#1
Okay, that's a bit melodramatic.
My band had our first show in a while a few days ago. We were super excited. We get to the gig and the set times were off. Our bassist was late, but he did get there on time after the scheduling issue was fixed. We sound check and everything starts smooth. We start and I notice my guitar isn't going out to the front. After the first song, the sound guy tells me to stop that crackling sound from my amp. I'm perplexed because I can hear my amp perfectly fine and the was no crackilng sound from it. Confused, I turn it down a bit, maybe it's a mic problem. It worked, no weird sound. Sound Guy tells me not to turn it down. Crackling comes back, but still not from my amp. He gets mad and cuts our set (4 songs instead of 6). The sound wasn't my fault. My rig works perfectly fine and there were no issues at practices or during soundcheck.
We played great, but it was a bummer to get cut off and blamed for something that was actually the venues fault. Should we never attempt to play there again or should we be in the habit of bringing our own mics/cables?
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#2
Haha - welcome to the world of gigging!

First question - did any of the other bands have this "crackle"? If not, it was probably something going on in your set. It may even be your gear.

Common "crackle" causes include:
- "Dirty" mains power
- "Loose" inputs on guitar, pedals or amp
- Faulty effects pedals

I've encountered some other funky ones with the PA, usually tracing it down to a bad XLR cable.

As for your issue, the crackling stopped when you turned the amp down...right? This means that the issue was most likely your amp. If it was too loud for the mic it peaks at the mixer level, creating more of a "whistle" noise. Another factor could be that the input on your guitar was loose, and when you bent down to change the volume of the amp, the crackle went away momentarily because it slightly changed position.

Run through all your gear at home again, try to recreate your problem.

One big lesson for you though is never get angry at the sound guy or venue. Usually it really is your gear just having an issue on the night. As a general rule, the bigger/more important the gig is, the more likely your gear is to fail.

As for bringing your own gear, use your own judgement. I always take my own amp/leads/power cables and power boards. I usually bring my own mics and mic stands. For acoustic gigs I bring my own DIs (yes pretty anal but the quality of a DI has a massive effect on acoustic guitar tone).
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#3
Welcome to the gig world haha

Try to get along with the sound guys, even when they are pricks some times, but otherwise you'll have a shitty night.
If the weird sound dissapered when you turned down your amp, almost for certain was your amp, or something between the guitar and your amp.
At practices and soundchecks everything works fine, but when you have to perform it's like that all the planets from "Problem land" gets aligned and something goes bad, but you get over it, it's part of performing live, you can have issues and you'll learn how to deal with them.

For me, it's the best to use my own stuff cause I know them and I know they function properly and I know that I'll sound exactly as in the rehearsals. So, if you can, yes, bring your own stuff.
And If I were you, I'll go again to the place to play live and see what happens.
#4
While the sound was happening, I could hear my amp not making the sound, but the sound coming from the PA even when I wasn't playing, with a noise gate and no distortion, no volume up. When i turned it down to the level i usually have it at (it was past the normal level I keep it at because he was having an issue at the soundcheck). That makes me think it was just too loud for the mic at the moment. I ran through my gear to check and I'm not having any problem.
The main reason I'm sure it wasn't on my end is that the sound was coming out of the pa in sputters, but normally through the amp. I was standing next to it, not hearing anything strange from the amp, but hearing plenty strange from the PA. On our last 2 songs, the problem went away despite me having brought it back to the same volume level and me changing nothing.
The only reason me and the band felt any animosity is that he cut the set short on something that was on his end, he got very very upset and started swearing.

I'm not so concerned with the gear thing anyways, it happened and it's not like we played badly, we played rather well in fact, we always do, and my gear is fine. but I don't want a venue to not like us or not want to deal with us because something I or we had no control over at the time, so I'm wondering if we should avoid that venue for a while.
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Last edited by sonny bb at Nov 3, 2013,
#5
^^^ I'm not going to say you're wrong, you might be. Without being there I can't tell. However I'm going to pick apart your post.

Quote by sonny bb
While the sound was happening, I could hear my amp not making the sound, but the sound coming from the PA even when I wasn't playing, with a noise gate and no distortion, no volume up.


If you were going through, foldbacks, FOH and your amp it can be hard to tell exactly where the sound is coming from. See story number 4 below for an example. It could have still been your amp, effects pedals or input even if the volume on your guitar was off.

Quote by sonny bb
When i turned it down to the level i usually have it at (it was past the normal level I keep it at because he was having an issue at the soundcheck). That makes me think it was just too loud for the mic at the moment.


As I said above, having your amp too loud for a mic results in a "whistle", rather than a "crackle". And as you said above, the noise continued with your guitar off.


Quote by sonny bb
I ran through my gear to check and I'm not having any problem.


Same volume/guitar/effects/leads etc?

Quote by sonny bb
The main reason I'm sure it wasn't on my end is that the sound was coming out of the pa in sputters, but normally through the amp. I was standing next to it, not hearing anything strange from the amp, but hearing plenty strange from the PA.


As I said above, when going through amp/foldbacks/FOH it can be hard to pick the source.

Quote by sonny bb
On our last 2 songs, the problem went away despite me having brought it back to the same volume level and me changing nothing.


This would indicate that it's unlikely to be your guitar input.

Quote by sonny bb
The only reason me and the band felt any animosity is that he cut the set short on something that was on his end, he got very very upset and started swearing.


Firstly the real question is whether you ended at the time you were supposed to, rather than whether you got to play all the songs you wanted. I think we're missing something about what you said to the sound guy here. Sets get cut short sometimes, and in this case I will guess that one of the following or more happened;

- you mentioned there were "scheduling issues", perhaps you didn't get as much time as a result of them
- too much time was spent trying to fix the crackle, you guys lost time from the set
- your set was too long for the slot
- you started late (either as a result of poor scheduling or otherwise)

I wouldn't worry too much about the slot being cut short if it ended at the time it was supposed to end. You start worrying when they tell you to stop, and you don't, and then they get really angry. That's the type of stuff that will get you blacklisted from a venue.

Quote by sonny bb
I'm not so concerned with the gear thing anyways, it happened and it's not like we played badly, we played rather well in fact, we always do, and my gear is fine. but I don't want a venue to not like us or not want to deal with us because something I or we had no control over at the time, so I'm wondering if we should avoid that venue for a while.


If you said something bad to the sound guy, I'd assume the venue already doesn't like you. If it's just technical issues and you took them in stride that's good.

We all go through this mate, technical issues plague everybody. How you handle the situation is the key though, that's what people will remember you for.

I have a whole heap of stories about technical issues, here's some:

1. It was the sound guys fault

In some cases, yes, it really is the sound guys fault. Crackle is not one of these instances, you cannot control "crackle" from the board.

But I have a band which I've nicknamed "the amateur sound guy killer". The lineup is two acoustic guitars, bass and drums. Playing acoustic guitar in a loud setting is a feedback nightmare. If you have 2 it's worse. And the sound guy will know that any feedback is primarily on him - acoustic guitars don't make that noise by themselves.

We played a gig, and the entire gig was low rumbling feedback. I mean, the entire, 45 minutes, straight feedback. It was definitely a struggle, and you could see the sound guy fiddle with everything, and his face drop, absolutely covered in sweat. Between two or so songs we stopped for him to try to fix it but no matter what, the rumble remained.

At the end of the gig he was too embarrassed to even talk to us. However we sought him out and explained that it happens to everyone, it's not an easy band to mix with the two acoustic guitars. So we reassured him a lot and he felt better, making a promise that next time we'll be better. He talked to the owner and we were booked back in two weeks.

Two weeks later he did sound, and it was perfect. He'd definitely worked on it, and he was very happy. And then he offered us a gig at his sister's pub.

So basically through one awful gig we scored two good ones. Works out.

2. Bye I'm out of here guys

The night had come, our first time playing at one of Australia's most well-known venues. We showed up on time, soundcheck was great, had a fair few people come out to see us. Rock on stage and I have my trusty delay pedal ready to go. I'd even tested that out during soundcheck quickly to make sure it worked.

Second song in, the singer goes "watch out for AlanHB's massive solo in this one". Song goes great and we're winding into my massive solo. Here we go, step on the delay pedal and it cuts all sound to the amp (and PA), flashes red lights all over and turns off. "Bye Alan" it whispers to me, "you're going to have to go on without me". Yeah great Mr Delay pedal, you've cut all my sound jerk.

So after realising what's happened, I do the most logical thing. Simply pelvic thrust the guitar solo with a silly face. I air hump the audience as they break into hysterics.

After the song I removed the delay pedal from the chain and put it in the naughty corner. It turned out later that it required a 9v 200ma power supply, I'd been using a 9v 100ma since I bought it, and it had worked fine. It just figured tonight was the night to get picky.

3. Tone's away!

Perfectly set up at soundcheck, levels sound great. Only one problem, it sounds like my tone knob is rolled all the way off. Obviously I check the tone knob on my guitar, it's on 10. It's not the PA, the sound is coming out of my amp. Check amp settings, pretty standard. I turn the treble all the way up, it may as well be on zero. I turn the amp on and off again. Same blobby tone. I unplug from my effects pedals and go straight to the amp. Tone is great! It's back.

So it's one of my effects yeah?

Yes. Yes it is.

My wah has been engaged heel up the entire time.

4. Itz da squeelzz

The venue informs us that they have their own FOH speakers, I just need to supply the mixer and foldback and that's all g. It's a small venue so I don't opt to mic up the guitars for this one. Just the vocals and a bit of kick drum.

Well sure, it's a small venue, but tonight was absolutely crammed with people. People soak up sound and you need to crank the music louder.

So it's getting loud. The FOH speakers are more than capable so the vocals are all good. The guitars and bass are also equally capable of holding their own, and we're adjusting slowly up to accommodate for the lack of PA re-enforcement of those instruments.

It gets louder and louder and louder until finally it happens. I hit the high gain channel on my amp and it makes an incredible SQQQUEEEEEELLLLLL. Boom audience, take that jerks as they hold their ears in pain. Everyone's looking at me, err, I won't go to that channel, I'll go to the other one. It's all good. I know it's my amp, the squeal even integrates my delay appropriately. All I need to do is change the settings a little.

When I get the chance every now and then I adjust my squeal channel settings. Ok, yep I'll just roll off the treble a little and that'll do it. SQQQUEEEEELLLLLL~!!! Shit!. Well I have my lesser gain one that's still cool. Oh oh that's starting to sqeel at the tail end of the notes. I'm starting to freak out thinking that my amp has some sort of internal circuit issue. I admit defeat and turn the high gain volume to zero, just to avoid the massive audience destroying squeels.

Ok, well this one was a really random issue.

First of all, it wasn't my guitar amp.

When the source is too loud for the PA, it distorts at the mixer level. If I had wandered my head over to the side of the stage I would have seen the red peak light on the vocal mic every time I engaged the high gain channel. When this occurs the mixer makes a very distinctive squeal noise. My amp was so loud, at the back of the stage, that it was causing distortion because it was too loud for the mic, at the front of the stage.

How so? There was delay on the squeal so that could have only come from your guitar amp right? Wrong.

The vocalist was using a vocal effects box which had delay on it. The stage and FOH volume was so loud that I thought it was coming from my guitar amp, when it was coming from the FOH and foldbacks.

I have more, but I'll stop now.
And no, Guitar Hero will not help. Even on expert. Really.
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#6
Guess what, most sound guys are idiots. Most of the time it's handled by a jerk who's not suited to logical thinking, didn't receive any kind of formal training and are only there because they like loud music to drink booze to.

Not to say ALL sound guys are bad, I have experienced amazing ones. But unless it's a high profile gig, chances are you'll be dealing with a moron with a bad attitude and shit equipment. At least that's how it is for me 9 times out of 10.

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#7
My theory: I think the issue was that my amp signal was too loud and was causing a peaking issue. It was louder than I usually have it, so it think it was peaking, it has happened many times when I first started recording and mixing things, but when I turned it down, it stopped peaking, but he told me to turn it back up. Everyone had 20 min sets, the show had a scheduling issue, but it did start at the proper time. a minute at most was used trying to solve the problem. I asked the guy what he suggested I do, very politely, I'm not a rude or brash guy at all, never have been, but he was rather upset and sorta yelled at me. I was more in problem solver mode and trying to get it together, he was very rude to me in fact. we ended up only playing ten minutes because he was upset. The monitors, btw, didn't work. They cut in and out anyway. Soundguy told us beforehand that they didn't work at the front of the stage. but the FOH speakers were close enough for me to hear myself from it, and my amp was far enough for me to hear it separately with my earplugs in if I moved over there.
Theory 2: Bad mic cable. I'm serious, I'm right by my amp, not playing, no sound being made, from it, I hear a crackle from the PA. Not the amp. it sounded like a dying guitar cable. I assume the two sound similar when they go bad.
But yeah, I use the same leads and effects in the same order with the same guitar, nothing wrong with my setup. only real difference was that our bass player showed up a tad late after me and the drummer and vocalist soundchecked. Could that have something to do with it? It sounds weird....

I don't know, the venue was nice, but it was far from a big show or our biggest. it was a weekday thing. We played super tight at our biggest. We've only played sorta not great once. We practiced quite a bit very early on and we still do, though we don't have to as much. I'm more concerned with sort of "losing" a venue to play at.
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#8
Quote by sonny bb
My theory: I think the issue was that my amp signal was too loud and was causing a peaking issue.


Damn dude, are you reading above? Peaking is not a crackle. It's a very distinctive squeal.

Quote by sonny bb
Everyone had 20 min sets, the show had a scheduling issue, but it did start at the proper time.

.....[And previously]

He gets mad and cuts our set (4 songs instead of 6).

.....

we ended up only playing ten minutes because he was upset


So basically your songs are 2:30 each song, if there were no breaks in between.

Quote by sonny bb
he was rather upset and sorta yelled at me
...
The monitors, btw, didn't work. They cut in and out anyway. Soundguy told us beforehand that they didn't work at the front of the stage



This sounds like crappy gear and an amateur sound guy.

Quote by sonny bb
Theory 2: Bad mic cable. I'm serious, I'm right by my amp, not playing, no sound being made, from it, I hear a crackle from the PA. Not the amp. it sounded like a dying guitar cable. I assume the two sound similar when they go bad.


Cables are possible sources of crackle.


Quote by sonny bb
But yeah, I use the same leads and effects in the same order with the same guitar, nothing wrong with my setup. only real difference was that our bass player showed up a tad late after me and the drummer and vocalist soundchecked. Could that have something to do with it? It sounds weird.....


Not in itself, however sometimes the late addition of a person or gear can cause your stuff to be moved/kicked and something knocked loose.

Quote by sonny bb
I don't know, the venue was nice, but it was far from a big show or our biggest. it was a weekday thing. We played super tight at our biggest. We've only played sorta not great once. We practiced quite a bit very early on and we still do, though we don't have to as much. I'm more concerned with sort of "losing" a venue to play at.


If you're still at the stage where you're stressing over the sound guy and think that 6 songs is a pretty easy fit for a 20 minute set, it's in your best interests to keep in the good books of as many venues as you can.


Quote by jthm_guitarist
Guess what, most sound guys are idiots. Most of the time it's handled by a jerk who's not suited to logical thinking, didn't receive any kind of formal training and are only there because they like loud music to drink booze to.

Not to say ALL sound guys are bad, I have experienced amazing ones. But unless it's a high profile gig, chances are you'll be dealing with a moron with a bad attitude and shit equipment. At least that's how it is for me 9 times out of 10.


The same could be said about amateur musicians. The non-professional ones tend to complain a lot.
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#9
....worked with soundguys who seemed to think they were the dogsballs.....more ego than the frikin leadsinger and they´re surprised when we stopped calling them. We now have one of the most down to earth sound techs I´ve ever met that can simply do magic with his mixer ;-)...makes my Life that much easier
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#10
The fact that there were faults present with his gear in the first place put me in question with him. Our songs we setup for that gig were about 2:30-3:00 min (not accounting for the live speed up) and our down time is only about a minute total. I'm not good at writing long songs We time them. We time our sets in rehearsals and of course in the recordings. He cut us off. He told us he cut us off. We only played about 10 mins. He got mad, regardless of who's end it was from, he behaved in an unnecessary manner and that cost us a third of a set (song wise) and possibly a chance at playing there again if he is the regular sound guy (or at least a good sound if we do play there again). He has been the only dodgey sound guy we've come across. We met a guy a town over who was just fantastic. Not only did he dig our stuff, but he REMEMBERED us from playing there months before. He remembered our rigs and everything. If he wasn't 3 hours away, I'd ship him here every time we played
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#12
This is also one of the reasons my band has its own sound guy. We have known him for years, he knows the band's equipment, he knows are amps and he knows the songs. That's really a comforting thought, having someone you trust at the FOH.
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#13
We talked about getting a PA because our rehearsal pa for the vocals has an issue. How many watts/speakers/blahblahblah would you suggest maybe suggest for a four piece metal band, 1 guitar 1 bass, drummer with 5 piece kit and singular vocalist? Might expand to 2 vocalists later.
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#14
^^^ It's probably best to first set a budget, then see what you can afford. With PA stuff bigger is usually better.

Also it's best if only one person owns the PA gear (or any gear), so there's no massive falling out if/when the band breaks up.

Otherwise you're probably best starting out with a pair of powered speakers (however powerful you can afford) and an 8-12 channel mixer.
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#16
+1 on AlanHB´s comment. no more than 2 co-owners of band gear....and make sure that only one of them makes the decissions.....don´t follow this and you´r screwed to begin with.

When it comes to PA Think big....a minimum of 2 activ 150w tops and 2 350w bottoms is what you´r going to need and that will do Ok for smaller garden parties/clubs and venues. As for mixer...look for something with 12 channels....if there´s for of you than the drummer will end up with at least 5-7 channels and leave you fighting for the rest. If your on a budget the Yamaha 01V is a really decent mixer that will make most soundguys go teary eyed with memories. If you have bigger gigs than look into working with a decent soundguy that has his own stuff...when we do big gigs we hire "sound and lights"...just add it to the gage....saves us the hassel and it´s really nice to pretend to be rockstars with fancy flashing moving heads and shit ;-)
I believe in god, jesus and the holy ghost.....or as i call them Angus, Kirk and Lemmy