I'm in a garage band with 2 other friends. I'm the guitarist and we also have a bassist and a drummer that also does vocals.

The problem that we have is that (please bear with me):

Drums are naturally loud, especially in a closed garage.
In order to be heard, the bassist and I have to turn up our amps.
Because everything is so loud now, we can barely hear the drummer sing (he is micced up to the PA)
If we turn the PA up too high, we will get feedback (the kind of feedback when you put a microphone close to a speaker)

The vocals are the only thing that is micced up to the PA. our setup is like this:
microphone--->mixing board---->power amp---->2 big speakers

So, UG, i ask of you this: How can we get the vocals to be heard?

I am open to any intelligent questions and responses
Try cutting different frequencies with the EQ

edit: you could also try putting curtains/sheets/blankets up to absorb some of the sound. a garage is a pretty reflective environment
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Last edited by cody733 at Oct 17, 2007,
Just adding on to what was just said, I find a healthy amount of mid-frequency will help your drummer's vocals cut through to be heard better.
That's pretty ironic, because I auditioned for a band last night that had all of the problems you listed. I work as a sound engineer and the first thing I did was look at the graphic EQ. Since that didn't help... I know the 2nd most likely thing. I didn't press them too much considering it wasn't my band.. however if I'm hired... the first thing I would suggest is:

They were playing in a spacious garage with concrete floors. Carpeting would help.

The drummer was extremely loud and the guitarists had full/half stack amps.

These guys were louder than the stage volumn at the 1,000+ nightclub I work at. The drummer has to be quiter and the guitar amps need to be repossesioned. There was a lot of feedback coming from one of the guitar amps.

They were running a 600 watt practice amp through 2 loudspeakers in which the design w
as pretty old school. The speakers were also faced to the band.

The EQ on their board was a joke. A graphic EQ can really help.

I've also seen bands place the drummer in a completely different room just so it wasn't that loud.
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my friend has these drumm stick tha she uses and tere like black on the end and it looks like its been shredded but anyways she can hit the drumms real hard and its not that loud aldo try using pilloys in the drums or puting a lil foam on top(only a little)
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I've also seen bands place the drummer in a completely different room

Exile the drummer! Lol I love that. It does make sense as a solution in that type of practice envirnoment though.
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my friend has these drumm stick tha she uses and tere like black on the end and it looks like its been shredded but anyways she can hit the drumms real hard and its not that loud aldo try using pilloys in the drums or puting a lil foam on top(only a little)

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I think some kind of rudimentary sound-proofing would help. Put some old carpet on the floor and hang sheets or more carpet off the walls. Get the drummer and then everyone else to quiet down.
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Without some sort of sound proofing agarage is the perfect place for feedback. Concrete floors, metal door, bare wood or thin sheetrock walls...

Number one is get some soundproofing up. A couple of layers of carpet and carpet padding works well, suspended ceiling tiles work too. Forget egg cartons, that's fine for low volume bedroom recording but almost useless for loud band practice.

Second is get everyone to turn down. Towels over hte drum heads helps, pillows inside them or blankets helps but sound quality suffers. And electronic drum set is excellent, and some of hte newer ones sound great. Most drummers like a standard acoustic snare still, that's acceptable if you can muffle it some. Guitar players need lower wattage amps, 30 watts max, to keep a lower volume level and still get a good sound if they're running tube amps. Control the effects, don't let them control you.

If one guitar is getting lots of feedback, something might be wrong. Effects is my first guess, most guitar players rely much too heavily on effects, I've seen guys who made live club shows suck because they were fighting effects all night instead of playing. The guitar could also have microphonic pickups, which means it's going to feedback no matter what, even if it's just guitar and amp cranked to stage volume. In that case the pickups need to be potted, or dipped in melted wax. If that's the problem, a good explanation and potting instructions are at Stew Mac.

In short, Sound proof and TURN IT DOWN...

If possible I use my Fender Champ, 6 watt tube amp, for practice, sometimes plugged into a 1x12 cabinet or the 2x12 I use for my stage amp. If not I use my Super Reverb, 45 watts, and I don't turn it up to 10 like I play it onstage, 4 or 5 will suffice. I don't quite get the "raunch n roll" sound I'm after, but I can live with that for the sake of HEARING the band and eliminating feedback in vocals. An overdrive pedal will help a lot when I do need a bit gutsier sound. I use it onstage anyway, it's mounted to my pedal board, so it's there along with volume pedal and everything else, if I need a bit of dirty I just step on a pedal. I also try to adjust my pedals beforehand, fine tune during the first song or two, then leave the effects alone. Onstage I hate to have to change a pedal setting, I want it right before I start, then I don't touch it. Same for amp settings, especially volume. If I can't get a pedal to give me what I want quick and painless, then leave it alone, I get rid of it. I sold a ProCo Rat a few years ago because no matter what I did it was too thin and trebly. My Ibanez SD 9 sounded much better, still does, and has a tone control the Rat didn't have. I also use effects sparingly. 90% of my sound comes from guitar, amp and strings, not effects.
Hmmm...I wonder what this button does...
You could try using an electric drum set for practice but still use acoustic ones for recording and gigs, if you don't like the sound of drums played softly.
Another option to quiet down your drummer, depending on you buget, is to place 5 feet high, mounted sheets of plexi glass around your drummer to dampen the sound. Carpet covered plywood is a cheaper alternative, especially if you find some extra carpet from you buddy at the local flooring store. The only problem is that if you use carpet and plywood, the drummer can't see anything.