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One_Dude

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  1. I was hired to do sound for a fund raiser today. In order to keep costs down the band wanted to use some of their sound gear in addition to mine. That's where the trouble started. They brought their mics and mic cables, mic stands, and their FOH powered speakers. I provided every thing else ie: mixer, snake, amp, passive monitors, speaker cables for the monitors, and did the mixing. Got to the venue with 2 hours for setup. In short order I had a signal to the monitors, while the owner of the FOH hooked up his speakers to my snake. No signal to the FOH speakers. I spent about 35 minutes looking for a problem in my signal chain and mixer set up; couldn't find any trouble. I finally decided to look at how the FOH speakers had been cabled and found that they were wrong. Not only were they cabled wrong, but the speaker owner did not have the correct cables. His cables have female XRL plugs on both ends. Apparently they normally only feed his speakers from the line out of their amps. Finally got the FOH and the monitors both working. It's now 20 minutes till show time and we have not done a sound check yet. Plus, with both FOH and monitors working we have a low level hum in the FOH. I made the executive decision to take down the FOH speakers and put the monitors on the stands, and go with no monitors. Now we have 10 minutes till show time and still no sound check. Completed the sound check and have good signal on all vocal mics and on the instrument direct in's to the mixer. Show starts and one vocal mic goes out; singers adjust and two of them use one mic. At intermission I test the mic and cable that quit working; both test good. I change that mic to a different snake input; we're working again. Two songs into the second set the same mic goes out again. Finally found that by holding up on the XRL at the board input the mic would work. Since I changed the snake input location, but used the same board channel, there must be an intermittent problem in board XRL socket. What a boon doggle, no more mixed sound systems for me. I always test my gear before each job and did so this time, but will have to pay special attention to the potentially bad board channel before the next job. I also test my mics and cables to be sure they are good, and make sure I have spares if needed. In this instance, I didn't know if the band provided mics and cables had been tested and made the bad assumption that they knew how to connect their speakers properly. These multiple layers of the unknown meant lots of time wasted with additional levels of trouble shooting. Frustration overload, and lesson learned. In the future, I provide all the sound gear on my jobs or I don't take the job. Anyone else have a similar experience. One_Dude
  2. Sometimes the sound system at a venue is so bad or so poorly wired, that you are better off bringing your own gear. At least you are familiar with your system and you know that it works. I have been hired in the past to work sound for a local museum at one of their fund raisers. They originally just wanted me to provide mics and stands. The staff was very nice and helpful, but knew nothing about their almost new sound system. I spent a couple of hours studying their system and finally decided that the only person who could possibly understand how it was cobbled together was the person who installed it (maybe). I ended up bringing in my own system. It was more work for me, but the event was a success and everything went smoothly. In general, I think only the best venues will have first rate sound systems and be willing to hire a sound guy to operate it. One_Dude
  3. Thanks for your suggestions of multiple mics, stands, and mixer channels. I had planned to use my Peavey passive mixer along with a Peavey powered mixer, but neither of these mixers has mute options on their channels. I also have a 16 channel Mackie that does have channel mute capability. I normally don't use it just because I am most familiar with my Peavey gear, but I spent some time with the Mackie yesterday and tested each channel and function, so I will use it for this job. I think by dedicating 4 channels to group two, I will be using a total of 11 channels on the Mackie. So this approach should work OK, and I will have my Peavey mixer in the car for backup. I agree with the comment about "being thrown under the bus". In the past this producer has always been easy to deal with and very appreciative and complimentary of my work. So maybe her comment was not meant to be as harsh as it sounded. I know that she is concerned about the potential for low attendance since it turns out there is another local (insert small town) music event going on the same day at almost the same time. Someone apparently didn't do their homework when picking the date. Thanks again for your help, One_Dude
  4. I have been hired to provide sound for a concert that I have done in the past; this time however there is a twist. Three acoustic groups performed in the past with the mixes for groups one and three being only slightly different from each other. I sound checked the second group (small vocal acappella) on the fly during the concert. On those occasions each group did their numbers and moved off stage. This year the concert producer wants to mix things up. Group one will do three songs, then group two (four acappella voices) will do three songs. Then group three does three songs. Group two then comes back for two songs, followed by groups one and three combining for two songs. The mix for groups one and three are not a problem since they are so alike, however group two (the four singers) will require a completely different mix. To make things a bit worse, group two has three members who have almost no experience using a mic and hence are mic shy. In a pre-concert meeting I expressed my concern about the producers plan being one that unnecessarily complicates things for the sound crew. Her response was "your the sound guy so that's your problem). I reserve the possibility of telling the producer that the current plan creates a situation where many problems can arise. I am not concerned about group two's mic experience, but am a bit puzzled when trying to come up with a plan for the different mixes on the fly. All my equipment is analog and hence has no memory to store different mixes. I thought about having separate mics for group two, but I really don't want to clutter the stage with four more mics and stands than necessary. I am also thinking about using a different mixer for group two and possibly two condenser mics rather than four individual dynamic mics. The condenser mics might actually help with the mic shy issue since the singers will be farther away from the mics. I could see the two mixer option working if I can isolate each from the other but still maintain my feeds to the FOH and the monitors. I have often done concerts with more than one group performing, but this is different in that group two with a totally different mix is coming back for two additional songs. In the absence of a better plan I will just treat group two as completely different performers and mix both of their turns separately on the fly. Any ideas or helpful experiences you can offer will be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance, One_Dude
  5. One_Dude

    buying used amps

    I have quite a few amps, and the only one I bought new is one that I sold after a short time. Some of the used amps have had some minor problems, but for those that did, I knew about the trouble before I made the purchase. The amp I bought new was online and I had no chance to play it before I bought it. While I agree that most musicians are trustworthy with regard to gear they are selling, I would not buy another amp, new or used, without trying it out. I use amps for both bass and electric guitar. I know what sound I like, and I think there can be variations in the sound of even identical amps, so I want to play through the amp before I buy it.
  6. Wow, that GK MB210 looks good. Lots of power for a 35 pound amp; I'll have to check it out the next time I'm at Guitar Center. One_Dude
  7. I've been thinking about how I got to using the Line 6 LD110, and thought the evolution of the amps I have used at church might be interesting. I have been playing bass at this church for many years in the form of three or four different groups. Sometimes in more than one group at a time. I was primarily a guitar player when I was asked to play bass since that was the need at the time. I found that I really preferred playing bass, but the only amp I had at the time was a Peavey guitar amp so I used that for a while. About the same time I joined a wedding/party/festival/corporate gig band on bass and used the same amp. Didn't take long till I ruined the speaker playing bass through the guitar amp. One of my bandmates sold me a Standel with 2x12 that I used in the band after that, and I replaced the peavey speaker and continued using it at church. Then I found a Kustom (Roll & Pleat) bass amp with a 2x15 cabinet to use for church. That was fine until my sons went off to college and there was no one to help me get that thing up from the basement each week. Next amp was a Fender Bassman head with a 1x15 in a cabinet that I made. Worked well until it developed a ground hum at church, but not at home; (maybe something with the electrical circuit at church). I moved on to a Peavey head with a 1x12 cabinet for a while. Occasionally we would play outside where I used the same head with a 4x10 cabinet; plenty of volume. Next came an Ampeg BA115; a great amp, but heavy enough that I started leaving it at church instead of hauling it back and forth. That group broke up about the time I decided to make a serious effort at downsizing with regard to the weight issue. Tried a couple of smaller practice amps that just didn't cut it, and went back to the Ampeg. Finally found the Line 6 LD110 and gave it a try; and no regrets. It does the job for this particular application, and I'll stick with it until I find something that sounds as good with half the weight. For regular jobs outside of church, I only use the Line 6 for small to medium venues when playing with acoustic instruments. For non acoustic jobs I bring out one of my other amps. One_Dude
  8. From DeepEnd; Is your amp the LowDown 110 by any chance? Our church owns one of those. Surprisingly nice little amp for its size. Forum member bluzboy bought one recently and he likes his as well. Yes; my amp is the LowDown 110. I think it sounds much bigger than it is, and before this amp I never wanted to go smaller than a 12" speaker. I use it mainly when playing with acoustic instruments that are mic'd into the PA system and I have no trouble being heard. It may not do as well when playing with drums and loud electric guitars, I have not tried it in that kind of group. I use it at church and for bluegrass jams and have received a number of comments about how good it sounds. I would not hesitate to use it for small to medium sized acoustic venues where the other instruments are mic'd into a PA. OneDude
  9. I have several amps and amp & cabinet combinations, and I do believe that more mass makes for more thump. However, as these units seem to be getting heavier as I get older, I keep looking for less weight that can still deliver the thump I like. Lately I am using a Line 6 cube, 75 watts with a 10" speaker. Weighs about 35 pounds and coupled with my Epiphone EBO, it has plenty of thump, along with a line out for a PA if needed. I'm playing mostly in a medium sized church these days and not in a rock situation, so this setup may not work well in that environment. But I have Ampeg, Peavey, Hartke, Fender Bassman, and GK amps for those jobs, and can couple them with either 2x10, 4x10, 1x12, 1x15, or 1x18 cabinets. More stuff than I need, but you can never have too much. As for wattage; my equipment goes from 60 watts to 500 watts. If more is needed I can use one of my PA heads that puts out 2000 watts. So I consider the job, and try to match my equipment to the situation. One_Dude
  10. Hi Guys, Thanks for the suggestions; I will be on the lookout for some of the units you recommended. Until then, while rummaging around my music room, I found an effects unit I bought a few years back at a local guitar show. It's a Yamaha REX50. It has 30 memories with factory programmed effects, some of which are multiple effects, while most are singles. It also has 60 memories for user programmable effects, all of which the previous owner saved. Lots of reverb and distortion choices, but also compression, delay, chorus, and pitch change selections. Each effect has its own set of parameters that can be customized by the user. I'm sure this unit is primitive compared to the ones available today, but I can use it to help learn what the different effects sound like. This unit is circa 1988, and I suspect it was a decently advanced unit in its day. On the down side, you cannot blend separate effects that are not already factory programmed together; so it's one effect at a time. I also don't know if you can switch from one effect to another seamlessly during a song, although there is a jack called "switch memory" on the back of the unit. And, there is no "boost" effect available. It does have a bypass function, so I will have to see if one of my foot switches will work with that and with the switch memory function. Maybe by using this unit I can decide if effects pedals or an effects board is something I want to try. Thanks again for your help, and if anyone has experience with the Yamaha REX50, I'd be interested in hearing about it. One_Dude
  11. I am a long-time guitarist playing mostly light jazz and easy listening stuff. The last several years I have been concentrating on playing mandolin in a Bluegrass band, and bass at church and for fill-in gigs. When I play guitar on jazz numbers I use reverb and an otherwise clean sound. A few days ago I saw a guitarist playing at the local Home & Garden show, and I found his sound to be amazing. Ultra clean with lots of definition, and what seems like plenty of audio space between notes. By comparison, I think my sound strikes me as being "lifeless". He was using a Fractal (SP?) FX-8 effects board, with a Gibson Les Paul, and a small amp. His sound was very natural with no hint of any signal processing in it. I'm sorry I didn't have the opportunity to talk to him and learn what I could about his set-up. When it comes to guitar effects beyond reverb I really know nothing. I have picked up a few older processors and find that the only sound I can get from them is distortion, phase shift, and flange. I don't find that any of these effects fit well into the music I play. I priced the effects board this fellow was using and it's way too pricey for me. I have also seen a Boss ME-80 online and find that is more in my budget. But the question I have is this: What exactly do I need to give life to the lifeless sound that I currently have, and at the same time get a sound that does not seem to be "processed". Is there one effects pedal that provides what I am looking for? Thanks in advance for you thoughts. One_Dude
  12. I am not new to working sound, but I am relatively new to using condenser mics for live sound. I understand the need for phantom power with condenser mics and have no trouble when using a powered mixer since that option is offered by the mixer. However, when using a passive analog mixer with a separate power amp I have some questions. Do any passive mixers have the phantom power option, or do you need a separate phantom power unit for each condenser mic you are using? I see online that there are multi channel phantom power units available; is that what is recommended when using multiple condenser mics? Thanks in advance for your thoughts. One_Dude
  13. I think you have hit on the problem. I measured the male XRL end of the questionable cable and there is definitely a difference between it and a trouble free cable. Outside diameter good cable = .720 bad cable = .730 Inside diameter good cable = .634 bad cable = .626 Depth of pins good cable = .546 bad cable = .587 Pin diameter good cable = .093 bad cable = .093 So on the bad cable, the OD is larger; the ID is smaller, and the pin depth is greater. The pin diameters are the same, but once the bad cable is plugged in the entire plug is seated deeper in the female XRL. This is an older Peavey mixer and as you mentioned, the female shell is press fit into the assembly and is coming off with the male connector; that's exactly the problem I had. I don't see any sort of locking mechanism for the XRL's on this mixer, so I suspect that the bad cable is just too tight and gets pushed in too far causing it to get stuck. Thanks for your analysis, I will definitely have to pre-fit the cables I use with this mixer. One_Dude
  14. In response to the question of whether something may have spilled on the unit; I am confident that nothing like that has happened since I have owned the unit, but I did not buy it new so I don't know its entire history. It has occurred to me that this instance was one of the rare times when I have plugged mic cables directly into the unit; I normally plug a snake into the unit and the mics into the snake. I almost never have trouble using that arrangement, but this was a job where I was playing in the band and trying to mix from the stage, which I almost never do. But there are times when the band doesn't earn enough on the job to hire another sound guy. It is certainly possible that this problem is a quality control issue with the cable maker, and I suspect that the online vendor I use takes the lowest bid from a variety of manufacturers. I may take one of these cables apart to check out the pin alignment and perhaps measure the inside and outside diameters of the XRL barrel. I have also noticed that the XRL's that tend to get stuck are also the ones that require more effort to insert. Thanks for your responses, and any additional ideas are welcome. One_Dude
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