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  • Questions regarding band members going direct in to the board

    Long story with my band regarding micing, stage volume, etc but with my hearing becoming more and more of an issue, not to mention voice problems because of having to scream to hear myself as the night wears on, and lastly the very small stage areas we sometimes have to work with, I'm looking to transition into a "non-amp" stage set-up where possible and get everyone to go direct to the board. I'm prepared to buy all the necessary equipment myself and put it in my rack to avoid any money issues.

    So any suggestions and experiences from those that have done this either full bloom or with most in the band? I like Guido's perspective with his band to try and do what I'm looking to do and will probably go with a GSP1101 as I'm just a rhythm guitarist and handle all lead vocals.

    The biggest question is how to capably allow the band members hear their instrument when they don't have an amp sitting behind them and also from the bassist's standpoint will I need to buy a sub speaker to cover having the bass now go direct?

  • #2
    You'll need monitors for people to hear themselves if there is no other stage volume. And preferably a system where everyone has their own monitor mix since everyone will want to hear themselves louder. IEMs would be the best way to go, otherwise you're likely to end up with the stage volume being just as loud with everything in the monitors as it was before.

    And yes, you'll almost certainaly need a sub for the bass if you no longer use a bass cabinet onstage.

    One of the reasons we went to IEMs was to protect what's left of our old hearing. Not having ringing-ears at the end of the night is MUCH more enjoyable and must certainly be more healthy.
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    • #3
      We have gone with 0 amplified back line for a few years and I love it. We play small to midsize venues mostly and always do it this way. May not be for everyone, but works for us and gives the SE complete control of the band. Cant go into details right now, but it is not that difficult for us. Will post details when I have more time if you'd like.

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      • #4
        We have gone with 0 amplified back line for a few years and I love it. We play small to midsize venues mostly and always do it this way. May not be for everyone, but works for us and gives the SE complete control of the band. Cant go into details right now, but it is not that difficult for us. Will post details when I have more time if you'd like.


        Yes I would thanks. I'm trying to see what others are doing and specifically what brands and models. Since my talent is lead vocals my rhythm guitar skills are not that crucial to our sound. Similar to Guido's situation. Not sure how the GSP1101 is working out for him but I'm looking to do the Tech 21 character amp thing with the Liverpool for my ampless and direct in. Now for lead player, bass, keyboards........

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        • #5
          Do you have a drummer? Does he use an electronic kit?

          I've seen a couple bands around here that use an ampless setup. They sounded ok at best. The drums really stand apart from the rest in smaller venues.
          Don't Sweat the petty things and don't pet the sweaty things

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          • #6
            I use a GSP 1101 and the other guitar player uses a Line 6 set up. 2 guitars, one keys, bass, accoustic drums and 4 open vocal mics.

            This is the way we do it. i am not saying it is the right way or that it will work for anyone else. It works for us.

            First, everything is direct, except drums which are always mic'd. All the direct boxes go to a splitter snake, no frills, no returns, just a plane jane splitter. One end goes to a stage mixer and the other to the FOH which is handled by an SE. The stage tail gos into a mixer, everything but the drums unless it is a very large stage. From the mixer we take a line out to a Samson headphone amp and from there through an adapter (male 1/4 to female mini plug), to shure ear pieces. In the chain you should have a good limiter. A Shure hard wired or wireless in ear system would work as well. Our way is very inexpensive if you have a mixer lying around.

            With this set up and this one mix allows upto four "more me" inputs, where if one musician wants more of his instrument it can be easily achieved. Also, my mixer has two monitor mixes which I can customize completely for the more complicated requirements. I mix the monitors on stage. With a goodsound check I have to make very few adjustments throughout the gig. We have played with many sit in musicians over the years and most agree is a clearer reference than accoustic monitors handled FOH or on stage side by someone else.

            I like it, and it gives the SE complete control over the mix which is generally cleaner and hardly ever get feedback. On a few occasions we have had to deal with dead spots stage front, but only very isolated cases, which we have solved with front fillers.

            I am half asleep and dont know if this makes sense. Here is a video from a small gig last saturday I just posted. We had a couple of monitors thAt were not in use. No one has ever complained about our sound unless it was a nightmarish gig with technical difficulties. There are many other videos on that page, some, like this one, recorded direct, others live and others live one channel and direct the other one, just playing around to see what works, straight to the camera. Again, it is very late. If you want models, brands and the like I can get to that next week. Oir set up is against conventional wisdom, but works great for us. We sorely miss it when we have to use accoustic monitors.

            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iQDx0jnfKq0

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            • #7
              We have been doing this for almost 5 years. Guitars and bass use Line6 PodXT Pros and the drummer uses a Roland TD-20 kit with custom patches. We are all on IEMs (Shure PSM200). I use custom molds and the other guys use stock E2s. We use AT 3000 series wireless mics for vox. We use a MixWiz and have individual monitor sends for each person and use 2 auxes as FX. FOH is PRX512s over PRX618XLFs. We use the same rig for rehearsals and shows (minus PRXs). We have everything pre-wired in 2 racks and setup is very fast. Since we always use the same rig our monitor mix is very well tweaked and set so sound checks just mean the speakers are making noise. The mixes FOH and IEMs are well established and all settings are photographed and written in case of wandering hands...

              The most important lesson is to tweak your sound at FOH at gig volume. You may need to compromise on the monitors but make sure the FOH sound is perfect. That is the biggest mistake I've seen with bands that run direct. They tweak the sound in the monitors and pretty much ignore FOH. They think if it sounds good to them it sound good out front. That is just not true.

              We will never go back and it took us 30 years to really get comfortable with the sound at gigs. Our current system does that and rehearsals are silent except for vocals but we sound exactly the same at gigs or rehearsals. There is a learning curve and it take a long time to properly tweak the sound so the guitars don't sound emulated but it is possible to sound so good that even experienced players couldn't tell if you are emulated or not. Be very patient because that tweaking can take months.
              "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

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              • #8
                Oh, the drummer spent over a year to get the patches right. None of the stock patches were that good. He bought some third party patches and basically created a custom kit. Again, this was tweaked at FOH not monitors. Some of his patches sound anemic in the IEMs but completely awesome out front. Like I said, you have to be patient and you have to do all the tweaking via FOH or you run the risk of sounding like crap to the audience and awesome in your earbuds.
                "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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                • #9
                  I spend far more time playing my bass direct than through an amp. I have gotten used to hearing my bass, rather than feeling it, stage monitors and IEMs.
                  - ChadEndorsing Artist: Cave Passive Pedals

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                  • #10
                    All of our instruments go direct: TD-20 edrums, bass, keys, and Guitar through a Blackheart tube amp with emulated output (sounds fantastic BTW).

                    The guitar and keys are using in-ears so we only put a little of them in our monitors (4 mixes). My wife and I are the singers and we hear all we need well before feedback in the monitors.
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                    • #11
                      We've been playing for about a year direct. Just doing small stuff, guitar fx box, small bass amp, elec drums, keys, mics go into a recorder/mixer, then out to two 15" mons. I've got used to the sound and really don't like listening to live old-style' gigs cause they're so loud and boomy. I'm sure drummers make fun of us cause they aren't high-end drums, but we sound pretty tight and clear. The bass uses the small bass amp to monitor his stuff, the guitarist stands in front of one mon, and the keys in front of another. The drums are turned up enuf for him to hear, so he doesn't have to beat on them. Sometimes I record it and dump it in my daw to edit the 8 tracks individually. I wouldn't do it any other way now.
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                      • #12
                        I'll be keeping an eye on this thread. I'm an amp guy, but got an Eleven Rack recently and it's the first non-amp thing I've tried that I thought, "ya know, this thing sounds and feels good enough to try gigging through." So, do I go just straight into the board in stereo and dump a load of the 11r signal to my wedge monitor?

                        At least with the guitar amp back there, if I get an unsympathetic or non-attentive sound guy, I can situate myself near my rig and make due until the monitor situation is fixed - if I can't hear myself, I'm screwed. I'm thinking about taking a separate stage monitoring system: I have a rack amp and a pair of 1x12s I could use, but hell...I may as well just drag my damn tube amp and cab out if I'm doing that.
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