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  #1  
Old 02-19-2010, 03:09 PM
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larryace larryace is offline
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Default Isolation booths onstage

Does anybody play places that have that dreaded clear plexi "iso booth" set up so the drums don't spill into the vocal mics as much?

I detest these, and I would venture to guess that I'm not alone in that feeling...

I always try and get them taken down, not that I run into them much, but how do you deal w/ these?
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Old 02-19-2010, 03:32 PM
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Default Re: Isolation booths onstage

I played at a church I visited with one of these horrid things. I got so much drums sound back in my face it made me feel like I was playing way to loud even though you probably couldn't hear me off of the stage. I just played quieter and quieter until I was literally just tapping the drums thinking I was overpowering everyone.

There may be some good in these things, and I'm sure someone will point it out, but if you have to play behind one of these because you are too loud then it's time to work on your dynamics.
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Old 02-19-2010, 03:55 PM
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Default Re: Isolation booths onstage

Not that I'm condoning them for every live situation, but they definitely put the power in the sound guy's hands (assuming that there is one, the kit is miked, and the sound guy is using the plexi barrier so he can control the mix).

Have experienced being stuck behind one purely to be muted..it's virtually impossible to guage your volume as compared to the rest of the stage instruments.

Lot's of faith in the sound guy...lots.

I recall Anton Fig played behind one forever on the...was it David Letterman show...
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Old 02-19-2010, 05:14 PM
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Default Re: Isolation booths onstage

I ran into these a lot more in the 90's than I do now.(of course I was playing a lot more then) They drive me crazy, but I think it's more of a mental thing. I feel so......isolated.

One of my current bands kept bringing it up, but I ignored them and they quit asking. We have much bigger problems than my drums bleeding into the vocal mics.
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Old 02-19-2010, 05:25 PM
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Default Re: Isolation booths onstage

these only work well in miked-up situations with a very good monitor mix (preferably in-ear). I use a complete iso booth onstage at my church along with a good set of mics and an in-ear monitor set. The result is outstanding. I can set volumes for every voice and instrument to my liking and feed back just enough of myself into the mix so that I am not overplaying.

If you don't have mics or monitors the drawbacks far outweigh the advantages.
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Old 02-19-2010, 05:43 PM
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Default Re: Isolation booths onstage

Quote:
Originally Posted by jon e rotten View Post
We have much bigger problems than my drums bleeding into the vocal mics.
This reminds me of a situation a friend who works as a sound guy encountered some time ago. The drummer was playing the snare so quietly he had to turn up the snare mic until it actually started catching some of the vocals too. Quite the opposite of the usual situation I'd say.
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Old 02-19-2010, 06:18 PM
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Default Re: Isolation booths onstage

I've never played behind one.

For one Queensryche tour, they had Scott Rockenfield completely behind one of those screens. I hated it, because I felt it blocked my ability as an audience member to connect with the drums on stage.

But I have to admit, it was one of the best sounding live shows I've ever seen. Every drum, vocal, guitar was crystal clear, which is obviously unusual for a large venue.
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Old 02-20-2010, 03:47 AM
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Default Re: Isolation booths onstage

Yeah those do suck but I have had to use them for years with in-ears. I pull out one of my earpieces mid show once in a while and it's AMAZING how loud the drums are coming right back at you. Just have the singer make jokes like, "The drummers other job is at the drive thru so he's used to the glass" ha ha
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Old 02-20-2010, 04:06 AM
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Default Re: Isolation booths onstage

My band thought that we should use one for a large stage show that we were going to do. I borrowed one and I tried it out at practice. I returned it immediately!
HATED IT!
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  #10  
Old 02-20-2010, 12:07 PM
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Default Re: Isolation booths onstage

Ah, the modern obsession with isolating everything to give the engineer control of the sound. I've just suffered from that in my local demo studio. Whatever happened to the idea of capturing the band sound. My recolection of bigger gigs was that you rely primarily on sidefill monitoring then agumented with wedges. The idea was to get as good a sound as possible on stage. The only job for the front of house PA was to amplify and reinforce the already balanced stage sound.

So what if the drums spill a little onto the vocal mike. Big deal. We actually use that to good effect with my band in smaller gigs. The snare has no need for a mic as it spills nicely onto the vocal mics and gets a bit of free reverb by default!
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  #11  
Old 02-20-2010, 01:00 PM
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Default Re: Isolation booths onstage

They're good for stopping bullets.

Could be handy depending on where you play your shows... =D
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  #12  
Old 02-20-2010, 01:50 PM
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Pollyanna Pollyanna is offline
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Default Re: Isolation booths onstage

Interesting. I've only been in a plexiglass booth in a studio, and that was just the once. The best recording result I've had was when the band was set up in the studio and just played the song as usual with overdubs added later. Why was the result better? A better engineer with better gear.

Apart from specialised situations as described earlier - big shows or like Al's church gig - I would think that using an iso-booth at a gig would be like using a sledgehammer to crack a walnut.

Need more control over the mix over and above the usual in small and medium-sized venues? There's instrument placement, mic types, mic placement, the knob twiddler's ear, and good old-fashioned dynamics and listening (if there's half decent foldback). As per Jon E's comment, a lot of bands have bigger fish to fry than improving sound separation - like getting the music consistently tight and vibing ... it was the 80s when separation and inorganic super clean sounds became popular, wasn't it?

I relate to DED's comment about creating a barrier between drummer and audience. We're already separated to some extent being behind a wall of drums - why shield audiences from the best part of bands? :)
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  #13  
Old 02-20-2010, 02:42 PM
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Default Re: Isolation booths onstage

I don't like it for a number of reasons, the biggest being that I feel like I'm cut off from the other musicians, and that I'm somehow different from the rest, someone who needs to be in a box or cage. I really detest those horrid things. They are used to make the sound guys job easier, but I have heard many a concert with wonderful sound and nary an iso booth in sight. I mean what's more important, the sound guys needs, or the show? It's not a recording session, it's a show.
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  #14  
Old 02-20-2010, 03:26 PM
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Default Re: Isolation booths onstage

I visited a large church (2000 seat) last year to see Jesse Duplantis. They didn't have just an isolation booth. The drums had an entire "house" built around them with a roof and everything. It had a big window in front.

The PA in this church was fantastic. The sound man seemed very competent. I was sitting first row in the balcony above the sound booth and watched the guy mix.

This church had the whole package with horns, strings and the works. Everything sounded fantastic......but....the drums. They were rather muddy in the mix and the only way you could hear them was if the drummer was pounding on them (not sure if they were gated that way or what) but I was disappointed in the drum sound. There were times when the music was low and he was doing cymbal swells. They were completely inaudible.

I'm not sure that in this situation that the drums being in or out of the isolation booth would have made a difference in this size venue, but like some of y'all said earlier, I would have connected with the drummer much better.
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  #15  
Old 02-20-2010, 03:34 PM
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Default Re: Isolation booths onstage

OMG a house? with a roof? Oh that's just wrong. And the end result was crap?
I would have a hard time with that. I'm fine w/ iso booths for recording, but cmon, live? That's part of the live sound, drum bleed through the vocals. That guy must've felt like a freak, like a dancer in a cage. I want to hear live drums, with all the "imperfections" without the sound wave traveling through 1/2" of plexi and attenuating the sparkling frequencies.
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