#1
Hello, I wasn't aware if I should post in this thread for this or not, but we'll see how it goes.

I've spent most of my guitar playing years quietly in my own room and recently I've started a few band projects with some friends. Now we all have half stacks, bassist has a full stack, 5 piece drum set, and a PA system in the works.

We're having problems with being able to hear ourselves and each other. The drums of course make it hard to hear anything, so he's trying to play quieter, and just having a loud amp isn't enough. Its plenty loud enough, its just muddy. I would like to know what settings are good for an amp to be very clear sounding through the drums, bass, and vocals. I have my mids 3/4 of the way up and my treble dimed and I still get my ass handed to me by the lead guitarists volume which isn't much louder than mine.

The other guitarist thought I was too loud and I thought he was too loud because our cabinets are facing each other. So is there a better way to set up the band position-wise that would help us hear everything the right way and more importantly the audience? Right now we're all facing each other in a circle.

And if it matters, we're playing in a garage most of the time with the door closed.

Thanks for any tips you can give me!
Gear:
-Mesa Dual Rectifier (3 Channel) with KT88 and KT66 Tubes
-Peavey 6505+
-Roland JC120
-Ibanez Tone Blaster TBX150H
-Mesa 4x12 Straight Cab
-Marshall 1960BV
-Gibson Les Paul Custom
-Gibson Flying V
-Line 6 M13
#2
play exactly the way you would set up on a stage

guitars on the sides bass in middle drums in back and vocals front center

if your amps face each other youll hear the other amp over your own all the time
#3
Quote by hightension01
play exactly the way you would set up on a stage

guitars on the sides bass in middle drums in back and vocals front center

if your amps face each other youll hear the other amp over your own all the time


+1 and playing in a circle doesn't make sense, (unless space is an issue.) You hear things coming at you from the front better then coming to your back, so having your amp to your back, you won't hear it as good and anyting in front of you will over power it.
Gear:
Schecter C-1 Elite
Squier Strat
Fender Acoustic
Line 6 POD XT-Live
Blackstar HT-1 Combo
#4
Okay. It difficult in the garage to get in a line like that, but I'll try it out. What about settings? any idea's on how to get the guitars to cut through the mix without sounding muddy and without having to be cranked way up? our bass sound fine, its just the guitars. From what I've been reading, the louder the guitar amp gets, the less bass you want to have in the EQ because it makes it sound muddy. Is this true?
Gear:
-Mesa Dual Rectifier (3 Channel) with KT88 and KT66 Tubes
-Peavey 6505+
-Roland JC120
-Ibanez Tone Blaster TBX150H
-Mesa 4x12 Straight Cab
-Marshall 1960BV
-Gibson Les Paul Custom
-Gibson Flying V
-Line 6 M13
#5
The guitars can be problematic becuse they work in the same frequency ranges. It is going to to be case of experimenting with eq settings to get the sound you want. I'n my band i cut most of the bass so it doesn't get in the bass frequency.

Try this, one player starts playing their instrument with the drummer. The other musicians tweak the settings until happy with the sound. Add another instrument, tweak the settings. Repeat until all the instruments have been added. Then make fine tunings based on the overall sound. I always find that this works. Also bear in mind that if you are stood right next to your amp you won't be able to hear yourself as well as another musicians amp that is across the room pointing in your direction.
#6
Just switch places if eachothers amps are bugging you :P Maybe if you face your own amp, you have to play less loud aswell!

Oh and about "the circle." Try to point the amps away or on your hear rather than it following your line of sight. Either this or above should help alot.

As for settings. Cut back on the bass. If you concentrate on mids and treble mostly, the bass will have a bit more room to breathe. Especially since the kickdrum wont ge tof it's back :P
#7
I need more information. What kind of music do you play? What types of amps do you guys have ("half-stack" isn't nearly specific enough)?

My initial thought is that the overall volume should come down a lot. Remember, less is more. In some cases this is simply not possible, though. You just need to make sure it's not a competition to be able to hear yourself. You should be striving to play in a way that allows you to hear the rest of your band, particularly between the two guitarists. If you're both mashing chords, you're pretty much ensuring that it's going to be a mess of sound. Like I said, less is more. In many cases, you can get away with playing about half of what you were doing before. For example, if you were both playing full barre chords, one of you can pick a few notes from the chord out lightly and the other can strum a simplified barre chord, and you can still achieve the desired sound. I'd suggest that if you have issues with muddiness, that you try to avoid thick/full chords almost completely. Playing as little as possible is a wonderful thing.
Only play what you hear. If you don’t hear anything, don’t play anything.
-Chick Corea
#8
fmy old band had the drums in the back of the room, with the guitars and bass in the corners of the practice space facing the drums, kind of angled toward the center of the room, and the vox were behind the drummer angled toward the center of the room. sounded pretty good to me. but we only had a small storage unit to work with
keep writing. keep dreaming.

keep the notes coming...

ibanez ftw
#9
Put in drumkit facing out from a corner, this should make it a bit boomier on the lows. Up the mids on guitars to distinguish their sound more. Putting the amps in a non linear pattern (ie, so they aren't all facing the same direction). Honestly though, what's more important is to cut volume (but not so much that the drummer is too loud), and also amp settings are really more dependent on your style more than anything else. How well you will hear each other is also dependent on the room and the smoothness of the surfaces there. If you are playing in a garage I'll assume the walls aren't that smooth, which would eat up a lot of the trebles.
#10
Quote by food1010
My initial thought is that the overall volume should come down a lot. Remember, less is more. In some cases this is simply not possible, though. You just need to make sure it's not a competition to be able to hear yourself. You should be striving to play in a way that allows you to hear the rest of your band, particularly between the two guitarists. If you're both mashing chords, you're pretty much ensuring that it's going to be a mess of sound. Like I said, less is more. In many cases, you can get away with playing about half of what you were doing before. For example, if you were both playing full barre chords, one of you can pick a few notes from the chord out lightly and the other can strum a simplified barre chord, and you can still achieve the desired sound. I'd suggest that if you have issues with muddiness, that you try to avoid thick/full chords almost completely. Playing as little as possible is a wonderful thing.


^^ What you're playing is probably more important than your settings for creating/avoiding a muddy sound.

That being said, you mention you have your mids "about 3/4 of the way up" - do you mean you have them set at about 7 (3/4 of the way up to full), or at about 3 (3/4 of the way up to the 'neutral'/middle setting of 5)?

If you meant they're about 7, consider rolling them back a fair bit. Don't be afraid to have fairly severe cuts in your amp EQ settings - I can't remember where the article is, but I was reading about the EQ response of Marshalls/Fenders the other day and the guy had a set of frequency response curves for different EQ settings and the settings are not even close to linear - with the mid/treble at 5, having the bass from 0-3 affected the low-end response of the sound by something like 10-15db, whereas the entire range of 4-10 on the bass control only changed it by a few.
Quote by Ed O'Brien
“It’s not genius. It’s just that if you want something good to come out of something, you have to put in a lot of effort. That involves a lot of hard work, and a lot of blood, sweat and tears sometimes.”

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#11
The number one difference from a crappy amateur band and a good one is their mindset.

The number one thing that I think that is important in bands are the vocals. If you play a gig and no one can hear or understand the vocalist, fire the vocalist and save the money, because you arent serious as a band, might as well be an instrumental, and at least you wont be posing as a real band, and people wont expect to hear or understand the vocalist.

The very first thing, as you said, that makes a band too loud, are the drums. Drummers must learn to play with dynamics. Everything has to be with the band and how it sounds.

In my experience this pisses drummers off, asking them to play softer or quieter. There are two options:

Live with the drummer till you find a better one and know youre going to suck,

OR, say to the drummer "OK, tell you what, you play as loud as you want, but here's what we need from you. Since we cant hear the vocals, and we need to when you are playing the drums, we'd like you to donate money towards us being able to go out and buy us a PA system that allows you to play loud as you want to, but also allows us to hear the singer...how's that sound?"

Assuming that you do have a drummer who will work with you, then the first thing you do is practice the drummer and vocalist together...sound check them. If they are other able to be heard and understood, then you gradually bring up an instrument next to it, until that singer cant be heard or understood, at which point, you turn it back down.

The rule is very simple, at the end you have a singer that can be heard and the band can play. The rest becomes a matter of sound reinforcement. If you dont like how low you sound and you're a guitar player, buy a personal stage monitor, with your own money. Problem solved. Instead of beer, buy a monitor.

Sean

Quote by xXBansheeXx
Hello, I wasn't aware if I should post in this thread for this or not, but we'll see how it goes.

I've spent most of my guitar playing years quietly in my own room and recently I've started a few band projects with some friends. Now we all have half stacks, bassist has a full stack, 5 piece drum set, and a PA system in the works.

We're having problems with being able to hear ourselves and each other. The drums of course make it hard to hear anything, so he's trying to play quieter, and just having a loud amp isn't enough. Its plenty loud enough, its just muddy. I would like to know what settings are good for an amp to be very clear sounding through the drums, bass, and vocals. I have my mids 3/4 of the way up and my treble dimed and I still get my ass handed to me by the lead guitarists volume which isn't much louder than mine.

The other guitarist thought I was too loud and I thought he was too loud because our cabinets are facing each other. So is there a better way to set up the band position-wise that would help us hear everything the right way and more importantly the audience? Right now we're all facing each other in a circle.

And if it matters, we're playing in a garage most of the time with the door closed.

Thanks for any tips you can give me!
Last edited by Sean0913 at Sep 30, 2010,
#12
Quote by Damascus
That being said, you mention you have your mids "about 3/4 of the way up" - do you mean you have them set at about 7 (3/4 of the way up to full), or at about 3 (3/4 of the way up to the 'neutral'/middle setting of 5)?

If you meant they're about 7, consider rolling them back a fair bit.
This is something I forgot to mention. Absolutely consider rolling the mids back. Just like with volume, if you're competing with each other to be able to hear yourselves by raising the mids, you're never going to get to a point where everything evens out cleanly. Remember, you can't overload one frequency range. You want to balance it evenly. Guitars may not want to crank up the bass knob as it will interfere with the bassists mids (unless of course the bassist is cutting the mids and raising the bass for a deeper, less articulate (probably not the best word) sound. This is one big thing I've noticed with EQing for a band setting. You can set up a perfect equalization on your own and you get to the band setting and half of your frequency range is drowned out. You have to coordinate this with each other. For example, if your bassist needs a mid-heavy EQ, roll off the bass frequencies a bit. If the guitars' sounds are getting mixed together, try to separate the frequencies a bit. You shouldn't both have mids cranked. Nor should you both have very scooped mids. If you just need one of those, maybe try to just make it less drastic and/or have the other guitarist fill in the other frequencies.
Only play what you hear. If you don’t hear anything, don’t play anything.
-Chick Corea
#14
Get used to not hearing yourself (unless you're lucky and have a PA right in the front of the stage). Or at least not mainly hearing yourself. When I was in a band, all I heard from myself was my solos and my mistakes, really. I had to ask other people if they could hear everything.

Try getting an outside opinion. Set it up like you would a show, have someone stand about 5-10 feet in front of EVERYONE, and just play a song. They'll be able to tell you better than anyone in the band what you need to do to EQ the band properly.
#15
What about the tone of the instrument? Where talking about equalizing high-mid-low of the guitar so everyone should ear you clearly, but since doing that also change the way your guitar sounds, should we consider that to in a certain way? Or is equalizing the instrument so you can ear it clearly should naturaly make it sound at it climax? Or do we have to learn to live with a bad sounding setting sometimes? :P... By the way, I experience exaclty the same probleme, exept we got acoustique guitars, so the tone of our guitars is even more affect by setting changes.

Basically, what i realy wanna know is, what to do if the only way i can really ear my guitar through the rest of the band is with a lady-bird sound and disturbing occasionally high peaks (especially when i slap on strings).

Thx!
#16
xXBansheeXx: You practice in a garage now, so you've likely spent time making yourselves sound good in there. Try:

Someone else's garage or basement

Have a practice in a studio

If possible, use some kind of hall: a fire house or even an empty resturant. Chances are, you know someone who will give you a couple house to experiment


Keep notes of the changes you make!!
Use this time to learn how to fine tune your sound to a variety of enviroments. People have made many greate suggestions in this thread. I'd like to add that you take the suggestions out of your comfort zone and apply them to other rooms.

Let us know how it works out for you.