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Microphone Month 5

Sweetwater Forums [Archived]

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On stage sound


Hi, if anyone can assist in advising the starting point on getting a good, balanced, live sound on stage, it would be most appreciated. My band has a new JBL (Prx 512 & Subs, plus 5 foldbacks) system. Great PA. We have a heavy hitting drummer, and loud lead guitarist. The band consists of keyboards, bass, drums, guitar and singer. The PA will handle any of this quite comfortably, but to play invenues of 150 - 300 people I think the band is too loud. I am having trouble in getting a good clear sound from my keyboards of Hammond Xk3 plus Leslie & Kurzweil K2600 put thru 2 x Mackie 450's. These are also directly input to the PA, which is fine, but I'm still hearing the Lead Guitar & drums loudly, (before being put thru the Foldbacks or PA.). We have a Soundcraft mixer with Multicore etc. Seems like we have very good equipment, but it is not being utilised correctly.
September 1, 2008 @12:31am

heavy hitting drummer, and loud lead guitarist.

There's your issue. If the rooms your band is playing can't handle this amount of stage volume, these guys need to tone it down. Otherwise, it'll just be on-stage volume wars with everyone turning up to hear over the din, and the house sound will suck, and the vocals will be buried.
I'm not sure what else to tell you but that your guys need to turn down some. You can try the whole in-ear monitors and drum shield approach, but it's a band-aid fix if their playing is overwhelming the house already. Plus, just learning some self-control with the volume is much cheaper. With your keyboard rig (Leslie and 450's), you should be able to comfortably hear yourself in the size rooms you're playing- it's more than adequate. If you can't, the band is playing too loud.
September 1, 2008 @01:29am
Dave Burris

First and foremost, to get a good sound in the house you have to get the stage sound under control. I can't stress this enough!
September 1, 2008 @01:37am

As the others have mentioned, the instruments on stage are just too loud.
Doesn't matter what the quality of the input the mixer receives to mix down and feed to amplification for the mains and monitors. What does matter is that you have headroom to get over the stage volume created by the drummer and guitar players, as Michael said, it'll just "suck."
Who's the guitar player and drummer playing for? Themselves or the audience? If it's themselves, you might want to find other musicians. If they play for the audience, then they'll turn down the amp, and stop beating the living daylights out of the drums.
My two cents.
September 1, 2008 @02:09am

Hope this isn't too obvious, but turn the amps around, so they are not facing the crowd, or put them into a place where it will minimize sound projecting out in front. Drummer, well, depending on what style of music, telling the drummer to not play as loud may or may not fly. If the stage volume is rediculous, and say said guitarist is obnoxiously louder then anyone, then sure, he needs to turn down, but drums are a very loud instrument, and put in the right room, possibly will only project this sound further out.
my definition of loud, and others may be different. Though as a player, I am consious of my overall level and only blend with stage volume.
If the style doesn't call for monster jamming, perhaps the drummer can use boom sticks or something, or as much as they can suck, put up a sheild in front, or position them so as there is minimal spill into the front.....
I think positioning can really help stage bleed a good deal, take a look and see if there is anything you can do on that front. Then if you feel so inclined, perhaps you can mention to said musicians about your issues. Are they any good? if so they should have an understanding of tone and balance. If they are young kids just beating the snot out of thier instruments for louds sake, then perhaps some instruction would do them good...
September 1, 2008 @03:39am

Hi guys, Thanks for your input. Just to let you know, the muso's in the group are between 30 & 58, and in my opinion should know a bit, as we have all played in various situtations before. It is a reunion type of setup, and although great to be playing with old friends, there is the over-riding situation of volume. Being from a smaller country town, there is much interest in the reformation of this group, and we don't need to get blasted away. The Lead Guitarist is the oldest member, and his gear is an Orange 30wt Head into a Peavy box with 2 x 12" Celestion's and also a Vox 30wt Head into a Vox box with 4 x 12" speakers. Both units going at once for his "Stereo" sound. Plus an array of pedals. We will try different stage setups / positions tomorrow night and of course a look at toning down, without losing the "sound" required to play some types of music. (basically rock from the 70's & 80's). Venues are also interesting, re: carpeted, curtains accoustics etc., plus prctising in an empty venue vs the same venue with 300 people in it. Thanks for your input.
September 1, 2008 @04:56am

Yes, adding 300 people to an empty performance space will change the way the house sounds. IMHO, you should try to get the stage volume to 88-90dB-A or less. With regard to the guitar cabs - if your guitar player doesn't move around a lot, get them angled back and pointed to his head. Mic them and fold back for everyone else in the monitor mix. Drummer, do the best you can, you might even try this (which works for me-I'm the bass player): Bass cabinet behind the drummer, utilizing a dedicated 12" or 15" floor monitor for the bass player pointed at his head. Feed the drummer a headphone mix with open back headphones. This allows him to hear his set, feel the bass guitar, and not have to try to play over the guitar player, etc.
September 1, 2008 @01:50pm

Thanks Cory, as we have another practice in the same venue tonight I will relate to the other guys your thoughts and let you know how we are getting on.
September 2, 2008 @01:57am