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Suggestion for setting up in occupied rooms

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  • Suggestion for setting up in occupied rooms

    I seem to be doing a lot of gigs lately where I have to set up in rooms that are already occupied and being used. On the weekend I did a show at a club in a multifunction room that was half full of patrons, eating, drinking, celebrating birthdays, watching sport etc.

    This was a really difficult room with hard floors, low ceilings and floor to ceiling glass all round (so the patrons can enjoy the view - it was right on the water). I really needed a lot of time to notch out the resonances and it would have been much easier if I had the room to my self. In the end I managed to get a half decent sound but I know I could have done much better.

    During sound check one of the patrons asked me whether the speakers really need to be up on stands - it was blocking their view of the Keno (TV monitor)!

    How do you guys deal with similar situations?


  • #2

    Being that I'm old and crusty, you should take my answer with a grain of salt. If I'm faced with a situation like the one you described I relax and just realize that the bar doesn't really care about you. Consequently they are mainly looking for you to play ball. That means not doing a sound check, not blocking sight lines. Not pissing any of their patrons off.

    The bar expects you to work at their level and understand what they are looking for, and that is someone who can pull a rabbit out of the hat, and won't worry when a chicken comes out instead. Be friendly, courteous and just deal with the reality - it just doesn't matter.

    Other than that, you could try and get in early, but then you're going to anger the morning staff.

    I used to (and still do) do a lot of these rooms, and am resigned to the situation.

    Comment


    • abzurd
      abzurd commented
      Editing a comment

      Shaster wrote:

      Being that I'm old and crusty, you should take my answer with a grain of salt. If I'm faced with a situation like the one you described I relax and just realize that the bar doesn't really care about you. Consequently they are mainly looking for you to play ball. That means not doing a sound check, not blocking sight lines. Not pissing any of their patrons off.

      The bar expects you to work at their level and understand what they are looking for, and that is someone who can pull a rabbit out of the hat, and won't worry when a chicken comes out instead. Be friendly, courteous and just deal with the reality - it just doesn't matter.

      Other than that, you could try and get in early, but then you're going to anger the morning staff.

      I used to (and still do) do a lot of these rooms, and am resigned to the situation.


      You pretty much nailed it, for bars anyway. It gets a bit trickier when it's a wedding reception and the the venue coordinator, or private one they've hired separately, has the same attitude. Usually venue isn't occupied, but occasionally something is going on in another room and they don't want you doing a sound check. You run into being light on power, 1/2 the space you were supposed to have, no place to store cases, can't block this or that and if you say anything you get the ol' "We have bands here all the time"..... Man I hate that line. Sure, all that stuff is in the contract AND I've contacted the venue a few days prior and went over everything and was assured it was all good.


    • Art Flood
      Art Flood commented
      Editing a comment

      Thanks Shaster,

      Good advice. I was having trouble staying calm once I started talking through the first microphone and heard how horrible it sounded!

      I can usually pull the rabbit out of the hat for a small rock band, but this a bigger show -  a tribute to the girls of the golden age of rock. 3 girls singer complete with costume changes and cabaret style performance, 5 piece showbands and am MC. The club sells tickets for priority seats - so patrons expect a good show and good sound is a big part of this - hearing the girls loud and clear above the band is the priority.

      I guess my question should have been more specific - such as; how do you best tune your system in a room that's already in use? (or can you even do so?)

      When the club booked the act they approved a 30 minute sound check. But the room was so bloody live that it took almost an hour to get the FOH and Foldback tuned to the point where a performance was possible. I was at the venue by 2:00pm for a 5:30 sound check and an 8:00pm kick-off. I needed every available minute!

      In the end the show went off well but its not something I would like to go through every gig!

      Cheers

       

       


  • #3

    It's pretty rare that I have to set up in an occupied room. If that's ever the case, I just set up the PA, make some cuts at common frequencies and hope for the best. Normally I can tune the rig during the first song or two but some rooms/bands are tricky to work with.

    Also, if ever I'm put in a no-win situation like that and the venue is not willing to work with me, I do the show to the best of my ability but make my complaints very clear to the management. If they're not willing to work with me, I'm not willing to work with them.

    Comment


    • #4
      This is a good reason for having gear that always works well out of the box, having good anechoic tunings for your speakers, or processed powered speskers. The less you have to do the better.

      My pa's are good enough that I can easily get away with my anechoic baseline tunings plus 30 seconds of touch up at the top of the show.

      Comment


      • mshifflett
        mshifflett commented
        Editing a comment
        What Andy said! This is the best plan.

    • #5

      Acoustics change drastically with a full room of people.

      Tuning your system with the room full is actually benificial to you.

      If your system is tuned right you really should only have to do some simple tone shaping, and hit the ground running with the system after setup. (plug and play)

      I can set up my systems in any room inside or outdoors and hit the ground running with it without bringing

      the system to the point of feedback and then cutting those freqs.

      If you have to run a little system to the verge of feedback to get over the top of the band  then get "more" sound.

       

       

       

       

       

       

      Comment


      • #6
        Maybe that's not the type of venue that's suitable for your situation. This is a choice that you will need to make yourself.

        Comment

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