My band and I are having trouble achieving the "sweet spot" for all of our volumes and I was wondering how others do. Last night you could cut the air with a butter knife all of our tensions were up, and it just ruined our night because our bass player and singer kept saying to turn up and down. And at the end my 120 watt amp was at two and a half and everything sounded like crap. Any suggestions are greatly appreciated.
If you're recording rather than just jamming, really you need an engineer or someone who knows their way around production. There is no real "sweet spot" it's up to the ear of the person mixing it. There's a lot of records out there that I feel I would mix differently, yet they're up selling gold and platinum levels
The golden rule I was always told from the start; if you need to change volumes, turn the loudest things down before you turn the quietest things up.
Also, if you're having trouble with guitars; double track. Quite often I've seen people complaining that their guitar tracks aren't loud enough, and they push the gain beyond clipping to no avail, and just destroy the whole mix. In these situations, more often than not, it's not the volume which is the problem, its that the guitar sound itself is too "thin". Double track them, thicken the sound up so you can't hear so much background bleeding through and it'll immediately sound better.
Quote by whatadrag
Get someone outside of the band to come and listen.


Y'all will realize eventually that you're not going to be able to hear anything as you play. When I played shows and practiced I couldn't really hear myself. If I tried I could, but just barely. You'll have to listen to the drums or the vocals.

Get someone else to be your "crowd" and have them tell you what they can and can't hear and turn up accordingly. Then repeat with someone else. Then do a little "house show" for like 3 people and ask them. You'll eventually figure it out.
Almost always, the first thing to get lost is the vocals, so start with those. Get those happening and give them as much gas as you can without them squealing.

Then, adjust everything from there.

Could I get some more talent in the monitors, please?

I know it sounds crazy, but try to learn to inhale your voice. www.thebelcantotechnique.com

Chris is the king of relating music things to other objects in real life.
everyone should be able to hear everyone else?
all the best.
(insert self-aggrandizing quote here)
Balance the bass and drums first then suit the guitars to that
Life Story.
Kicked ass at Guitar Hero.
Decided To learn Guitar coz I felt like a pro.
Kicked ass at guitar. Learnt Bass.
Now Guitar Hero looks so F***in Gay.
Two things I would consider:

1) What kind of EQ's are you and your bass player using? I promise if your bass is at 11 and his bass is at 11 you wont be able to hear much from each other. Try EQ'ing your guitar with some more mids and depending on the style less gain (!). Also look at the bass player's EQ, if he is all mud then it can cause troubles 'hearing' what is happening. The idea is to separate your frequencies and your bass players frequencies so they complement each other without fighting for sonic space.

2) If your band, like mine, jams in a moderate to small sized room you may try investing in some foam ear plugs. They tend to eliminate some of the harshness and really cleans up the sounds of the room for your ears. I've started using them pretty consistently when I rehearse with my band and they've been a lifesaver because I can hear during and AFTER a rehearsal.

Hope that helped a little!
Last edited by Piinball at Jun 19, 2011,
I was once in a band and started using earplugs during rehearsal...but it was because we sucked.

Boom tish

Vocals need to be clearly heard. Thats number one. Everything should flow from that. Its a balance as others have said. EQ'ing does help a lot.
Quote by AlanHB
It's the same as all other harmony. Surround yourself with skulls and candles if it helps.
Your bass player needs to dial out a ton of his bass, and dial in a bunch of his mids

Thank me later

Consider cutting some of the bass out of your tone as well

Ill bet its largely an EQ issue

Oh, whats your rehearsal space like?
Last edited by thebassiestbass at Jun 20, 2011,
Quote by thebassiestbass
Your bass player needs to dial out a ton of his bass, and dial in a bunch of his mids

Thank me later

Consider cutting some of the bass out of your tone as well

Ill bet its largely an EQ issue

Oh, whats your rehearsal space like?

Great minds think alike right? Bahaha
Silly question, but is there a PA present?

If so, it's best to get into the habit of putting your volume down rather than up at practice. Sure everyone wants to hear themselves the best, but at acceptable levels you can get this by moving closer to or away from your amp.

Also, if practice "hurts" you're doing it wrong. Also drummers who are able to adjust their volumes to the space whether live, in practice or in the studio are invaluable.
And no, Guitar Hero will not help. Even on expert. Really.
If you cannot hear the singer and understand them, and if the group cannot hear each other it's too loud. You'll need to invest in a board and floor monitors and a bunch of equipment to hear your mix and everyone else's. What I would suggest is you play a version with the whole band, and then practice a version with everything except the vocalist so you can hear how tight you are.

the vocals should be heard over the drums, everything else should be under the vocals but able to be heard over with the drums. solo volume should then be above everything else. it usually should match the vocal level. thats pretty much it. also, yes it will be loud, but anyone who isnt wearing any sort of ear plugs is asking for it. even just some tissue in the ear will help a good deal. it will actually help you hear everyone in the band. in my band i find my amp is on 7 or 8 for my 100w marshall (depending on how i adjus the gain), and about 8 on my 50 crate (no gain knob, just volume). both are tube amps btw. then for a solo a boost it with my tonebone to basically get my amp to where it would be on full. yes its loud but trust me, to play over a full rocking band, its needed. also, my marshall is using a 1x12 so its not as loud as a full stack. 100w amps are only actually about 10% louder than a 50w so the two amps i have are pretty close in volume.
For the guitars, get an amp stand and set it off to your side, not behind you, pointing in your ear.

Do this for guitars and keys since their sound is more "uni-directional". You can keep the bass cabinet just about anywhere since it's "omni-directional". You could put something under the bass cabinet though, it's help unmuddy his sound.
Last edited by MikeDodge at Jun 20, 2011,
This should be your setup for rehearsal and for your live shows. Each uni-directional device (gtr or key amp) it pointed where it needs to be...at the person's ear who is playing through it, and in a live situation it won't bleed off start and you'll get a better front of house mix. The bass cabinet can go to the left or right of the drummer, your choice, but it goes behind the bassist.

There can also be a monitor back by the drummer too if necessary.

------------------------front of stage------------------------
         monitor           monitor        monitor                   

gtr amp->guitarist                       guitarist<-gtr amp


             bass amp