#1
Vocal monitors overpowered by guitar cabs.

This was a show I was watching at a local venue named Penny Rd Pub in South Barrington, IL.

I noticed that when I walked to the side of the stage I could only hear the guitar cabs and could not hear the vocal monitors at all and the vocalist in the touring band playing (the band was called The Color Morale) agreed with me and told the whole audience that he can't hear anything he's singing so he's going to let the audience sing the words for him.

I don't know why the sound guy didn't realize this even for a touring band, but I'm just curious what is the usual treatment for this other than going to a different venue with a better sound guy.

I was only watching not playing (of course I wasn't playing in the above mentioned band, and no of course I'm not the sound guy either lol), I am just curious.

Any hints what to do if I start a band and book a show there and want any hope of hearing the vocal monitors?
#2
Right. By vocal monitors are you referring to actual monitors or the PA system? Monitors are for the band to hear themselves through, the PA pushes the sound out for the audience.

Are any of the guitar amps or drum kit being mic'd up?

How big is the venue?
#3
I employ my own sound guy. That's how I deal with it. Having the foldback mix screwed up by the sound guy is common. Venues often cheap out on foldback wedges too so it's worth owning your own wedges. If the ones on the stage are shit, you replace them with your own. I've often replaced the entire PA with my own when the house one was shit.
It's a big reason guitarists like big amps. You don't want to have to rely on the monitors to hear your guitar. If the sound guy is an incompetent douche you will still be able to hear yourself play.
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#4
^Problem with that is nine out of ten venues aren't going to let you start screwing with front of house for the sake of what you tell them your sound is. Hell, typical gig around here has four bands on the bill each night and you've got to tear down the last act, get the new one up and soundcheck all within <5 minutes.

But this is indeed why we have soundcheck. Get everyone on stage to play at the same time, see how everything is balanced. Get the sound guy—or better yet, someone from the band—to stand where the audience will be so they can really tell what's coming acros well and what isn't. Then adjust accordingly.

If you're just turning up, plugging in and hoping for the best then no wonder someone is getting lost. It's both the front of house and the band's obligation to communicate with each other ahead of time to get the mix right.

That said, if all else fails and you simply find someone isn't coming through, just start turning things up/down yourself. If my choice is bitch about the front of house or get the singer audible, I'd rather simply turn my own amp down so people can hear the vocals. You can mutter about it and swear to never play that venue again, but the most important thing is people can hear your music. The most important part is that the singer can be heard so if that means the guitar and bass players have to take a back seat and knock their amps down from 11, so be it.
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#5
For small venues; by small I mean only vocals through the PA & amps pushing the sound out, we as a band always have the general rule that you never adjust your volume from venue to venue, or practice room to practice room.

Because there is one simple factor that never changes levels in these environments.... the drum kit. If you are playing a bigger venue but the kit isn't getting mic'd up it's pointless going louder & drowning the kit out. I see this ALL the time & it really ruins some bands.

Sounds like you've seen a guitarist who's far too loud for the PA/venue.
#6
Surprisingly enough my band has played there before. Not the greatest sound but not the worst we've had either. We heard ourselves up there just fine. Shitty little place though
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#7
I was in a band for 4+ years. We played several venues in many cities around the Midwestern US and we never had a sound problem like this. We were also never afraid to tell the sound guy to turn up the monitors. They work for you when you are on stage. It also helps if you are nice to them (we always made it a point to call them by their name. A little gesture, but it always worked). We also kept our stage volume relatively low, just loud enough to be heard over the drums. It didn't hurt that everywhere we played, they mic'ed everything, drums and all.
Leave the full stack at home unless they are not going to mic it. Our rhythm guitar had a 1x12 mesa combo, lead had a marshall head with a 2x12 cab. nothing ridiculous. We played alongside other bands who brought 2 full mesa half stacks, and they said the sound was shite. gee, wonder why.
#8
Quote by MrFlibble
^Problem with that is nine out of ten venues aren't going to let you start screwing with front of house for the sake of what you tell them your sound is. Hell, typical gig around here has four bands on the bill each night and you've got to tear down the last act, get the new one up and soundcheck all within <5 minutes.

But this is indeed why we have soundcheck. Get everyone on stage to play at the same time, see how everything is balanced. Get the sound guy—or better yet, someone from the band—to stand where the audience will be so they can really tell what's coming acros well and what isn't. Then adjust accordingly.

If you're just turning up, plugging in and hoping for the best then no wonder someone is getting lost. It's both the front of house and the band's obligation to communicate with each other ahead of time to get the mix right.

That said, if all else fails and you simply find someone isn't coming through, just start turning things up/down yourself. If my choice is bitch about the front of house or get the singer audible, I'd rather simply turn my own amp down so people can hear the vocals. You can mutter about it and swear to never play that venue again, but the most important thing is people can hear your music. The most important part is that the singer can be heard so if that means the guitar and bass players have to take a back seat and knock their amps down from 11, so be it.
You've never told a venue to go **** themselves and walked out - or at least threatened to? I've done it plenty of times. In fact I always tell them up front - "my guy on the desk." If they don't like that I don't accept the gig. They aren't doing me a favor by letting me play, they are booking me to make money.
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#9
Quote by Cathbard
You've never told a venue to go **** themselves and walked out - or at least threatened to? I've done it plenty of times. In fact I always tell them up front - "my guy on the desk." If they don't like that I don't accept the gig. They aren't doing me a favor by letting me play, they are booking me to make money.


Slickest thing I've seen recently was the sound guy walking around the venue during the show with a tablet remotely controlling the levels. I talked with him a good bit and the setup he was using was pretty nice. It even let him take audio samples from several different points in the crowd on the fly and then auto-adjusted based on his/their preferred settings.

It was expensive though, and the only reason this band had it was because the sound guy was a good friend of theirs who also owns a high-end studio and PA rental shop and he likes playing with his toys...
“Ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge.”
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#10
That would be brilliant. So much easier than running back and forwards.
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#11
Quote by Cathbard
That would be brilliant. So much easier than running back and forwards.


Yeah, it was really nice. I would think that in theory you could keep the tablet on stage clipped to the mic stand or somesuch and give yourself "Ultimate Cosmic Power!". Unfortunately for your anarchist self, it was running on iOS, but I've no doubt that Android will be supported shortly if it's not already. I've not been keeping close tabs, but has Android overcome the audio limitations that keep it from being used in the various real-time audio apps for guitar and such yet?
“Ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge.”
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#12
There is one app that claims to have sorted it out and will talk to USB audio as well. I haven't tested it yet though. Not sure how they got around it. I assumed it would take a realtime kernel patch like normal Linux but they claim to have solved it.
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#13
Quote by Cathbard
There is one app that claims to have sorted it out and will talk to USB audio as well. I haven't tested it yet though. Not sure how they got around it. I assumed it would take a realtime kernel patch like normal Linux but they claim to have solved it.
Real time kernels never seem to work out, at least in my experience. Sure, they can process the audio in real time, but support for just about anything else is subpar at best. I spent 6 months trying to get a dedicated DAWS station setup in our studio with one, I ended up abandoning it because while I got the audio to work, everything else ran like crap even on a decent spec machine. Also, I don't think anyone has tried a real time kernel in Android yet.
#14
Quote by Cathbard
I employ my own sound guy. That's how I deal with it. Having the foldback mix screwed up by the sound guy is common. Venues often cheap out on foldback wedges too so it's worth owning your own wedges. If the ones on the stage are shit, you replace them with your own. I've often replaced the entire PA with my own when the house one was shit.
It's a big reason guitarists like big amps. You don't want to have to rely on the monitors to hear your guitar. If the sound guy is an incompetent douche you will still be able to hear yourself play.


I think that yes the guitars were fed into the monitors, but the amps and cabs for the touring act were huge, overpowering anything fed into the monitors.


Quote by AndyGray
Right. By vocal monitors are you referring to actual monitors or the PA system? Monitors are for the band to hear themselves through, the PA pushes the sound out for the audience.

Are any of the guitar amps or drum kit being mic'd up?

How big is the venue?


Yes that's exactly what I mean. Monitors are for the band to hear themselves on stage and the PA is for the audience to hear the band. I tried to get a better view of the show and hear exactly what the band is hearing by moving to the side of the stage with the PA speakers at the front of the stage so I don't hear the PA speakers at the side of the stage, and I couldn't hear anything other than the guitars and drums.

Yes the guitar cabs and drum kit are miced into the PA. Yes the guitars and drums are fed into the monitors.

The venue is the basement of a bar.


Quote by MrFlibble
^Problem with that is nine out of ten venues aren't going to let you start screwing with front of house for the sake of what you tell them your sound is. Hell, typical gig around here has four bands on the bill each night and you've got to tear down the last act, get the new one up and soundcheck all within <5 minutes.

But this is indeed why we have soundcheck. Get everyone on stage to play at the same time, see how everything is balanced. Get the sound guy—or better yet, someone from the band—to stand where the audience will be so they can really tell what's coming acros well and what isn't. Then adjust accordingly.

If you're just turning up, plugging in and hoping for the best then no wonder someone is getting lost. It's both the front of house and the band's obligation to communicate with each other ahead of time to get the mix right.

That said, if all else fails and you simply find someone isn't coming through, just start turning things up/down yourself. If my choice is bitch about the front of house or get the singer audible, I'd rather simply turn my own amp down so people can hear the vocals. You can mutter about it and swear to never play that venue again, but the most important thing is people can hear your music. The most important part is that the singer can be heard so if that means the guitar and bass players have to take a back seat and knock their amps down from 11, so be it.


Oh, maybe its the vocalist's (Garret Rapp) fault because he does this stretching and praying thing before every show and he didn't even sound check while the guitarists were sound checking and then the guitarists just started playing and then he jumped on stage and I couldn't hear him standing to the side of the stage.


Quote by AndyGray
For small venues; by small I mean only vocals through the PA & amps pushing the sound out, we as a band always have the general rule that you never adjust your volume from venue to venue, or practice room to practice room.

Because there is one simple factor that never changes levels in these environments.... the drum kit. If you are playing a bigger venue but the kit isn't getting mic'd up it's pointless going louder & drowning the kit out. I see this ALL the time & it really ruins some bands.

Sounds like you've seen a guitarist who's far too loud for the PA/venue.


Drum part not applicable because the drum kit was miced.

Yes, the guitarist was far too loud, and I don't want to repeat his mistake.


Quote by RCA1186
Surprisingly enough my band has played there before. Not the greatest sound but not the worst we've had either. We heard ourselves up there just fine. Shitty little place though


Small world

I heard my friend's band (local band) just fine when I stood to the side of the stage. So the sound guy and vocalist probably fcked up just for the touring band and not for the local bands because the local band's vocalists actually sound checked.


Quote by ryanbwags
I was in a band for 4+ years. We played several venues in many cities around the Midwestern US and we never had a sound problem like this. We were also never afraid to tell the sound guy to turn up the monitors. They work for you when you are on stage. It also helps if you are nice to them (we always made it a point to call them by their name. A little gesture, but it always worked). We also kept our stage volume relatively low, just loud enough to be heard over the drums. It didn't hurt that everywhere we played, they mic'ed everything, drums and all.
Leave the full stack at home unless they are not going to mic it. Our rhythm guitar had a 1x12 mesa combo, lead had a marshall head with a 2x12 cab. nothing ridiculous. We played alongside other bands who brought 2 full mesa half stacks, and they said the sound was shite. gee, wonder why.


Sorry I'm a noob and own an MG 15 speaker so I don't even know what a 4x12 is. I was always wondering what the numbers in the cab mean. Does 4x12 cab mean 4 speakers that are each 12 inches in diameter? Does 1x12 cab mean one speaker that is 12 inches in diameter? Does 2x12 cab mean two speakers that are each 12 inches in diameter?

So your saying that actually a smaller cab than used for practicing should be used at a show where it is miced and fed into monitors so that the vocals are not overwhelmed?

Yep, at the show I went to the cabs for the touring act were 5 feet tall. I wonder if since the locals couldn't afford such monster cabs that's why the touring act sounded like shit on stage (it sounded okay in front of stage in front of the PA speakers, but on stage it was total shit).


Quote by Cathbard
You've never told a venue to go **** themselves and walked out - or at least threatened to? I've done it plenty of times. In fact I always tell them up front - "my guy on the desk." If they don't like that I don't accept the gig. They aren't doing me a favor by letting me play, they are booking me to make money.


Lol, well I would be lucky enough to get the show booked and I wouldn't want to get kicked out.

I still don't know why the sound guy was so incompetent that he didn't do anything when the vocalist told the crowd to sing the lyrics for him because he can't hear anything.

I guess its you get what you pay for when the sound guy is low paid.... $12 admission into a bar basement and don't expect to hear House of Blues quality.


Quote by Arby911
Slickest thing I've seen recently was the sound guy walking around the venue during the show with a tablet remotely controlling the levels. I talked with him a good bit and the setup he was using was pretty nice. It even let him take audio samples from several different points in the crowd on the fly and then auto-adjusted based on his/their preferred settings.

It was expensive though, and the only reason this band had it was because the sound guy was a good friend of theirs who also owns a high-end studio and PA rental shop and he likes playing with his toys...


That's one of the coolest apps I've ever heard of. That sounds expensive so small venues probably can't afford it.


Maybe an audio recording would be useful to hear how terrible they sound. I would upload my video where you can't hear the vocals, but I'm not going to because YouTube won't let me make unlisted videos anymore since I have a strike on my account and I don't want the video to be public because it sucks so bad.

Here in this video the vocals are quiet also. The sound guy there was also incompetent, so incompetent that a band didn't play because a band were idiots and connected output of effects box to guitar and connected input of effects box to guitar amp and the sound guy didn't do anything. I think it might be the same sound guy. In this video the the vocals are quiet and overpowered by the guitars, now imagine you can't even hear the vocals at all that's what last night sounded like.

I guess you can't expect to have a competent sound guy if you play in a bar basement in the middle of no where in a ghost town in Illinois and if you play at a video game and bowling arcade.

I guess your not hardcore enough if you haven't played at a game arcade!
Last edited by dietermoreno at May 23, 2013,
#15
Quote by ExDementia
Real time kernels never seem to work out, at least in my experience. Sure, they can process the audio in real time, but support for just about anything else is subpar at best. I spent 6 months trying to get a dedicated DAWS station setup in our studio with one, I ended up abandoning it because while I got the audio to work, everything else ran like crap even on a decent spec machine. Also, I don't think anyone has tried a real time kernel in Android yet.
I just had two kernels installed. When running DAW stuff I'd boot into the realtime kernel, otherwise I'd boot into a non-patched one. Haven't got any DAW stuff running atm though. I need to get onto that soon.
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#16
You people are lucky. 'Round here if a band throws a hissy fit at a venue, they get chucked out, don't get paid and don't get to play there again. When you have more bands than venues, front of house isn't going to tolerate any divas demanding their own sound guy ****s with their stuff.
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#17
Get chucked out? They'd have to be quick. I don't take shit from nobody. If they bitch about me setting up my own gear I'd be walking before they had a chance. It isn't a hissy fit, it's standing your ground. It's my arse on the line, not theirs. It's either my way or I'm out of there. I'll get more gigs, **** 'em.
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#18
Quote by Arby911
Slickest thing I've seen recently was the sound guy walking around the venue during the show with a tablet remotely controlling the levels. I talked with him a good bit and the setup he was using was pretty nice. It even let him take audio samples from several different points in the crowd on the fly and then auto-adjusted based on his/their preferred settings.

It was expensive though, and the only reason this band had it was because the sound guy was a good friend of theirs who also owns a high-end studio and PA rental shop and he likes playing with his toys...

Yep, I've been trying to get my friend's band to invest in a Presonus StudioLive board for their shows and recording at home, but so far I've been unsuccessful. They'll spend a crap ton on other junk they don't need at all, but won't drop the cash on something that actually makes sense...

I mean, all the members of the band can setup their own in-ear mixes using an iOS device over WiFi. That alone is worth the price IMO. Then your sound guy can walk around the venue and control the whole mix with an iPad. Plus, you can hook it up to your laptop and record the whole set, with a separate mix track for each individual mic input. Cool stuff!
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#19
Quote by MatrixClaw
Yep, I've been trying to get my friend's band to invest in a Presonus StudioLive board for their shows and recording at home, but so far I've been unsuccessful. They'll spend a crap ton on other junk they don't need at all, but won't drop the cash on something that actually makes sense...

I mean, all the members of the band can setup their own in-ear mixes using an iOS device over WiFi. That alone is worth the price IMO. Then your sound guy can walk around the venue and control the whole mix with an iPad. Plus, you can hook it up to your laptop and record the whole set, with a separate mix track for each individual mic input. Cool stuff!


I didn't realize that Presonus had a 16 that you can get for ~$1300! That seems like a no-brainer to me, the setup I saw was a 32 IIRC, and was 4-5K?

Of course you'll need an iPad etc., but still, given the flexibility I think I'd have to give it serious thought if I got motivated to play out.
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#20
Quote by Arby911
I didn't realize that Presonus had a 16 that you can get for ~$1300! That seems like a no-brainer to me, the setup I saw was a 32 IIRC, and was 4-5K?

Of course you'll need an iPad etc., but still, given the flexibility I think I'd have to give it serious thought if I got motivated to play out.
I'd say that in comparison to how much people typically spend on sound gear, an iPad is a pretty minor expense. That's what's so cool about that setup.
#21
Quote by Arby911
I didn't realize that Presonus had a 16 that you can get for ~$1300! That seems like a no-brainer to me, the setup I saw was a 32 IIRC, and was 4-5K?

Of course you'll need an iPad etc., but still, given the flexibility I think I'd have to give it serious thought if I got motivated to play out.

The 16.0.2 is on sale right now for $999. Realistically it's only 12 inputs, though. The last 4 channels are stereo and only have 1 mic input. The 16.4.2 has more flexibility (extra features), but it's also a lot bigger and cost almost twice the price - I BELIEVE you can plug 2 16.0.2s together though and have 24 inputs for ~$2000, as long as you don't need all the extra features its big brothers come with.

That being said, even for $3000, the 24.4.2 is a steal. Consider this:

Most venues have crappy Mackie boards (or equivalent) that not only sound bad, but also only have EQs on them and cost ~$1500 or more. The StudioLive comes with EQ, Compressors, Limiters, Gates, Filters, Reverbs and Delays all built into it, which means you just saved yourself a ton on outboard gear, plus you get motorized faders, recording over firewire, in-ear monitor submixes and remote control.

Honestly, I really hope that as venues upgrade, they move to a digital interface like this. Setups like this used to cost upwards of 50 grand. Any venue just opening shouldn't even be looking at analogue boards anymore IMO.
Quote by Dave_Mc
I've had tube amps for a while now, but never actually had any go down on me
Quote by jj1565
maybe you're not saying the right things? an amp likes to know you care.





www.SanctityStudios.com
#23
Quote by MatrixClaw
The 16.0.2 is on sale right now for $999. Realistically it's only 12 inputs, though. The last 4 channels are stereo and only have 1 mic input. The 16.4.2 has more flexibility (extra features), but it's also a lot bigger and cost almost twice the price - I BELIEVE you can plug 2 16.0.2s together though and have 24 inputs for ~$2000, as long as you don't need all the extra features its big brothers come with.

That being said, even for $3000, the 24.4.2 is a steal. Consider this:

Most venues have crappy Mackie boards (or equivalent) that not only sound bad, but also only have EQs on them and cost ~$1500 or more. The StudioLive comes with EQ, Compressors, Limiters, Gates, Filters, Reverbs and Delays all built into it, which means you just saved yourself a ton on outboard gear, plus you get motorized faders, recording over firewire, in-ear monitor submixes and remote control.

Honestly, I really hope that as venues upgrade, they move to a digital interface like this. Setups like this used to cost upwards of 50 grand. Any venue just opening shouldn't even be looking at analogue boards anymore IMO.


I would not bother with the 16.0.2, very limited, needs more Aux sends. I have 2 16.4.2's and they're excellent. Waiting for the 32.4.2 .

Studiolive does not have motorized faders.

personally, the 16.4.2 is an excellent mixer for the price, but once we get into $3k territory, there are a few mixers better than the 24.4.2 for the price, and with better features.
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Last edited by Reincaster at May 23, 2013,