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  #1  
Old 04-05-2011, 01:48 AM
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Default Sound guys... *sigh*

Let's talk about your live sound experiences where the sound guy wasn't competent enough to listen to your needs and whatever.

I'll start with mine.

One show I had nothing coming out of my monitor for the first song and I had to play quietly to hear the band through their monitors. After the first song was over I asked them to fix it (with pleases and niceness of course) and that resulted in me playing with the rhythm guitar blaring through my monitor at the most painful volume I've ever experienced. At least I had sort of a feel for the tempo though, but I was seriously concerned about my hearing leaving me the whole show.

Side Note: We even bought a cd that the sound guy recorded of us while we played and have yet to find a speaker that can handle that mix.

My other notable experience (pretty much every gig I've played had awful sound guys though too many to list) was when the monitors kept going out. I describe it to other people as walking down a hallway you've been down before, but it's completely pitch black and you're not sure how close you are to the door that you've been to a million times. I wasn't sure if we were on tempo because all I could hear was me and I'd start to get used to not having monitors and then they would pop back on for a bit and then die. Probably my scariest moment on stage.

I'd like to hear you guys' stories. I'm sure there are worse out there.
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Old 04-05-2011, 01:55 AM
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Default Re: Sound guys... *sigh*

I've had too many bad experiences to list. I've also played (and continue to play) in smaller sized venues where there really isn't much of a sound system and that can sometimes be worse.

One of the really cool local bars to play here, which is almost always packed full of people (even on weeknights) has a very small sound system. They only mic the bass drum and vocals! This wouldn't be so bad, but it's a big brick room that sounds like crap on its own, even filled with a bunch of bodies.

I hate playing when the sound sucks, but whaddaya gonna do? It does make you appreciate playing a set in a place that has the goods and everything sounds great, though...
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Old 04-05-2011, 02:21 AM
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bermuda bermuda is offline
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Default Re: Sound guys... *sigh*

Shame on any bar or club for having a guy like that working there. This is precisely why bands prefer to have their own sound guy, even when it means going out of pocket to have him on the low-paying gigs.

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Old 04-05-2011, 02:26 AM
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Default Re: Sound guys... *sigh*

A good sound guy must be worth their weight in gold. I cant get the car stereo to sound right, can't imagine what it must be like to get a club or great big space to sound right.
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Old 04-05-2011, 03:01 AM
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Default Re: Sound guys... *sigh*

I've been lucky enough to be able to work with loads of great sound guys. I go out of the way to thank them after the set if I can. The good guys really don't get enough credit for their work. The only bad time I had was once when someone turned my bass drum into this clicking sound, which I hate. I do play in a heavy band, but I like my drums to thump, not click!
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Old 04-05-2011, 03:40 AM
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Default Re: Sound guys... *sigh*

I read stuff like this and feel like I should apologize for the entire world. I'll tell you what, you come out to Disneyland and I will personally guarantee you will not be treated in such a manner (being the GFM here, they all eventually answer to me).
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  #7  
Old 04-05-2011, 07:11 AM
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Default Re: Sound guys... *sigh*

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tommy Two-Shoes View Post
I've been lucky enough to be able to work with loads of great sound guys. I go out of the way to thank them after the set if I can. The good guys really don't get enough credit for their work. The only bad time I had was once when someone turned my bass drum into this clicking sound, which I hate. I do play in a heavy band, but I like my drums to thump, not click!
Lol if I had a good sound guy I would be sure to thank him and maybe even kiss his feet a little
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Old 04-05-2011, 07:35 AM
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Default Re: Sound guys... *sigh*

After too many shows with awful onstage sound, I've gotten to the point where I only request a very basic monitor mix of Kick, Lead Vox and maybe some bass if I feel like it. Usually you can hear the guitars fairly well through the amps and their own fold back. It's much easier for the monitors guy to get right if you keep it simple. Until of course you start using your own monitors guy.
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  #9  
Old 04-05-2011, 09:34 AM
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Default Re: Sound guys... *sigh*

Well, we've beaten this one up before, & there's certainly some strong views here on sound guy experiences and what's expected of them. Like most stories, there's two sides.

On our side of the fence, we want someone who's both technically competent and able to translate the band's sound wishes into reality. In many venues, especially if you're touring with the sound system, that's a physical challenge before you even get into the qualities of the sound guy.

On the other side of the fence, the sound guy want's a band that has some appreciation of what's possible and speaks with a common voice. He/she also wants the gear to get the job done properly.

When there is no established relationship, what happens in the real world is often hit & miss. You notice I used the term "side of the fence"? That's half the problem right there, communication, & of course, that's a two way thing.

Here's the reality. If you're a major touring act or otherwise financed to the point where you're using the pro guys, then problem mostly goes away. At a local scene / intermediate level, you'll find just about every experience imaginable, from the sublime to the rediculous. The only way around that is to engage your own sound guy. He doesn't have to be a top of the tree pro, for most, a local guy with a good basic working knowledge & an enthusiasm for the band will be a big improvement on the lottery you're facing without him. Many of these guys will work for an equal cut of the cake, & that's what they're worth. They're a vital part of the bands performance, & most can multitask to running a budget light show through a simple DMX controller too. If you're serious about your show, this is a great investement. If you're playing relationship is mostly as a sideman, then buckle up for the ride!
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  #10  
Old 04-05-2011, 10:03 AM
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Default Re: Sound guys... *sigh*

Quote:
Originally Posted by drumr_102 View Post
I describe it to other people as walking down a hallway you've been down before, but it's completely pitch black and you're not sure how close you are to the door that you've been to a million times.
That's a very good analogy. More sound engineers issues in these threads:

Sound guy rant

Sound man knows best
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  #11  
Old 04-05-2011, 10:23 AM
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Default Re: Sound guys... *sigh*

My old band had a sound guy that could never get it right. He couldn't route my drums to the guitarists and vice versa. Then he kept my volume so low I had to pound drums and cymbals with baseball bats and was always cracking cymbals. I raised hell with him constantly about this issue and he would say I was just too loud and he wasn't about to raise my volume anymore. I told him I wouldn't be so damned loud if he would raise my volume, yet he would refuse to yield. He was an old B-17 pilot in WWII and I just attributed his stubbornness to spending 3 years in a POW camp after his plane got shot down. He was one of those old cigar smoking, hard cussing guys, and you could never change his mind. So why did we keep him? He was our manager too.
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  #12  
Old 04-05-2011, 10:43 AM
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Default Re: Sound guys... *sigh*

LOL! Doc, one of my old bands had a rogue manager / engineer too!

He usually did a fair job live (although the monitoring was rarely well-balanced) and he did well the first time we were in the studio together (hence the r/ship), but later on he became obsessed with getting the band sounding contemporary. Trouble was, we were always just a somewhat left-of-centre and dated unit. Trying to fit square pegs in round holes.

He completely destroyed one session by failing to get things together, leaving the band waiting for 8 hours in a 10-hour session before playing - 7 songs - we had to do as first and second takes. Then he compressed all of the one out of my kit and compressed my ride so much it sounded like pingy hats. Toms and crashes were rarely heard - all the name of "clean" and "modern".

He later ruined another session by getting me to program up my kick drum part and dub the other elements. He later destroyed another session by trying impose a "modern" sound on songs that simply didn't suit. We were naive to give him a first chance, foolish to give him a second one.

Kids, listen to grandma ... think very carefully before accepting an offer by an engineer to manage you.
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  #13  
Old 04-05-2011, 09:23 PM
RSapeta92 RSapeta92 is offline
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Default Re: Sound guys... *sigh*

I play in a two piece math rock band. Can you see why monitors would be important for me? Well, let's just say that my guitarists loop pedal does not go to full volume and will get drowned out by drums and his live guitar playing. Last show, during a part that was heavy on a guitar loop (bass like loop), I had held my arm up (pointer finger extended) for so long that I just quit and put it down. Apparently, making eye contact, pointing to the drum monitor, and moving your pointer finger up and down doesn't always mean to turn the monitor up. I'm still not sure on how it sounded, because I can easily see my guitarist and I being in time, but the bass-like loop getting lost in a different bpm....sometimes you just gotta say......Whatchyagonnado?
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  #14  
Old 04-05-2011, 09:31 PM
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Default Re: Sound guys... *sigh*

I've had pretty good sound guys here in Tally (they all seem to be drummers...)

My lead guitarist always gets turned down for one reason or another though...
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Old 04-05-2011, 10:03 PM
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Default Re: Sound guys... *sigh*

I try to not sweat the sound guy. In my last band our guitarist must have had hearing damage or something because he could never seem to hear himself and was always turning himself up... yeesh. Now my current band is just horn, piano and me so we seem to have eliminated the ever present volume wars that plague rock shows.

I've has my share of bad sound guys but I don't really sweat that, I just get mad at promoters that screw us over. So my funny sound guy story:

In my last band we used to play at this local dive that had live music every weekend. The sound guy was a nice, always kind and seemed happy to see us, got us in and sound checked quickly and spent most of the night diligently at the board. The funny thing was that he'd like to drink and have a good time while he was working. Now I see nothing wrong with that, but he'd start putting effects on our singer's voice.

I saw a video that a friend took that night and she was in mid song and suddenly this pig reverb comes over her voice then rolls off. Ahh, I miss that bar...
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  #16  
Old 04-05-2011, 10:11 PM
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inneedofgrace inneedofgrace is offline
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Default Re: Sound guys... *sigh*

Try playing with no sound person. We are a 4-piece band and have to set the mix at the beginning and then hope for the best. Occassionally the lead guitarist will tweak board - he is pretty good at it since he owned his own recording studio, but still hard to do when you aren't out on the floor listening to the mix.

My old band has a sound guy, but he's pretty useless, except to mix iPod tunes through the system between sets. The cymbals are way overbearing in the mix, and you can't hear the drummer on the songs he sings lead on.

The only good part of not having a sound guy is that you don't have to split the money with them.

For me, it just seems like no matter how much I rehearse with a band, the sound is completely different when you get on a stage and start to play, even if there was a soundcheck done before. The trick is to be able to adjust to that sound mix, and not panic. That is easier said then done when you are singing lead on the first song out of the box.

Many years ago at church we had an in-ear monitors using the Pod system. During practice I'd set the levels of all the instruments and vocals the way I wanted to hear them, and then during the service the volume mix would totally change for some strange reason. It was really frustrating.
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Old 04-06-2011, 06:01 AM
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Default Re: Sound guys... *sigh*

My sound guy story:

Once upon a time I was touring with a band with no sound guy. Well, we had one, but he left after we discovered he knew less than we did. There was a married couple leading the band and they had two kids traveling with us, the oldest being 10 or 11. At some point they get the bright idea that it would be beneficial to have this kid behind the board during shows. (No offense to the kid of course, he was just doing what his parents told him.) They basically put him behind the board, showed him which fader was vocals and told him to turn it down if he heard feedback, which they demonstrated. The kid had the full run of the board for the entire show to do whatever he pleased. Can't imagine what it sounded like.
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  #18  
Old 04-06-2011, 06:22 AM
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Default Re: Sound guys... *sigh*

My story:

The one night me and my band decide to book TWO shows in the same night, our earlier show in our hometown was a bust. Sound guy was 45 minutes late, and DRUNK!! Or fu*ked up of some sort! We basically had to mic ourselves up, and rush through our set in order to pack up and drive to another city about 50 miles away. Made it late to our second set of the night out of town and only got to play 20 minutes instead of the 40 we planned. Damn sound guys, learn some responsibility! Lol.
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