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You can't fight the man. LOL.


CEB
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I guess I was a little board or maybe I was doing some mild trolling ...

 

I just had an interesting passing conversation on a Facebook group. Guy asked if preamp pedal were necessary and a lot of internet players threw out a bunch of different answers. I felt like joining in and my reply was to the effect of Very few things are truly necessary and most ' preamp pedals' are not preamp pedals and asked if he intends to inject it into the loop or a power amp in input on his guitar amp. But that is not of interest right now.

 

The thing I thought was fun was someone posted that preamp pedals are necessary if you are an acoustic guitar performer and I got to thinking and I responded 'I hear that a lot. And I use Preamp pedals for acoustic instruments, I'm a Fishman guy but when I was on the road in the 80s All they did was have me plug my Ovation into a DI that went to the desk. The front desk would handle EQ, Verb, etc.... I monitored through my wedge. But I worked for great outfit.' The guy said that is okay if you trust the sound guy or have the same sound every night..... I'm told him none of that matters.

 

We did have the same crew but it doesn't really matter because in these situations nobody has real control over their tone. Once it hit FOH its out of your hands. If they wreck your sound its on them. You can't fight production. Hobbyist just don't understand the limitations of gear. :laugh:

 

I see it on here some times when keyboards seek crazy loud amplification so they can try to break the sound guy's mix and be heard out front. That s*** don't work, they will still bury you if that is what they want and you piss off your co-workers.

 

You can't fight the man.

"It doesn't have to be difficult to be cool" - Mitch Towne

 

"A great musician can bring tears to your eyes!!!

So can a auto Mechanic." - Stokes Hunt

 

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I see it on here some times when keyboards seek crazy loud amplification so they can try to break the sound guy's mix and be heard out front. That s*** don't work, they will still bury you if that is what they want and you piss off your co-workers.

 

You can't fight the man.

But you can make friends with the man. My bandmates still mock me about the time we walk into a new venue, the sound guy introduces himself and I offer him a drink. I knew what I was doing... I was about to complicate his life with my IEMs...

 

Cheers, Mike.

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When I sit behind the keyboards in rehearsal or on stage, I can only know how the keys sounds or the band sounds right where I am sitting. I have no idea how it sounds anywhere else in the room or theater. So I have never understood these people who ask "how do I make my keyboard cut thru the mix?" AFAIK, there is no way I the keyboard player can know what "the mix" sounds like: I can only know what things sound like where I am sitting.

 

So when I see those questions about "how do I make my keyboard cut thru the mix?", I think this person is asking how to make his/her keyboards louder at their playing/listening position.

 

Conversely, when someone tells me I am too quiet "in the mix", I know it is not my job to correct "the mix". My job is to play keys competently and to make sure a strong signal goes to the mixing board. How it sounds out front is out of my hands.

 

I think it is possible for a band to play so that all instruments are heard. But that is advanced musicianship, requiring training and awareness. If the drummer is loud or the guitarist too busy, making the keys louder will likely have the consequence of pushing the drummer and guitarist louder. "The mix" should be understood as a dynamic thing, shaped by the musicians cooperatively, or muddied by the musicians competitively.

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So when I see those questions about "how do I make my keyboard cut thru the mix?", I think this person is asking how to make his/her keyboards louder at their playing/listening position.

 

My two cents:

 

CENT ONE: If I'm not cutting through, I don't want to turn up. I want a tone that is audible and clear across the range. (That's my concern with the Nord pianos - they run out of steam in the upper-mid octaves. Turning up doesn't work as the LH then swamps the mix. EQ doesn't work because it alters the fundamental tone of the piano).

 

CENT TWO: You are correct that in a gig where an engineer is running FoH sound, you have no control over how well-balanced the keys are against other instruments. Engineers may well be scared of keys, because they can cover an enormous dynamic range, so might err on the side of caution and keep keys quiet. A tone that "cuts through " (i.e. audible even though it's not loud).

 

(Disclaimer - I suffer from hypersensitivity to stimulus, especially to sound. So turning the volume up to rescue a mix won't work for me. You can understand how valuable I find IEMs, for all their challenges - if I'm being swamped, I can turn the band mix down, but leave keys where they are).

 

Cheers, Mike.

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I am totally in the 'only worry about what you can control' camp. Here"s what my band does:

 

It took 3 years for everyone to make the transition, but we are all now on IEMs and have built our own stage box with an XR-18 and a splitter snake to give us consistent control over our individual monitor mixes whether we are using our regular sound tech, a substitute, or house sound at a venue/event. FOH can do whatever it wants and it doesn"t affect our monitor mix.

 

The sound tech just needs to concentrate on wiring mics/instruments and setting up FOH. The guitarist uses a Kemper with no amp. The bass player still uses an amp and cabinet to feel what he is playing but runs a line out. Other than that the drums, percussion, and sax are the only noise coming from the stage.

 

We record every gig with a Zoom Q2n-4K and are able to hear how we sound in the mix and adjust our programming accordingly, plus we know how to talk about what we need with the sound tech at the next gig.

 

For my keyboard sounds, I keep things relatively clean and try to be economical and focus on the most important/recognizable notes. Studio recordings can precisely place lots of parts in a mix but the 'wash' effect takes place in a live mix with fewer parts/notes.

 

All that being said, for pop cover bands, as long as the drummer and bassist are in sync and the vocals are on pitch, it"s hard for a band to sound bad unless something in the mix is way too loud.

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When I sit behind the keyboards in rehearsal or on stage, I can only know how the keys sounds or the band sounds right where I am sitting. I have no idea how it sounds anywhere else in the room or theater. So I have never understood these people who ask "how do I make my keyboard cut thru the mix?" AFAIK, there is no way I the keyboard player can know what "the mix" sounds like: I can only know what things sound like where I am sitting.

I play with a guitar player who likes to play loud. Fortunately he"s on the opposite side of the stage, so he"s not blowing me away, but he often tells me to turn up, so he can hear the keys better. More often than not I tell him that if I turned up, I wouldn"t be able to hear anyone else. So the corrective measure is for him to turn down, right? Unfortunately, this rarely occurs, and he ends up asking the sound man for more keys in his wedge.

 

In terms of how things sound FOH, in one of my bands one of the other guys plays keys, and I"ll occasionally ask him to play my rig at sound check (usually just piano), which can give me a rough idea of how things might sound in terms of tonality, but I usually rely on recordings of the band. Like stoken6, I proactively try to develop a good relationship with the guy running sound, and try to make their job easier. In turn, they might be slightly more inclined to make sure keys are adequately presented in the mix.

"We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing."

- George Bernard Shaw

 

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So when you say you are a little board, is that a 25 key board, a 49 key board, or maybe a skateboard or even a surfboard?

 

The Board of Directors is awaiting your answer.

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I agree with Ed"s initial proposition that FOH does their job, you (the player) do yours. There"s no point worrying about what happens at FOH as you have zero control over it.

 

To Bb"s point: If I need to hear myself better that"s done by turning up my own monitor, not my overall volume, as that just creates headaches for the sound engineer and my colleagues. I"ve always interpreted 'cutting through' as a reference to how (in my experience) most digital AP sounds need a little EQ tweak to sound good in a rock back context. Nothing to do with volume.

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Heck we run sound ourselves but it's not really my band...I came down from stage and there was a keys player from another band there. He says he can barely hear me. Well, our singer (who owns the PA) was out front on a couple songs and was making adjustments on the ipad....I still mentioned it but it's out of my hands. I could hear myself, my gain is correct on the main mixer, so after that it's up to the cook.

 

We've been together a long time now and it's kind of the downside of doing so many shows (plus a bunch of solo and duo shows for the main couple in the band). We're getting paid, the manager is happy, no worries. Complacency sets in. Not only with the mix but with learning new songs, staying tight on endings etc.

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Recently I've not played stages, but generally I'd say decent guitarists ought to know the value of a good mix, and not turn up indefinitely (doesn't help when you're stuck with a not so decent one), ir depends on the sound and how much right to virtuous sonic presence and respect you an your keys command.

 

With a PA of some seriousness, the creation of sound waves is partly a matter of frequency neutrality, partly effects and in practice mastery of acoustics, somehow. This is digitally all a problem, so it may well be a Marshall stack with analog guitar effects may go a lot louder on the PA before some parts of the audience become weary of the sound, and that no amount of sound tweaking can make certain ROMPlers sound ok on any PA system or volume, simply because the audio DNA is messed up beyond easy repair.

 

T

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.....generally I'd say decent guitarists ought to know the value of a good mix, and not turn up indefinitely....

 

That's kind of like saying the sun ought not to come up today, or that you want gravity to not pull us down just for an evening.

 

They ALWAYS turn up. Thankfully I have in-ears and if they are turning up pre-monitor send, then I turn them back down where they need to be in my mix.

 

At a recent gig, I took out my ears for a song or two (had a technical glitch) in the 3rd set and it was WAY louder than during the first set. We've done hundreds of gigs and ought to know better as a band running sound from stage. Going direct no less. You start edging up your own gain, the mix out front becomes ???????

 

A big part of the problem--and I've brought this up several times--is way too much FX on the signal, which makes the monitors muddy (he uses a wedge), so he turns up. Now it's still muddy, but louder, and starting to cover the vocals up. Bump those up, and now the guitars are not clear again.

FX in the monitors is not a good idea IMO. When you are auditioning at home it's pleasing but in a band situation (unless you are playing some ambient stuff where it's part of the sound) it just clogs everything up, and many venues have a lot/too much natural reverb anyway.

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.....generally I'd say decent guitarists ought to know the value of a good mix, and not turn up indefinitely....

 

That's kind of like saying the sun ought not to come up today, or that you want gravity to not pull us down just for an evening.

 

They ALWAYS turn up. Thankfully I have in-ears and if they are turning up pre-monitor send, then I turn them back down where they need to be in my mix.

 

.

 

Your guitarist then needs to sit with some true pros who can explain what it means to be part of a band. We simply do not put up with that. Not sure of your guitarist's setup but ours uses a Line 6 Helix, that feeds a Headrush wedge that sits in front of him as a monitor. He also gets a little guitar in his regular stage monitor. There is NEVER an issue with him turning up. He doesn't have to. Many times now he only uses the head rush, and runs his ears. The five of us approach performances as a whole...what sound better as a whole

David

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Our band has been following the advice to befriend the sound engineer in advance of the gig whenever possible.

 

Unfortunately, we weren't able to do that before our set at the 2016 Psycho Las Vegas festival at Hard Rock Hotel and Casino. It partially explains the treatment we got. Singer/guitarist requested a Roland JC-120 backline because she has a JC-120 at home - she got a Marshall stack instead. I requested a keyboard amp for my violin-and-OP1 setup - I got the JC-120 instead. Normally I get one of the main outs of my mixer going to the house PA, and the other out going to a stage amp/monitor. Instead, sound engineer insisted I plug my mixer into the JC-120, and just mic the JC-120. He told me "I'll just let you control your level". :freak: So for half the set I'm inaudible to the audience, before I realize I have to turn up my volume, because sound engineer, true to his word, is not controlling my level in the mix.

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.....generally I'd say decent guitarists ought to know the value of a good mix, and not turn up indefinitely....

 

That's kind of like saying the sun ought not to come up today, or that you want gravity to not pull us down just for an evening.

 

They ALWAYS turn up. Thankfully I have in-ears and if they are turning up pre-monitor send, then I turn them back down where they need to be in my mix.

 

At a recent gig, I took out my ears for a song or two (had a technical glitch) in the 3rd set and it was WAY louder than during the first set. We've done hundreds of gigs and ought to know better as a band running sound from stage. Going direct no less. You start edging up your own gain, the mix out front becomes ???????

 

A big part of the problem--and I've brought this up several times--is way too much FX on the signal, which makes the monitors muddy (he uses a wedge), so he turns up. Now it's still muddy, but louder, and starting to cover the vocals up. Bump those up, and now the guitars are not clear again.

FX in the monitors is not a good idea IMO. When you are auditioning at home it's pleasing but in a band situation (unless you are playing some ambient stuff where it's part of the sound) it just clogs everything up, and many venues have a lot/too much natural reverb anyway.

 

Sounds like you are settling for less than optimal players. The rest of the band tells me to please turn up every now and then but I don't want to, I think our stage volume is already too loud.

FWIW, I've been running a Boss Katana amp at .5 watts (that is one half of one watt) because it sounds so good with the master turned up to about 11 o'clock but it's not too loud.

I'm also a singer, I listen to the other singer's monitor. I hate having one aiming at my head.

I know quite a few guitarists who play at sensible volumes and wish the drummer and/or bassist would come down a few clicks.

 

Keep looking until you find what you need. Don't switch to guitar though, the infinite and instantaneous range of expression will cure you of pressing buttons forever. :laugh:

It took a chunk of my life to get here and I am still not sure where "here" is.
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Yes, if I am asked to turn up, my answer is always the same, some variation of: "We checked the gain at the main board, I'm where I need to be and don't want to risk distorting the pre-amp. If I'm too quiet out front, or in the monitors, then I need to be pulled up in those locations. We can verify that the gain is indeed correct, if it's too low then yes I can turn up or we can turn the preamp up." Gain structure is a thing.
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