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  • The Worst PA Ever

    I just had to start this thread..

    this past fall i had 2 weeks off from a tour i was on, so i filled in for one of my guys on a different tour (hence i did not advance shows - thought he had)

    anyhoo got to this place in Michigan Center, and when i walked in i was mortified..... what i see is 4 single 15" horn loaded subs (all beat to **************** with mismatched drivers) and 4 eaw FR153 (which imo are not a rock n roll speaker)

    but thats not the worst.

    i go to the amp racks and there had to been 8 dif versions of the PV CS800, that was the whole system, CS800. (except the monitor amp was a powered head), i noticed there was also 2 mismatched crossovers and 2 mismatched EQs - so i go up front... a peavey Unity and a aleseis quadraverb - no eq, no dynamics, no ****************!

    I instantly went from being cheery and glad to be out on the road, to WTF i hate life. now dont get me wrong, im not "that guy" who cant be pleased, but i wouldnt let my kids sing karaoke through this pile of ****************. not to mention there was a rider and this couldnt have been further from the specs.

    So i turn everything on and start to try to figure out whats what, (cuz the dude who owned the pa wasnt there 1 hours after load in ended)

    i discovered that this was 2 PA's slid together so one eq was doing the inside boxes on each side and one was doing the outside. it was really hard to get anything sound decent at any level but i used the guitar tech to tune the system (because the EQ's were in the amp racks)

    The guy walks in, and instantly was pissed that i had turned on the PA but was more pissed that we cleaned the stage - see the stage was mic'd for his band and he fully expected us to walk in and use his channels and his input layout, let him mix the band and so on, however Dan "the douchebag" had neatly rolled up all the cables and cleared the stage for a "do over"

    further i had to inform him that he shouldnt do this promoter any favors because he through you under the bus here, nothing against you or your gear, but this is not a professional pa system and its not going to last more than a gig or 2 with national rock bands, not to mention im about to just grab the band, get back on the bus and leave. so that didnt thrill him either.

    So i pretty much rewired everything, even set up the stage for the openers (so he didnt **************** up my patch)

    so i walk in during the main support band and a friend i invited to the show points out the amps, and i thought he was just laughing at all the PV amps, but it was that they were all clipping! AWESOME!!! so i go out front and sure enough distrotion. i was pretty sure i wouldnt have any speakers left for the headliner. but we went on and and unlike the openers i made sure we were barely clipping the pa and i pretty much sat and drank corona the rest of the set, because there was nothing to do but pout about how all i really had in the mix was vocals and a lil guitar and the snare was still way louder....

    in the end the PA owner comes over and says.. wow ive never heard my system sound so good. all i could think was are you ****************ing kidding! no really that was the worst experience in my professional career. but he did thank me for making his day so easy, seeing i did everything and all the bands on the tour had engineers..

    Lesson:
    1) if you are playing motorheads in MI - make sure the promoter hires a real sound co

    2) if your a dude in a band and the promoter asks you to bring your pa in for a national act - make sure you have enough pa to do the gig -because its not fun for anyone when the band shows up and is completely unhappy with you. - READ THE RIDER! make sure you are in the same ballpark

    i would love to hear more horror stories - just to make me feel better

    PS: THe Mission in Augusta GA is pretty horrible as well, i think he had madison tops - the whole pa was on one circut - was running mosn from FOH off of post fader auxes and fx on Pre's WTF!!!!
    Dan
    dan@audioeast.com

    Audio East ~ New England Sound & Lighting
    Authorized Dealers: Allen & Heath, Audix, Audio Technica, Ashly, Crest, Crown, DBX, Drawmer, Soundcraft, JBL, Midas, EV, Klark Teknik, TC Electronic, Lexicon, CBI, Yorkville, Gator Cases, Whirlwind, ProCo, Shure, Chauvet

    Like us on Facebook http://www.facebook.com/home.php?#!/...07437315944568

  • #2
    sorry dan, sound like a bad day

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    • #3
      Wow. Most bands I know would have either left or really tried to make the promoters life miserable. Great story. I'd love to hear more. There are some good lessons to be learned on both ends.
      "The music business is a cruel and shallow money trench, a long plastic hallway where thieves and pimps run free, and good men die like dogs. There's also a negative side." - Hunter S. Thompson

      Band promo shots on railroad tracks were cool in 1981...

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      • #4
        Thanks for sharing Dan. What are some of the nice systems you have worked with on the road?
        I dont want to work, just beat on my drum all day!

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        • #5


          I took one look at the FOH stacks and headed for the beer tent. Made it through the gig but boy was it painful.
          Vyizder Zomenimor Orziz Aziz Zanerz Orziz

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          • #6
            Kids+violins+every kind of 70's PA gear= need many beers
            I'm backed by the shack of a soul boss most turnin' stormin' sound o'soul

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            • #7
              The gig before that I had a Midas H3000 and D&B cabinets.
              Vyizder Zomenimor Orziz Aziz Zanerz Orziz

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              • #8
                How about worse rooms ever?

                This barowner made a sincere attempt to buy decent PA equipment.

                But when he built the hall - tile floors, tile walls, polyurethaned wood ceiling - every surface was a hard surface that reflected horribly. Extremely reverbrant.

                He took one step forward with the PA gear but two steps backwards with the room treatment.

                We did one gig there where the kid running sound was mixing with HEADPHONES. He had no clue of the sonic horror he was producing.
                this sig no verb

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                • #9
                  Thanks for sharing Dan. What are some of the nice systems you have worked with on the road?


                  well the week before i had done a festival in TX with a Milo Rig and D5 - that was great, and most of the other rooms on that run were House of Blues, they seem to have a consistent production value at all the venues. Either KF850s or Xarray boxes with Midas Heritage desks - and the food is decent too which is starting to become more of a priority when im tour managing.

                  A room i really liked was Rams Head Live in Baltimore, not to mention the house crew had the best puff in the country Not sure why there is so many fricken strip clubs around there though.....seriously i went out for a beer with the other bands Tour manager and Lampy and every bar - one after another was a strip joint, and after the 4th one we finally sat down and had a $12 beer, and realized they were brothels - yikes - time to head back to the bus!
                  Dan
                  dan@audioeast.com

                  Audio East ~ New England Sound & Lighting
                  Authorized Dealers: Allen & Heath, Audix, Audio Technica, Ashly, Crest, Crown, DBX, Drawmer, Soundcraft, JBL, Midas, EV, Klark Teknik, TC Electronic, Lexicon, CBI, Yorkville, Gator Cases, Whirlwind, ProCo, Shure, Chauvet

                  Like us on Facebook http://www.facebook.com/home.php?#!/...07437315944568

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                  • #10
                    Dan,

                    If you came up on a system with a peavey Versarray 12 over 4 and a Mackie TT24, GL2800M and microwedges, would you have as bad a day as your OP?
                    Dale Christenson Sound4U A local sound provider serving Oklahoma and surrounding areas. http://sound4u.co Presonus: RM32ai mixer, CS18ai control surface, SL16.4.2 mixer SL328ai speakers X4 Presonus ULT15 speakers x4 JBL: SRX728 Subs x2 Driverack PA2 (for subs)

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                    • #11
                      Dan's day sounds like every gig I do...

                      ... i need a hug

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                      • #12
                        How about worse rooms ever?


                        Ha Ha Ha you had to ask.

                        Did sound in a bar/restaurant once with interesting decore. The owner got a bunch of sheet metal (4X8 sheets like you'd make HVAC ducting with) and randomly beat little dents in them with a ball pein hammer. Not only were most of the walls covered with this stuff (more like loosly hung) but sheets of it were hung from the open beam rafters in the middle of the room. Tile floor of course.

                        It was sort of like mixing in a really nasty giant plate reverb. Absolutly impossible to get a good sound. Oh yea even at low volume, low notes would rattle the sheets hung against the wall (different notes - different parts of the wall (after a while that part got to be funny)).

                        Truly a nightmare!
                        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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                        • #13
                          Whew, worst gigs... wow. One occurred across the street from the Mission (the venue Dan mentioned in Augusta, GA. The venue is the Stillwater Taproom and I just don't know where to start. 4 vocal mics (a mix of Behringer XM8500s and Nady SP5s), no instrument mics, a 8 x 10 stage in a bay window facing out to a two story tall open room (2nd floor was about 3/4 way back and was more like a balcony, and FOH was located underneath the "balcony" and was hung from the wall behind the bar. (Yep, that's right, 16 channel board hung by nails from the wall behind the bar and next to the glass racks and main bar phone. no Main eq, no outboard effects, nothing...)

                          Traveled to this gig as the band's road manager on this occassion. Had no plans of running sound. Took a nap in the green room as the show was starting and woke up about 15 min into the show. Came out to the main room and found that the club owner was the "engineer" and really just did a sound check and went back to tending bar, walking next door to the restaurant that he also owned, and hanging out with the doorman (who was definitely dipping into the door). At this point, I told my band to take a break after the next song. Finished the song, did a new soundcheck, reangled the one supplied monitor to cover the reflection chamber of a stage, found the dead channels on the board that had been hooked up and weren't playing through the mains, and stood in the middle of the bar work area mixing while they worked around me.

                          Pain in the ass.

                          For the record, I wasn't too big a fan of the Mission either.

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                          • #14
                            Whew, worst gigs... wow. One occurred across the street from the Mission (the venue Dan mentioned in Augusta, GA. The venue is the Stillwater Taproom and I just don't know where to start. 4 vocal mics (a mix of Behringer XM8500s and Nady SP5s), no instrument mics, a 8 x 10 stage in a bay window facing out to a two story tall open room (2nd floor was about 3/4 way back and was more like a balcony, and FOH was located underneath the "balcony" and was hung from the wall behind the bar. (Yep, that's right, 16 channel board hung by nails from the wall behind the bar and next to the glass racks and main bar phone. no Main eq, no outboard effects, nothing...)

                            Traveled to this gig as the band's road manager on this occassion. Had no plans of running sound. Took a nap in the green room as the show was starting and woke up about 15 min into the show. Came out to the main room and found that the club owner was the "engineer" and really just did a sound check and went back to tending bar, walking next door to the restaurant that he also owned, and hanging out with the doorman (who was definitely dipping into the door). At this point, I told my band to take a break after the next song. Finished the song, did a new soundcheck, reangled the one supplied monitor to cover the reflection chamber of a stage, found the dead channels on the board that had been hooked up and weren't playing through the mains, and stood in the middle of the bar work area mixing while they worked around me.

                            Pain in the ass.

                            For the record, I wasn't too big a fan of the Mission either.


                            BAH that blows.

                            The last time (and only time) i worked at the Mission i was working for the headliner and i had made alot of ajustment to the driverack PA they had, but i didnt save them, - the main support band (18 visions) was on and im on the bus, doing my TM naptime routine, and i get somone knocking on the bus door we need you inside right away. it turns out the pa was on one circut and it blew, lost all my DRPA settings and the FOH for 18 visions was freaking out...help me Dan HELP! so i remembered most of what i did and got it back to manageable. Then before we went on i reworked the power scheme and yelled at the PA owner for being a shortbus driver! Seriously WTF!!!!

                            It makes me remember my first national gigs and i really thought i was inadequate, and i was running 4 tx4 over 4 dual 18", well powered and had all the basic components to do a show, and now i know that alot of the b and c national bands a shafted in smaller markets and i was doing them well with my lil rig.
                            Dan
                            dan@audioeast.com

                            Audio East ~ New England Sound & Lighting
                            Authorized Dealers: Allen & Heath, Audix, Audio Technica, Ashly, Crest, Crown, DBX, Drawmer, Soundcraft, JBL, Midas, EV, Klark Teknik, TC Electronic, Lexicon, CBI, Yorkville, Gator Cases, Whirlwind, ProCo, Shure, Chauvet

                            Like us on Facebook http://www.facebook.com/home.php?#!/...07437315944568

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                            • #15
                              Every time I start to doubt myself and think that I'm not that good of a sound man, I just come here and read about all the other "engineers" that you guys have worked with and I instantly feel better about my abilities.

                              My worst gig was a year long series of shows here in the city. A total mismatch of gear. Not one amp had a matching partner. 4 double 18's (of which two were always blown) and two 15Xhorns hung by their handles with chain (dont even get me started on that one). The FOH was up on a platform that I had to climb a latter to get to. A wall to the right of me and a wall behind me and the ceiling was 6 inches over my head. I had to kill myself with bass every night just to get usable bass on the floor. Two monitor mixes with the boxes also hung from the ceiling by chains pointed down. No gain before total feedback hell. Bands were always complaining about the monitor levels being too low.

                              All this, and they refused to listen to me, the bands that worked there, and the other two soundguys that worked there part time as to what was needed to fix the problems. Oh well, it was a learning experience.

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