Short sound guy rant.

PorkPieGuy

Platinum Member
I was just having this conversation this weekend with the band I'm playing in. I don't know how clubs and venues consistently get bad techs. I think they literally pull someone out of the kitchen, who once installed a home stereo, to run sound. I swear half the time they just want a warm body behind the board.

While it's a big pain, I swear it takes less time to for us to set up our PA and run mics than it does for the sound guys to mic everything up at a venue that already has a house PA...just for our sound to suck. It's crazy.
 

caddywumpus

Archnemesis of Larryace
I, too, have experienced the “goblin in the machine” a few times—we get a good mix during soundcheck, and have it through the first set, and then once we get on stage for she second set, BOOM! Instant horrible mix!

I used to blame the sound guy. But, I have been the sound guy in that situation before. It even happened to me/the band I was mixing this weekend. They got done with their first set, and took their break. I took my break, and had a chance to eat the meal that was brought to me, so I was at the soundboard the entire time, and not. a. single. thing. was. changed. When they started their second set, they complained about the mix, and asked why I changed it. I told them I didn’t, but I would gladly make any changes they needed, so that’s what the first couple of songs were about. Basically, what they asked me to boost during soundcheck was too loud for them the second go ‘round.

I assume there’s a little bit of context to account for. When you soundcheck, you start to figure out, “I need some of this, and some of that—ooh, could I have more of THAT, please?” and you roll with it. When you leave and come back to the stage, you lose the context of what you’re currently hearing vs. what you heard before you asked for “more of X and Y” in the monitor.

I dunno. Just my thoughts, since I’ve been on both sides of the board when it happened. I’m still trying to figure it out. As long as the band and sound crew are working together, everyone wants the same results—there’s no need to ever get angry and confrontational about it. I never think, “Oh, the sound guy is out to get us! That’s why he’s purposefully making our mix sound bad.” 🙄
 

Mediocrefunkybeat

Platinum Member
I try to have virtually nothing in my monitor, maybe a little bass drum.
On big stages I have the lead vocal and lead instrument - nothing else.
In clubs I try to have nothing.
Always preferred having a little singer, the bass drum and maybe rhythm guitar. Never really cared about listening to the bass - but the first band that I played with regularly had just about the worst bass player its possible to have. So I never got in the habit. There's no point being too fussy about the monitor mix because the vast majority of the time the sound engineer is a bit busy trying to get the FOH mix right.

I've been the sound engineer many times and you can only do so much. As long as the lead singer can hear what they're doing, a basic mix with a bit of everything in for everyone is what I'd default to and then I'd spend the remaining 90% of my time on the FOH and at least 50% of that on the lead vocals because - if I'm being honest - the number of people that care are listening to the vocalist is much higher than the number of people that are listening to the rest of the band. At least most of the time.

And it can be the smallest thing. Years ago I was friendly with the local sound engineer who did all of the local gigs. He was a decent engineer. He was having a bit of trouble and went to the lavatory. I asked him if he didn't mind if I had a bit of a tweak. So I did. All I did was notch the 250Hz from everybody a little (especially the guitars), put a bit more high end on the guitars and smoothed out the mid-range with the singer. He came back a couple of minutes and didn't touch anything for the rest of the night...

On the other hand, we've all had a gig where we just can't quite get it right. And it's very, very isolating because it's not like you have somebody else to fall back on - unlike the guys in the band.
 

KEEF

Senior Member
I, too, have experienced the “goblin in the machine” a few times—we get a good mix during soundcheck, and have it through the first set, and then once we get on stage for she second set, BOOM! Instant horrible mix!

I used to blame the sound guy. But, I have been the sound guy in that situation before. It even happened to me/the band I was mixing this weekend. They got done with their first set, and took their break. I took my break, and had a chance to eat the meal that was brought to me, so I was at the soundboard the entire time, and not. a. single. thing. was. changed. When they started their second set, they complained about the mix, and asked why I changed it. I told them I didn’t, but I would gladly make any changes they needed, so that’s what the first couple of songs were about. Basically, what they asked me to boost during soundcheck was too loud for them the second go ‘round.

I assume there’s a little bit of context to account for. When you soundcheck, you start to figure out, “I need some of this, and some of that—ooh, could I have more of THAT, please?” and you roll with it. When you leave and come back to the stage, you lose the context of what you’re currently hearing vs. what you heard before you asked for “more of X and Y” in the monitor.

I dunno. Just my thoughts, since I’ve been on both sides of the board when it happened. I’m still trying to figure it out. As long as the band and sound crew are working together, everyone wants the same results—there’s no need to ever get angry and confrontational about it. I never think, “Oh, the sound guy is out to get us! That’s why he’s purposefully making our mix sound bad.” 🙄
We get this between the sound check and the start - let alone 1st set to 2nd set - Superb vocals at the sound check - the gobist goes to say something before the first song and it feeds back like a bitch - our guy swears blind he's not touched anything in the meantime.......

Caddy, if you ever find out what this is about you should sell the info for millions!!:LOL:
 

KEEF

Senior Member
I was just having this conversation this weekend with the band I'm playing in. I don't know how clubs and venues consistently get bad techs. I think they literally pull someone out of the kitchen, who once installed a home stereo, to run sound. I swear half the time they just want a warm body behind the board.

While it's a big pain, I swear it takes less time to for us to set up our PA and run mics than it does for the sound guys to mic everything up at a venue that already has a house PA...just for our sound to suck. It's crazy.
I agree - with any venue with their own pa, we use our own tried and tested set up and just hand the sound guy stereo outs to their speakers. Our desk, our mics, our settings.....
We have done it so many times that it's a much quicker set up than trying to dial in the house stuff AND we get the same monitor mix we're used too.
Venues often sell the fact that there's in house pa as a plus point but for me it's the exact opposite.
 

BruceW

Senior Member
We have a couple of young guys that do sound for us, they've been going to school for this stuff, and they're both quite good. On the odd gig where sound is provided, we realize just how much we miss "our guys"...
 

Ronzo

Junior Member
Short sound guy probably has a Napoleon complex. :ROFLMAO:
….a domineering or aggressive attitude perceived as a form of overcompensation for being physically small or short
 

Johnny2u2

Active Member
Soooo, we play a really nice venue with a top notch backline and sound board. The sound is run by the house sound guy, and the other night, it was a disaster. First he asked if we wanted a sound check? Um...yes idiot. after that the first set was fine. We came back for the second set, i hit the bass drum and it was like 200 decibles. The tom mics were off completey and when i said something he was like " no they are on" but i tapped them with my stick and there was no popping? My stage monitor only had my super loud bass drum for some reason and he said I was correct but wtf i didnt ask for that? so i said take me out of my monitor and add an even mix of the other guys. He then said its all set but i had no lead guitar and too much of the rythmn and barely any bass, needess to say it was tough to lock in with the bassist. Our rythmn/singer asked to be turned up slightly and he went right to 11, then back to like 2. when we left i was glad it wasnt just me in the band that had an issue with what went down, it was just really weird that he changed everything while we were on break, who does that??
Sound guys who weren’t tipped lol
 

Johnny2u2

Active Member
I feel for the pseudo-audio guys though. There’s not a lot of training out there and the people who would want to do a good job aren’t prepared enough. Considering the type of digital gear becoming commonplace nowadays it’s even harder for someone to learn how to do it right. So I try to cut newbies some slack and not scream at them for making some mistakes. But, sometimes the performers need to be cool too and realize that everyone involved is part of the same team pushing towards one goal. So maybe some give and take from both sides might yield better results.
Spoken like a band leader who compromises. A rare find imo
 

Cmdr. Ross

Silver Member
Dang, that sucks man. :(
I try to make fast friends with the FoH guy as soon as we get there. Get on his good graces & you'll sound good. Piss him off & the audience will think it's you.
 

Bo Eder

Platinum Member
I can’t stand bad soundmen with attitudes.
This is where that human “give and take” thing comes in. So often I get bands coming in and they’re stressed from being late or whatever and then they roll their eyes when they realize they have to deal with another sound guy. Then the sound guys feel this vibe and then we’re in that same old boat of animosity. If you want different results, it helps to do things differently, no? Both sides can just smile and get along because you’re both trying to solve the same problem. Until one side (or both) changes how they deal with each other, nothing will change.
 
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