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Rehearsal room sound issues

Connie Z

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[Edited for clarification]


Hello BassMates!


I am looking for ideas on how to make our sound more efficient (better) in our rehearsal space. Our space is basically my living/dining room. We are getting a LOT of feedback in the mics.


It is a long skinny room. (about 25 feet long and 10 or 12 feet wide)


The drums are on the far end of the room, and the singers on the other end, with bass, guitar and keyboard in the middle.


Note: The singers face the drummer, from the far end of the room, with the monitor speakers facing them, directly in front of them. The picture below would be from the singers visual perspective.


Here is a photo of the room (in it's messy stage!)




The problem is that the singers can't hear themselves well, and we can't hear them well either. Even when we turn down, the vocals are just not cutting through, or clear. Added Note: Our drummer is very good about controlling his volume, so I don't think it's a "playing too loud" issue. I am not saying that our volume does not "creep up" from time to time, but when I ask everyone to turn down, they do.


I like to have the guitar amp mic'd and going through the PA, because then we don't have to have the guitar amp turned up really loud for the guitar player to hear it. He plays great, but the amp blasts my ears to smitherines (spelling!?). When it is going through the PA, I think it sounds much better.


So, can anyone offer up some ideas for me? Or if you can point me to a thread which already discusses this. I did my searches and came up with a couple of hits, but nothing fit my situation.


Our gear is this:


Peavey PA-400 mixer/amp

Two generic PA speakers

Two generic PA monitor speakers

Peavey TNT 115 BW Bass Amp

Peavey KB30 Keyboard amp

Peavey Classic 50 guitar amp


2 Peavey $50 mics

6 el cheapo (3 for $60) Samson mics


I think that's it. I just realized that we read like a Peavey Advertisement! :D I didn't realize that all of our equipment was Peavey till just now! That's a kick!


So now we need to make all of this Peavey stuff work for us. :)


Is there a way that we can physically arrange things to improve our sound?


Thanks everyone! :wave:

"Change comes from within." - Jeremy Cohen


The definition of LUCK: When Preparation meets Opportunity!



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Just a few quick suggestions. As for the Peavey bit, my bass amps come from them, too. :)


Let's see... I'd place your amp a bit closer to the drums. It's important for the drummer to hear your bass, as you and the drummer are the rhythm section of the group.


I do agree with the guitar being mic'd through the PA for better sound. That Classic model amp he's using is a tube model, and from what I understand about guitar tube amps, some of these require a considerable bit of volume, depending on the type of tone the player's after. I think the Classic's a 2 channel affair, though, so he may be able to tweak things a bit to ease up on the volume.


As for the keyboards, that would also benefit going through the PA as well, even if there's a dedicated amp for it. That way, your keyboard player can use the amp for monitoring, which keeps the overall PA volume to a manageable level.


For the drums, I'd only mic the hi-hat, the bass drum, and use overheads for the rest of the kit. Perhaps only in a live situation, if needed.


EDIT: finally can see the pic. Is there a monitor close enough for the drummer to hear things?

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A band I used to play in used headphones coming out of the mixer in rehearsal so that we had totally silent rehearsals except for the singing (we had electronic drums). We only had a few people so doing this for a band your size would probably be inefficient but if you can come up with some way to just get headphones to the singers, it might help with the feedback because you won't need to keep turning them up in the mains.
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I'm no expert on this stuff, but in such a small space, the only thing I'd use the PA for is vocals.

A Peavey Classic 50 is plenty loud, on it's own, and I don't think you're going to gain any control over it's volume by putting it through the front end (unless your guitar player unplugs his speaker).

Maybe you can try repositioning your PA speakers, or use them as additional floor monitors to help eliminate the feedback.

I used to play in a long narrow basement, so I do feel your pain. :eek:

Good luck. :thu:

"Start listening to music!".

-Jeremy C

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Obviously, you are playing to loud for the room. The vocals will never be able to overcome the other instruments, because of the physics involved (the inverse square law) unless you turn down. In a room that size, I'd get the amps up in the air to start with. You have no ears in your knees, and in a room that small, all you are hearing is reflections, no direct sound. Don't mic anything but vocals. Try putting the cabs on the floor like wedges aimed up at you, so that the sound bounces in a less "direct off the wall and back into the mic" fashion. Right now the sound comes from the speakers at ear height, slams into the wall behind, then right back into the mics with little or no attenuation. Firing up at an angle, the sound should have to bounce around a bit more before it gets back into a mic. But still, in a hard small room, there isn't goingto be much attenuation. It all gets back to turning down.


Some bands use headphones instead of speakers for rehearsing, and mic everything.


Some bands rehearse almost acoustic or acoustic.


If you have learned the songs ahead of time, you can almost talk through a rehearsal with a small acoustic setup to work out parts. If you learn the songs at rehearsal, maybe this would not work so well for you.



"I believe that entertainment can aspire to be art, and can become art, but if you set out to make art you're an idiot."


Steve Martin


Show business: we're all here because we're not all there.



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Connie: The guitar player could stand to use a much smaller amp. There are some really cool 15-watt amps out there that sound great. Or he can run his pedals through a PA channel and you can mix him off to one side of the PA. I think his Peavy 50 needs to be downsized.


Drums are the eventual villain, unless (a) he plays through a digital kit and out through the PA, or (b) puts mute pads on his kit. A good experiment is to try rehearsing a couple of songs without drums - the drummer could keep time on bongos or a conga.


I'm surprised no one has complained about your TNT 150, but then again, I'm not. Bass players seem to have enough sense to match their volume to the room. For that matter, an "acoustic" rehearsal is one way to make sure everyone's internal timing is together; it's harder to have to do your own timekeeping, but it tightens you up as a musician. Yes, it can be done!


Another culprit might even be the mikes, or the way they're processed through the PA. I don't recall seeing from the list if you used monitors, but it might be worth looking into spot monitors that fit on mike stands; Carvin, TOA, Yamaha, others make them. They're about the dimensions of a large lunchbox, so they should fit into your living room with no problem.


If the above isn't cost effective, I'd recommend buying a used 100-300-watt PA for indoor rehearsals and require everyone to process through that.

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I would put the bass & Guitar amps under the pa speakers either side of the drummer, not put the guitar player through the pa and I would invest in some better microphones and possibly a feedback destroyer such as http://www.behringer.com/DSP1124P/index.cfm?lang=ENG these are cheap and nasty but it might help.


Good Luck



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Originally posted by Fred the bass player:


Drums are the eventual villain

And a drummer's dynamics. Some drummers can only play loud.

We had a drummer who we tried to mellow out by asking him to play with brushes. He used the brushes...and hit even harder ! :eek:

"Start listening to music!".

-Jeremy C

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I can't pick it out in the picture Connie, but it looks like you have the PA mains BEHIND the drummer and the singers, right?


There is your basic problem.


And you also have monitors?


Put the PA mains in FRONT of the band for rehearsal and shows. They should never be behind any mics.


And with that equipment, nothing should be mic'd besides vocals.



GUITARIST ----------------------- BASSIST

-------------SINGER ---------- SINGER ---------
---------- |-------------------------|------
------- MONITOR-------------------MONITOR---
--PA MAIN----------------------------PA MAIN--

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Connie, I have a few suggestions & comment that might help you guys out.


1. Are you actually using all of your Mic's during rehearsal, that's alot of open mic's that might be adding to the feedback problem, Do you need them all for practice ?

2. I don't see a monitor amp so I'm assuming that you're running these parallel with the mains, this could be a big problem as well, sometimes the monitor speakers will have a attenuation volume knob - do these ?

3. Maybe you can isolate the guitar amp a bit,

a heavey blanket covering it while mic'ing it

or building a temporary wall infront of it

w. cushions etc..., if it's openbacked remember there will be volume coming from the rear as well.


We play in a larger room than that & have the stereo mains firing front corner & opposite

rear corner crosswise through the room plus a seperate monitor for the drummer and one floor monitor for the lead vocalist,both out of a seperate monitor amp. we rarely have any feedback issues & I'm pretty sure are we quite a bit louder than your group.


Good Luck !

I'm Todbass62 on MySpace
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Wow! This is a TON of GREAT tips and information you guys!


I have not had a chance to 'process' it yet, but I just wanted to pop in and say Thanks!!! :thu:


I'll be back, but I've gotta run right now.


Thanks again, this is awesome!


... connie z

"Change comes from within." - Jeremy Cohen


The definition of LUCK: When Preparation meets Opportunity!



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the cheap mikes are the worst for feed back even shure 58s and 57s are not that good i,ve recently replaced my shure vocal mics with sennheisers and they made a world of difference and i think the # is 835 was 110 bucks and worth every dollar.

by the way this is rsm had to redo my computer so all is new now

formely R.S.M.
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I've printed this thread and the one that was referenced by ChrisOfDoom, and my guitar player is coming early this afternoon and we are going to try to incorporate some of these suggestions into our setup.


I am fairly certain that our situation is not a loudness problem, cause I am very picky about loud playing, and so far I've not been bothered by it very often, so based on your feedback (excuse the pun!) I am thinking it is mainly an issue of:


1. How we have the equipment physically placed in the room.

2. How we have the equipment wired.

3. Sound bouncing around.


I downloaded the manual for the PA-400 and see that it has feedback controls on it, which I've not ever noticed before. So I think we'll try using it. (What a novel concept! :P:D )


I am also going to try putting the three vocal mics through the 3 channels of the KB-30, which sounds pretty darn good for vocals, and putting that into the AUX of the PA-400. I just tried it with one mic, and it sounds great.


Then I am going to re-position the three singers into another area of the room, and not have them in the area with solid walls and ceramic tile floor (which is actually the foyer area of my living room.) Or I will try hanging bed-sheets on the wall, and put a bed-sheet on the floor.


I really love the sound of the guitar coming through the PA, so I am going to try to maintain that, if possible, and make a sound barricade in front and back of the guitar amp, if that will work.


And I forgot to say above, that we do run the keyboard directly into the PA, which sounds OK, but not great, and I'll work on that too.


And I LOVE the idea of acoustic rehearsals, sometimes. Like when we are working out our vocal arrangements.


In this band, every song has our own arrangement, so we don't have the luxury of all of us learning it completely and then just coming in knowing it. We can do that to a certain degree, but we do spend a lot of time (very well spent) working on the vocal arrangements.


So, I shall go now and do some equipment re-arranging!


Thanks for all of the great info :thu: , I shall report back as to the results. Rehearsal is in a couple of hours. I expect that it will take a few rehearsals till we get it totally tweaked.


... connie z


P.S. I also love that Feedback Eliminator that was recommened, but I'll have to wait on that, but hopefully not long. The best price I found online was $119, which is not bad I think, if it really works as they describe.

"Change comes from within." - Jeremy Cohen


The definition of LUCK: When Preparation meets Opportunity!



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WOW, so far so good! Although we did not have our drummer this evening, (so the volume in general was lower), we did not have one speck of feedback the whole night! :D (We also only had one of our three vocalists.)


The sound quality was INFINITELY better. :wave:


... connie z

"Change comes from within." - Jeremy Cohen


The definition of LUCK: When Preparation meets Opportunity!



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