What's your attitude towards soundchecks?

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LestratcasterLestratcaster Frets: 131
Like a lot of you I'm a seasoned gigger and have played countless shows at all sorts of venues. 

Me personally I like doing a soundcheck to make sure my gear is working and I have a tone I can work with. I've been in bands where certain members say "we don't need to soundcheck..." and "why set up all our stuff just for a song...?" etc. I've done shows with a line check which has been ok but monitor levels and stuff are always out and I don't like it.

Are you one of those that enjoy doing a s/check or find it unnecessary?
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Comments

  • RolandRoland Frets: 1300
    We always do a linecheck followed by a soundcheck. Even though we use a digital desk, and save settings for each venue, we only go back to a venue every couple of months. Someone is bound to have changed their personal equipment or settings. A one verse, one chorus, soundcheck sorts that out.
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  • pintspillerpintspiller Frets: 392
    It's always nice to know everything is working and I can hear the others
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  • KKJaleKKJale Frets: 452
    In one band I play in the singer/guitarist refuses to soundcheck. It makes me quite cross and the engineer, if there is one, even crosser. There's nothing we can do. It's pretty much an actual mental health situation. 
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  • RolandRoland Frets: 1300
    How about unplugging his mic, and letting him find out during the first number?
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  • KKJaleKKJale Frets: 452
    Oh, he'll line-check, but do no more. It's baffling and frustrating. He writes fabulous songs and we love him though 
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  • We do a proper soundcheck when we use our own PA, and it's always preferable, but for festivals and the like you typically just get a line check. It's all fine by me. If there is an engineer then we cooperate with how they want to do it. I can usually hear what we're up to, more or less.

    Refusing to soundcheck is not conducive to being invited back I would say! Have you ever played the same venue twice with that band, @KKJale? :)
    My band: Hedge Gods
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  • KKJaleKKJale Frets: 452

    Refusing to soundcheck is not conducive to being invited back I would say! Have you ever played the same venue twice with that band, @KKJale? :)
    I know it sounds weird but we're always invited back. Partly because the band is very good at self-mixing, and on smaller gigs the PA is reserved for vocals, horns and acoustic only. Actually the singer isn't at all adverse to turning down if it's mentioned. He just will NOT soundcheck. The main victim, as mentioned above, is not the audience but the monitor mix.
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  • When I was gigging I always liked to have a soundcheck if possible.
    It's not a competition
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  • sev112sev112 Frets: 198
    I always play crap at sound check, but play fine when live


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  • AlexCAlexC Frets: 538
    edited November 6
    I always sound check if it's on offer, but at a lot of festivals with a half hour turnaround between acts then you get a brief 'give me a level' situation in front of an audience - which ain't ideal!
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  • AlexC said:
    I always sound check if it's on offer, but at a lot of festivals with a half hour turnaround between acts then you get a brief 'give me a level' situation in front of an audience - which ain't ideal!
    It’s the deal with festivals but on the plus side by the time your a couple of acts in the monitor and front of house mix is usually optimised so provided everything is working you’ve got a chance. The worst situation is when you get the bands engineer rock up insist on resetting and tuning the pa and doing a full sound check in the middle of a festival for half an hour or longer thus ruining the vibe and making everything run late
    www.maltingsaudio.co.uk
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  • stickyfiddlestickyfiddle Frets: 7590
    I always prefer a proper sound check so you know everything's working and will sound good. Why spend years learning and days/weeks/months rehearsing only to have a mushy sound that noone can hear properly?
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  • p90foolp90fool Frets: 5449
    We always start with a danceable groove based number if soundchecking is going to be an issue.

    It kind of keeps the momentum of the event going while we're half singing, half asking the engineer for what we need. 

    We're not precious though, as long as the singers have enough pitch info we'll just let the engineer do what he does best and let it evolve throughout the set. 
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  • Danny1969Danny1969 Frets: 2955

    I don't mind soundchecks but it's something I like to be over as quick as possible when theirs punters there watching. If we are doing a club or corporate gig before the doors are open to the punters then I quite enjoy a nice lengthy drawn out one. After 30 years of gig'ing I like to think we have a handle on where to set things volume wise on stage. 90% of the time we have an engineer out front even in pubs so the FOH mix is their problem, all we need to do is basically set out backline at a volume that gives him a fighting chance of being able to mix the gig
    Monitor wise everyone's using their phones to set their IEM's with the exception of 3 singers I work with in 3 different bands who all basically want the same thing .... their vocal as loud as possible in their wedge and little else

    I did a load of festival work over the summer in all kinds of bands and there really isn't time for any kind of proper soundcheck between changeovers .... and most guys (including my own company) generally dot a lot of wedges around a festival stage and aren't generally set up to provide a load of stereo sends for IEM's with wifi control   .... so I revised the design of my original IEM box to include personal control over my vocal level and guitar level regardless of what the festival engineer is doing. If I have control over those 2 things and can hear a bit of everyone else then I'm happy. 

    Here's a club setup & soundcheck condensed into 1.50 mins :)


    www.2020studios.co.uk 
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  • CirrusCirrus Frets: 3285
    It pretty much depends on the event, I base my expectations on the kind of gig. Festival, I'll be happy with a line check or even a cold start, and just concern myself with knowing that the sound coming out my amp is right - the rest is up to the gods.

    Club gig where we're headlining, I like a soundcheck because it helps us feel like it's "our" night and we own the venue for the duration, which is a nice confidence boost.

    If we're supporting, I'd rather just have a quick line check. Because if half a dozen bands are all having soundchecks, it's just a waste of time, doesn't have much value and I'd rather just pile our gear into the backstage area and go to find food/ relax/ see friends.

    We've been playing together long enough, and the core of our sound is just drums, bass, guitar and 3x vocals across the front. We've got a sampler that we use to add incidental sounds to songs, but frankly it's not a show stopper if it turns out the DI the venue plug it into has a dead battery.

    One thing we did learn to do is an extended intro to our first song - starts with drums, then bass comes in for 8 bars, then guitar, then lead vocals and backing vocals don't start until the chorus. So if the sound guy is on the ball, he gets a chance to quickly dial in some sounds as each player comes in. And if he's not on the ball, we have bigger problems which all the soundchecks in the world wouldn't fix. 
    Captain Horizon (my band);
    Very (!) Occasional Blog
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  • ESBlondeESBlonde Frets: 1955
    Sound Check is sensible even if you only put vocals through the PA. Once you start playing it looks very unprofessional stopping and fixing issues the room throws up because you didn't take the opportunity to sound check. How do you know how loud the bass guitar is? Can the harmony singers hear anything? Are the vocals getting out there at all?

    At festivals a quick line check is typical, a good (but not all) engineer will have a mix dialed reasonably by the first chorus for most bands. Some pro/semi pro bands will start with something simple like a bass/drums intro and then bring in the other instruments a few bars apart before the singer starts. This gives an excellent chance for the engineer to build the mix without the audience noticing.

    It's always harder for the unusual bands that have 5-6 different acoustic stringed instruments that have different line levels and miced flute/squeeze box, hand percussion etc. and 5 part vocals. That takes some experience behind the festival desk.
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  • EricTheWearyEricTheWeary Frets: 5964
    At pub gigs it's difficult as there are people trying to have a nice time and you're going '123,123' very loudly. 
    To some extent it's just making sure everything works and in pubs sometimes you have to be creative in a small space about where your gear goes so you need to know if you can hear yourselves.  
    I'd cheerfully have long soundchecks but I've rarely been in that position. 
    I feel the warm, healing, liquid presence of God’s genuine cold-filtered grace. 
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  • The kind of gigs I tend to do with my covers band we are usually restricted for time. We play a lot of weddings and corporate events, but due to the fact that every member of the band has day jobs we normally can't physically get to the venue until around 7pm. We stipulate in our contract that we will have background music on before 7:30pm, so everyone in the band focuses on getting the PA up and running for 7:30pm.

    I play guitar and run the sound from stage.

    Depending on the event and room we may do a soundcheck, but that will be a verse of a song maximum. I just like to get the bass and the drums balanced nicely (that's half the battle in my book).

    If we don't do a soundcheck I have a good idea where things need to be fader wise on the desk, we also use a digital desk (Presonus 16.4.2) so I also have quite a few venues saved as a scene on the desk. So its normally in the ball park mix wise.

    The singer tends to wander out front and fine tune the mix during the 1st song. Monitor wise we are all on IEM's so that never changes regardless of the gig.

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  • I think like a lot of you it will depend on the gig, if its a headline slot or a festival (quick changeovers, etc). I guess what's most important is I can hear myself and the rhythm section to keep in time. I don't pay too much attention to vocals to be honest.
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  • ClarkyClarky Frets: 2322
    for me [the DC Band] it depends upon the event...
    we usually get a nice soundcheck..
    everyone called up one by one.. then the whole band together to sort the FoH and our individual monitor mixes..

    this year though we've been playing some festivals where we only got a line check..
    the plan is simple....
    the first song is an easy one that's up and at it.. the solos at the have no fixed length..
    during the solos we communicate individually [and very quickly] with the monitoring engineer to tweak the sound on stage..
    when we have something we can work with we'll end the song and crack on with the rest of the set..
    you don't work too hard on the stage sound at a festival because it's never that great..
    simply because the stage is soooooo huge you never really get that 'glued together' sound you get in smaller indoor venues..

    unlike a great many though.. it is worth pointing out that I am blessed when it comes to sound guys and stage crew..
    the guys that look after us live are generally superb..

    our best line check ever was this year at a big festival at The Loreley, Germany..
    we build [amps, drums, keys etc] before hand on small stage risers..
    they mic you up on the risers.. the band before us comes off stage right and they wheel us on stage left..
    connect our mics to the cables on stage and we're ready to go..
    it took about 20 minutes to get the previous band off, us on and have a very quick line check..
    10 minutes later we started the first song of the set...
    the crew backstage and front were amazing
    play every note as if it were your first
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