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Sound Check

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Herge 28 Nov 00 - 02:31 PM
Clinton Hammond2 28 Nov 00 - 02:48 PM
Jim Krause 28 Nov 00 - 02:59 PM
Clinton Hammond2 28 Nov 00 - 03:03 PM
P Mitchell@work 28 Nov 00 - 03:09 PM
Bernard 28 Nov 00 - 03:28 PM
Bernard 28 Nov 00 - 03:34 PM
GUEST,cookie-less Jed at work 28 Nov 00 - 04:50 PM
Barbara Shaw 18 Mar 01 - 08:52 PM
Sorcha 18 Mar 01 - 09:29 PM
Barbara Shaw 19 Mar 01 - 08:13 AM
JedMarum 19 Mar 01 - 10:01 AM
GUEST,Jeremiah 19 Mar 01 - 10:54 AM
Whistle Stop 19 Mar 01 - 10:56 AM
Mark Clark 19 Mar 01 - 11:01 AM
Fortunato 19 Mar 01 - 11:17 AM
GUEST,Claymore 19 Mar 01 - 12:33 PM
Barbara Shaw 19 Mar 01 - 12:56 PM
JedMarum 19 Mar 01 - 01:03 PM
Mark Clark 19 Mar 01 - 02:18 PM
GUEST,Claymore 20 Mar 01 - 03:29 PM
Barbara Shaw 20 Mar 01 - 04:58 PM
GUEST,Claymore 21 Mar 01 - 05:09 PM
Barbara Shaw 20 Apr 01 - 08:20 AM
GUEST,UB Dan 20 Apr 01 - 08:59 AM
GUEST,Sam Pirt 21 Apr 01 - 05:51 AM
RichM 21 Apr 01 - 05:32 PM
RichM 21 Apr 01 - 05:34 PM
Barbara Shaw 21 Apr 01 - 09:53 PM
RichM 22 Apr 01 - 04:54 AM
Bernard 22 Apr 01 - 01:50 PM
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Subject: Sound Check
From: Herge
Date: 28 Nov 00 - 02:31 PM

Our band is made up of Semi acoustic guitar, fiddle (with Fishman Amp), Banjo (instrument Mic), Piano accordion (built in pick up), snare drum and vocals. When playing live gigs too long a sound check appears unprofessional. The problem with so many instruments is no-one seems happy with their sound level. We don't have a separate person to do sound. Any tips on how to get a good overall sound fast! Which instrument level should be set first etc. Cheers Herge

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Subject: RE: Sound Check
From: Clinton Hammond2
Date: 28 Nov 00 - 02:48 PM

Know the soundboard yer working with...

That's the best advice I can give you....


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Subject: RE: Sound Check
From: Jim Krause
Date: 28 Nov 00 - 02:59 PM

Oh boy! :-( If there's one thing I hate, it is long sound checks. After reading the list of all the instrument bugs your band members have installed on their instruments, I don't see how you guys can possibly avoid long sound checks. At least you have a technician.

It is my considered opinion, so take it for what it's worth, that for accoustic groups the best thing is to get a single mic, like the Rode NT1, or NT2, lose the internal bugs on your instruments, and work the mic. Whoever has the solo, vocal or instrumental takes center stage, the rest back off just a few inches. It takes a bit of getting used to, but in the long run, if you want short sound checks, that's the way to go. Hook up all your gear, hook up the mic, switch on the fantom power, set the levels, and the EQ and you're ready for showtime. Best thing about this set up is, you can also get rid of the stage monitors, because you are all standing inches away from each other and should be able to hear just fine. This one mic setup also has the advantage of making your stage show a little more dynamic, what with various band members moving in and out of the center; rather like the Temptations, almost. The trick is to turn up the mic real loud.

There are several bluegrass groups that are doing this, or have done it. One was Hot Rize, the other is (aw shucks, this bluegrass band, four men who do really great gospel singing, I can't think of their name.)

I hope this isn't too discouraging. Hope this helps. Jim

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Subject: RE: Sound Check
From: Clinton Hammond2
Date: 28 Nov 00 - 03:03 PM

Where are your 'live' gigs at? Pubs? Bars? Fests?

That'll make a huge difference...

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Subject: RE: Sound Check
From: P Mitchell@work
Date: 28 Nov 00 - 03:09 PM

err.. surely you just get everything louder than everythings else... don't you?

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Subject: RE: Sound Check
From: Bernard
Date: 28 Nov 00 - 03:28 PM

There isn't an easy way to do it. If there was, I'd be out of a job!!

The golden rule is 'keep the loud instruments quiet enough so that you can hear the quiet instruments'!!

In other words, once you've got the quieter instruments to the point where they start to 'ring' (onset of feedback), you won't get them any louder, so the louder instruments have to be turned down to balance up.

Does that help? Thought not... but I tried!!

Seriously, try headphones to monitor the mix output - that may help - but don't rely on on-stage foldback monitors, they give the wrong 'feel'.

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Subject: RE: Sound Check
From: Bernard
Date: 28 Nov 00 - 03:34 PM

Sorry - should have qualified that - monitors give the wrong 'feel' because you are in amongst the band, and can hear the instruments 'live' as well as amplified. That's why a good set of 'cans' (headphones!) might help.

Also, remember that you cannot set a mic to the edge of feedback, then bring another mic up - you will get feedback. As another mic is opened, all the others will need backing off a dB or three...

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Subject: RE: Sound Check
From: GUEST,cookie-less Jed at work
Date: 28 Nov 00 - 04:50 PM

long sound checks are REQUIRED if you want to learn how to set up your sound. I suggest doing it on the afternoon of the gig ... spend time, mix the sound, listen on stage, have a band member or a trusted friend listen from the room. get the balance. Try severl songs or parts of sings. Get to konw your equip, and your set-up.

Then as time goesd by, you'll learn about speaker placement, monitors (if you use 'em) and pre-set volume, tones. Keeping levels low, as someone said ealier is very big help! I would plant trusted ears in the audience during the show and have them dicreetly comment as the show progresses. People come and go in the audience, the sound changes.

ALL instruments should be using pick-ups, if possible. On-stage; microphones are the enemy!!! They pick-up junk noise, not inetended to be part of the music, they feedback, etc ... use pick-ups. Fishman and Pick-up the World(look at them first) make the best products, that I am aware of, and both are reasonably priced.

Sound IS a very important part of your success as a musician. There are lots of ways to success, but ignoring the importance of the sound is NOT one of them! Learn how to use the equipment, or find a good sound man. It is nearly important as any other instrument. You can be great players, but if your sound is not under control, your audience will never know it!

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Subject: RE: Sound Check
From: Barbara Shaw
Date: 18 Mar 01 - 08:52 PM

Jim Krause, I hope you're still around, because I have a few questions to ask you about a single mic set up.

By the way, the gospel-singing bluegrass group you can't remember may be Doyle Lawson and Quicksilver. They use a single mic.

What kind of mic is that Rode NT1 or NT2 that you mentioned. Is that a cardioid? What kind of EQ? Can you set the levels the same way each time, or do you need to vary it with the room or the size of the audience in the same room?

We're thinking of getting a single mic to simplify the whole sound setup for our 5 piece (all acoustic) bluegrass band. The guy at Sam Ash had never heard of this for live performance, but after much discussion recommended a Shure KSM32/SL studio condenser mic. Opinion? Advice?

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Subject: RE: Sound Check
From: Sorcha
Date: 18 Mar 01 - 09:29 PM

GET A SOUNDMAN!! Don't let anybody set their own sound levels. Figure out a way to run it all through one amp board. If you are only using one mic, get a GOOD omni-directional.

Put the banjo and accordian (if) at the lowest level, the guitars next, and fiddles and vocals on top. Unless you have a really agressive fiddler, then it goes below the vocal if there is one. Who ever has the melody should be on top, sound wise. (I have a banjo player who doesn't understand this, and he runs his own amp. It can get painful)

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Subject: RE: Sound Check
From: Barbara Shaw
Date: 19 Mar 01 - 08:13 AM

Wouldn't an omni-directional mic also pick up audience sounds? I would think a cardioid would be better if we arrange ourselves in a horseshoe around it and then move into the center for lead breaks.

We're planning to go to a single mic so we can self-balance our sound based on what we hear, rather than depending on different volume levels for different instruments through different mics. But I guess there would be settings necessary for different frequencies or ranges of the various instruments.

A soundman is a luxury that we can't afford at this point, but that would surely be the way to go.

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Subject: RE: Sound Check
From: JedMarum
Date: 19 Mar 01 - 10:01 AM

A single mic sounds like an attractive idea, in its simplicity - but it may well prove much harder then you think. If you want to pursue this idea I hope you will find an expert to talk to who does support the idea, and has some expereince with the technique to pass on. And I wouldn't believe an omni directional mic is appropriate.

There has been some very good discussion that touched on this subject, recently in this thread. I hope you pull it up and read through it. Much of the discussion centers on amplifying acoustic guitars, but there is some learned focus on mics, and mic placement, as well.

Finally, I suspect that the reason people consider using one mic on stage, for choral, and bluegrass music - is the attempt to keep a 'natural sounding' low noise stage. That is, playing together in an acoustic setting, a group of musicians may well acheive a balance that works for them, yet when they perform on an amplified stage, that balance is lost. Wishing to transpose the non-amplified 'environment' to the sound stage, we hope that a single mic 'listening' to the otherwise acoustic performance will reproduce that natural sound. I suspect doing so is much harder then you think. I likewise suspect that learning how to amplify everything well, can recreate the more natural sound you seek.

Learn how to mic/pick-up each instrument. Mic each voice. Place the house system well out in front of you, and learn how to avoid reflection of that house system back onto the stage. Place monitors correctly on stage, so all can well, but none are loud or overpowering. I think the key to achieving the enviroment you want on-stage is keeping the stage noise down to a minimum. Learning how to use a sound system is the only way to make that happen. If you are successful at using only one mic, I suspect you still have to learn how to use a sound system.

Many musicians don't have the time, inclination or interest - to learn about sound, They see it as a neccessary evil. And that's OK - but you'll need to find an additional member, (even if he/she is an occasional) member who is a sound system expert.

I've seen very very talented musicians sound very very bad, and loose the audience immediately - because the sound system was so poor, or poorly managed. I've also seen not-so-very-good musicians win an audiences favor becasue they could use a good sound system, and they had a little bit of showmanship.

Good sound is crucial to the success of a performance.

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Subject: RE: Sound Check
From: GUEST,Jeremiah
Date: 19 Mar 01 - 10:54 AM

Wot Jed said.

The single mike idea is old technology; you know, the way they used to do it in the "goodle days". There's a lot of groups going back to it (Steve Earle with the Del McCrory group comes to mind), but it requires players who can balance their own needs with the group's needs (& put the group first). The choreography involved in bringing each solo to the forefront becomes part of the show.

The other thing to consider is that looking at a sound person as an add-on luxury just don't work. The sound tech is a PART of the group; particularly if you find one compatible with your own vision. He/she is part of your sound, as much as the fiddle player or mandolinist, and should be looked at and treated as such. Here endeth this particular sermon :-)

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Subject: RE: Sound Check
From: Whistle Stop
Date: 19 Mar 01 - 10:56 AM

Jed nailed this one. The one-microphone approach sounds like a nightmare to me, although I understand that it has some appeal for certain acts, both for the sound and for the "authentic" look and choreography. In most venues that I play (that is, not Carnegie Hall), it wouldn't work.

The only other suggestion that I would add is to do as much as you can before you ever get to the gig. Take an afternoon, set up your sound system and instruments, and experiment with different levels, monitor placements/mixes, etc. If possible, bring a friend who knows sound but is not in the band, so all of you can play while he/she listens and offers suggestions. Really spend some time with it until you're comfortable that you have a nice mix with all the stray tones under control. Make notes of all your settings (make up a mixing board chart so you can have it all laid out just like it is on the board), and leave your settings alone. Then when you get to the gig, all you have to do is adjust your levels and eq to the room. This gives you a starting point so you're not doing everything from scratch each time, and should reduce your sound check time substantially.

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Subject: RE: Sound Check
From: Mark Clark
Date: 19 Mar 01 - 11:01 AM

My own experience with sound engineering is mostly with bluegrass bands. I agree with Jed, good sound engineering is critical to getting a performance across. Sound equipment has come a long way since the days when The Blue Grass Boys performed using a single microphone. Still, in a bluegrass band, you want all the voices cheek to cheek singing into a single point source. The reason isn't electrical, it's biological. Singers need to see every muscle twitch of each others faces in order to be sure they are truly together. It also helps to hear the other voices directly, not simply through the monitors. Singing this way makes balancing the voices easy. As you sing, just move in or out slightly as needed.

The omnidirectional mics will feed back much more readily than the cardioids. I've had good results using two cardioids on two separate stands (with beams) placed so the cord ends are almost touching but the business ends point slightly away from each other. This creates single point at which to direct the voice and broadens the cardioid pattern a little. You may also want an instrument mike placed eighteen or so inches below the vocal setup.

Each side man should have his own instrument mike selected and adjusted to suit the instrument. These may be placed across the width of the stage as needed. But the side men shouldn't, in my opinion, be given vocal mics. The should move in to the central mic to add their voices in harmony. This setup also adds some visual interest without having to master the intricate ballet needed to balance both voices and instruments using a single mic.

Of course you also need an amp or board with an input for each instrument plus the two voices. You also want separate volume controls for each input plus a master volume control. You should also have treble and bass controls for each input. I'd go for knobs over sliders because sliders that perform as well as good quality knobs are much more expensive.

Also, just as with instruments, spend the money for good quality stuff. You'll be glad you did. I've long maintained that bluegrass is not strictly accoustic music. That is, the sound can't be ballanced or properly heard without electronics. By themselves, the instruments aren't well enough matched in tonal quality and volume to sound right without amplification and engineering. The only difference is the "pickups" aren't mounted directly on the instruments, they're placed on stands.

You will always need to perform a sound check for each new setup in each new room. You can't simply record the settings and keep using them. Each room is different. It's a good idea to have the same band members perform the check and knob settings each time in the same way. They will get used to hearing the differences and be able to get to your best sound for the room more quickly. Unless the band has a leader or owner who hires and pays the other musicians, you will need consensus on the way the band is supposed to sound. This will probably mean group listening sessions where you listen to performance tapes and critique the sound. You may also want to borrow a room and spend some evenings or Saturday afternoons practicing sound checks. Be sure the people assigned to sound duty have some idea how an empty room will sound when it's full of people. I've been in situations where the sound became unmanageable during the 1:00am set because the crowd had dwindled and accoustics of the room changed.

In Herge's case, where they're using electrified instruments, I'm assuming they're placing instrument mics directly in front of each players instrument amplifier, not trying to run their instruments directly into the head. Each player needs to be familiar with his own amp settings but the placement and level control of the instrument mics should be left to those band members assigned to sound crew duty.

Another options might be to engage a professional sound engineer just long enough to help you get the best setup and teach you how to achieve that sound in a new room. Of course if the band's cash flow can support it, you can hire the professional full time.

Good luck,

      - Mark

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Subject: RE: Sound Check
From: Fortunato
Date: 19 Mar 01 - 11:17 AM

I'm having problems with a room that changes dramatically when the it's crowded. I don't have a sound person, and obviously it's hard to hear from the stage. My soundcheck, done in the afternoon, is only partially successful since the room is empty.

Where do you guys begin when you start the gig? That is were do you set the eq levels, the individual volumes and the master volume?


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Subject: RE: Sound Check
From: GUEST,Claymore
Date: 19 Mar 01 - 12:33 PM

For my blue grass "single mike" set up, I use something I called a "Rootin' Hog" set-up. I developed it after spending too much time worrying about somebody famous on stage inviting "the little girl from Broken Pelvis, Montana" to sing a couple and no more channels or mics to put them on. I got an old Kleig Light stand and welded two traverse bars each with four 5/8-24 thread stand adapters to screw the mic holders on (or additional short goose necks. The top bar is slide adjustable (neck down the top to 7/8 ths with plumbing adapters and slide in an old Atlas stand without the base washer. The four vocal mikes (SM 58 Betas set on a 15 degree spoke axis for a sixty degree coverage with moderate overlap of the hypercardiods)will set on this.

The bottom row is waist high and will hold four SM 57 Betas. The idea is to set two vocal mics with a relative high gain set, one with a low gain set instrument mic beneath it, and the other with a high gain set mic. The other two mics will be relative low gain set vocals over a high and a low set instrument mics.

The vocals have colored wind socks on them, Red, Yellow, Blue, and Green, and signify the vocal and instrument gain pattern (For me it's always been Red-hot-hot, Yellow-hot-low, Green-low-hot, and Blue-low-low). For example, If you have a weak voice but a loud instrument you would, for example, go to the Yellow sock. The guy with a loud voice, and a mando might go to the Green sock. If you arrange it Red-Blue-Yellow-Green the group can stand back and do the group thing quite nicely, with a decent chance of catching it all. The advantage is that, unlike Omnis, you can use monitors (two speakers on a one one monitor mix does quite well and immediately tells the performer to slide to another mic combo if he's too loud or soft on voice or instrument. Once every body knows which mic combo to go to, it's "Root Hog, or Die". (And this can be done on a eight channel box mixer).

Finally if you need a set and forget EQ, I use a "lying S" with the notch out at approximately 250 hz and a bump at 1-2Khz. In a crowd you'll never notice the really high end loss, and you can bump the EQ below the 250 point for the beat and not mess up the vocals. Good luck

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Subject: RE: Sound Check
From: Barbara Shaw
Date: 19 Mar 01 - 12:56 PM

Thanks for all the advice and ideas. Keep 'em coming!

Many of our performances are benefits at my husband's church. They have a great sound board in a closet on the stage, speakers built into an acoustically bad hall, and 2 plugs for mics right in the stage floor. We'd like them to buy a single mic that could be used for everything, for several reasons. There is no sound guy. There is no budget. There may need to be quick changes and lots of room on the stage between acts that might be children dancing, choirs singing and our amateur bluegrass band performing.

We've done sound with our own PA system, and tried various combinations of amps, monitors, individual mics, etc. We can usually get a reasonable sound, but need an hour before to set up and an hour after to take down, when we least feel like it. We've also had sound done for us by an acoustic-friendly engineer, and it was WONDERFUL, and such a treat compared to what we usually have to deal with. My point is that we'd like to SIMPLIFY and also make it sound like good ole bluegrass, using limited funds, limited personnel and limited time.

Sorry for commandeering this thread. . .

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Subject: RE: Sound Check
From: JedMarum
Date: 19 Mar 01 - 01:03 PM

Great advice hear ... but all of it, it seems to me says; "learn your sound system and its appilcations"

Fortunato - I am sure that all rooms change acoustically as the crowd grows and shrinks. And I believe it is impossible to run EQ from the stage. You may be able to do OK setting levels, if you have good pre-sets. I believe a band situation normally requires a good sound man. There are always ways to compromise, and do without, but I know as a performer; the last thing I need to be worried about is the sound. I think of a sound man as another member of the band. It's true they can come and go easier then other members, but their professional expertise can make all the difference in your band's success.

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Subject: RE: Sound Check
From: Mark Clark
Date: 19 Mar 01 - 02:18 PM

I think a full time sound engineer is the second best choice. The first choice is having a permanent band member trained to take care of sound. I've often run in to problems where the sound engineer has great equipment and is very good at what he does but he doesn't know how the band is supposd to sound.

      - Mark

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Subject: RE: Sound Check
From: GUEST,Claymore
Date: 20 Mar 01 - 03:29 PM

Barb, if you have the sound board, speakers and amps, you're halfway home. You didn't say where the two mic connections were located, and I would also need to know how many inputs (Channels) you have on your board. But without those relatively large gaps of information you have provided, I am going to suggest some relatively low cost solutions.

1. While many may snicker at this, Radio Shack has two mics made by Shure but sold under the Radio Shack logo; the 3010 and the 3001. The 3010 has the same characteristics as a SM 57 and the 3001 is the copy of the SM 58. They sell normally in the $70. range, but when they go on sale (fairly frequently) they can be had for half that. Moreover, each Radio Shack Area Warehouse has a dent and scratch discount sales area where mic stands go for $10-15, cables $10, and mics for $15. They have a 90 day replacement only guarantee at these discount centers and each store will tell you where the local warehouse is. I've never worked for those folks but I've had to do a large number of low-bucks work-arounds as the Technical Director for a local live arts theater. And for the big bucks sound jobs, I've had two flute/whistle players demand the 3010 in technical riders.

2. Use the two mic "plug-ins" for two mics on stands, set 30 degrees away from each other and, if you don't have the money for more stands, gaffer tape two more to the stands at instrument height. (This is assuming that your "sound board" has more than two available channels and you can connect the extra two mics directly to the board.)

3. For plays, childrens activities, etc., set the two mic stands off to either side of the stage to capture the group ambients and use the mics that were taped on the stands to set set on the floor in front of the stage/sacristy at equidistant points across the front of the stage. Floor vibration will be a problem for those mics, so isolate them by heat-gluing two commerical sponges that have been allowed to dry out, into an "L" shape. Cut a "V" into the upright sponge and lay the mic into it, pointing upward at 45 degrees form the floor. You may need to modify this with additional tape or a folded towel under them to further isolate the mics.

Thus you should, with appropriate shopping skills, be able to utilize:

4 mics 4 mic cables 2 stands for roughly the same money as one good mic at full price.

4. Finally you should be able to get some "china marking pencils" (like crayons in pencil form). You can use them to mark the soundboard settings in different colors. Or xerox the sound board manual and create a paper map of the control portion of the soundboard. Then create several "maps" with the settings drawn in for the various activities your church does, i.e. worship service, bluegrass concert, childrens play, etc. After that, it's called an IQ test...

Good Luck!

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Subject: RE: Sound Check
From: Barbara Shaw
Date: 20 Mar 01 - 04:58 PM

Claymore, thanks for all that information. We're still hoping to go with a single mic for the next event, but may use some of your suggestions (and all the others - thanks!) when we have time for a more elaborate setup.

We have I think 6 mics - all kinds - mic stands for each, monitors, PA, etc. My husband currently does all the sound engineering, in addition to singing lead and playing the banjo. We need to simplify this process so we can focus more on the music and less on the engineering. I want to eliminate all that equipment and get it down to one mic, one stand, one plug (front stage), using the church's board and speakers. What I'm hearing is that this is not possible, or perhaps never done here at mudcat.

You're right about the floor vibration. Actually, one of the biggest problems is that the stage is hollow and everyone taps their foot while they're playing, causing a major percussion effect! And the bass is much louder than it should be and thus needs much less amplification. We usually put down a rug to help mute the feet. . .

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Subject: RE: Sound Check
From: GUEST,Claymore
Date: 21 Mar 01 - 05:09 PM

Barb, Do you remember those old sea maps from the period of the first explorers like Columbus? The one that had pictures near the unknown areas with the captions that said "Beyond here be dragons!" We're about to go there.

Not to hawk Radio Shack, but again this is the CHEAP fix: Get a PZM (tm) mic for approximately $40-50 'merican, and tape it to the side of a music stand facing the musicians. The PZM stands for Pressure Zone Mic and it looks like a mic grill set in a flat black plastic square approximately 6 inches on a side. It has a pattern that is hemisherical (like an orange cut in half ) from the flat square plate and is used for conference recording and theater. Thus, if you mount it with the plate facing the performers you should get fairly decent coverage without the feedback (from the bad speakers you previously referred to) that an omni would give you. This saves you on everything else and RS will allow you to return it, if it doesn't work out.

Try fixing the stage boom by (1) turning down everything below 100hz on the soundboard EQ (2) getting pastor hubby to get under the stage portion and wedge 2x4's with carpet tacked to the end facing up at the stage, under the areas where the musicians stand. If thats not feasible because the stage is only a couple of inches up from the floor (Unless hubby is real thin...) use an old stage trick. Get some gutter nails (Real ugly things about 9-12 inches long, used to nail gutters in place, or during passion play reenactments...). Peel up a portion of the carpeting where it is seamed (again near where the performers stand), set the nail, and send it to Satan, and put back the carpet.

Unless some kid was playing under the stage area, you should get reduced noise in the future. After all, we can't deny the wayward flock a chance to hear the Untrammeled Banjos of Almighty God Come for His Children, now can we... (Now where was that German dude looking for a name for his band... "Yo' Fritz, have I got a declension for you...")

Rotsa Ruck!

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Subject: RE: Sound Check
From: Barbara Shaw
Date: 20 Apr 01 - 08:20 AM

Update from our corner: we bought an Audio Technica AT4033 cardioid mic ($300 - $350), which is the same setup used by the Del McCoury Band.

This one mic in the center along with one mic mounted on the bass worked very well last night at the sound check. The board already has phantom power, EQ, etc, so we just need to plug in the two mics, set the levels (which I wrote down) and start playing! No monitors required, because we're all so close and can self-balance our sound. An experienced sound engineer helped us set the levels for this particular room.

This setup is for a specific room where the board is built in to a sound closet. We know how it works in a fairly empty room, and now we'll have to make some adjustments for a full room (two gigs in this room next weekend). And we have to learn how to move in and out of the range of the mic for solo breaks and harmony vocals.

The HUGE benefit is quick setup and breakdown time, and the sound is actually very good. One drawback is the choreography required, but that actually provides some visual interest for the audience. We'll see how this works in an actual performance next week!

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Subject: RE: Sound Check
From: GUEST,UB Dan
Date: 20 Apr 01 - 08:59 AM

Writing down the settings is a huge time saver...even when playing through different rooms and different sytems...if you at least get the trim and volume for each person you can save a lot of time. And if you play the same place over and over try geting as much information as possible. I've slowly been writing all the settings for the system where we play...and each week setup is a little bit quicker and the first song sounds a little better. The added advantage is that with the written settings you are better able to persuade others in the band to stop fussing with the sound. Its easier to tell people, the sound is the same as its been the last 4 weeks, I don't think you need to turn up.

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Subject: RE: Sound Check
From: GUEST,Sam Pirt
Date: 21 Apr 01 - 05:51 AM


Sound checks, firstly play some material that you are NOT going to use in the concert, something that pushes your instrument to the level you will be in performance, nothing complex just fun mad and probabaly loud.

ALWAYS uae monitors when possible paticularly on out door gigs and in big halls. You can probabaly don't need to use them in small rooms.

Know what your tech spec is and give a copy to the sound man a couple of weeks before the performance and DONT change this in between times.

Know what sound you want, bass, treble.

Get to know the sound man and get him on your side they can make or break your performance!!

Be specific, efficient and be friendly people always want to help you if you are nice to them.

IF the sound is really bad and the hall is not to big MAKE THE GIG ACCOUSTIC, just because there a PA does not mean you have to use it. I have done this on more than one occasion.

relax and enjoy the night

Cheers, Sam

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Subject: RE: Sound Check
From: RichM
Date: 21 Apr 01 - 05:32 PM

Like Barbara's, our bluegrass group uses an Audio Technica 4033. Great mic. But what really makes it work is a device called a feedback eliminator. The one we use is a Boss AF-70. This peculiar device initiates a search-and-destroy mission when you start it. It tests the response of the room, and notches away those frequencies that cause problems. The result, in a nontechnical description, is that you can boost the volume fairly high, so that the mic picks up very well when you are 2 to 6 feet away. It's great because the 3 singers can stand close enough together to really get those harmonies tight. Our lead instruments can then move in and out to do their breaks.

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Subject: RE: Sound Check
From: RichM
Date: 21 Apr 01 - 05:34 PM

Apologies for the Bold type. I meant to type a line break.

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Subject: RE: Sound Check
From: Barbara Shaw
Date: 21 Apr 01 - 09:53 PM

Rich M, how much does one of those feedback eliminators cost? We talked to Doyle Lawson once, who said that he uses a feedback eliminator that cost him over $2000!! Is that the ballpark?

P.S. What's the name of your band? Always nice to hear about other bluegrassers . . .

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Subject: RE: Sound Check
From: RichM
Date: 22 Apr 01 - 04:54 AM

Barbara, the AF70 cost about 120 eaglebucks (US), and it was used, from a local secondhand music shop. I recently picked up another one , for the other(Irish)band that I am in, for about US$100 (from eBay). New, they cost about US$240 here in Ottawa, Canada. Probably available for less from one of the discount music stores in the US.

The Back40 band does traditional country music from the 40's and 50's-- and Bluegrass. Again, mostly trad grass, but we will play new stuff if we like it.
We play in support of a public radio station program called 'The Back 40'. It covers new and old bluegrass and traditional style country music.
Its on Carleton University station CKCU each Saturday at noon. Ron Moores, our bandleader/guitarist/lead singer is the radio host. We play retirement homes, hospitals, --and this summer a couple of country music festivals. We really enjoy it, and work hard at getting a tight sound. Lots of fun for the core band of 3 old guys!

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Subject: RE: Sound Check
From: Bernard
Date: 22 Apr 01 - 01:50 PM

On the subject of feedback eliminators, avoid the older types like the plague!

They worked on the frequency shift principle, and were just about okay in speech-only situations. For music, though, they were dreadful!! They caused more problems than they solved! Sounded more like a '50's Sci-Fi movie!

The modern 'notch filter' types are the bee's knees, though. You can really push your system to the limit!

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