Any good books, videos, resources?

Discussion in 'Location Recording' started by kmetal, Jul 14, 2013.

  1. kmetal

    kmetal Kyle P. Gushue Well-Known Member

    I dunno where to go. There's one professional i'm going to contact to try to trade gear schlepping for observation, but as far as self learning goes, i've reached clueless.

    it's not technical stuff like plugs, and hums, so much as weird resonances, and almost echo's. crap that is not making the vocals easily understood, until some strange aligning of the planets in set 3, when even tho nothing has been touched, or ingested, 'it sounds good'.

    i think i've reach my plateau of an entry level live sound guy, and i'm basically freaking out, as to how i can get to the next level. I stood there tonight w/ lame ipad in hand, hearing this crud, i tried cuts on the channel, boosts, graphic cuts, just didn't work right away. although it didn't help that the guitarist was changing his volumes/channels, i dunno.

    i stood there thinking, i don't know what to do. I've got a booked gig w/ the band in a larger spot in a few weeks, which acoustically should be easier, but it's my lack of all around live experience catching up. i've done big names in a club i was used to, none of that matters.

    i'm missing something. i dunno what it is. maybe it's a pair of ears, lol. it's not.

    i'd love to hear from people who have done some really good live sound, big time, and tiny corner pub. i shouldn't be sucking until second set, i'm better than that, i think i need to be 'overqualified', and i'm just avereage.

    i guess i should ask some specific things. (presonus 16./jbl 2x15 crown powered+2x 15 subs)

    1. w/ no time to 'ring out' how do you best find the offensive frequencies. ears...right... i need more training

    2. when gtr is way to loud on stage,and bit turning down, how to compensate in vocals

    3. w no check, how to decipher problems that root from monitors vs. mains.

    i'd quit, but i barley fail, it's just a tough start w/ this band, every time. my lack of expertise plays into it. everything is totally 'on the fly'. as is live.

    i'm thinking miking the gtr is overkill, but they insist. w/ two monitors and 3 vocal mics (just vocs in monitors). i dunno fellas, i've reached a point where i don't know, all my experience, in studio, books, live, has reached a point of, 'oh S*7t', i need to get to the next level. not for this band so much, cuz they can replace me, more for my selfishness of constantly wanting to improve.

    for some reason i just feel like i'm missing something. i think not being trained by a real soundguy has finally reached it's point, just like my studio experience has. i love my new studio results, as average as they are, but this live gig, i'm very close, but i just can't deliver better than a c+, and i hate it, if i was better i could tell them, 'no, it's not me', but i rationalize. i know i don't know somethings. sorry to ramble.

    In serious need of live engineering help. such a weird trip these gigs are. i've never had such a hard time, it's not like they have a cue sheet or anything, i dunno, just the sound distribution is killing me.

    anyway done w/ the thanks guys, tough gig tonight.
  2. MadMax

    MadMax Well-Known Member

    Welcome to the real world....

    I think you'll do yourself some good to keep a coupla' things in mind...

    Reverb is NOT your friend.
    If you're not comfortable about reaching up and making a nice big cut in a graphic eq or channel strip... you need to get there... quick.

    Your job is not just to make the band sound good... your gig is to get rid of the suck... e.g. reducing/eliminating the things that keep the band from sounding good.

    If the plank spanker is too loud... set your talkback to HIS wedge and tell him to turn his mess down.
    (One thing I like to do is to get the gut amp on a stand and pointed at said plank spanker's head... that usually gets the volume down by several magnitudes.)

    If you hafta throw gates on all the vox channels... do it.

    Don't be timid... get aggressive in what you're doing at FOH... make the cuts quickly and be determined. If the cut doesn't help... be just as aggressive in getting that frequency back up and move on to your next guess at the problem.

    But your decisions should match the level of the problem. If it's just a bit annoying, you don't necessarily need to be chopping frequencies 30db at a time... but if it's bad... you need to attack it quickly and with purpose.

    Sure, people might look back at you and wonder wtf you're doing... but it's better for that to happen in the first 10 minutes of the first set and be good the rest of the night than to let it suck all night.
  3. kmetal

    kmetal Kyle P. Gushue Well-Known Member

    do you find that the channel strip tends to be more toward general tone shaping, and the graphic eq more for things like feedback, or is it more like everything's fair game?

    ya know is funny the guitarist has a 1x2 on a stand, and it's a surprising difference from when he's in front of it, vs when he moves away. a noticable change in volume.

    also, the guitarist uses about 4 different sounds clean, overdrive, crunch, lead, he seems to not want to take time to make sure that they are all similar volumes, particularly a hugely cutting clean/semi clean sound, then a much (6-10) quiter distortions. his attitude is 'deal w/ what i need onstage'.

    am i out of line by insisting he match the volumes more consistently? i don't think so, but maybe i am.

    with pretty dynamic vocals, from almost whisper to full out, and verfy little compression, the last thing i'd like kto be doing is manipulating the gtr volume 6 times a song. i dont mind riding leads, but i feel like it's interfering w/ the main focus, which is the vocals. Does this makes sense?

    also, when cutting offensivbe frequencies, say 600, do you tend to cut some of there harmonics abit as well, or just wait to see if they are an issue?

  4. MadMax

    MadMax Well-Known Member

    The simple answer is; "yes"

    I'm not bustin' your nads too hard here... but for a guy who seems to give a lot of acoustic advice, you don't seem to understand that that's what you're supposed to know you're addressing in a live gig as the AE.

    Listen to the room and do what you have to do to eliminate problem frequencies the room presents you. By the same token, capitalize on the good things the room presents.

    If the room has a nasty slap back, tame those frequencies that are over excited from the FOH eq.

    Too much reverberation?? Then don't use a reverb.

    If the plank spanker's amp is on a stand and it's still too loud, put the amp in front of him, and let him know he's killing the vibe of the show by causing people's ears to bleed. (Recruit a couple of punters to to say something to everyone in the band... especially the band leader.) If that doesn't work, go up and turn the damn amp down yourself... when in doubt, mute the gut in FOH, and bring everything else up around the guitar.

    For the planker that "has to have my vibe on stage" by having the amp 12db too loud... record one gig with something like an H2, and play it back to them... let them hear that plank over riding everything in the mix and how shitty it sounds when all you can hear is the guitar. LGD is not a fun game to play... unless you play it unfairly. Because Lead Guitarist Disease is mainly an ego trip, you hafta' let the afflicted party come to his own conclusion that he either needs to get with the program and turn his mess down to make the whole band better, or his hearing imparement needs to be addressed professionally and/or by investing in his own in ear monitors... or, the band needs to find a new plank spanker, or you as an AE need to save your reputation by finding another gig with a band that will be professional and do what's best for the music... which in turn, gets them more gigs and better paying gigs.

    As far as graphic cuts... it depends on the room... I've cut 600, 300, 150, 80... 1.2k, 3k, and 6k on the mains and the monitors.. plus chopped some healthy "600-ish" from channel strips as well as reduced channel strip gain to get down past excited frequencies... I also done just the opposite and boosted similarly... and I've cut 150 to stop a problem @ 1.5k.

    It all depends on the room, the stage volume, speaker placement, monitor placement, and how many bodies are in the room.

    Generally, in small clubs/venues, I'll only have kick and vox in FOH, or just vox... because everything is of sufficient loudness that the vox are the only thing that needs sound reinforcement.

    Live is no different than recording from the aspect of it being your job to level match and balance the signals.

    Sometimes, you just hafta fight everything all night and you still won't get a good balanced mix... no matter what you do. Other gigs, you walk in, expect everything to be a fight, and it all comes together in the first song and you're golden the rest of the night... and this can be the same venue, just a different night.

    But more often than not, it really is just channel strip gain and group assignment that will get you what you're looking for... but just as with tracking/mixing... The only rule is that there are no rules.

    If you're working with the same band (which I take it this is the case), take the time at a practice session to abuse the plank spanker enough about getting his settings balanced... with his "lead settings" actually being either +3db over the other settings, or -3db under... it depends on how confident you are in riding those leads. (Of course, this also depends on the genre' of music as to whether a "lead" setting is really a lead/solo setting... and yes, 0db change is ideal... but you also need to take into account how fragile the ego is, and how deaf the guy is.)

    One thing I have found to be extremely useful is to check the vox in the monitors FIRST... even if all you have is 30 seconds. Get the vox level established in their minds FIRST. Most muso's will actually self match the level of the vox pretty naturally. Not always... but generally, I found this to be the case.

    While a carpenter always has a tape measure, hammer and saw... a knowledgeable carpenter also has a plumb and level in his tool box. In the AE's toolbox, you'll find a good many tools as well... but one of the most important is a spectrum analyzer... invest in one!... and use it!! Especially in new venues for you. It will certainly make the job of finding problem frequencies faster... as well as letting you know when you're over powering the room with sound energy.

    This ain't rocket surgery... but it can take a surgeon's skill not to screw things up.
  5. kmetal

    kmetal Kyle P. Gushue Well-Known Member

    thanks man, you can bust my chops all day, as long as there is the useful stuff in between :) trust me, i've heard alot worse. most of my advice, is just regurgitated stuff that i've been told, or discovered, and find to be true in real situations.

    after hundreds of live gigs, this is my first experience w/ someone expecting more than i can give them. so whether ego is too high or my skill too low, it's one of those where if i didn't need the work, i wouldn't put up w/ it.

    gonna have to work more w/ the graphic eq's as far as when to boost, cut, to solve a problem. Thankfully, w/ this band the prosonus board/mac has a built in rta, so for the moment i can same some $ which is in short supply, but still and item high on my hitlist. i dunno if it;s just me, but i really feel like the studio live's graphic eq doesn't have as much of an effect on things as even my cheapo dod/alesis graphics.

    i think what i'm going to try next gig, (i always start w/ vocal mons) is have just the vocals first thru the mains, and then build around there, w/ the kick/bass di, then guitar, perhaps i'm trying to do too much at first w/ this band (probably so i don't get yelled at by guitarist after the first song). i'll just remind him that he said he's a 'team player' and wants the 'vocals to be king'. Usually my experiences are much more casual, even w/ larger bands, whom i don't know, but w/ this, i'm thinking i have to be more assertive w/ this cat.

    i have no formal training live, from anyone, all i know is what carries over from studio stuff, and my experience, my usual solutions aren't working, so it's gotta be partly my fault, and i need to get better. I just need all the help anyone can muster, so i can confidently say to ego-manic w/ strings, that it really isn't my fault. i think he doubts me cuz of my age. it's funny, the first gig went perfect, i did exactly what i wanted, (perhas got a little lucky), and there were 0 sqeaks, no monitor volume issues, and the band got a bunch of responses, as 'the best they ever sounded'.

    enter micro-management, and suddenly every gigs a chore, to the point where i don't even look forward to them. hmm maybe i'll remind him of that. anyway man, thanks for takin some time w/ an ameture live guy, the analyzers i've seen run around 400 bucks, so i'll save some pennies. i'm gonna just keep trying to get better all around, worst that happens is i don't get asked back. but considering they treid two other guys last month, and they still call me, i'm thinking i'm not the biggest part of the problem.

    i personally think it's way overkill to mic a gtr cab in a 100 person bar, and to bring dual 15" speakers and two subs, and lights. lol, at least the drummer listened to me and stopped bringing anything but a kick mic, and sometimes an OH, which is usually muted, along w/ the guitar...

    as an aside, the drummer bought some qsc k-12's for monitors, instead of the jbl eons, i like the k-12's. a bit more 'bassy', but the top is much smoother.

    thanks max.

    p.s, i hardly ever, use reverb. it's hard enough getting the vocals out front, it's not like i'm in theaters, are even sound concous clubs. if anything a bit of echo. usually w/ this particular band vocals dry.

    also i think mic/pre selection is wrong. the beta 58 sounds great on her thru a mackie board, thru the presonus, it's just too much, i'd love to hear just a regualr 58, or the mackie board. for some reason they are under the illusion that more features = better sound. my ears tell me differently. i'm not 'blaming' the equipment for my shortcomings, but, after using both boards w/ the same singer, my ears can't be that off.

    i mean, when the vocalists both say "yeah my monitors are good" and then the guitarist tells me to keep turning them up (sacrificing sound quality), wtf. i'm starting to wonder..... i've talked w/ him and he says, 'well they just won't tell you'. yea, so when she said 'yea i could have a little more if you can', and i turned them ok to 'ok', she must have been lying? Perhaps i need to find the chapter on 'how to deal w/ rude ego driven band leader'.

    any thoughts on this?
  6. DonnyThompson

    DonnyThompson Distinguished Member

    Amen. You're going to be working in rooms that sound so bad, that the best you can do, as Max pointed out, is to tame the "suck" factor.

    Remember...these venues are NOT controlled environments like you are used to in a studio, K.

    In most cases, you'll have to do serious EQ sculpting to accommodate these bad sounding rooms you'll be mixing in.

    On the other hand, excessive stage volume, which is really out of your control unless they trust you enough to take your advice, will absolutely kill the quality of the FOH mix every time. While it's not always the guitar player's fault - sometimes it's a drummer who thinks that the corner tavern is Shea stadium, other times it's the bass player who decides that unless he's rattling the foundation of the place he's not loud enough, and yes, you've already experienced the "rock God" guitar player who feels the need to "impress" every skank in the place with his Marshall JCM 800 cranked up to 9...

    Here's generally how the vicious circle starts, especially with noobie bands:

    The guitar player's amp is behind him somewhere, and 9 times out of 10, it's aimed at leg level so it's blowing into the backs of his knees. Unfortunately, it's killing everyone else on stage, and by the time it reaches the audience, it's also now blowing directly into their foreheads.
    So now, because the guitar player is so loud on stage, the vocalist, who may have had decent monitor levels before the guitar player fired up, cannot hear themselves as well, because the bass player has also fired up her rig. The drummer then decides that he is more important than all of them, so he starts playing at a level that isn't appropriate for the room, or for that matter, a ballpark, either. Now the guitar player isn't "feeling" it, so he turns up more, and because that has happened, the bass player decides that she needs to crank up as well to compensate. Now the vocalist is a mere whisper - even while screaming - and all previous acceptable monitor levels are now useless, because there's no way you're gonna get the wedges or side fills hot enough to overcome the ridiculous amounts of stage db. The kicker is that they then all look at you as if it's all your fault.

    Egos are usually the main cause of this behavior. You have to have the balls to approach the band and say "Look... here's what's going on....the guitar is so hot on stage that I have it OFF in the FOH, the drummer is bashing so hard that between the guitar and the drums it's all you can hear with all the affiliated mics out front OFF... your vocalist is getting drowned out by everything. If you guys wanna continue to play rock stars, then have at it, but out front you sound like a bunch of monkeys ****ing a football."

    It's your job to make a good band sound better, but it's not all your responsibility. If the band doesn't cooperate, you can only do so much. Maybe... just maybe... you need to hook up with more "pro" bands who understand what live performance entails and doesn't feel the need to cross every one's eyes in the room with ear splitting cacophony, players that know that it's about the music as a "whole" and not about any one person and their "look at me, baby!" attitudes, which are entirely selfish.

    These types of players play to themselves only, and are one of the determining factors between a pro player and an ego driven noob who works at WalMart during the week and feels the need to unleash their egos on Friday and Saturday nights. They don't play as part of an ensemble like professionals do, K.... they only play to and for themselves - And unfortunately, you'll never, ever win over that type of ego driven mentality.


  7. pcrecord

    pcrecord Don't you want the best recording like I do ? Well-Known Member

    I'm doing live sound here and there for the past 30 years. (so old facepalm)
    Be sure to have 31band EQ on the front and on each (speaker) monitors. It might be silly but I became too lazy to bring too much gear, so I leave the spectrum analyser, test mic and test laptop at home all the time.. I get to the show, the roadies got the speakers and basic setup already working. So I take the oldest trick I learded. I put the vocal mic in front of the main speakers and make controled feedbacks (just to hear the frequencies) So I put up the volume until a frequency feeds and I lower it on the EQ then put up the volume again and again until I get a lot of frequencies out of the feedback possibilities. Then I put up a CD that I don't like the sound and tweak the EQ further to an acceptable sound. (you see I figured if that bad sounding cd I know very well sounds nice, it meens the band will be sounding even better..)
    Then I do the same with all the monitors.

    People hate me when I do so, but, I never get feedback live and it takes care of the frequencies that the room naturally enhance so there's rarely harsh or the offensive frequencies.
    Also, I can push the kit louder without any fear of feedback..
  8. MadMax

    MadMax Well-Known Member

  9. BobRogers

    BobRogers Well-Known Member

    This is a key, and it's the reason that you DO want to mic the guitar (and everything else) even in a small venue. You want to position the guitar amp so the guitarist can hear himself, but you want to provide the sound to everyone else. If that means strapping the amp to the guitarist's head and pointing the amp backwards, fine. That's sort of a joke, but we essentially do this in a band I'm in. Roy Buchannan would point his (low wattage Fender) amp backwards so he could crank them to get the tone he wanted. In top of the line events, the amps on stage are often for show while the real amp is back stage in an iso cabinet. (I know that doesn't apply to you. It applies to bands where there are separate people mixing FOH and monitors, but the principal of low stage volume still applies.) It's hard to get across to some bands that once they have sound support, their goal is to get the tone they want at the lowest possible stage volume. This is a problem for some drummers (it's hard to play well at low volume), and it's a problem with guitarists who buy an amp to fill a room and then can't get used to playing at low (stage) volume.

    The problem with the guitarist who doesn't have the levels of different effects matched is just something you will have to deal with. Yes, it is incompetence on his part, but your job is to hide as many flaws of the band as possible. You do the best you can. You can make a band that knows how to work their equipment better than a band that doesn't.
  10. kmetal

    kmetal Kyle P. Gushue Well-Known Member


    thanks guys, i really appreciate your time. while they insist i don't ring out a room, or give me more than a line check, for this next gig, i'm going to try to reason w/ them that it is worth it to get there early and do it right. why not get the kinks worked out when nobody is around??? or else i'm not gonna take to kindly to getting yelled at for a couple squeaks in the first set.

    ya know, while my skills can always get better, the more people i talk to people about this, the more i hear 'when you work w/ a more pro band' type comments. and it;s really starting to confrim my feelings that this is an ego trip for the guitarist. and while he claims pro-ness, i mean he's an excellent player, and has great equipment, his statements of him being a team player are bs. he puts his am as loud as he wants, get the vocalists monitors as loud as he wants, tells the drummer he's to loud, comes out to the dance floor, and tells me how the mix should be, ect, ect.

    i think quite for sure that his idea of team, means bunch of people who work specifically and directly for him. oh well i think i may have let it get to my head a little bit. anyone who says to a soundguy during setup 'one wrong frequency, and it's all over' is can be described as a particular inappropriate word for this site. real nice, considering i was never supposed to help them setup or teardown anyway, i just did cuz everyone else in the band is pretty cool.

    i guess i've been lucky so far w/ my other work, and this crap is all just part of the gig. much appreciation for the practical advice you all said, and while i think my real role is 'someone to blame' i'm certainly going to take it as a challenge to see if i can get good enough to just quickly be able to give someone what they want, no matter how outlandish, or unpleasant they make it. worse comes to worse i miss out on 75bucks and a few beers a couple times a month. the experience is surely priceless!!!!! i'll just keep trying by best, and try to improve. removing the, i like that.
  11. pcrecord

    pcrecord Don't you want the best recording like I do ? Well-Known Member

    The next time he says he's a pro, tell him Pros work with In-Ear monitors and they don't blast the stage smoke
  12. dvdhawk

    dvdhawk Well-Known Member

    In my opinion, that business right there, is half the battle. Sure, any single band member who is on a volume trip is going to destroy your chances of getting a good mix at a reasonable volume. But if the speakers aren't the right height, sitting in the right place, and aimed the right direction - you're fighting an uphill battle all the way.
  13. MadMax

    MadMax Well-Known Member

    You don't seem to quite unnerstand yet... Not being an ass here either, but... "Be careful when insulting an AE... I know where the suk button is... and I'm not afraid to use it, either."

    "But we'll make sure you never run sound in this town!"

    "That may be true, but everyone here will know you suck... You sure you really wanna play this game?"
  14. pcrecord

    pcrecord Don't you want the best recording like I do ? Well-Known Member

    You need to gently make them realise it's in their interest. If you go too hard it's a confrontation, not a conversation. Confrontations keep you home and alone ;)
  15. MadMax

    MadMax Well-Known Member

    That works some of the time... others it still will keep you home.

    You could probably stand to learn some psychology... or at least how to adaptively match the personality you're dealing with for the situation you find yourself in.

    Yet, keep in mind something a good business owner said... Taking on a bad piece of business is worse than no business at all.
  16. kmetal

    kmetal Kyle P. Gushue Well-Known Member

    well as it turns out there was no conversation necessary, for me to instill my value... they called a couple mornings ago bright and early, i happened to still be awake ( i work usually late afternoons till late nights). anyway, the other guy they had booked for this weeks gig cancelled, so i get the call, and instead of playing games, i talk right away, and simply say i have commitments (truth in fact. my friends going away to navy, send off party), so, i can do it, but would prefer to be late as possible, w. out rushing the gigs setup/check.

    we settle on 15min before they go on, they'll set up get basic levels, i'll fine tune right away. ipad/mac bugs (doesn't work), guitarists pedal board screws up, all before i show up. i get there on time, and sober, (i had to miss my buddy's party, cuz my dad had his rare surfboard in a festival exhibit, and i wasn't missing that for anything).

    i'm stuck stage right conveniently next to guitarist, and heed his multiple demands quickly, and do all my own tweaks to my taste. suddenly i'm getting "good jobs" and fist pounds, and even a beer lol! Guitarists new guitar has a strap screw rip out, enter 'kyle the stage tech', i swap guitars for him, get cable out of way.

    ya know i think they may have realized a bit what they had, when i couldn't be there. i'll still catch flak, i'm sure, but on my side i did the same crap i usually do, eq/adjust monitors, take that harshness/honky hollow sound from the vocals, get a nice pounding but, tight bass/kick. i'm nowhere near the level i want to be, but i think this 'last minute' gig really helped establish what they get.

    i agree. i also heard a great quote from someone about business, "a rich person always lives below their means". from a strictly financial sense, i feel thats true. i'm stuck at living w/ my means, which is meager at best. but i chose a hard choice, and i still live by it.

    as far as bad business on this band, i live in a metropolitan area so theres a good 300k people w/ in a 30 mile radius, and lets just say nobody cares about who this band is, or what their negative guitarist has to say. i actually make a point to talk to the bar managers, booking people, to make sure they are ok. i feel like that's a smart move on my part. i have a small reputation at best, mostly among peers, who know what i do. i'm far from a 'go to', but certainly some of my peers have asked me to help them and i surely do, i hate an elitist attitude from sound people. (aside-) a good reason why i hang out on RO instead of others for the most part, cuz people check there ego's somewhere else.

    i think all it is is just being able to be completely micro managed, and just do what he says, better or worse, or put up a fight. Lets just say this particular guitarist has invested in some psychiatry, which means he sees a doctor.

    lol you guys ever hear of the 'producers fader'? the fader hooked up to nothing, lol. i didn't intentionally do it tonight, but there was a point where the dude asked me to do something and i like did something else, or nothing, and he was like "yeah! thats it!!".

    while i find alot of textbook phyc to be true, i feel that intuition is something you have or you don't. i'm pretty sure of my role, as simply an extension of this dudes words, whipping post, and tonight the 'hero'. i expect a goats welcome in two weeks. I think it's just gonna take some more time for me to be able to 'hear thru his ears' if you will. but i think it's more a matter of satisfying instantaneous demands, than anything else. but i'm gonna do my homework and go talk to the venue ahead of time, and hopefully get a nice early setup, and the whole 9. this club is really awesome, w/ a great reputation, right on the beach, so i'm gonna do my best to make sure they know i'm trying, and am professional (even just entry level), and just do my best showtime. It's important for me as a live dude, staff studio peon, and just dude working in music, to get to know these club owners. it's helped me get system installs, and contacts to help band i work w/, gigs.

    anyway, tonight went just as decent (not bad, not amazing) as usual in my eyes, but i feel that certain circumstances, somehow forced my role into a more crucial/appreciable light. lol, until next time.

    i really want to try to get some planning done for this gig, as far as placement, maybe some testing, but in the midst of this 7 day a week project i'm involved in, my real hope is to get in the venue, meet a manager, clap around, and get just a feel.

    maybe the guitarist needs to just set up 'his way' and then let me step in... that was our original agreement. anyway, still looking to refine my skills, and really, the consensus, from everyone, i mean everyone, i talk to who's done live, is to ring out the room/mons, in some fashion. going to try my best to instill this to guitarist, and get permission from club, even before i bring it up w/ him.

    -long post srry. quick question. "when using a digital board live, should the highest sample rate be used for any reason, in this presonus studio live case, 44 vs 48?" also, i tend to keep the levels around -15 on the channels, against the manuals recommendation to almost peak them, i find channel changes, loud vocal parts, and the occasional kick/bass hit welcome the headroom w/out clipping. thoughts?

    as far as sample rate goes my first concern was of any sort of latency, or phase related issues.
  17. DonnyThompson

    DonnyThompson Distinguished Member

    Ahh yes. The infamous "dummy channel". ;)
  18. kmetal

    kmetal Kyle P. Gushue Well-Known Member

    well another gig down, and some more questions before next week.

    during the break before last set tonight the band spontaneously added a headset style, shure mic, for the drummer, so he could do backups on one song. I totally bombed it. a drum monitor was added (jbl eon 12") during setup, and shot caller decided to daisy chain it to the 2nd singer's monitor, instead of giving it it's own aux as we preffered. excuses aside, there were no real issues w/ the additional monitor mix, until this 4th mic was added.

    i totally ran out out of the tiny amount of headroom i have before hollow sound, and just squeaked the crap out of it, and then buried the vocals. a complete fail. reasonable product until then, given i'm never allowed to ring out, despite (f-bomb here) manuals say to, and so does every other person who i talk to, (i'm just not that good to be able to hit the exact frequency from scratch on the fly, while trying to quickly create an ideal blend in mains, and get mons right. i'm just not that seasoned.)

    so what i'm thinking is i'm leaving somehow, way too little headroom, i know this, because vocals are often a db or 2 away from squeaks. as far as the clean guitar being way too loud, and resonating into the singers mic creating feedback enhancing sounds, yes, but, i all but quit on telling it to go down, it just doesn't matter.

    how much headroom or 'play' on particularly a vocal fader do you guys have? my gain stage on the digital board, is set the pre to -15 avg, have the master fader at U, and the (vocal) channel faders around +1- +4 depending. is it judged by how much room on the master fader (how much it can go up before feedback?, or the individual channels? just the combo of both? i got the rare request tonight by the bar to 'turn it up' so i used the mater fader about a 2db max, from unity, but that was a rare request.

    i've gotten away lately from the 'verge of feedback hollow' sound, to get the vocs finally intelligible, and i've learned that messing w/ eq (and especially compression) sometimes causes short feedback, at the cost of better overall sound, but perhaps my timing should be better.

    so my new assignment is to insert the drummers headset mic, into one of the last songs, make him clear out front. any tips on this would be much appreciated. i feel like i'm walking such a thin line, that the extra mic puts it over. the only thing i can think of is to have everything open during sound check, mute the mic, then turn down the monitors a bit when his mic is live. the drummer admittedly doesn't even want to sing, so he projects badly. i just have to deal w/ it, maybe i should just go do backups myself, and avoid a drummer mic. in these tiny places i feel like i run out of headroom too fast, i must be missing something... the band obviously wants to keep using me cuz either i'm decent, cheap, or nobody else will put up w/ lead singer disease, but still, my quest continues.. whoever thought i'd find solace in sanding down pine boards and properly spacing them on a wall, lol this music stuff is always changing.

    question 2. on the presonus studiolive, is there any advantage to running at a 48k sample rate? i'm thinking perhaps less latency/phase related things, but no real evidence, 44.1 has been used every time so far. as far as recording goes i know where i stand on sample rate, and bit rate. but in a digital live performance mixer, i figured i'd ask the question, as i'm elementary so far in the live realm.

    i've been clearing up the vocals by playing w/ the cut between the 200-800 range, been balancing warmth w/ intelligibility. i know i local/regional sound guy who 's a 20yr vet, i'm gonna ask him if i can roadie in exchange for observation, for a few shows, and also i think i'm gonna try to pay him my earned wage + like 50%, to come down for a couple gigs and help me get their setup better.

    i feel like he's gonna have a more authoritative attitude than i have cred to have, even tho max, i still get your point man, i do know what you mean, but i think a hired peer is gonna be able to tell them exactly, w/out a compromise on my job, maybe i'm being a wimp, but i don't feel like my knowledge level is high enough yet, or i wouldn't be making these kind of posts.

    well, at least the nice girl bartenders liked me, i was the only one who got a few free beers! small victory!

    last rant... isn't it necessary at a certain level to do a proper room analysis. whether from a hand held device i can barley afford, (my car just hit me w/ new tires, bearings, and oil), or the studiolive macbook rta, or at least a 'by ear' ring out. am i out of the question there? i told the dude "it's a big gig next week, i'll get there early i need to do that" i get an eh, like no. 'the owner doesn't wanna hear squeaks during soundcheck, uh, better than during the set right? it's not like i'm gonna blare the squeaks. i know when it's starting to get holllow. darn. am i being unreasonable. let me answer that. no. so i guess i'm telling this dude his options. and what i am really gonna do too is contact the venue, tell them what i wanna do, and contact some other sound guys who worked there. the owners are musicians, they know what it takes, and probably would respect me for trying so damn hard for a bar gig. sorry to vent on a message board, any tips would help. i dunno if any of you have used the i-pad for these purposes, but my experience finds them a bit clumsy for very subtle, real-time rides, and a bit jumpy? anyone else?

    thanks as usual!
  19. MadMax

    MadMax Well-Known Member

    In the analog world, consoles generally come in two flavors... gas the pre/pull the fader OR gas the fader/pull the gain.... Crest/A&H/etc are in the first category... Midas/Paragon/Yamaha tend to be in the second category.

    Digital consoles are closer to the second category.

    From your tales up this point, something tells me you're used to mid level live gear when you gas the pre for a good hot signal, the send it where you want it and pull everything back to get your mix.

    Having said that, set up EQ's on the monitor sends and level out those mids... and don't put comps on the vox unless they're AFTER the aux send! (They'll only accentuate your gain structure issues!)

    Get a modest gain level and use those faders at unity for your initial levels... set up routing to groups and adjust the pre for solos or slight GROUP fader moves if you aren't confident about adjusting those pre's.

    Personally, I understand why guys like the digital consoles, but if given a choice between a digital and an analog... I'll take the analog and do a much better job with it, as I can work faster and more accurately.... but alas, you're stuck in digital land where it takes 3-5 times as long to do anything.

    As such, get one of the free/cheap spectrum analyzer apps for your phone... they ain't great but they're good enough if you use your ears and your brain to offset any inaccuracy in the app... as well as a bit of "pre-determination" of knowing that you can generally preload 3db cuts at 800, 1k, 1.2k in the EQ for monitor sends.... OR... if you can do it... set the rig up at home and ring out the monitors with pink noise and EQ them for flat response and save that curve as a preset for that set of monitors.

    Again, in the digital realm, things are "designed" to run at unity... adjusting the pre's to get you where you need to be... and sending most signals to groups to achieve mix balance.
  20. bouldersound

    bouldersound Real guitars are for old people. Well-Known Member

    You know, the simple fact is that mixing in small places is hard, harder than mixing in theaters or outdoors. Add to that amps that are oversize for the venue and players that turn it to 11 and you've got a recipe for a tough night. Anything you can do to tame stage volume will help. Step 1 is to push for amps sized for the room. A single 10" with 15W of tube power is more than enough for a small club in most cases, and with a mic it's good for just about any size venue. Put it up on a stand aiming at the player's head. If possible try it to one side aimed across stage or even in a tilt back configuration next to the guy's monitor.

    Don't feel pressured to put things in the mix that are loud enough on their own. Maybe point out that if the drums and amps are that loud that they're getting through the vocal mics which messes with the main and monitor mixes.

    Sometimes live sound degrades into damage control. It's not very satisfying but often people's expectations are such that they'll still appreciate your efforts if you control the damage better than the last guy.

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