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  • Band members doing sound

    Hi,
    I have gotten some great advice on these forums in the past and I am thankful for it and would appreciate any advice with my current situation. We are a fairly new band, and aren't quite making enough dough to be able to pay a soundman, so we, or actually my drummer, is doing sound himself. Are any of you guys in a similar situation?

    His method is that he uses his in-ear monitors to do the mix in the mains... he will stand out front, listen to myself and the bass player or a pre-recorded song coming through the mains and compare it to what he hears in his in-ears so that he can mix while he is behind the drums.

    My issue is that he makes a lot of adjustments in the middle of a song-like every other song he will do it at least once. The problem is that the drumming suffers! He has one less hand playing, and for a couple seconds all of a sudden there is no hi-hat or ride. I'm not sure that whatever changes he is making to my voice or the guitars makes up for the sudden drop off in drums. Have any of you guys ever had a drummer run sound on stage? If we could afford a real soundman who could get everything perfect, great, but I would think it is kind of impractical to try to control every little dynamic in our current situation, and we should just get the sound dialed in at the beginning and leave it. If there is feedback, it needs to be addressed right away, but if any other adjustment really needs to be made, it should be done between songs or sets. A friend of mine who has done a lot of sound and at some fairly prestigious shows has told me that in our situation typically the only thing that should be adjusted after we get things initially dialed in is the master fader-inch it up as the night goes on and more people come in. Any thoughts on this?

    I haven't recorded one of our shows for a while, but I plan on doing this at the next one just to see exactly what is going on. I don't want to sound like I'm accusing him, but I pay him extra for doing sound, and I kind of wonder if he thinks I'm not going to pay him as much unless it seems he is busy with the sound job constantly-guess I should talk to him about that.

  • #2
    I'm playing bass/running sound in one project.Being new to this,I try to get it dialed in prior to showtime.I can't make adjustments "on the fly" because I'm afraid that I will make a misadjustment.In another project I'm in,the keyboard player runs sound,and he is constantly "tweaking" it until he gets everything so screwed up that it becomes embarrassing!!! I couldn't imagine trying to run sound,and play drums.

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    • #3
      Before I got my snake, I mixed from on stage very successfully for a few years. BUT, I never touched the board after the first song. I see no need at all for this if the guitar players can moderate their volume correctly. It's simple. A rhythm volume and a boost for leads. I think your drummer needs to stick to drumming.
      <div class="signaturecontainer">Uhhhhhh the &quot;Money for Nothing&quot; program was such a huge success we ran out of money. Uhhhh but don't worry, we're gonna uhhhhhh print more money and extend the program.</div>

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      • #4
        I do our sound for my band and play guitar. It can be hell sometimes but 99% of the time once we do soundcheck I rarely have to touch the board,and if I do its something like,"his vocals are not loud enough,the snare is too loud, or a miner feedback in a monitor. Once you get everything dialed in during soundcheck,there shouldnt be any other adjustments to make, and next time you set up,you shouldnt have to vary much from last show unless its an unusual place.
        When we do soundcheck I start with Kick drum first,snare second,toms and cymbals,then bass,then vocals and then mix in the guitars,keys,horn or whatever else you have.Works for us, but there is many options.

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        • #5
          I do not want to do it. A rough mix is one thing, but, different songs bring different singers, harmony levels change, lead breaks. Some songs need more prominent drums, bass etc.
          <div class="signaturecontainer"><font size="3">Dillybar 13 july 2008.<br />
          &quot;I do not expect you to lift one of your lazy fingers to find the proof that I am right.&quot;</font></div>

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          • #6
            I play guitar, sing backup and run sound, vocals only, from the stage; not by choice by necessity. We rehearse in my basement and use the PA basically as monitors. So I set the balance of the vocals, with the mains way down, and leave them alone for the gig. I turn up the mains but the balance is already pretty close. We try to do a sound check and make minor adjustments, but overall, this works pretty good for us.
            <div class="signaturecontainer"><a href="http://www.soundclick.com/bands/pagemusic.cfm?bandID=742896" target="_blank">http://www.soundclick.com/bands/page...?bandID=742896</a><br />
            <a href="http://www.volunteersband.com" target="_blank">http://www.volunteersband.com</a></div>

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            • #7
              I'll guess that whatever 'problem' he's trying to fix is less distracting to the listener than the sudden drum dropout...

              I understand his desire to tweak endlessly, but during a song isn't the best time.
              <div class="signaturecontainer"><img src="http://img3.harmony-central.com/acapella/ubb/wave.gif" border="0" alt="" title="wave" class="inlineimg" /></div>

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              • #8
                Oh my, I didn't read the OP.

                The DRUMMER, is running FOH, while wearing in ears?

                Hold, on, gotta check the OP again...........

                OK, it doesn't say, acoustic or E-drums?
                <div class="signaturecontainer"><font size="3">Dillybar 13 july 2008.<br />
                &quot;I do not expect you to lift one of your lazy fingers to find the proof that I am right.&quot;</font></div>

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                • #9
                  He is probably concentrating to much on it. And he should be paying attention to what the band needs as well.

                  Generally if I hear it sounds good from out the front (only thing I can't check is my own backing vocals) i'll leave it.

                  After the first couple of songs I ask the band if anyone needs more or less of anything (and they don't say anything and at the end of the gig they say they could have used more guitar - annoying).

                  If he has headphones on he is probably getting a distorted view of the sound out the front - he will have his own drums at close range meaning he will turn them down in the mains, as his ears fatigue he will turn up the high end more and more. It's all a recipe for disaster and out the front it's probably sounding worse and worse.

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                  • #10
                    I sing, play bass, and run sound and lights for my band. My players are good enough that their stage volumes don't change throughout the night, and I get a 'lead' vocal level set during soundcheck and then that's where I put whoever is singing, the rest are down a bit, varies from venue to venue.

                    I wear in-ears for my monitors, so any level changes that would affect FOH (Singing louder or more quietly, the rare stray FX patch on gtr that is too loud) also appears in my ears. I don't use it as a way to 'mix' the FOH, just to keep an ear on input gain levels to the board. I pop the ears out and run around the bar with my wireless, which lets me hear the mix and impresses the drunks! I love sitting on a bar stool and asking an audience member what tehy're drinking or something silly like that while I'm jammin' away!
                    <div class="signaturecontainer"><font size="3"><font face="Comic Sans MS"><br />
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                    • #11
                      Sounds frustrating. I have seen bands where one member runs sound from stage and is constantly tweaking with one hand and playing with another and worst case - their playing suffers, best case - they are clueing in the audience that somethiong is "wrong" with the sound. It doesn't look good.

                      I know sometimes you have to make adjustments throughout the night, but it really is better to get it pretty well dialed in at the beginning and then leave it alone until a break between tunes, or preferably, a set break.

                      Trick is I guess getting the sound close enoughy to right that you can live with it without tweaking mid song, huh?

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                      • #12
                        I play drums and mix from the stage. I also wear in-ears. We level check before we start for a basic mix and then check with trusted people in the crowd to see if everything is clear during the first set. I DO NOT try to juggle playing an instrument that needs all 4 of my limbs to make small tweaks to the mix during a song. The guys up front know they are in charge of their monitors once we start.
                        Anything that hinders your performance is a detriment to the show.
                        Tell your drummer to wait until the end of a song to make adjustments. One of the other guys should be wireless or have a long enough cable to get out front to check the mix.
                        <div class="signaturecontainer">&quot;It's such a fine line between stupid and clever&quot; - David St. Hubbins<br />
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                        • #13
                          Yes a wireless helps (my wireless just died though). But in my case I also depend on a couple of my guitar playing buddies to tell what needs to be tweaked between songs. I trust their ears.
                          <div class="signaturecontainer">HC Geezer Brigade Trooper #51</div>

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                          • #14
                            I play drums and mix from the stage. I also wear in-ears. We level check before we start for a basic mix and then check with trusted people in the crowd to see if everything is clear during the first set. I DO NOT try to juggle playing an instrument that needs all 4 of my limbs to make small tweaks to the mix during a song. The guys up front know they are in charge of their monitors once we start.
                            Anything that hinders your performance is a detriment to the show.
                            Tell your drummer to wait until the end of a song to make adjustments. One of the other guys should be wireless or have a long enough cable to get out front to check the mix.


                            Well said :thu:
                            <div class="signaturecontainer">Drumming is a way of life<br />
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                            • #15
                              A drummer cannot mix well on stage. And I'm a drummer and PA owner. The drumming WILL suffer as you've noticed. Set up the PA, sound check, Then LEAVE IT ALONE. Any tweaks should be done BETWEEN songs. Also train the others to operate to mixer. A guitarist can fade in and out a little with no noticvable detriment to a song. Drop the drums or bass and it's very noticable. Vocalists who don't play (much) are prime candidates.

                              Boomerweps

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