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SteinbergerHack

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Posts posted by SteinbergerHack

  1. Has anybody mentioned a monitor and/or the amp shielded then going into a monitor?

    The tech is dead-set against it. No live volume is the mandate.

     

    Hopefully saner heads will prevail.

     

    Unfortunately, no. Last night it got worse. After spending 5 hours on tech Saturday, the sound guy wanted half the pit to stay late last night to work levels even more. Of course, we had just spent three hours running the entire show....what had he been doing for all that time?

     

    I recall really enjoying the book, especially the different time signatures.

     

    Yes, and it gets even better when you have strings and horns - their parts are very well written.

     

    EDIT; I see you are already at it. IME guys that whine about guitar levels are like guys who whine about too much sun in the desert. You just can't please 'em. My attitude if I'm mixing is to turn things up and down - that's why I'm there. Guess I'm old fashioned...
    :lol:

    To be fair, there are plenty of players who don't use dynamics properly...but you shouldn't assume up-front that all are part of the same problem.

     

    Intersting aside: They have actually built a small fully enclosed hut for the drums so that they cannot be heard "live".

     

    :facepalm:

     

    Meanwhile, I have a trumpet and trombone right behind me, pointing straight at my head.

  2. Follow-up:

     

    Two rehearsals in, it's the most frustrating, stressful gig I've ever dealt with, on a variety of levels.

     

    My past experience in first tech rehearsals:

     

    Show up at 9:00. Rig set up and active by 9:10. Plug mic and steel-string into cables or pit feeds as requested. Check level at about 9:15. Overture downbeat at 9:20. Occasional stops between numbers to check stage and pit monitor levels. End of run-through about 12:00

     

    This one:

     

    Show up at 9:00. Rig set up and active by 9:10. Level checks for guitars was 9:30. Then the screwing around with everyone's monitors began. We didn't play the first note as a group until 10:45. Then the tweaking of the monitors began. End result, we didn't wrap up until 2:00 - two hours over the scheduled end time, all due to tech issues.

     

    As I was packing up to leave, the sound tech walks up and tells me that he needs me to stay for a while so that he can "levelize the guitar patches". banghead.gif

     

    It took every bit of restraint I had not to blow my stack and quit the show right then and there. I believe that he honestly has no clue that he is making this show an order of magnitude harder than it needs to be for every single person in the pit.

     

    Problem is, the show opens this Friday. If I walk out now, the entire organization is screwed, which I just don't want to do. I'm betting he'll come to us again about wanting to spend a few hours re-program our rigs; I'm thinking my response will be "Write up your notes on issues you're having and e-mail to me so that I can deal with them".

     

    In any case, I will not accept a gig like this again. FAR more extra effort than it's worth, and it's about as much fun as a root canal.

  3. A new Torpedo Live showed up at my door just before Christmas. Nice piece of equipment, looks sharp, seems easy and intuitive to get started. Naturally, I dropped everything, unboxed it and connected the output of my Bogner XTC for a quick test.

     

    First impression:

     

    This thing has a lot of nice little tweaks that you can use to adjust speaker model, mic type and location, along with a modest EQ. You can also add a tube power amp emulator if you're using the line in, and you can add a touch of reverb or slap (room emulation).

     

    I selected the standard Marshall 1960 4x12 with a SM57 - that's about as "go-to" a selection as I can imagine. I plugged in my ATH-M50x headphones for a first pass test - again, a widely used "basic" test platform that should sound relatively accurate and representative of most real-world situations (i.e., not an A-list recording studio). I disabled the power amp model since the Bogner is in-line, and also turned off the room ambiance/reverb/slap, since I have those in my FX rack already. EQ set to flat, I plugged in a guitar and started to play.....

     

    So, how does it sound? Way better than any cabinet emulator I've used in the past. Unfortunately, the straight-outtta-the-box patches still have a bit of that annoying upper-frequency grit that just sounds like a FuzzFace plugged straight into a recording console....but just a bit. It's almost usable without any real tweaking, but not quite.

     

    Next Steps:

     

    The Torpedo Live has two basic modes for building patches - "Arcade" and "Simulation". It appears that all of the stock patches delivered with the unit are built in "Arcade" mode, which is the simplest and easiest to work with. There are only a few parameters you can select - cabinet model, power amp model, room type (delay/reverb FX) and some very limited tweaks.

     

    In order to work with the EQ, disable the time delay FX and get into serious tweaking, you will need to work in the "Simulation" mode. Still working with the same baseline patch, I started playing around with the patch edit interface and found it to be a bit confusing at first, but once I worked with it a bit, I found it to be fairly easy to navigate. Personally, I would have found it easier if the twist-knobs incorporated the more common "push to select" function, but the workaround that the Two Notes guys came up with is usable.

     

    Having figured out the interface, I set about trying to get the output to sound less "direct" and more like the sound of a real cabinet.....and it was pretty easy to do. A few dB cut on the highest EQ band, move the mic back a bit from the cabinet and a touch off-center, and it started to sound really, really good. Actual use:

     

    Once I had a good baseline, I bolted the Torpedo Live into my rack, and took it to a real live gig to see how it functions in the real world.

     

    On the job:

     

    The job was a "direct-only" musical theater show, with a 21-piece pit orchestra. No cabinets for any of the electronic instruments, so I had to rely 100% on the sound from the Torpedo Live. Listening through my headphones, I was able to dial in levels and sounds fairly easily. Overall, the sounds I was able to get from this setup were easily as good as I could have gotten from my normal rig at pit levels (i.e., very, very low volume), and the direct connection eliminates problems with mic bleed.

     

    Here's the rub: It sounds good, but it is definitely not a real cabinet. I found that when playing through the Torpedo Live my relative levels between patches and channels were off. After some playing around, I think that it comes down to two things: Compression and dynamic frequency response. The modelling Two Notes has developed is very, very good, but it seems that there are still a few areas where it isn't perfect yet - and those areas are audible enough to require some attention.

     

    Twonotes-Torpedo-Live.jpg

     

    The Good:

     

    The Torpedo Live can sound very, very good with some tweaking, and indeed was a lot easier to set up in a live situation than a mic'd cabinet. Once I get a bit more comfortable with it, I may keep it in my go-to live rack just to have an easier solution and one less mic stand to trip over - and less signal bleed. On balance, it is by far the best sounding of any cabinet emulator I have played through, by a fairly wide margin. [To be fair, I have not played through the Palmer PDIs.]

     

    The control and connection locations are generally well thought-out, and clearly designed by someone who has used rack-mount guitar systems in tight, poorly lit performance situations. One nice touch is the red surround on the speaker input jack (not shown in Two Notes' product photos).

     

    The Torpedo also has tube amp emulation and time-delay FX (room ambience) which I have not yet tested to any degree of depth.

     

    The Bad:

     

    The factory patches don't give a good representation of what the Torpedo Live is capable of delivering, so it takes some directed tweaking to get to a sound you'll be happy with. Also, the lack of a XLR line out is unfortunate. Given that it is designed for live performance use, this seems to me to be a significant oversight. Most live performance situations give the guitarist a standard mic input to feed, so this unit requires you to carry a balanced 1/4 to XLR converter. This is easy enough to source and keep around, but it is just one more thing to carry. Neither of these is worth passing on the Torpedo Live, though, if you want to use your real tube amp in a setting where you need to provide a direct input or play at headphone volume levels.

     

    The Ugly:

     

    The price. This thing is not inexpensive, and ranks among the most expensive of any loadboxes and cabinet emulators available today. That said, it's not that much more than you would pay for a small combo cabinet, and less than you would pay for many of the high-end cabinets that it models.

     

    Summary:

     

    This is a solid piece of equipment that delivers very good sound quality and is reasonably easy to use and drop into your rack. Even when you are using a cabinet as a monitor, it will let you select different cabinet models for the output signal, which could be very useful in a situation where you need to cover a lot of different styles with a single rig. I think that the Torpedo Live is going to stay in my rack - it's that good.

    • Like 1
  4. I did a fair amount of pro level theatre back 10-20 years ago, handled all of the audio.

     

    I can understand the sound guy's concern, because there are PLENTY of guitarists, bass players and drummers who have little sense of what adequate volume is relative to everything else going on on stage

     

    I think that those guys are best described as "amateurs". I would have been that way when I was playing my first theater gig at age 17, but none of us are in that camp. It's up to the music director to let us know where our levels are supposed to be, and our job to take direction.

     

    Perhaps this is the problem. This is a smallish theater group that doesn't generally bring in anywhere near this many instruments, nor at this pay level....and I'd bet that the entire budget is much higher than they are used to. In short, they are hiring a large group of pros, and it's probably not something they have done before. [i'd love to know who the "angel" is who gave them access to the funding for this show....but that's another topic entirely]

     

    The good news is that since I started this thread, I've found out who a few more of the players are, and it will be a bit of a "family reunion". We may never have all played together, but many of us have experience working together in alternate groupings. We'll make it work.

     

    "Everything's all right now, everything's fine........"

  5. Glad you're OK, and yes, there is no substitute for a hard wall between you and anything heavy when transporting.

     

    Interestingly, one thing you said rings very true with me:

     

    lost control of my van when it downshifted

     

    I honestly do not understand the love for automatic transmissions inNorth America. Yes, they are convenient in traffic, but when you REALLY need to have control of the vehicle, having a major component decide to change the balance without driver input is a recipe for disaster.

     

    There is a reason the we do not allow automatic transmissions in race cars - they would kill drivers and spectators by doing the exact same thing that happened to you, but at 200kph instead of 80...

    • Like 1
  6. I've been using the same pair of Whirlwind Leaders for almost 20 years. They've lived through incredible use, gigging literally nationwide.

     

    FWIW, my view is that a "lifetime warranty" is worthless if the cable starts making noises or gives out during a gig or recording session.

     

    Quality components and assembly are worth paying for if you are someone who is paid to perform. Nobody wants to hear excuses about your cables.

  7. IMO - coming at this as a big band musician - you are absolutely correct.

     

    [...]

    If stage volume comes up as an objection, ask them what they will do if the trumpets are too loud? (ask the trumpets to play more quietly)

     

    This is the direction I am taking - and thanks for the support. As is turns out, the lead trombone player is a good friend of mine whom I have done a number of gigs with, and I'm betting he'll help me work this issue.

     

    It is absolutely critical, musically, that musicians be allowed to create a good stage mix. A good out front mix starts with a good stage mix. Full stop. No exceptions. If the sound tech wants to create your sound, perhaps you could just let him borrow your guitar for the show.

     

    Precisely. The issue is getting this accomplished without being "that guy" and ruining the cameraderie in the pit (which will actually be onstage).

     

    A friend of mine just finished 9 to 5 and did JCSS last year.

    Hah! Just did 9 to 5 a couple of months ago....not my favorite show, but we had a great bunch of musicians.

     

    He's a pro, and knows that the volume knob has positions below 11. Sounds like you do, too.

     

    Exactly. Serious players understand this, and we don't need a sound tech micro-managing the dynamics.

     

    That said, I also had a sound tech once ask me to stop using the expression pedal on my organ, and to let him set my out-front volume. I told him no, and explained that the pedal is the only control over dynamics I have, and that it functions as a tone control as much as a level control. Apparently it was three songs into the set before he routed me to the mains. Jerk.

     

    :angry47:angry02:barf::bangheadonwall:

  8.  

    If I had to pick my top four, I'd probably go with the CE-2, SG-1, PN-2, and PH-1r. I tend to like the modulation stuff a bit more than their overdrives and dirt pedals.

     

     

    I've always wanted a SG-1, but never found one when I was in a buying place in my life. I burned through a couple of CE-2s back in the 80s, though - that was sort of the "go-to" chorus for those of us who didn't want to drop the $$$ for a tc electronics stompbox or go to a rack-mount delay rig (which I finally did when the Quadraverb GT came out).

     

    Honestly, I never found the PH-1 to sound as good as the MXR Phase 90...YMMV.

     

    As for distortion pedals, I tried 'em all "back in the day" and never liked a one. The Boss were uniquely bad, though, IMO. The Rat, TS-9, and Distortion + were the only ones I could ever make use of, and even then I ended up trying to just use the amp wherever possible.

     

    I think that once you have a really good multi-channel amp, the whole world of distortion/boost/gain pedals sort of goes flat. This leaves you with time delay, envelope, and tone-shaping as the realm of FX. Just something to think about.....

  9. [Flamesuit=ON]

     

    What I find really interesting is that no matter how "good" the modellers get, we always come back to the underlying fact that the goal is to sound like a tube amp of one sort or another.

     

    It seems to me that Line6 (along with the other modellers) is always going to be a weak copy of a really good analog amp, because that is their apparent goal, and nearly every guitarist just wants to sound like something that was probably recorded with a high-$$$ tube amp.

     

    SO - if you're going to try to copy a tube amp, why not just skip the synthetic approach and go straight to the Kemper, to get the flexibility of a lot of different sounds, but a much closer copy?

     

    Alternatively, just buy a tube amp and do what we've been doing for decades - crank it up and enjoy.

     

    [Flamesuit=OFF]

     

    :D

    • Like 1
  10. If I were you (I played in the band for a production of JCSS in 1977) I would request a production meeting where evryone can state their concerns. In reading your posts' date=' I must say your concerns are legitimate and perhaps those requesting 'no amplifiers' have legitimate concerns as well. Hoefully you can find a workable solution through dialogue.[/quote']

     

    Good thought. If I can make that happen, we could probably make something work.

     

    Maybe it is because they are afraid of loud guitars drowning out the singers and you just need to let them know that you can avoide doing that and still have the amplification that you require.

     

    I'm betting that you are correct, but to me that's a bit of a cop-out. If someone isn't doing the job, we should deal with the player and help them learn instead of trying to cover up the problem with a misplaced technical restriction.

     

    One New Year's Eve I played in a show band and my amplifier was on the front of the riser the horn section was on. At times, the blend of the horns and the amplified guitar was exquisite - we worked it because we could hear it.

    .

     

    Exactly. I love playing with a brass section for exactly this reason - their volume levels are SO easy to match and create a great sense of dynamics. If you set your maximum level at just a bit below the max of the brass section, I find that it should be close to perfect...YMMV.

  11. Well' date=' if it doesn't make sense to you, maybe ask the music director and TD or whoever what their thoughts and plans are, and maybe they can explain it better.[/quote']

     

    Honestly, that's why I came here first. Given that it makes no sense on the surface and I've already heard one other player complain about it (before rehearsals have even started), I don't want to "pick a fight" or "start a mutiny" by bringing it up without understanding what the motivation might be. The only thing I have yet heard is that there was one bass player in the past who had a volume problem; this means that there is a history, and my cynical guess is that the sound tech hates guitars as a result.

     

    Again, I can see where it might make sense if you could run the whole group direct-only and have zero "stage volume" - but that's not possible when the majority of the instruments are acoustic by nature - and some are louder than the guitars should ever be.

     

    I just honestly don't understand the benefit, and the problems it can cause are clear, so I was hoping someone could give me an idea of why it might make sense. I just honestly don't see why anyone would ever want something other than a good stage mix as a starting point.....:idk:

  12. Do you have input on your monitor mix?

    Is the pit mic'd?

    If so, it seems like a reasonable request to me.

     

    That's not really the question.

     

    If 18 instruments are already acoustic, what is the problem with letting the last three be acoustic as well, so that we can get an ensemble blend?

     

    No matter how much you may love the idea of tons of electronics in the middle, the reality is that there is no substitute for musicians using their ears and listening to each other.

     

    You may think it's "reasonable", but why? What is the justification, when you can't get total volume below brass and percussion to begin with? Why accept the loss of acoustic blend and ensemble feel? What is there to be gained?

  13. The last theater show I did was keyboards in Pump Boys and Dinettes last Fall.

     

    I think that theater folks have a very different set of ideas than musicians when it comes to how things work. I don't think that is especially bad. As a musician I tend to look at is 'the theater folks show' where they know what they want, so my impulse is to just work with them.

     

    I do theater on a regular basis - did a run of "9 to 5" just a few weeks ago, and I have another one booked after this show's run. I have also acted, so I understand that theater is different from club gigs, recording, symphonic, etc. That's actually part of my concern - I've played/sung "Judas" in this show before, and I was VERY concerned about hearing the guitar, as there are several scenes where the guitar line is the primary cue.

     

    The request to go direct doesn't seem all that strange to me, though I do play guitar and I do understand that it's not as flexible as going through an amp.

     

    It's not flexibility I'm wondering about. My concern is how the heck can you get any sense for dynamics in a 21-piece group where the majority will be acoustic instruments? Generally the loudest things in a pit are trombone and tympani, right? Why does it make sense to cripple three of the instruments when you're starting out with a normal acoustic setup (brass / winds / percussion)? If we were talking about a 4-piece with electronic drums, sure - but no matter what we do we're at the mercy of the brass. Why not just go ahead and let everything run a good acoustic mix, so that the relative levels will be balanced throughout the show?

     

    I also understand that tonally it is different,

     

    I can fix that. As I stated, that's a pain, but it's my responsibility as a player to give the sound tech a good signal. I generally bring my own mics and direct boxes, too, so that all the sound guy needs to do is give me a mic line.

     

    However, from the standpoint of the person managing the audio, I can understand why they'd want more control.

     

    Managing the dynamics and mix of the pit orchestra is the conductor's and music director's job, not the sound guy's.

     

    From the sound guy's perspective, the pit should be a "set and forget" with everything run into a single sub-mix that can go up and down as a unit. If the sound guy is riding individual instrument levels, he's doing something wrong - and probably working against what the directors are trying to do. ......which is where I find it surprising that they would want to do it this way.

     

    On top of that, volume levels for theater are usually (at least where I am) way lower than those for most concert sound.

     

    Absolutely true. That has nothing to do with headphones vs. speaker, particularly when the majority of the pit is traditional acoustic instruments.

     

    Going direct and monitoring through headphones may actually be more comfortable for you than having to turn down to meet the requirements for stage volume.

     

    Absolutely not. Hearing everything "live" is for me the most comfortable situation, as it allows me to know where I am in the mix - to bring out parts that need to be brought out, and lay back where it should be laid back. Only a begginer or fool thinks he needs to be loud to sound good. Sounding good means having a good blend - and you can't do that if you can't hear what everyone else is doing, and vice versa.

     

    So I don't think that it sounds like a crazy request out of hand, just normal priorities in a theater.

     

    Interesting. As I said, I've been doing this for 30+ years, and this is the first time I've ever been told I cannot run a monitor cabinet. I have had to run at ridiculously low volume levels (like having to pull pack on my steel-string volume), and I don't find that unusual....but it doesn't make much sense when you have a pair of trombones sitting next to you blowing full tilt. There's no real value in not getting a good mix inside the pit, IMO. If that blend is good from the start, then all you have to worry about is overall volume of the ensemble. When you start trying to micro-manage individual instruments with an intentionally out-of-balance audible blend, I just don't see how that makes any sense.....

  14. knowing the type of music you play is essential. If you're playing lead all night you may get by with a cranked 15W amp' date=' but you cant get clean chords from a lower watt amp at live drummer playing levels, no less a big band. [/quote']

     

    This can't be stressed enough. It takes a lot more power to get a good clean tone at a given volume than it does to get a smooth distorted tone at the same volume. A 25-30W amp might work OK for use when playing all "crunch" and "metal lead" tones in a group with good volume control, but to get a good jangly or country clean tone unmic'd you may need 100W if the rest of the band is loud.

     

    It would also help to know why you want tubes specifically. What sound quality are you looking for that takes you in that direction? (I'm a die-hard tube snob myself, but there are styles and price points where a modeller or SS amp is the right tool for the job).

     

  15. Just to close the loop, I ended up ordering a Torpedo Live. That seemed to be the best current option on the market that included a reactive dummy load and a cabinet/mic emulator. I'll post a review after I get it put into the rack and get some stage time with it.

  16. The Bogner XTC 101b will do all of those without pedals...

     

    That said, it won't jump between them without some tweaking. You get three basic channels that you can select from the footswitch - clean(green), crunch (blue), and gain (red). On top of that you get two footswitchable gain-boost selections that apply to all three simultaneously, along with a switchable FX loop. [There is also a plexi mode switch so you in effect get 4 main modes, but the footswitch won't select plexi mode.]

     

    Now, to dial in your sound, you can also adjust the usual tone/presence controls, most of which are specific to a channel or shared between two (not three). You also have some damping controls and the FX loop in and out level trims.

     

    If that's not enough, you also can change the 100W EL34 power section with three selections:

     

    Full/half power

    Class A or Class AB

    Pentode or Triode.

     

    Each of these has a slightly different character, and has the side effect of pushing your total power output up and down, in a range between 7W and 100W.

     

    I have had this amp for about 10 years, and it has allowed me to leave everything else at home. It is without a doubt the most versatile gigging amp I have ever played through, and it sounds absolutely fantastic. Cleans are VERY close to Fender-quality, and the blue and red channels sound as good as anything else on the market - seriously. I can have the sound of both a Super Reverb clean and a JCM800, and switch between them with one button on the pedalboard.

     

    There is only one little tiny annoyance: This is really three separate tube preamps in a single box, plugged into a single power amp. As a result, there are three completely separate master volumes. This means that you have to get used to adjusting all three when you are setting up, or you're going to have a forehead-slapping moment somewhere during the first song. It also means that the amp has a lot of tubes, so it's heavy, and re-tubing gets pricey...but that's a minor annoyance, like worrying about the cost of an oil change in your Porsche.

  17. Out of the two you listed, I'd take the 50W combo. Reason being musicians have been downsizing their gear for a long time now. Finding a working band that uses the big stuff, and clubs that still allow it is going to seriously limit your performing options. I like big amps myself and do own several, but other then recording in my sound proofed studio I don't play many gigs that allow the big stuff.

     

    What do you mean by "allow the big stuff"? The physical size of an amp has exactly nothing to do with the volume output. Heck, I run my Bogner XTC set at 7W (Triode, Class A, single tube) through a 4x12 slant-front on a regular basis, and I guarantee you it won't be anywhere near as loud and obnoxious as a 50W JCM800 combo.

     

    Honestly, I've never seen or heard of a club telling me what amp I can use on stage. I use what makes sense for me from a sound and versatility standpoint - and a lot of times that means bringing my trusty old 1960 4x12 so that I can roll the whole rig in rather than lugging a 50-pound combo that I have to physically lift and carry.

    • Like 1
  18. What drives certain techs to want no guitar cabinets onstage? What possesses them to think that this is OK? icon_confused2.gif

     

    I start rehearsals for a theater gig next week as part of a 21-piece pit orchestra in a theater I've never worked before. The bandleader tells me that the soundtech is mandating that bass and guitars all go direct and use headphones to monitor - no amps allowed. [Apparently there was a bass player at some point in the past who didn't know how to take direction, so now they think that all guitar players are idiots.]

     

    banghead.gif

     

    I'm really struggling to see how this can possibly work, given that (obviously) the horns, percussion and strings aren't going to be going direct. To top it off, the show is Jesus Christ Superstar, which is probably the most guitar-heavy book in the business (with the possible exception of Grease); it is also a very dynamic score, with a VERY wide range of volumes from light acoustic to balls-out horns and heavy guitar. I foresee a whole lot of problems with dynamics and level-setting within the ensemble, as well as a lack of proper cues for the stage performers (if you've ever listened to the soundtrack or worked the show, you know that there are several scenes where the guitar is the only timing cue the stage gets).

     

    Anybody got any ideas about how to manage this? In my 30+ years of playing, I've never been asked to do this in a large ensemble setting with so many instruments - it just seems like it's destined to fail.......am I missing something? The good news is that the other pit players that I know are all very experienced, so it probably won't be a complete disaster.

     

    [Of course there is also the fact that the sound quality of direct-only guitars generally sucks, but that's really just a technical challenge for me to solve in my rack. The GAS solution is the Torpedo Live which UPS is bringing my way as I write this....]

     

    Any and all input would be appreciated.

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