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Rock Band Set Up

Discussion in 'Members Lounge' started by Electrostatic, Mar 22, 2006.

  1. Electrostatic

    Electrostatic New Member

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    Hey all!!!

    Does any one in here know of any good websites that offer tips on setting up a band on stage so that all instruments can hear each other while playing. Im a keyboard player in a rock band on the problem that is happening is that between the guitar, bass, and drummer player i am not able to hear my self and so i have to crank up the volume.Another thing is that the guitar player claims that he can't hear him self either which is strange considering that his amplifyer speaker is facing him.
     
  2. audioguru

    audioguru Well-Known Member Most Helpful Member

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    Are you guys deaf?
     
  3. Electrostatic

    Electrostatic New Member

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    Not me!!! But i think it might be them. Man they are driving me crazy with the crank up volume but besides that im sure there are techniques out there that can improve the sound as a whole.
     
  4. dave

    Dave New Member

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  5. akg

    akg New Member

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    ask them to use headphones , with agc . :)
     
  6. Nigel Goodwin

    Nigel Goodwin Super Moderator Most Helpful Member

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    You don't give any details of your existing setup?, there are basically two main methods for a band.

    1) Each member has his own amp and speaker (often combo's), and use a small PA just for vocals. In this simple setup everyone needs to balance their output to that of the drums, which are purely acoustic.

    2) A main PA, each member still has their own amp and speaker (usually), but ONLY for on-stage monitoring - all instruments, including the drums, are miked or DI'd through the PA - this produces the main FOH (Front Of House) sound. Commonly the PA also feeds on-stage monitors, via a seperate mixer channel, to provide even better monitoring on stage. You would have a sound engineer working the mixer during the performance, to keep the best mix possible.

    What it sounds like on stage doesn't matter, it's only FOH that matters, in option 1) you need someone out front who can tell you what it sounds like, and what needs turning up or down.

    Generally the main problems is guitarists, they almost always play far too loud - I suggest getting a pair of pliers, and breaking one or two of his fingers (it's ALWAYS male, female guitarists seem to have more sense!).

    If it's any help?, my daughters band is three piece, Melissa on bass and vocals, Charlie on guitar (at a sensible level) and vocals, and Tom on drums. Melissa also plays keyboards sometimes, but not so far with this particular band.

    For option 1) we use a Behringer BX1200 120W bass combo, a Fender 60W keyboard combo for guitar (I happen to have one), and acoustic drums. Vocals are through a Behringer 400+400W mixer/amp.

    Generally though I would use more like option 2), same as above but with the two combos DI'd through the PA, and mikes on the drums - usually four, bass drum, snare drums, and two overheads (as I only have four spare channels).

    If we use keyboards I plug that directly into the mixer (to a line input, not a mike channel), so there's no amp on the keyboard.

    Due to the fact everything has to go in my small car, we don't have or use any seperate monitors - so Melissa on keyboards hears very little of what she's playing - luckily she's a fairly good keyboard player, and this isn't a problem.

    What are you using?, I can perhaps suggest the best way to use what you've got?.

    But basically PRACTICE - and you won't need to hear your keyboard so much, and get someone reliable out front to advise you on the sound levels - AND TURN THE GUITAR DOWN!.
     
  7. electronicallyinept

    electronicallyinept New Member

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    I played in a band for a couple of years and on stage mixing is a total pain in the ass. So I completely sympathise with you. Every new stage has its own acoustics. It's even worse when you keep having to deal with all these different sound guys. Most of them try to make up for having no clue what they're doing by being arrogant, grumpy ******** who rush around, talking at a hundred miles an hour, while they cock everything up and make a sound check last for over two hours...

    anyway now that i've got that rant out of the way.

    There are a lot of variables to conside.

    It could be something as simple as not taking into account that speakers are directional. Get your guitarist to experiment with angling his amp upwards or placing it on a milk crate rather than turning it up.

    Also you can dampen a drumkit with gaffa tape on the cymbols and snare. When the drum volume comes down everything else tends to come down too.

    One last suggestion would be to experiment with the layering of sound. If you can't hear clearly maybe you've got too many people playing in the same range of frequencies. This is a common problem with bands that have two guitars or guitars and keys. Often guitarists work out their sound when they are playing by themselves so they tend to need far less bass frequencies and a lot more of the highs. This will help the guitar sound to cut.

    Hope this helps.
     
  8. jbeng

    jbeng Member

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    I'm a sound engineer and I've had problems with almost every instrument at one time or another, but usually the bass player. This band it's usually the bass player. The last band, it was the drummer and the bass player. The one before that, bass and keyboards.
    You should get someone you trust to do it all the time for you. That is, if you own your PA. I've been with the first band I mentioned for 2 1/2 years, the second one 3 1/2 years and the last one about 2 years.

    Personally, I rarely go see groups around our area because I simply don't like how the other guys make the bands sound. Mr. X, for instance, likes a mix heavy with drums and he ignores the guitarist(s) during solos. Mr. Y has lost his hearing in the midrange frequencies and cranks those up, making the mix tinny or other times just plain too loud for the room. Mr. Z has about $100K worth of equipment but has no idea how to run it (Macauley system, 32 channel main mixer, 16 channel monitor mixer, two six-foot racks loaded with processors). Hehe, I kicked his BUTT when we had an event called "Rock Warz". We set up two stages at opposite ends of the place and played alternating sets. All I had was a couple thousand watts of Crown power amps into JBL speakers from a 16-chan Mackie mixer. :D
    JB
     
    Last edited: Mar 17, 2007
  9. Nigel Goodwin

    Nigel Goodwin Super Moderator Most Helpful Member

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    Drummer? - how can it be the drummer? - his only amplification is through the PA, if he's acoustically too loud you can turn the rest up to match.

    The girl drummer in Melissa's previous band was incredibly loud - never found it a problem? - even with the very small gear we use.
     
  10. jbeng

    jbeng Member

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    With that group, we didn't have guitar amps onstage ... Each guy DI'd his processed signal straight to me at the console and I sent them back thru the monitors. That way, the stage volume wasn't directed out front, blending with (or covering up) the drums. Without having to deal with the stage volume, that gave me more control of how the instruments sounded out front. Also, less equipment to move around. The drummer played a really nice Mapex kit which really thundered, especially when played like he does, always full "on" with relatively little dynamic. He would go through 8-10 drumsticks per night. Most of the time I would have him turned completely off in the mains. The bass player then decided he needed an amp and so began the problems with him. We also played some relatively small or odd-shaped rooms (one was nearly triangular) which were easy to overpower, lots of reflective surfaces, etc. It worked better when we played larger rooms and even better still outdoors, which we didn't play that often.
    The group I work with now has a standard backline of amps and they can be pretty loud out front, so drums are never the problem here. I usually set the drums and make minimal changes to them during the set. Most often the bass rig is the problem ("I never turn up" - bass player quote. He never turns down when I ask him too, either.) So I usually have to work around him. Other than that, I just have to manage the vocal levels, effects, monitor mixes, levels for guitar solos, etc.
    JB
     
    Last edited: Mar 18, 2007

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