Accusations of "fiddling"...

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Emp_FabEmp_Fab Frets: 11084
No, not like that!  I mean when you are the only one who really knows how to setup the PA and where the rest of the band see anything more than plugging the leads in and moving the faders a little as unnecessary "fiddling".

I haven't actually had that scenario yet, as we haven't started gigging yet (our first booking is 16th Dec), but I've got a suspicion my idea of setting up the PA is going to be frustrating for them.

How do you get through the sound check without those with little understanding of what's required, getting bored?

Talking of...  how long do you spend doing any ringing-out, EQing, level setting etc after you've got all the physical connections sorted?
Question everything - with the exception of the Earth being a spheroid and the moon landings.
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  • TTonyTTony Frets: 11587
    And suddenly the keyboard player can't be heard anymore ...
    ;)

    If you're going to be gigging reasonably regularly, is there anyone that you can bring in to take on the soundboard duties?  Gives you less hassle, and allows them to take a more independent view on levels/balance/etc.
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  • BridgehouseBridgehouse Frets: 8732
    Every band I've played in that has cared about their live sound hasn't seen it as fiddling.

    If a band member challenged excess "fiddling" to get the sound as good as it could be, I'd be questioning whether they do take pride in the sound and if they really understand what being in a band is all about..

    Er, unless you are planning on spending an hour just adjusting EQ on the vocal mics??
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  • Emp_FabEmp_Fab Frets: 11084
    No.  I haven't spent months reading everything I can on live sound production and the manuals of every bit of kit we have, inside-out, to hand it over to any one of a thousand dicks who haven't got a clue what to do.

    If I knew anyone who knew their stuff, maybe I'd hand it over to them - BUT - it doesn't change the question.  The band are still going to get fed up whether it's me doing it or someone else.
    Question everything - with the exception of the Earth being a spheroid and the moon landings.
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  • JalapenoJalapeno Frets: 3048
    When you find out how to shut the drummer up whilst "fiddling" - please let us all know ......
    Imagine something sharp and witty here ......

    Feedback
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  • merlinmerlin Frets: 709
    Fiddling is often totally necessary. I agree with @Bridgehouse that any half-decent and caring player wants the sound to be as good as possible and only the impatient/amateur ones wiggle their asses and hissy all over the place during soundcheck. 

    The ones I get frustrated with are the musicians who play along with and noodle during another players check. 
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  • BridgehouseBridgehouse Frets: 8732
    merlin said:
    Fiddling is often totally necessary. I agree with @Bridgehouse that any half-decent and caring player wants the sound to be as good as possible and only the impatient/amateur ones wiggle their asses and hissy all over the place during soundcheck. 

    The ones I get frustrated with are the musicians who play along with and noodle during another players check. 
    And that's just rude and inconsiderate IMHO.

    A band is supposed to be for fun, yes - but for me, the fun soon goes when you're half way through a set and you can't hear yourself/the singer/the guitarist/anything useful etc..
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  • ICBMICBM Frets: 26303
    I was doing a little PA job a few weeks ago, and I got asked by one of the audience (who I know quite well) why I was often adjusting things - when she couldn't hear any change in the sound. I explained that's *why* she couldn't hear any change - because I was constantly listening, and if something sounded a little off I would correct it so it didn't become obvious.

    It's certainly true that if you get a decent enough mix at the soundcheck - which I didn't have the opportunity of in this case, it was a public event which started well before the stage was set up - then you can more or less leave it alone, but it's never quite as good as actively "fiddling" to keep making sure everything is just right.
    "Take these three items, some WD-40, a vise grip, and a roll of duct tape. Any man worth his salt can fix almost any problem with this stuff alone."
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  • Danny1969Danny1969 Frets: 2955

    The advent of the digital desk has just about rendered sound checking obsolete in the last few years in the bands I play in.... I mean we still line check and bash through half a song just to make sure everyone's happy but the actual EQ, compression and gate settings, as well as the IEM  \ wedge routing and mixes are stored with the patch and generally don't need any fiddling .... We store the show file under the venue name so if there is something strange about the venue that requires something specific then that's already done as well. There's 2 engineers we use across 4 different bands using QU mixers, both are Allen & Heath QU guys so even if it's not their desk they can load their patch from their USB pen key if it's not stored locally or been overwritten. With everything in the desk there's no outboard to wire up and if you put the IEM receivers in the same rack as a digital stage box and wireless mics wiring up all the mics and all the IEM transmitters is just one mains cable and one Ethernet cable. 

    I gotta admit I don't mind a nice long soundcheck if the band are in an empty room before the punters get there but I don't enjoy a long drawn out soundcheck when the place is busy ....... people are trying to talk .... "Kick " ... boom boom boom ... "Snare" ...crack, crack ,crack crack .... "more snare" ... crack crack crack .... people get annoyed. Your average sound man is pretty thick skinned to this ... he's busy looking at a Gate threshold or something and appears not to notice half the pub want to kill him and the poor drummer who's had to bash the same drum for 20 minutes .... it's unnecessary I think  

    My own method when mixing other bands with no stored show file  is to just line check the mics, get basic monitor levels and then I get the band to play a song and it's while they are actually playing a song I will get down to gating any drums if needed, EQ'ing and compressing the vocal, working on the bass, thinning out keyboards and backing vox. If you work on a drum while there's a song playing no one gets annoyed. If you insist on the drummer whacking one drum for 20 minutes it winds people up. When it comes to vocal PFL the singer saying "one two" half heartened into the mic is pointless ... again set it when he \ she is actually singing your get a meaningful level then. People play and sing different in isolation then when they are all playing together

     



    www.2020studios.co.uk 
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  • VaiaiVaiai Frets: 339
    @Emp_Fab ;
    We tend to only use vocal mics in pubs and the backline un-mic'ed but in a few venues recently we had a our big Yamaha PA instead of the Bose L1 and I'd be interested in a topic regarding setting up PA and EQ'ing tips at a gig that maybe others could contribute to.
    I went direct with my Helix the other night and Bass was DI too but drums and 2nd guitar were not mic'ed - that really caused a disconnect on stage (we tend not to use monitors as we can all hear in the pubs generally). We are decent at getting a balanced sound in that environment but a louder drummer has led us to potentially require going full PA.


    I'm thinking it's time we started mic'ing up all of us but it's a whole new world!
    We do use full PAs and monitors in the bigger venues we play that have a soundman but doing it ourself is a new thing.
    I am only one with wireless so I tend to go out front and listen then just offer a suggestion as to who needs to go up or down

    I agree the members should want the best sound out front and not the perfect mix on stage (both is great but FoH is priority) "Good enough" is not the attitude and may clarify the level of band you have joined? Always a balance!


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  • Emp_FabEmp_Fab Frets: 11084
    edited October 4
    Well, I'm trying to anticipate and try to get a basic setup I can replicate for each gig.  We don't have a digital desk, but I do have a digital camera!  Get the knobs and sliders right, then photograph the mixer!  The digital outboard gear I can save settings in (like the graphic) and can scribble down anything else that doesn't save.  If I can get to that place as a starting point without the involvement of the rest of the band, and hopefully just EQ the graphic on the mains for each venue once and store it, then in theory, a quick check of the input gains, let the feedback destroyer auto-q the venue to notch the worst two or three frequencies for the singer's mic then (jointly) mine and the keyboard player's  then a run-through of a song with the odd tweak and I should be good to go.
    Question everything - with the exception of the Earth being a spheroid and the moon landings.
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  • RolandRoland Frets: 1300
    Emp_Fab said:
    ...  how long do you spend doing any ringing-out, EQing, level setting etc after you've got all the physical connections sorted?
    We share the set up work. I do backdrop and lights. Our sax player runs the cables. Bass player connects the pa and IEMs. Singer erects the speakers and stands. Meanwhile the drummer puts his kit together.
    Danny1969 said:

    The advent of the digital desk has just about rendered sound checking obsolete in the last few years in the bands I play in.... I mean we still line check and bash through half a song just to make sure everyone's happy but the actual EQ, compression and gate settings, as well as the IEM  \ wedge routing and mixes are stored with the patch and generally don't need any fiddling .... 
    Definitely this. The singer stands out from and conducts the connection check. We then soundcheck parts of two different songs so that all instruments are covered. EQ and volume adjustments are more to do with equipment changes, for axample our singer has a new guitar amp which we'll adjust for on Saturday. Then we save the venue settings in the desk.

    With cardioid and hyper cardioid mics, and IEMs instead of monitors, we don't need to ring out. If any venue has a feed back problem we carry a 31 band graphic EQ, but haven't had to use it so far this year.
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  • Danny1969 said:

     When it comes to vocal PFL the singer saying "one two" half heartened into the mic is pointless ... again set it when he \ she is actually singing your get a meaningful level then. People play and sing different in isolation then when they are all playing together

     



    That's the one that gets my goat !! 

    Asking the other guys to "sing like you will during the set" then asking them repeatedly to "give it some beans". 

    And it's just the same when sound checking drums/instruments - it all changes first note/first song as they get into it.

    Then it means i'm having to constantly check levels and settings during a set when i should be concentrating on playing guitar and singing...then remembering what to change when it comes to the end of the song or adjusting on the fly...and i don't even majorly delve into EQ's/gating/compression like the pro's do (danny1969) but it still makes it tricky


    A minor is ACE 
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  • jpfampsjpfamps Frets: 1074
    Emp_Fab said:
    No.  I haven't spent months reading everything I can on live sound production and the manuals of every bit of kit we have, inside-out, to hand it over to any one of a thousand dicks who haven't got a clue what to do.

    Reading the manual! That's a novelty.

    Do have the opportunity to rehearse with the PA before the gig?

    I always find this a useful exercise re getting settings in the right ball park.


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  • steamabacussteamabacus Frets: 871
    Emp_Fab said:
    Well, I'm trying to anticipate and try to get a basic setup I can replicate for each gig.  We don't have a digital desk, but I do have a digital camera!  Get the knobs and sliders right, then photograph the mixer!  The digital outboard gear I can save settings in (like the graphic) and can scribble down anything else that doesn't save.  If I can get to that place as a starting point without the involvement of the rest of the band, and hopefully just EQ the graphic on the mains for each venue once and store it, then in theory, a quick check of the input gains, let the feedback destroyer auto-q the venue to notch the worst two or three frequencies for the singer's mic then (jointly) mine and the keyboard player's  then a run-through of a song with the odd tweak and I should be good to go.
    I think you need to communicate this to the rest of the band - if they can endure a bit of 'fiddling' and faffing at first, in future things will go smoothly and sound good.

    Make sure they understand the end goal.
                                                                                                                                                   My 'Guitar diaries' on BandCamp
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  • TTony said:
    And suddenly the keyboard player can't be heard anymore ...
    ;)

    If you're going to be gigging reasonably regularly, is there anyone that you can bring in to take on the soundboard duties?  Gives you less hassle, and allows them to take a more independent view on levels/balance/etc.
    Between this "fiddling" concern and the "keyboard chords" issue.. I'm beginning to get the feeling of incompatibility amongst the ranks...
    My trading feedback

    is it crazy how saying sentences backwards creates backwards sentences saying how crazy it is?

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  • ESBlondeESBlonde Frets: 1955
    In respect of the FBD you have inherited, you can do one long nasty soundcheck and save the settings as fixed filters. (Perhaps at a rehearsal in a semi decent room)!
    So say you always get a 5147hz ring from the singers mic, ring it out and set it as a fixed filter 1, next freq to ring may be 7812hz so once it's found it set it a a fixed Filter.
    At this point you have likely taken away the systems response spikes to a decent level and in many venues will never have to do that again as long as you have saved those two settings in fixed filters.

    Now if you get to a 'difficult' venue where the ceiling is very low or there is a column  supporting the ceiling 5 feet in front of the only location available for the PA cab, or one cab has to be behind you to not block the toilets etc. you leave the standard filters and switch one on to auto until it catches the ring. Set it to fixed, turn down a touch and off you go. If it's really really bad turn on one more filter and repeat but you are really asking a lot of the tools at this point. the suggestion in the other thread of setting a fixed minimum 100 or 120Hz to stop stage rumble being amplified is a good one (on the vocal chanels).
    Doing this the system set up will typically be fast and reliable as long as you don't use different speakers or microphones!!!.

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  • robinbowesrobinbowes Frets: 1361
    Memories of doing FoH for a popular band in a large nightclub in Wakefield back in the 80s (yeah, analogue) with no sound check. I did a line check and then they started. I had it under control by the first chorus :)

    R.
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  • Emp_FabEmp_Fab Frets: 11084
    What do you want, a medal ?  =)
    Question everything - with the exception of the Earth being a spheroid and the moon landings.
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  • It’s all down to your natural leadership skills and ability @Emp_Fab  convince them your in charge and know what your doing all will be well, show any hint of fear and your fxxed!

    I’ve mixed over 100 bands this year and they all react differently to sound checks but the more professional and sober they are the easier it is
    www.maltingsaudio.co.uk
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  • BridgehouseBridgehouse Frets: 8732
    It’s all down to your natural leadership skills and ability @Emp_Fab  convince them your in charge and know what your doing all will be well, show any hint of fear and your fxxed!

    I’ve mixed over 100 bands this year and they all react differently to sound checks but the more professional and sober they are the easier it is
    Sober??? Er...
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  • VaiaiVaiai Frets: 339
    As it turned into a bit more of a techincal discussion - I found this admittedly old but interesting article as I will admit to not having heard of ringing out monitors! It makes sense now I read up on it but have never done it or seen it done although I'm sure all the house PAs we go thru have a sound guy doing all of that - prob glad we don't have an opinion on it :)
    http://www.emusician.com/how-to/1334/masterclass-how-to-ring-out-stage-monitors/49827
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  • Paul_CPaul_C Frets: 3656
    Memories of doing FoH for a popular band in a large nightclub in Wakefield back in the 80s (yeah, analogue) with no sound check. I did a line check and then they started. I had it under control by the first chorus :)

    R.

    I was chatting to the guitarist of a local band from the 80s who are still popular enough to get festival gigs in Europe and he told me that their first song always starts with the drummer for four bars, then the bass player joins in for four more, then the guitar and finally the vocals start - to give the sound guy a bit of help.

    Mr. Silly
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  • robinbowesrobinbowes Frets: 1361
    Emp_Fab said:
    What do you want, a medal ?  =)
    :)
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  • KebabkidKebabkid Frets: 1092
    One sound guy I know uses one of the old Zoom recorders for his desk at a small venue. However, the benefit of this is he records your soundcheck and then you can come out front and listen to it.

    Having done this singularly with a looper for my own sound/rig a few times, I wonder if doing the same off the desk for the full band would work? A bit unorthodox but then you'd all get to hear it.
     www.cairoeast.co.uk - Madness Tribute band (Bass Player) and guitarist elsewhere
    Feedback - http://www.thefretboard.co.uk/discussion/57885/
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  • horsehorse Frets: 368
    Kebabkid said: 
    One sound guy I know uses one of the old Zoom recorders for his desk at a small venue. However, the benefit of this is he records your soundcheck and then you can come out front and listen to it.

    Having done this singularly with a looper for my own sound/rig a few times, I wonder if doing the same off the desk for the full band would work? A bit unorthodox but then you'd all get to hear it.
    With a full band in a small venue I guess it wouldn't be accurate though as you'll lose the actual drums / backline the audience hear behind the PA - depends what you think is a small venue though I suppose
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  • jpfampsjpfamps Frets: 1074
    horse said:
    - depends what you think is a small venue though I suppose
    Mostly the venues I play at............
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