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Speakers BEHIND the band question

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  • Speakers BEHIND the band question

    Every once in a while, I'll see a band perform with their mains placed on stands BEHIND the band. Typically in smaller places, where they are not using floor monitors. While I don't think this is a great idea, it seemed to work fine for the performers, no feedback issues. So, what is the key to making this work without feedback. Is it the speaker dispersion characteristics, or using mics that have very good feedback rejection? Or is it speaker placement? Interested in some thoughts on this approach.

  • #2
    The band I play in has done this quite a bit, and it worked really well for the situations we used it in, which was generally "smaller places". Admittedly we run "pretty good gear" and feedback never was much of an issue... it could have been an issue if we'd have pushed it, and there was a bit of a learning curve, but the learning curve served some very useful purposes. Some of the resulting benefits have been:

    1) Removing some of that "disconnect" with how it sounds "out there" that is common with a line of wedges.
    2) The vocalists improved their mic technique considerably.
    3) Tightened up the band and improved dynamics and over-all tone.
    4) Reduced over-all SPL to a more tasteful/civilized level.
    Last edited by Audiopile; 07-26-2014, 11:14 AM.
    I need to catch up with those guys, for I am their leader.

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    • #3
      I do it on occasion, more often for an acoustic show than electric. In either situation the volume must be very controlled, both from the players and expectations out front. Obviously players dynamics figure heavily into making it work successfully, but if a venue wants it louder out front, you only have so far you can go before physics wins out. I think a combination of things will give you the best chance at success doing this; Good speakers with tight pattern control, good mics with narrow pick up patterns and strong singers with excellent mic technique. In my case I usually use a pair of JBL SR4702X on trees (and a sub) and EV N/D767a mics for all vocals. We are all strong singers that are not afraid to sing directly into the mic. Someone who faint voiced, afraid to hear themselves sing and refuses to get the mic anywhere near the mouth, would not fair well with this set up. Speaker placement is behind the two front vocal mics, usually on each side of the drummer. Ideally aimed more at the room than the vocal positions, but usually not. As I said it can be a double edged sword. Going small and not bringing large gear or monitor systems is nice, but if the party gets going and dictates a louder volume, you're kind of stuck at a certain point. It's too loud for your ears and your on edge of feedback so you really have no where to go. We've been on the edge where we couldn't stray from in front of the mic or it would go into feedback. A good example of the control being exhibited by the equipment being used.
      I love to sing, and I love to drink scotch. Most people would rather hear me drink scotch.

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      • #4
        I used to setup an open casino cabaret where the house provided "racks & stacks" only. A lot of the bands didn't really have a monitor system because they would usually play in venues that provided one. They would bring their rehearsal PA and do just what you are speaking of (speakers on a stick as back/side fills). It works as long as it's a low volume gig and the placement of the speakers is enough off axis from the mics. The drummer really looses in this situation (often if they had 1 monitor it would go to the drummer).

        This venue had such a low volume criteria that sometimes our house gear (a VRX setup with subs) wouldn't get turned up at all and their monitors carried the band.
        J.R. Previously jrble

        See my Dog Of The Hair studio at: http://www.dogoth.com/studio/

        Quote from someone: Flat response? Get out the jack and change the tire.
        If you think "power is knowledge", you have it backwards.

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        • #5
          Setting up this way can be an excellent way of integrating the primary sound source (band) with the secondary source (pa). Done well, it can provide a better experience for the audience by bring more cohesive. My primary venue is set up similar to this, it's a fairly high volume situation. The only foh guys who have a problem with this are the same ones who have a problem with every other rig too.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by agedhorse View Post
            Setting up this way can be an excellent way of integrating the primary sound source (band) with the secondary source (pa). Done well, it can provide a better experience for the audience by bring more cohesive. My primary venue is set up similar to this, it's a fairly high volume situation. The only foh guys who have a problem with this are the same ones who have a problem with every other rig too.
            Yes... agreed. It can put the frosting on a very intimate/engaged performance.
            I need to catch up with those guys, for I am their leader.

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            • #7
              I've set up my band this way many times - tonight in fact. Smallish room, low volume, one NX55P with the drums, bass, keys, guitar and lead vocal right in front of the speaker. No feedback issues. I've even done it in somewhat loud situations but it's trickier, and you're going to have to EQ out some frequencies that might be considered critical or at least musical.

              I've been teching an outdoor concert series this summer and have placed the lead vocalist somewhat in front of FOH (due to "stage" and venue issues). They're reassured to hear the mix and consequently relax, and give a good performance.

              Of course, once you get loud this approach won't work as well, if at all.

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              • #8
                IME most drummers are incapable of playing quietly enough to make this work without resorting to hotrods. Also IME it works great at private parties when they want it kept down anyways.

                "We Have Met the Enemy and He is Us" - Walt Kelly​

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                • #9
                  Great drummers don't have a problem playing softly. I know a few that are still using sticks at volume levels where everyone else has long been using brushes. (And they are amazing drummers.)

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                  • #10
                    I like to set up my own small band gigs his way, either the mains off to each side with the corners of the horn's pattern hitting my ears or literally behind and up on tall sticks. I will sometimes roll one sub in between the kick drum and bass rig too...nice support without disconnecting it from the original point sources. I run it off an AUX

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                    • #11
                      Hey Wynn, how is the new band working out?
                      NO SIGNATURE FOR YOU!!

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by StratGuy22 View Post
                        Hey Wynn, how is the new band working out?
                        Birthing this band has been like pulling teeth.
                        Bassist quit because it was the wrong music for him
                        Bassist has heart attack at reheasal
                        Guitarist quit to avoid auditioning bassists
                        Replacement guitarist has a drinking problem
                        Backup bassist was just getting out of the hospital from a pulmonary embolism.
                        Guitarist has decided distance is too far.

                        And on it goes. My Wife refers to this as the band from hell. I think we should re-name it "Join my band and DIE!". (No one has died yet.)

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                        • #13
                          Man puttin' a FOG band together sure has it's issues <facepalm>.

                          "We Have Met the Enemy and He is Us" - Walt Kelly​

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                          • #14
                            We run a three piece classic rock band this way at smaller gigs. Has several benefits, keeps the action on the dance floor not at the bar, no need for wedges, etc. The trick to it is getting the speakers above the mics or ground stack so the Audix OM5s we use don't point straight down the throat of the horns.

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                            • #15
                              A physical way of delaying the FOH to the back line?
                              I think using a tool to delay the FOH to the back line gives WAY more GBF result. (Ground stack)
                              Not really feasable with a high gain output is it?
                              If the loudspeakers were hanging off a high ceiling that could work.
                              I do not see an advantage for a ground stack placing the loudspeakers behind the band for high output.



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