Useless Soundmen

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longshinslongshins Frets: 104
ive lost count now of how many gigs I've done when the sound guys screw up a simple task of micing up a guitar cab and pushing a sound out of a PA. How do they get jobs? It amazes me... 
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  • merlinmerlin Frets: 762
    Have you noticed that most sound guys are called Dave? 

    Except that it's not their name, it's their qualification; they all have a Diploma in Advanced Volume Engineering. 
    And most pass with a 2,1,2,1.....
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  • robinbowesrobinbowes Frets: 1406
    longshins said:
    ive lost count now of how many gigs I've done when the sound guys screw up a simple task of micing up a guitar cab and pushing a sound out of a PA. How do they get jobs? It amazes me... 

    As a sound guy, I've lost count now of how many gigs I've done when the guitarists screw up a simple task of getting a decent sound out of their rig, playing their songs without making mistakes, and not being too loud. How do they get gigs? It amazes me...
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  • longshinslongshins Frets: 104
    longshins said:
    ive lost count now of how many gigs I've done when the sound guys screw up a simple task of micing up a guitar cab and pushing a sound out of a PA. How do they get jobs? It amazes me... 

    As a sound guy, I've lost count now of how many gigs I've done when the guitarists screw up a simple task of getting a decent sound out of their rig, playing their songs without making mistakes, and not being too loud. How do they get gigs? It amazes me...
    Is your name Dave? 
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  • longshinslongshins Frets: 104
    So, the last example... ‘Dave’ has a 2x12 to deal with, blindly slaps a mic between the two speakers at nothing and wonders why it doesn’t sound right... another Dave thinks it’s because it needs phantom, or wouldn’t be easier just to take a DI?
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  • longshinslongshins Frets: 104
    Seriously though, how do they get jobs? Are they volunteering? Some bs qualification from the local college? 
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  • robinbowesrobinbowes Frets: 1406
    In my experience, they don't actually get paid much/anything. Most engineers are either musicians or people who think the music business is cool. Some of them know what they're doing and some even have ears, but it's the exception rather than the rule. :)

    R.
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  • longshinslongshins Frets: 104
    Is there a standardised approach to stage box numbering? 1 is kick, 2 and 3 are snare top and bottom etc? It seems to be where most of the confusion happens.
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  • robinbowesrobinbowes Frets: 1406
    longshins said:
    Is there a standardised approach to stage box numbering? 1 is kick, 2 and 3 are snare top and bottom etc? It seems to be where most of the confusion happens.
    There are no hard and fast rules. The important thing is to label everything properly. These days, everyone uses digital mixers and you can type in the channel labels.

    R.
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  • drwiddlydrwiddly Frets: 248
    Amazing how many sound guys insist on micing your cab when you're using a Kemper or Axe FX, despite being told that a DI is easier and will probably sound better.

    I managed to convince one of our regular soundmen to take a DI from my Kemper a couple of years ago. There was much muttering but he agreed. After the gig I asked him what he thought. "Sounded great, no feedback, brilliant!" was the response. He just leaves an xlr cable for me to plug in now ;)
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  • robinbowesrobinbowes Frets: 1406
    I never understand that approach. I don't do much live sound these days. but I always used to ask the band what they wanted, and only did my own thing if they had no preference or were inexperienced.

    R.
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  • drwiddlydrwiddly Frets: 248
    You're in the minority in my experience @robinbowes. I think a lot of guys who've been doing it for a while, become resistant to change until they see and hear the benefits for themselves. Same as many guitarists :)
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  • Danny1969Danny1969 Frets: 2997
    There's a lot of guys working live sound who drifted into it after working as roadie, then technical assistant, then had to do the sound when the FOH guy didn't turn up one night etc. There are also guys who have done uni courses in music production and guys who have privately trained. Can't really tar everyone with the same brush, like all walks of life some FOH guys are great some just can't be bothered. 

    I'm a partner in a company (2020 studios) that does a lot of live sound, even when you own the PA and are effectively the boss it's still not a well paid profession. The hours can be brutal, in summer festival season it's not unusual to work 18 hour days from load in morning to load out in the small hours ....Some bands are a joy to mix, some not so much ..... you do your best but some bands (people) really don't help themselves. 

    One thing I've learned from mixing people \ bands is the better they are the less help they need from the FOH engineer. Talented people confident in their own abilities just tend to get on with it .

    In terms of layout routing layout  I always go Drums  - gap - bass - gap -guitars - gap - keys - brass - weird shit - vocals ... with the gaps being there when a band suddenly has 4 guitars or double keyboards for example  .... on the actual desk though you make sure the things you need to access the most like vocals, guitars, brass are on the same layer ... things like drums can be on another layer as you don't generally need to access them constantly

    Monitors and sends are just numbered left to right

    Generally you won't get feedback from a guitar mic so much engineers will just put a mic on the cab knowing it will pretty much sound fine 
    www.2020studios.co.uk 
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  • merlinmerlin Frets: 762
    edited December 4
    Sound guys and guitarists are pretty much like the rest of the Human Race. Some are lovely, intelligent, caring, thoughtful and some are arrogant, selfish. Some smell of gravy, some smell of Roses. 

    The number of crap sound guys I've met and worked with and the number of good ones correlates perfectly with the number of good dentists, builders, drivers etc etc etc. 

    We have so much of a vested interest in getting our sound right that we get hyper sensitive is all. 
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  • ESBlondeESBlonde Frets: 1991
    I think @Danny1969 sums up the situation nicely. Proficient and experienced musicians sound good before you turn on the PA and so there is no fight to make everything louder than everything. Working down the scale the novice wannabe rock stars with a line6 4x12 dialled up to 11 are hard work (but hey they look cool with long floppy hair and the latest trainers/vans/whatever etc.).

    The standard of 'engineer' is similar. Some are roadies that fell into the roll, some are great electronics guys but have no ears or don't function under pressure (getting a live mix without a soundcheck and not knowing the band/material is a skill and an art, few do it quickly and well and we all have an off day). Some are musicians that care about sound and tone but have little technical expertise and some are the best blend of all those things and nice guys to boot.

    In terms of fixed chanels the early days of multi track tape saw it as easy to overload the kick drum chanel so it was always Ch 1 and any leak into 2 didn't matter as that was snare. These early studio engineer found themselves on the road if they were involved with a succesful album/band. (we're talking 8, 12 and 16 Ch desks here). Vocals would be on the right of the recording desk as they were ofton the last tracks laid down. So the convention of drums on the left through to vocals on the right was sort of default without anyone ever setting it as a standard. Now decades later those old boys have retired and others have come along. Digital makes handling the surface a whole different thing so put what you need most right in front for easy access on the top layer and have the prerecorded backing track buried because you have it all dialed in anyway.


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  • wayneiriewayneirie Frets: 378
    Perhaps you should play better venues, you'll meet a better class of engineer. 
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  • longshinslongshins Frets: 104
    wayneirie said:
    Perhaps you should play better venues, you'll meet a better class of engineer. 
    That’s not always true, especially if doing Theatre work.
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  • wayneiriewayneirie Frets: 378
    edited December 4
    longshins said:
    wayneirie said:
    Perhaps you should play better venues, you'll meet a better class of engineer. 
    That’s not always true, especially if doing Theatre work.
    Take your own then if you're unhappy, you're happy enough to complain on the internet, are you unhappy enough to put your hand in your pocket?. Theatre sound is a different skillset to mixing live bands. Most of its cues and speech. in big theatre productions theres often a person to mix the play and another to mix the band. 
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  • longshinslongshins Frets: 104
    edited December 4
    In defence of theatre stuff you really, really need to be going direct... i remember a bassist once had a speaker in a isolated box to sit on so he could ‘feel’ what he was playing. That was his excuse anyway...
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  • uncledickuncledick Frets: 118
    longshins said:
    Is there a standardised approach to stage box numbering? 1 is kick, 2 and 3 are snare top and bottom etc? It seems to be where most of the confusion happens.
    There are no hard and fast rules. The important thing is to label everything properly. These days, everyone uses digital mixers and you can type in the channel labels.

    R.
    In various band incarnations I find myself participating in, none of them has any digital pa gear.  I'm not seeing it at other people's gigs either.  Most of them are still on old Mackie or Yamaha stuff.
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  • robinbowesrobinbowes Frets: 1406
    uncledick said:

    In various band incarnations I find myself participating in, none of them has any digital pa gear.  I'm not seeing it at other people's gigs either.  Most of them are still on old Mackie or Yamaha stuff.

    @uncledick was very excited by the arrival of his state-of-the-art mixing desk:




     =) =) =)
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  • Danny1969Danny1969 Frets: 2997
    uncledick said:
    longshins said:
    Is there a standardised approach to stage box numbering? 1 is kick, 2 and 3 are snare top and bottom etc? It seems to be where most of the confusion happens.
    There are no hard and fast rules. The important thing is to label everything properly. These days, everyone uses digital mixers and you can type in the channel labels.

    R.
    In various band incarnations I find myself participating in, none of them has any digital pa gear.  I'm not seeing it at other people's gigs either.  Most of them are still on old Mackie or Yamaha stuff.
    I play in 4 bands and all of them are using digital desks, 2 on QU16's, one on Presonus and one on Mackie DL1608. Over the last 3 years I've seen a huge switch to digital, it's reached the price point where analog mixers with outboard don't make a lot of sense ..... plus with venues bitching about mixers being out front and running snakes  (especially wedding venues ) iPad mix capability has become  essential and that's impossible without digital 
    Locally with other bands the Mackie DL series and the Behringer Xair is popular, for £550 or so they are hard to beat 
    www.2020studios.co.uk 
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  • robinbowesrobinbowes Frets: 1406
    I went for the Yamaha TF-Rack - totally happy with it so far.

    R.
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  • BridgehouseBridgehouse Frets: 9279
    Bass player turns up to gig:

    "Here's the DI socket - stick yer XLR in there mate"

    "Oh, cheers, yeah, cool"

    End of story.
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  • robinbowesrobinbowes Frets: 1406
    Bass player turns up to gig:

    "Here's the DI socket - stick yer XLR in there mate"

    "Oh, cheers, yeah, cool"

    Knowledgeable sound engineer uses isolating DI box on bass player to avoid known problems with some DI implementations.

    End of story.
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  • BridgehouseBridgehouse Frets: 9279
    edited December 4
    Bass player turns up to gig:

    "Here's the DI socket - stick yer XLR in there mate"

    "Oh, cheers, yeah, cool"

    Knowledgeable sound engineer uses isolating DI box on bass player to avoid known problems with some DI implementations.

    End of story.
    True. But from my point of view, I point at the DI socket and off he trots. What he chooses to do with it is up to him. I've always had a respectable sound. 
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  • robinbowesrobinbowes Frets: 1406
    True. But from my point of view, I point at the DI socket and off he trots.
    Yeah, bass is usually the easy bit, tbh, especially with amps that have decent balanced DI output.

    I'd still use a DI box though, for unknown amps.

    R.
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  • BridgehouseBridgehouse Frets: 9279
    True. But from my point of view, I point at the DI socket and off he trots.
    Yeah, bass is usually the easy bit, tbh, especially with amps that have decent balanced DI output.

    I'd still use a DI box though, for unknown amps.

    R.
    Even easier if I show up with a Helix or a quality Preamp DI pedal ;)
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  • robinbowesrobinbowes Frets: 1406
    Even easier if I show up with a Helix or a quality Preamp DI pedal ;)
    Sure, that sort of gear makes life a lot easier (I have an Helix myself), but I'd generally still prefer to use my own isolating DI boxes if I don't know the provenance of the equipment.

    R.
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  • BridgehouseBridgehouse Frets: 9279
    Even easier if I show up with a Helix or a quality Preamp DI pedal ;)
    Sure, that sort of gear makes life a lot easier (I have an Helix myself), but I'd generally still prefer to use my own isolating DI boxes if I don't know the provenance of the equipment.

    R.
    Sensible. But you are right, bass players are generally less hassle
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  • robinbowesrobinbowes Frets: 1406
    Sensible. But you are right, bass players are generally less hassle
    ...apart from always playing too loudly. :)

    R.
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