Sound man knows best?

theindian

Senior Member
I can't say I have ever really had a bad experience with a sound guy. I have worked with a few that seemed like the stereotypical burnt out/jaded, shows up 45 mins. late for sound check, smelling like weed guys. Thats the exception to the rule & even then the sound wasn't the problem, just waiting around for his stoned ass to get there.

I have been asked on a few occasions to muffle some stuff & usually a piece or maybe even half a moongel works. I always comply b/c its such a minor thing.
It doesn't drastically change the sound, it only takes out some of the resonance. I have never been told to use tape, retune, or anything that crazy, as I try to tune to the room just before soundcheck.

I am a young guy, I do have my sound & I love it, its makes up part of the sound of the groups I work with. Small changes like tuning a bit higher for the room & using a piece of moon gel doesn't really change that sound very much. The resonance of unmiked drums is different than miked drums. In a big room a slighty muffled tom w/ close micing will still sound huge b/c of the rooms natural echo. I still have my sound since I am using my cymbals, drums, sticks, play with my personal style, usually use my own Shure mics, (unless they have something a lot better, love the AKG D112). It just slightly augmented for a different venue.

So for me, the Soundman is right.
As long as he is not too stoned....j/k :)
 

bobdadruma

Platinum Member
TODAY ON FOX!
WHEN SOUND MEN GO BAD!

Should the drummer be allowed to kill him?

You listen to this link and you decide.

I say Thumbs down and we feed the sound man to the lions this Sunday to a packed house at the Roman Coliseum.

Please cast your vote.
By the by, This was recorded at one of Ct's premier night clubs!
This is what the crowd of several hundred heard!
I played this entire set by watching the body language of my band mates. I couldn't hear anything on stage!

If you were on the jury, and Bobdadruma was on trial for killing this sound man, Would you vote guilty?
Link; http://www.archive.org/details/SB2010-06-04
 
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theindian

Senior Member
Also, one thing I forgot to add. My monitor mix is really important to me! As I'm sure it is to everyone. I have periodically had issues with this at a few different venues.

I like to have the entire band in the monitor but with my kick, snare, my vox, lead vox, & bass guitar a little higher in the mix. For some reason some soundguys just can't get it right. I guess they just didn't understand me or don't want to take the time to do it.
Or they will say, "Oh your close enought to the mains, or you guys stage volume will be loud enough without monitors. I feel like I am deaf without a good monitor mix. It greatly affects my playing.

I have never been rude about it but I will ask for certain things from time to time. I remember once when we were playing at The Nick here in Birmingham. Danny, the soundguy there really know how to make a band sound good. During soundcheck he asked what I wanted in my monitor mix. I told him what I pretty much stated above. He dials it in, sounds good.

After soundcheck, I asked him to give me a little more bass guitar, & drops the mids some on the kick so it wouldn't sound so clickly. I guess he saw my double pedal & assumed we were a metal band & upped the mids & compression on the kicks to give it that clicky sounds metalheads love. When I asked him about it he acted like he had no idea what I was talking about. What clicky sound? Oh, that just your monitor, it can't handle a lot of lower end frerquencies. I'm pretty sure it sounded the same in the mains out front, so I got him to fix it & it sounded great.

Come show time....very little bass in the monitor, & clicky sounding bass drums in the monitor & out front. I guess my kicks sounded like Dave Lombardo for that show. No biggie, but I wasn't able to play quite as dynamicly as I usually do.
Every other time we have played there this hasn't been an issue. I nicely said something to him about it after the show. He responded "Well, why didn't you say something before you went on?" Duh!
Oh well, guess you can't win em all.
Its been great every time I have played there since then though.
 
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mattsmith

Platinum Member
Of all the threads I have ever been engaged in, this one was the most incredible for its logic and/or complete disingenuous misinterpretation of viewpoint for reasons not even related to the topic itself. Of course that doesn't apply to all but the number who went there was a lot more than usual.

I also remain disappointed about how obvious it is that so many people here now simply read the first sentence and a half of a post-then just start typing. That used not to be the way here. I think about the amazing back and forths between many of us and the late finnhiggins and wonder if those amazingly well thought out extended posts he used to make us consider would even get into the front door of a conversation here now.

Most interesting was how this thread absolutely fell down generation lines, more so then any other I've seen in 4 and a half years of posting here. Maybe there should be a thread posted in the off topic section that gets to this issue in an honest way, because the gimmick of immature people of any age saying something ridiculous, getting called on it in entirely no argment conclusive ways, then telling /if it's an older to younger thing/ telling their younger questioner to calm down in a way that suggests my age knows best, or believing any intellectually questionable argument can be settled with shut up you'll get it when you're older is an inappropriate way to discuss anything. Nor does being proven wrong by a younger poster make that younger poster arrogant. It only means that a drummer has pointed out something to another drummer.

Truth be known I never see a drummer's age in real life-only on drum forums or youtube. That's a fact.

I am fully aware that there some drum forums now that operate entirely on the shut up kid premise, while some even brag about it. I was even once pmd by a guy at one of those places that I should just agree for the sake of agreeing, then the guys would kind of adopt me as a younger brother like they had a female drummer my age who literally plays them to get free pub about her gigs. I don't know I think it's probably OK to post a good view on a forum without it having to be an all the pride you can swallow option. Places like that are just silly arrogant places where a whole lot of guys who really don't have that much to say are simply fooling themselves for reasons that appear to have little to do with drumming. In the proccess many younger guys interested in talking on forums and seeing a future in the music business are presumed to accept roles arguing Slipknot issues with guys who got their first set last Christmas.

DW has always been the big tent and that's why I've always liked it here. But I want to see a free and unfettered dialogue between up and coming drummers alongside everything else, while frankly I'm seeing that less of an ongoing possibility than in previous times. In fact I notice that many of those rising young guys don't even post here anymore.

I for one think that's too bad.

Again, let's not hash this out here. If anyone is interested in discussing this somewhere else, maybe that's the way to go.
 

Andy

Administrator
Staff member
Matt, I'm one of the older guys here but I'm confident that I've taken a balanced view across my posts. I've agreed that intransigent sound guys are bad news, and that things should be different, but I've also recognised that the mixed bag landscape is the one we have right now, and we need to work in it. I've found myself offering alternative views to both yourself and PBloxam in broadly equal measure. Even recently, I've experienced some horrendous abuses of the sound guy's position. Just like Last Man To Bat, I've seen the silent drummer thing several times over. We're not just talking about a bit of insensitive EQ here, we're talking about a catastrophic lack of ability to produce a balanced sound. And not just clubs either, some of these guys are desk jocky for some significant hire companies doing quite large events. The age thing here isn't much of a surprise to me. It's completely expected for the older guys to recant their experience and the younger guys to want something better. I see both POV's, and both are valid. The one catalyst point here was the assumption it's OK to make a band sound like shit because they upset the soundman by asking for agmentation of their sound. That's clearly not acceptable, even if it is human nature to some. A last point before my resume list. Matt, quite rightly, but it was you who introduced the concept of age segregation in this thread. Given the responses and your desire for better, I fully appreciate why. As a potential general issue within the forum though, let's please not make this out to be something bigger than it is.

KIS's POV resume list;

1/ Not all soundmen are crap. There's a mix of good & bad, just as in any other discapline
2/ It's fundamentally wrong for a sound guy to sabbotage the sound of an artist.
3/ Communication & respect is the basis for good results.
4/ It's right & healthy to expect improvements in the quality of the sound reinforcement business. The status quo is not good enough in many cases.
5/ The sound guy is ultimately the representitive of your FOH sound, like it or not.
6/ The drummer can dramatically improve his chances of a good PA sound by presenting a good sounding instrument.
7/ Understanding the mechanics of putting a show together is something of benefit to the performing artist (if nothing else, it helps you work out who's good & who's bad).
8/ poor sound can often be an auditorium issue that's substantially beyond the control of the sound guy.
9/ Despite what PBloxam says, I very much see value in having your own sound guy.
10/ It won't always be good, you can't fix everything, but it's absolutely right to push for better.
 

last man to bat

Senior Member
KIS's POV resume list;

1/ Not all soundmen are crap. There's a mix of good & bad, just as in any other discapline
2/ It's fundamentally wrong for a sound guy to sabbotage the sound of an artist.
3/ Communication & respect is the basis for good results.
4/ It's right & healthy to expect improvements in the quality of the sound reinforcement business. The status quo is not good enough in many cases.
5/ The sound guy is ultimately the representitive of your FOH sound, like it or not.
6/ The drummer can dramatically improve his chances of a good PA sound by presenting a good sounding instrument.
7/ Understanding the mechanics of putting a show together is something of benefit to the performing artist (if nothing else, it helps you work out who's good & who's bad).
8/ poor sound can often be an auditorium issue that's substantially beyond the control of the sound guy.
9/ Despite what PBloxam says, I very much see value in having your own sound guy.
10/ It won't always be good, you can't fix everything, but it's absolutely right to push for better.

I totally agree KIS

And Matt, you are absolutely right that age is a very poor trump card. Like most I can only speak from my experiences and my experiences also tell me that age does not determine ability or worthiness.

believing any intellectually questionable argument can be settled with shut up you'll get it when you're older is an inappropriate way to discuss anything. Nor does being proven wrong by a younger poster make that younger poster arrogant. It only means that a drummer has pointed out something to another drummer.

Again, absolutely right, and I apologise if my posts come across that way
 

mattsmith

Platinum Member
Hey KIS, check your mail. I just submitted some thoughts. Maybe we can reach a consensus on this.

Best,

Matt
 

Andy

Administrator
Staff member
Hey KIS, check your mail. I just submitted some thoughts. Maybe we can reach a consensus on this.

Best,

Matt
Yes, got that Matt. Some things to think about, that's for sure. If consensus means friendly agreement in principal on the central concern and due respect for each others POV, that's a yes from me. It's understandable that we'll always have a different perception of things though, and that should be accommodated too.
 

Andy

Administrator
Staff member
I'd just like to highlight a point I touched upon in earlier posts that was rubbished to some degree, & that's the benefit in having your own band sound guy. Ok, I appreciate that this is an expense that most bands will struggle to cover if the main aim is to earn money from gigs, but there are ways around this. You can use an existing local pro sound guy on a gig by gig basis. You're not paying his salary, just an agreed rate or percentage take per gig. This way, the sound guy becomes familiar with your requirements and becomes part of the performance team. Another way is to tap into younger guys who've had/are still in some form of formal training but not yet established in the pro tech world. Such guys have the basics and are keen to gain experience/recognition and will usually work for an equal share of the gig pot + expenses.

In both cases, they'll spend most of their time operating your band PA system. This covers a significant percentage of gigs for bands operating at a pub/club level where there is no house system. When your band gigs with a house or hire system, your sound guy becomes an assistant to the house/hire engineer. Most house/hire engineers should have no problem with such a relationship and welcome the band specific guidance on offer. If they don't, well, you'll just have to wing it as best you can.

As a finishing note, the reason I advocate this route is that the sound guy is such an integral part of the performance. I'd even go as far as saying he's a critical member of the artistic team. If you choose to play out, you'll often put a lot of effort & money into your band sound. A good local gigging PA rig is not cheap, your instrument isn't cheap either, and you do this to ensure you have the best possible sound. Why is it so odd then to take that investment to it's logical conclusion and get someone who makes it all come together. You've seen this yourself, I know I have. A gig with 3 or 4 bands + house or hire system. The support bands sound ok, if you're lucky, then the headline act comes on with their own sound guy. Same acoustics, same gear, OMG, what a difference. It's not just the quality of the engineer, it's his familiarity with the band sound & vibe that so often makes the difference. Passion plays a part too.

Band sound is so critical to a performance. You can get 5 uber players in a room with the best equipment in the world. They all play their parts to perfection. The mix is studio crisp, yet it can still sound bland. Listen to those same players a few gigs down the road, and the vibe is totally different. Why, they've discovered their band sound, their band vibe. Replicating that vibe involves the precise placement of instruments in the sound spectrum and reproduction of the sounds & dynamic the band portrays on stage. That's something a fresh to the band sound guy can't hope to pick up on, no matter how good or cooperative they are.

I know some experienced gigging hands and sound guys may disagree with this, but it's how I see it through many gigs & bitter experience myself. So, does the soundman know best? Only if he knows what the band wants to deliver.
 

mattsmith

Platinum Member
A gig with 3 or 4 bands + house or hire system. The support bands sound ok, if you're lucky, then the headline act comes on with their own sound guy. Same acoustics, same gear, OMG, what a difference. It's not just the quality of the engineer, it's his familiarity with the band sound & vibe that so often makes the difference. Passion plays a part too..

Of course. Couldn't agree more. The I know your sound better than you attitude is a joke in today's era of multiple genre likes and dislikes. We no longer live in an era of universal yes and nos when it comes to these things. Moreover, with the new accessibility of sound knowledge that comes from home recording and similar places, more musicians know how to cut out the middle man, and will do so without a second thought the moment they're treated like idiots. Yes, of course don't be a jerk. But that does not include having your show wrecked by those who think the music is something that gets in the way of their overextended sound reinforcement vision.

So, does the soundman know best? Only if he knows what the band wants to deliver.
How can anyone possibly argue with this? It's about the music, which means the band's music. If you can't get side with that, then step off.

Sidenote:Throughout this thread, I also thought about jazz guys like Jack DeJohnette or exacting personalities like Weckl and wondered what they thought of the whole sound god angle.

Does anyone really have any doubt?
 

Aeolian

Platinum Member
Of course. Couldn't agree more. The I know your sound better than you attitude is a joke in today's era of multiple genre likes and dislikes.

It's not "I know your sound better than you". It's "You don't know your own sound". You don't know that the tom you tuned to perfection at home is booming in the house and the muddyness is masking the rhythm guitar parts. You don't know how much your carefully selected crash cymbals are being picked up by the front line vocal mics and washing out the background harmonies. You don't know that your prized snare is buzzing enough to step on the sax solos.

What your carefully crafted sound sounds like to you while setting up your kit at home, or even worse from behind the kit on stage, bears only a passing resemblance to what it sounds like in the audience when the rest of the band is playing.

Maybe it would be better to say "the soundman has the best perspective" or "hears best". What he does with it is unfortunately a crapshoot.

That is where you need to communicate.

Now a very experienced soundman may walk on stage and listen to your kit, hear what you are trying to do, go back out in the house, hear what it is doing out there, and depending on what he can do with outboard, come back and make recommendations to alter the stage sound so that it becomes what you are trying to produce in the house.

That is the best of all worlds.

But for example, in a large festival you may have such a very experienced soundman, but he will very rarely come to the stage. He is busy back at FOH setting up and relies on the monitor guy and the patch monkey to know what is going on at the stage.

And in a small local club, you may get any old hanger on that has snowed the owner with gobboldy gook that they mined from Mix or FOH magazine.

In either case, the onus is on the muso to relate what they are trying to achieve to the soundman as best you can. Using your best people skills to get the soundman interested in achieving that to the best of his ability.

From that point on, you are at their mercy. There's not a lot you can do about it.

But getting into a fight with them about "your sound" vs. what they are doing is a recipie for disaster and you will be the loser.

As for overdamping the drums, remember it is a rule that all PA's are tuned by playing Steely Dan's Nightfly though them. ;-)
 

Average

Senior Member
I've had the pleasure of working with some really top quality soundmen lately. As Matt says, there seems to be a real field change when it comes to ideas concerning how drums should sound. Its now pretty rare that I find a sound guy who is stuck in the 70's and 80's, trying to force that outdated and misguided sound on me.

Why is it that you can find live recordings from the late 40's, 50's, 60's and early 70's and the drums sound like real drums, but stuff from the mid to late 70's and 80's sounds like cardboard? Have you ever thought of that? Why do you suppose there is a lust for vintage instruments right now?

As Bermuda says, if you want to be a Kenny Aronoff, then you are going to have to put up with John Cougar telling you how to set up your drums. (Read the recent article in MD.) If that is your idea of success in drumming then go get it. I'm all for working to make music as a team and being nice and respectful of everyone. I'm wondering where one should draw the line though. Listening to most of the music made today, I wonder if all those compromises were a good idea.
 

Average

Senior Member
As for overdamping the drums, remember it is a rule that all PA's are tuned by playing Steely Dan's Nightfly though them. ;-)

Thats an awesome freaking album hehehe. For kicks and giggles, give a listen to Morph the Cat. Kieth Carlock plays on that. Love his playing. We have a teacher in common.
 

con struct

Platinum Member
Maybe it would be better to say "the soundman has the best perspective" or "hears best".

I agree with this. That's his domain, not yours, and the point, I think, is to make the soundman your best friend while you're working with him.

Your performance starts before you actually start playing, you know. When you show up for work it does you no good to go in with a chip on your shoulder, expecting the worst.

Navigating through this business is very weird at times and it really does separate the men from the boys, so to speak. Cool heads will always prevail no matter what's going on, no matter what sorts of minds or egos you may run into, and there are a lot of strange people in this business, many of whom really shouldn't be in it in the first place.

What can I say? That's life, in the music business anyway.
 

mattsmith

Platinum Member
It's not "I know your sound better than you". It's "You don't know your own sound". You don't know that the tom you tuned to perfection at home is booming in the house and the muddyness is masking the rhythm guitar parts. You don't know how much your carefully selected crash cymbals are being picked up by the front line vocal mics and washing out the background harmonies. You don't know that your prized snare is buzzing enough to step on the sax solos.

What your carefully crafted sound sounds like to you while setting up your kit at home, or even worse from behind the kit on stage, bears only a passing resemblance to what it sounds like in the audience when the rest of the band is playing.

Maybe it would be better to say "the soundman has the best perspective" or "hears best". What he does with it is unfortunately a crapshoot.

That is where you need to communicate.

During the course of this surreal discussion, I'd like the intransigent sound man to answer this one question. How do you know my sound better than me when you've never heard it?

Scratches head.

Isn't it strange that no one actually comes out and replies to that one.

Let me give you an extreme example, although it represents the identical mentality, and was at the time an epiphany for me regarding this issue.

My old man sometimes performs unaccompanied jazz styled trombone concerts where he plays an avante garde approach called multiphonics, which is the practice of playing one pitch while simultaneously singing another and producing chords. A German trombonist named Albert Mangelsdorff made this something to do and a handful of guys including my Dad do this for lots of people.

It's a very cool sound if the sound man is cool enough to know what's going on.

When I was 15, my family was in Hungary when Dad did one of those things at a jazz festival for a nice crowd of people. The sound man was entirely disrespectful to Dad during the entire sound check, babbling foolishly that he was not getting a natural horn sound when in reality he had no clue what he was even listening to.

Well, 10 minutes into the concert he just turned off Dad's sound every time he played the multiphonics. Dad simply stopped playing and folded his arms. Then the whole crowd turned around and started booing---

---the sound man.

About a minute into this frakas, the jazz violinist Jean Luc Ponty/who Dad had toured with before/ went over to his sound man/yeah he brings his own and people accept that/ who got behind the board for about 10 seconds, made the necessary corrections, then gestured to Dad who finished the concert to a standing ovation. The original sound man sulked over in a corner screaming to the crowd that his beautiful settings had been ruined.
People just laughed and justifiably so.

You also see this at hip hop events where the sound man makes it obvious that he's never heard 10 minutes of hip hop when he claims the dissonance heard from the samples are everything from feedback to bad playing.

And while I'm here one more time, can I also ask how you communicate with people who get in your face and arrogantly spew that foolish mentality when you really are trying to communicate with them?

I have no doubt that Aeolian and others are good communicative guys, but I feel you do yourself no favors when you go out of your way to avoid even acknowledging that a guy like pbloxam even visited this thread.

Guys I think the first thing you have to do is acknowledge you have those guys getting in the way of your sincere intentions. See I don't always have the luxury of working with great communicative expert sound men who mix sound for venues like the Tonight Show.

With that said Aeolian, let me ask you 2 questions.

1. Do you agree with pbloxam's assertion that it is ok to do less than your best on purpose if someone dares provide an opinion of your own basic drum sound?

2. Do you agree with pbloxam's assertion that when the club manager isn't there that the sound man suddenly becomes the club manager? See this is related because your guy here stated he could do or say anything he wanted with musicians because of this power heirarchy.

Is pbloxam right?

Yes, at a show sound is the sound man's domain. Not one person here has disagreed with that. But part of that requires the sound man to know the band's sound. For a sound man to impulsively reply/without a single listen/ that he already knows those contingencies in an era of extreme genre diversity is unfathomable. See this isn't the 80s where it was a given that 99% of all sound followed a near identical format. It just isn't. Fortunately those really good sound men know that. But your vocal minority arrogant ones refuse to believe that/or are afraid because they didn't take the time to keep up/ and everyone suffers accordingly.

And just an FYI for any jazz player who accepts the bad ones with this behavior. You do sound really terrible out in the house and that sound check where the guy told you he wanted to hear your bass drum for 45 minutes should have clued you into that.

If the sound guy isn't even going to listen to very basic issues based on the fact that you know your own music, then that's the real breakdown of communication. and it wasn't caused by the musician. Moreover, another way to to communicate is to drop this muso garbage. The word musician has three syllables and the sound man has to use all three. When he comes up with a universal term to describe himself, we will all use that. If you want a clue why there's a problem, it starts with stuff like that.

Mutual respect is a 2 way street and it isn't defined by the sound man because that's the way it's always been.

I've said it before and bears repeating because some of us are adament about this. This disrespect resolution issue has been coming for a long time, and the new technologies have become easy enough now for the average guy to do 90% of the things you have in the past had to hire an expert to do for you, which means you now longer have to be afraid of some guy ruining your music if you look at him funny . IMO, if that vocal minority of sound men don't clean up their act, they're going to go the route of horn players on TV, where an entire genre of the music business no longer exists.

And not one person will shed a tear.
 

Jeremy Bender

Platinum Member
This really is a fascinating thread.

Do you guys think the amplified version of the drums should be a strong determining factor when you go to purchase a new drum set?

In other words- Does the acoustic sound of the drums in the shop really take precedence when you decide to buy them, knowing that they will be amplified?
 

Average

Senior Member
This really is a fascinating thread.

Do you guys think the amplified version of the drums should be a strong determining factor when you go to purchase a new drum set?

In other words- Does the acoustic sound of the drums in the shop really take precedence when you decide to buy them, knowing that they will be amplified?

You should buy drums that sound good to your ear when NOT amplified. Theoretically, some day you will play in a situation where the sound man actually has the talent to capture what the drums actually sound like without turning every kit into a cardboard crap set. At one point sound men knew how to do this. Pick your favorite jazz recording from the 50's and 60's. Hear those drums? Don't they sound GREAT? Do yourself a favor and resist the urge to go out and buy a set of 1965 Slingerlands. If you don't have a good soundman, they will deaden them to all hell, run them through a bunch of crappy processing and the next thing you know you are playing a low end set of boxes. I know. It has happened to me personally. They sound awesome when the sound man has a clue, they sound like every other piece of garbage when the sound man is an idiot with his head stuck somewhere up his lower bowel, which is stuck somewhere in the 70's or 80's. You know this guy. He yells out Free Bird during a jazz concert.

Matt: Here is a situation to chew on. I've seen this multiple times while playing festivals. Band A is playing before Band B. Band A is fantastically talented. They get through 2 songs sounding amazing. Meanwhile, Band B's manager walks up to the soundboard and whispers something. Band A all of a sudden sounds really really really bad. When Band B takes the stage, all of a sudden all those "issues" magically worked themselves out. I totally hear you on the bass drum thing. Sometimes you just have to unplug the cable if they don't get the message verbally.
 

last man to bat

Senior Member
Matt, what you said about your Dad just about sums up my irritation with "the sound guy".

At festivals it can be a bit of a production line, no-one ever gets a decent sound check, but one would hope that the sound guy would at least put some effort in. At one such festival, the sound was pretty bad, one of the bands started a drum solo. I was back stage and heard this so thought I would go out front to check how the drums sounded. You might think that it would be a prime opportunity for the sound guy to get a good kit sound. The solo was at least 10 minutes of their set. The sound out front was terrible, snare could barely be heard, kick was all bottom end and boomy, toms were not balanced at all. I looked up at the sound guy in his ivory tower, it looked very cozy up there. He had his feet up drinking tea and eating a sandwich... He wasn't even looking at the band let alone trying to do his job. I went back stage and the drum set, acoustically, sounded awesome.

Now this is the thing that really gets me, it's his job! He gets paid for mixing bands. How can he not get it right and still have a job. I know that sound engineering is a very tricky craft, it takes a bit more knowledge than most people perhaps realise (including me) and this seems to include all too many sound guys too. But it is no excuse for doing a job that is way beyond your ability. If you don't know what you are doing , don't do it!

If I took my car to a garage I would expect them to be able to fix it, if they can't fix it I would expect not to have to pay them. I would also not expect them to loosen my brakes because I might have suggested that I thought I knew what the problem was!

And Matt is absolutely right that it becomes impossible to communicate with some sound guys. No matter how nice and friendly I have been some are just ignorant and arrogant (I must stress here that not all are). I make a conscious effort every gig to talk to the sound guy, sometimes just a hello, an introduction, just politeness... even now, after all my bad experiences, I still do this, I trust they will get me a good sound... I have little choice.

Sadly too many sound guys know they wield a huge amount of power and abuse their position terribly.

I was on tour with my band in Germany a little while back and every venue we played at I asked for nothing in my drum fill. My band and the sound guys could not understand why. Well for too long I have had a bad monitor mix, so bad that actually having nothing in my drum fill is better than the noise that some of the sound guys throw at me (I'm not talking about the German sound guys, I must say they seemed pretty clued up compared to some of the British).

And Aeolian, I know what you are saying, it is a big ask of a sound engineer to sort all that stuff out when it would be easier for us to re-tune, dampen etc. But it is not our responsibility to make the sound guys life easier for him, it is his responsibility to learn how to deal with such issues as buzzing snare, frequencies competing with each other etc. I know that drums sing long with everything that is making a noise, my floor tom does this, and it only becomes a problem when it is miced up, but it is not my problem. It can be solved with a simple gate if the sound guy can be arsed to put on one it. And EQ will sort out most clashing frequencies.

But you are right Aeolian, that a sound guy may have some useful insight into the sound out front that we cannot hear. Like I said before, some sound engineers have asked me if I want my drums to sound a certain way, a ringing snare etc, with the option that he could EQ this out or I could try getting rid of the sound with tuning, but the good engineers often sort the sound out from their end without need for tuning. But my point is that it is not his decision as to what we as a band should sound like. Matt's dad had a sound that the sound guy thought was wrong, when in actual fact the sound was right but the sound guy thought he knew best.

One last story if anybody is still reading. I played a gig where the sound guy put 11 mics on my kit. After the gig people said they couldn't hear the drums.
 

last man to bat

Senior Member
This really is a fascinating thread.

Do you guys think the amplified version of the drums should be a strong determining factor when you go to purchase a new drum set?

In other words- Does the acoustic sound of the drums in the shop really take precedence when you decide to buy them, knowing that they will be amplified?

I was looking to buy a new snare the other day, the guy in the shop, (I respect his views greatly) stated that drum "X" was used in a lot of recordings these days and that some producers have insisted that the band use these snares. However, I didn't like the sound of the snare and as such didn't buy it, I bought something completely different in sound. I want drums to sound how I like them to sound not how they might sound miced up. But I realise that it is a serious consideration, especially if you are thinking about doing a lot of studio work. But hey, you could get a drum that you think will sound good miced up only to find a producer tells you to go and buy drum "X" lol.
 
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