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Stage Sound Freq. Cancellation /Spkr Plcmnt /Tips!


Legatoboy

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For those of us that play in bands with electric guitars and basses at higher volume levels, what strategies do you apply to hear yourself properly in regards to your stage sound.

 

Even with very good gear, when the dynamics start flying many times keyboard player's piano, organ and synth sounds can get lost, awash in frequency cancellation as a by product of amplified guitars and basses on stage or other components of your own sound (the exception when doubling to keyboards I guess)! A piano sound that sounds 'killer' in the basement, setting up your rig for a gig prior to a show, can fall flat on the floor on a certain stage/room or mixing it up with certain string players stage sounds in sometimes an amazingly baffling randomness (due to room acoustics/ambiances many times/or the lunar position) from gig to gig!

 

Going through the PA (usually) the rule helps this 'out front', but for our playing on stage, and the quality of it, many times I find I cannot hear myself the way I would like 30-35% of the night on a given gig! It's worse of course when not going through the PA for the audience.

 

Also, many times. when I have adjusted my volume (up) and not distorting and can hear myself after having trouble doing so, I'm am told I'm too loud and to turn down by other band members. Then people in the audience (friends and relations) tell me when you turned up, I could hear you, why did you turn back down or something of that such! (when not being run through the PA and sometimes not). Of course there are many many variables on both sides of this equation!

 

Any insights would be welcome, I know alot of us have to confront this nightly! I know each of us know alot about this also in our own ways, but I'm curious as to what other people's 'perceptions' are in regards to 'hearing' under adverse sonic environments.

 

Sometimes a simple idea can spark things! Speakers, Amplifier, Outboard Gear (I use BBE), Stage Setup, Working with the Guitarist and Bass players in terms of the problem, Frequency Ranges assigned to instrumentation in the band and discussions there of. . . . .anything really . . .etc. . .

 

I almost wish I played piano in the 1930's, life just seemed like it was simpler then in terms of things like this and music performance!

 

lb

 

SP6, CP-50, FP-80, PX5-S, NE-5d61, XK-3, CX-3, Yamaha YUX Upright, '66 B3/Leslie 145/122
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For those of us that play in bands with electric guitars and basses at higher volume levels, what strategies do you apply to hear yourself properly in regards to your stage sound.

 

It still comes down to group dynamics. I will ask the others to turn down in order to balance the stage volume even if it is 13 overall. ;)

 

Also, many times. when I have adjusted my volume (up) and not distorting and can hear myself after having trouble doing so, I'm am told I'm too loud and to turn down by other band members.

 

Unless you are playing obnoxiously loud on stage (which I doubt), it sounds like you are playing with cats who view the keys as background noise.

 

Working with the Guitarist and Bass players in terms of the problem

 

This would be ideal especially if you can get them to agree on a stage volume that works for everyone.

 

I almost wish I played piano in the 1930's, life just seemed like it was simpler then in terms of things like this and music performance!

 

The grass always appear to be greener on the other side. Think about their limitations. That is how we have ended up with so much technology and GAS today. :):cool:

 

 

PD

 

"The greatest thing you'll ever learn, is just to love and be loved in return."--E. Ahbez "Nature Boy"

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Move your speaker(s) in... as close as you can to the front of the stage. Even to the point of where they might be almost next to you. The further back, the louder it is to the rest of the band.

 

I have a variety of positions for my cabs... sometimes on the floor on a high stage, sometimes on stands lowered all the way down so they're waist high. But sometimes up at mains level if I have to. If you're not in the mains, give them a clear shot to the dance floor somehow. I get real creative with this sometimes... positioning my keyboards in a way where I can pull this one off.

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ProfD,

 

Good insights, 'that's what I'm talking about'!

 

The 'taste' verses 'noise' ratios and certain craniums and ego capacities to 'tolerate' what I consider normal playing has been less egalitarian of late. Especially as I have gotten older and play less and less with 'old friends' who I tended to share a common vision with! I'm thinking of playing different music, partially because of this. Still electric, but more ideal for my chops and keys!

 

I find bands with the name of the bandleader in the band name, who are also a guitarists are usually the worst offenders in terms of their tolerances and 'concept' of keys. Many times the bassplayers are the perfect stooges for them too, and in my old band the drummer too a certain degree too based on ignorance. Other keyboard players would come up to me after a set and say to me 'Man your sounding good, I hope they (the band) appreciates you. . . . .they didn't because they felt the band made it's reputation through the guitarist. The level of certain things you do get's unnoticed and therefore 'under-appreciated'

It's almost like the stock market and the economy!

 

But my old band was not as bad as others I have worked in terms of the 4th wheel syndrome I would say!

 

Ah, to find a well balanced band! That is a worthy goal!

 

lb

 

SP6, CP-50, FP-80, PX5-S, NE-5d61, XK-3, CX-3, Yamaha YUX Upright, '66 B3/Leslie 145/122
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Bill H,

 

That's sounds like good advice, but I want to hear it too! I have a thing about hearing the sound coming from the front of my amp! I notice other players don't care quit as much as I do about that!

 

I think that's part of the dilemma, the dance floor needs to hear it and so do I! I like your idea about getting the amp out of the back of the stage and up front so the rest of the band isn't bugged!

 

lb

SP6, CP-50, FP-80, PX5-S, NE-5d61, XK-3, CX-3, Yamaha YUX Upright, '66 B3/Leslie 145/122
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The 'taste' verses 'noise' ratios and certain craniums and ego capacities to 'tolerate' what I consider normal playing has been less egalitarian of late. Especially as I have gotten older and play less and less with 'old friends' who I tended to share a common vision with! I'm thinking of playing different music, partially because of this. Still electric, but more ideal for my chops and keys! lb

 

In an earlier post, I suggested that keyboard players become bandleaders. ;)

 

However, an important aspect of putting a band together and/or playing in one is mutual respect. That will check egos at the door which in turn, alleviates many issues prior to the first note. :cool:

PD

 

"The greatest thing you'll ever learn, is just to love and be loved in return."--E. Ahbez "Nature Boy"

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ProfD,

 

The ego of the bandleader from my old band was way inflated, not that talent wise he didn't necessarily deserve it (musical skill wise the jury is still out as far as I'm concerned).

 

It's alot of leg work to manage and get a band off the ground not to mention time! That's why being a side man or a member of a 'Band' worked for me. The whole band other than the leader in my old band were like add-on's to support him to a large extent. Not a good formula for ego/musical equality! I got tired of being dominated or made to look like I was being dominated (not necessarily musically either)!

 

I love to gig, but go over a certain level or play me for much more of a dope than I actually am for sh-it's a giggles and

it's 'Toast Time'!

 

Amazing how stupid people can actually be in their behavior! Never ever ceases to amaze me! Not that I'm totally above being 'anything', but my personality is not of the 'ego driven', variety!

 

lb

 

SP6, CP-50, FP-80, PX5-S, NE-5d61, XK-3, CX-3, Yamaha YUX Upright, '66 B3/Leslie 145/122
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With my last band, I had a line out to the mains or FOH system at every gig, even if the other instruments weren't miked. I put my Bose PAS behind me and fairly close. I could hear myself just fine, and the mix was good for the audience too. No one in the band complained about me being too loud, except the drummer, who did on rare occasions, because of a small stage when the Bose was very close to him.

 

Some speakers, have a "hot spot" of sorts, where the upper mids and highs are dominent. The upper mids and highs fall off more rapidly than the lows off axis, so depending on where you might be sitting, you might not hear yourself clearly, whereas the poor guy who is in that hot spot might hear you all too well. Acoustic piano patches put out a lot of upper mids and highs.

 

Cheers!

 

Bill

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Thanks Bill,

 

Nice you have a band that has the sense to put you through the PA all the time. I couldn't just do that, had to be 'sanctioned' on a gig by gig basis! I would never initiate the request, I learned not to I should say. I'd wait to see what the bandleader thought, regardless of what I thought!

 

lb

 

 

 

 

 

 

SP6, CP-50, FP-80, PX5-S, NE-5d61, XK-3, CX-3, Yamaha YUX Upright, '66 B3/Leslie 145/122
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Let your sound person(s) help each of you individually to get your levels--not only for the FOH mix.

 

Also don't be afraid to plug in a pair of headphones to hear more of yourself. As keyboardists, we have that option. :) When I'm playing other instruments, I don't--they usually only have a single out.

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Dp2,,

 

 

Phones, are cool, though I would like a band mix ideally! Most of the bands I work with are not Pink Floyd to say the least espically in club dates.

 

Big show mixes are always good, you can 'order up' your mix and include yourself with the band in the monitors, that's always a pleasure if the system is nice!

 

lb

SP6, CP-50, FP-80, PX5-S, NE-5d61, XK-3, CX-3, Yamaha YUX Upright, '66 B3/Leslie 145/122
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Cydonia,

 

I can see a pattern forming in your bad behavior!

Anyway, the Speaker/Babe trick doesn't work anymore for my old butt! They may think I was the guitarist's father or something playing keys, pathetically trying to get their attention!

 

Remember the old adages, (not to say anything about that beautiful babe of yours but in general ( your gal actually looks cool on a lot of levels')):

 

'No matter how gorgeous she may be, somehow, somewhere, she is driving somebody crazy!'

 

and

 

'How are beautiful woman like Diner pastry?

.

.

.

Many times they look better than they actually are'!

 

Great thing about America is that we have a joke for everybody!

lb :rolleyes:

SP6, CP-50, FP-80, PX5-S, NE-5d61, XK-3, CX-3, Yamaha YUX Upright, '66 B3/Leslie 145/122
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I had a problem with one particular guitar player constantly saying I was too loud. Turns out it was just right out front and to the rest of the band, just too loud on him.

 

I run stereo, with a cabinet on either side of me set about 24" apart (my rack is in between). I used to set the cabinets to blow straight forward, and there was always a problem/ I've since turned tham in so they are aimed at my head, on stands that raise them a bit and lean them back. I can now hear myself 95% of the time, and I seldom have the guitar player complain. In fact I sometimes get the opposite from the guitar player and bass player on the other side. They can't hear me enough. That's when I go into the PA and pump some of the keys through their monitors.

 

Sometimes all it takes is a slight change in sound source placement. Of course it helps that the whole band are old farts like me, and hate going home with tinnitus.

"In the beginning, Adam had the blues, 'cause he was lonesome.

So God helped him and created woman.

 

Now everybody's got the blues."

 

Willie Dixon

 

 

 

 

 

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What I do if the guitar players get to loud is gig with a small water pistol in a holster on the side of my piano, If they get any where near 11, I squirt em'.

 

like my cats!

lb

SP6, CP-50, FP-80, PX5-S, NE-5d61, XK-3, CX-3, Yamaha YUX Upright, '66 B3/Leslie 145/122
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If I need to go higher than the guitar player with LGD I just put my speaker stand up a few more notches. :grin:

Jimmy

 

Those are my principles, and if you don't like them... well, I have others. Groucho

NEW BAND CHECK THEM OUT

www.steveowensandsummertime.com

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Cydonia,

 

I can see a pattern forming in your bad behavior!

Anyway, the Speaker/Babe trick doesn't work anymore for my old butt! They may think I was the guitarist's father or something playing keys, pathetically trying to get their attention!

 

In one of my bands I AM the guitarist's father...time marches on....

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i try when discussing set-up to suggest to the guiraist that "his sound" would develope better if he were closer to his amp... bringing the relative vol on stage down... or possibly how he's brilliant for useing that 25 wt combo and micing it instead of pushing the whole room from the stage with that 100wt stack....
"style is determined not by what you can play but what you cant...." dave brubeck
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