at the top of the lungs to get a drink at the bar. Obviously, if we play outside or a very large venue we would mic everything but for the most part the clubs we play in are small. What does everyone think? Do you feel that mic’ing everything all the time is the best way to go?
 

StompBoxBlues

Member
Messages
19,951
I’m in a cover band that plays mostly small clubs. We have a small 8 channel PA that my bass player and I believe works well in most of the clubs we play. Our singer and drummer believe we should use our 24 channel board and mic everything all the time. We really do not have a sound man. From time to time we have a friend who will adjust volumes up or down as needed but no real “mixing” is being done. We are all in our mid to late 40’s and setting up all that gear is getting tiring. :) Plus, we actually get more compliments when we use the smaller system. We are not as loud, people can talk with each other and they do not have to scream at the top of the lungs to get a drink at the bar. Obviously, if we play outside or a very large venue we would mic everything but for the most part the clubs we play in are small. What does everyone think? Do you feel that mic’ing everything all the time is the best way to go?
Sounds like you already know the answer and have a very good line of reasoning to point out to the singer and drummer.

If that doesn't work, just tell the singer "plus there is a chance the other instruments will drown you out", and to the drummer...obviously the answer is just "HEY, you're the drummer....Hoe'd you get out of your cage??":D

Seriously, it sounds like you guys are controlling your volumes very nicely as is. I prefer NOT to mic everything, because I then hear what my guitar is putting out, many times the FOH mix is radically different sounding, and if you don't have a dedicated sound man...

WHY exactly do the drummer and vocalist want to accomplish with micing everything? What is the problem as they see it? Maybe start there and see if there is some valid issue or not. Just doing it to do it sounds kinda...unreasonable.
 

sessojb

Member
Messages
90
Thanks for the reply. You are right. We know the answer, it is convincing the other two we don't need the big system that is our issue. The last place we played they asked us to turn down twice. Not cool at all. That actually got them to consider using the smaller system. I guess I was hoping to show them a few threads as more support for the idea of going without the big system. :) They think we "sound" better. Bigger thump for the kick drum etc.. But the fact is we are just really loud. IMO when the sound is too loud it becomes noise. OMG.. did I just say that? I'm getting too old for rock and roll ;-) lol Thanks again Stomp for the reply. I appreciate your opinion.
 

guitarpkr67

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
5,369
I think it all depends on the venue. We always use the same board, but we don't always mic up the guitar amps and drums.
 

The Whale

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
722
we will often mic everything into a 16 channel board, but we rarely put anything other than vocals and keys in the FOH. We do board recordings of all of our sets, and we run in-ears for the lead vocals, so having everything mic-ed allows us to do that... and the board recordings are generally pretty good... good enough to give out or review the show as a band. Just some thoughts.
 

shredtrash

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
9,939
We played a gig the other night where we only put the vocals through 1 12" speaker. No monitors because the PA speaker was behind us. Everything else was unmiced and the bar owner was very complimentary of the band and the volume levels. In small places, the less you put through the PA, the better IMO.
 

derekd

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
43,512
We mic everything, but depending on the gig, we may not mic the drums. Imo, we have better control of the room this way.
 
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Mickey Shane

apolitical
Gold Supporting Member
Messages
2,491
We run everything through the PA. The extras are only turned to the "barely ON" level. Anyone too lazy to roll out an amp mic cord has the right not to go through the FOH. So far, we're all in.

I find that the guitars can get a much bigger sound with addition of the PA, without being louder.

+ our practice PA is a toy.
 

offbeat

Member
Messages
2,989
We also use a small powered mixer, for vocals only. Guitars, bass and drums are not in the PA (Drummer uses V-drums, so he's got his own little PA for drums).
I walk out front with a wireless, and tell people to turn down or turn up. I adjust the vocals for balance, and I'm pretty well done with mixing and can concentrate on playing the rest of the night.
However..... I'd really like to go back to using the 24-channel board and putting the instruments in the PA. The reason? Stage volume. Look at it this way... your guitar amp, bass amp, drums, etc. needs to be loud enough to cover the entire room. This means the loudest spot in the room is on stage, and it gets progressively quieter from there as the sound spreads through the room. Then, the vocal monitors need to be loud enough to be heard over the amps. Depending on the size of the room and the crowd noise, our stage volume can be stupidly loud. When I walk out front, the volume drops and the mix is right where it needs to be, so we're not too loud out front, but our stage volume is killing me.
If I point my amp so it blows past me, I have a rough time hearing myself well enough to sing on key, and we're a vocal-oriented band.
I'd rather bring in a few extra pieces of gear and still have my hearing left in 10 years.
JMO...
Offbeat
 

KHAN

Member
Messages
4,028
We mic everything, gate and compress the kik and toms. Keyboards and guitar in stereo (Axe-FX FRFR). I don't believe I could be happy any other way.
 
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lhallam

Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
17,305
Go check out some bands and you will notice that the best ones mic everything, even in small venues.
 

GCDEF

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
28,033
We mic everything all the time. There are several good reasons.

You have much better control of stage volume if you don't need to count on the backline to fill the entire house.

If you need to turn up or down, you just use the master faders on the mixer and you don't lose your mix.

Sound is spread through the club more evenly. Guitar amps tend to get eaten by people on the dance floor, while the vocals which are typically over people's heads sail unfettered to the back of the room.

You can get much better monitor mixes because you can put anything anywhere on the stage using the monitors.

Even if you're not loud, running the kick and bass through a sub give your band a much bigger, fuller sound.

The mix is more consistent. When you don't mic everything, something may be too loud if you're right in front of it, but off to the side, you may not hear it at all.

Micing everything is about control, not about getting more volume, although of course if you want to play loud, it's required.
 

jawjatek

Member
Messages
714
I guess you guy's definition of small club >> mine! Playing blues around town in bbq joints & bars, we have never miked anything other than vocals in many years. Every now and again I get to play an outdoor thing or bigger club w/ a sound man. He comes up with a 57, I offer him my old E409 instead. That goes on my 5E3 (I mostly use that amp, other times a Dlx Rev, tweed Bandmaster, or a Pro Rev). Then during check he usually says "you really keep the amp that loud all the time?", I go "yeah"...he goes "Kay", then goes back to FOH, and it always sounds great. So, I guess I never mike unless the joint has a soundman and he mikes me. I set the amp the same in both instances.
 

StompBoxBlues

Member
Messages
19,951
The OP DID ask "Do you always mic everything" so the answers from all the folks saying "yes" are totally correct...but...

I keep going to what the person is saying in the question. "We get most complements on our sound when not" "people can talk without shouting", etc. etc.

To me, that negates a lot of what others are saying. It IS becoming or has to mic everything, but it seems like these guys have great control on their individual volumes, and to be honest, I have noticed that everything gets louder (and often sounds...further away at the same time. Less intimite...kinda like having a conversion with a person that is talking into a megaphone, even if it is turned down) when all is miced, especially in smaller clubs.

ALSO keep in mind they don't have a dedicated sound man most of the time.

Now I am talking as purely a listener even, I have been in places where the PA is like I said, in the way, a barrier almost, and others where the sound of the amps, drums, etc. was just perfectly mixed, NOT miced.

I find WHEN the band has good control, I prefer hearing the instruments more direct, I think they sound less processed as well.
 

GCDEF

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
28,033
I have noticed that everything gets louder (and often sounds...further away at the same time. Less intimite...kinda like having a conversion with a person that is talking into a megaphone, even if it is turned down) when all is miced, especially in smaller clubs.

ALSO keep in mind they don't have a dedicated sound man most of the time.

Now I am talking as purely a listener even, I have been in places where the PA is like I said, in the way, a barrier almost, and others where the sound of the amps, drums, etc. was just perfectly mixed, NOT miced.

I find WHEN the band has good control, I prefer hearing the instruments more direct, I think they sound less processed as well.
That may depend somewhat on the quality of the PA and how well people know how to use it. It's not unusual on these forums to see people who have thousands or tens of thousands of dollars invested into their guitars and amps, then want a PA for $500. If you're going to run everything through the PA, and you should, you need to make sure you have a PA that's capable of making your band sound decent, and those aren't cheap.
 

screamtone

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
3,466
How do you get effects on the drums if you don't mic them? If you're in a cover/top 40 band, this is a must.
 

StompBoxBlues

Member
Messages
19,951
That may depend somewhat on the quality of the PA and how well people know how to use it. It's not unusual on these forums to see people who have thousands or tens of thousands of dollars invested into their guitars and amps, then want a PA for $500. If you're going to run everything through the PA, and you should, you need to make sure you have a PA that's capable of making your band sound decent, and those aren't cheap.
May well be, and a good point, but the crux of it is, I HAVE (too often really) heard bands through PA's (keep in mind again, they have no dedicated soundman) sound as I described. It doesn't help me as audience to know the why of it, just that some bands, and it sounds like this is a good candidate, sound better not being miced, not having the whole band pretty much sent out to the room through two speaker (or 4)...

Another thing that always amazed me, we guitarists at least go through a LOT to get excellent speakers in our amps (some anyway), maybe bass players too, etc. and all the time we practice we learn to EQ them so they mix well with the band, and at gig time, we let someone (or ousrselves if no sound man) rig up a dynamic mic with a tiny diaphragm, up to one speaker, into a box that will also change our sound, to be crammed into a couple of sources of sound for a place...

It is kinda weird really. I know it can work well, but once again, I hear the OP saying that they get more compliments when NOT...(again, might be the PS equipment is not that good, in which case I'd still go for not micing).
 

Tone_Terrific

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
33,314
Small room... if the stage levels are normal and balanced you will sound OK with only vocals in the mains.
It can be sort of loud on stage, less loud on the near stage dance area, front row, and the rest of the room does not matter for the hi-fi experience as it gives an area of lower level for the people who really are not listening very intently and want you to turn down anyway.
It's not hard to be too loud with nothing mic'd so why spread the sound further than necessary? Sounds better at the back of the room?> Forget them. They'll both move up front if they want.:)
 

drgonzoguitar

Member
Messages
4,710
We played a gig the other night where we only put the vocals through 1 12" speaker. No monitors because the PA speaker was behind us. Everything else was unmiced and the bar owner was very complimentary of the band and the volume levels. In small places, the less you put through the PA, the better IMO.
:agree
 




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