Ugh, interesting live sound experience last gig...need some help.

Discussion in 'Recording/Live Sound' started by BadAssBill, Apr 12, 2016.

  1. BadAssBill

    BadAssBill southofnash.com Silver Supporting Member

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    I was writing to see if you guys have had this happen before. We had a gig last weekend and for whatever reason, a few of the larger rooms we play have the band tucked away in a corner, almost like a cave. The last place actually had a DJ booth in front of 20% of the stage. So, my objective was to mic things and project out accross the whole room.

    We rarely mic instruments so the PA can focus on vocals and let the amps rip.
    This night we miced two guitars, drums and vocals. I didn't bring the sub, so I didn't' want to take the bass through the mains. So during the first song I walk out front with my wireless on and things sound, okay. Not bad...but not great either...overall volume just needed to come up.

    So I walk on stage, and the sound there sounds freaking amazing. Plenty of everything. Ugh. Whenever we just have acoustic and vocals going through the mains, it sounds incredible. It's when we ran everything through that it was just okay. My hope is that next time I'll lug a sub and that will help a lot. Everything sounded crisp and clear...but just not like it did on stage.

    Anyway, I wasn't sure if there were any sound engineers that know how to fix this?
     
  2. mixwiz

    mixwiz Member

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    Next time you mic everything, bring a sub and watch the stage volume.
     
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  3. loudboy

    loudboy Member

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    And bring a soundman...
     
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  4. mixwiz

    mixwiz Member

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    Or sound girl.
     
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  5. rickenbackerkid

    rickenbackerkid Member

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    On stage, your ears are hearing everything from different places, everything is being reproduced by it's own source. It's quite different to biffing up a few mics and hoping for the best. Providing a really excellent sound mix is hard and requires experience. I've been working on it for 15 years now, just like I've been working on playing guitar well for 15 years, and I still have huge amounts to learn. Keep doing it, keep learning, and you'll get better
     
  6. mattball826

    mattball826 Member

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    I'd suggest running the band through the foh and subs.

    A lot of bands use their mains for vocals, but as you get towards the mid and back of the room, that's all you get. Much of the sound gets absorbed by tables and people closer to the stage or dance floor, especially guitars. Small rooms you can kind of get away with it, but most depends upon room acoustic, and patrons in attendance ie where they are located.

    We usually set up early enough at most places so we can manage our mix to many parts of the room. A lot of places don't want much sound beyond the dance floor, especially if they serve food during hrs you are playing. It's a mix compromise of sorts, but you learn as you play more venues. We don't play small pubs these days, so we always have the band in the FOH and subs.
     
  7. walterw

    walterw Gold Supporting Member

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    yup, always bring the dang sub and put everybody in the PA.

    filling the room with un-mic'ed stage volume is OK for quiet blues bands and sadly typical for loud punk bands, but if you want your rock band to sound clean and balanced without being too loud, use the PA and keep the stage volume in check.
     
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  8. BadAssBill

    BadAssBill southofnash.com Silver Supporting Member

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    Yeah, the sub is just painful for me to load in but I think that may have to be in the equation. The band sounded really great on stage....volume was perfect actually.
     
  9. Uncle Pat

    Uncle Pat Member

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    And that tells me that you're all working together to make a nice sound. All that's left is to get it out into the room just a bit further with the right tools.
     
  10. Yer Blues

    Yer Blues Member

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    The sub will definitely help. We played a small room/older crowd a few weeks ago and ended up just using one sub. Stage volume was really low other than drums. I definitely wasn't happy with my guitar sound on stage, but the band sounded great when I walked out front and I could live with the guitar sound... haha. Actually ended up getting some good video from the gig to post online.
     
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  11. BadAssBill

    BadAssBill southofnash.com Silver Supporting Member

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    Let's see the video YB!!!
     
  12. HoboMan

    HoboMan Silver Supporting Member

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    As already mentioned, always bring a sub.

    My band has played places smaller than a 7-11 and we always bring two 18" powered subs.
     
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  13. GuitarGuy66

    GuitarGuy66 Member

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    Yeah we always bring subs. Even just to use as stands for the mains.
     
  14. walterw

    walterw Gold Supporting Member

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    "me"?

    get your slack-ass bandmates to help you! even better, if you're the soundguy, make them do most of the "unskilled" gruntwork of getting the big heavy boxes into the club and stacked up while you do something "smart" like patching in cables or something.
     
  15. DunedinDragon

    DunedinDragon Member

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    As many have noted here, taking everything through the PA is not as easy as just throwing a few mics out there and letting them rip. This is the reason people spend years training on how to do it correctly.

    Although subs would have helped for sure, I'm also pretty certain a lot of the difference you were hearing on stage and from the PA had multiple problems. The most prevalent one probably being drums. Getting a good capture of acoustic drums can be very demanding and expensive. You can get a reasonable capture with some well placed mic's but it's takes some tedious and meticulous tweaking to get everything balanced. As far as instruments, certain instruments do better mic'd, others are better direct in. And then there's gain staging everything...which is about the time people that don't normally do sound get a glazed over look in their eyes.

    The unfortunate truth is, in all but the smallest venues taking everything through the PA is the only way to represent a balanced sound to EVERYONE in the audience. PA's are designed to project sound over longer distances, guitar amps and acoustic drums are not designed specifically for that purpose. Therefore, what sounds great close up, falls apart fairly rapidly over distance. This is the reason you see so many comments about controlling the stage volume...so you can let the PA do the heavy lifting of projecting it evenly out to the audience.

    It's not as intimidating as it might seem, but I would certainly advise viewing a few instructional YouTube videos on the subject to get a better handle on how to set things up and gain stage the sound.
     
  16. BadAssBill

    BadAssBill southofnash.com Silver Supporting Member

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    Thanks DD....makes a lot of sense, thanks for taking the time to type that out. I'll follow up and see if I can find some. If you know of any off the top of your head that are good, that would be appreciated. What was really interesting to me was the disparity in how it sounded on stage to what the audience was hearing. Just another part of the puzzle of playing live.

    Walter...I meant loading into the SUV to take to the gig. I have currently have nowhere to store the sub but my basement, and it's painful to move to get into the SUV. sorry for the confusion.
     

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