Thread: The main mistakes bands make with live shows

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  1. #61
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    Default Re: The main mistakes bands make with live shows

    It's more like haircut logic where you can be cautious and have them only take a little off and then possibly have them take a bit more off it that wasn't enough, but if they take too much off you are stuck with it. (but sort of in reverse)

    Obviously super loud in a small room means you are stuck with it. The sound system or sound person isn't going to be able to magically balance things out. It just is what it is.

    If it actually is a punk band and that fits their intentions that's fine. The crowd will expect as much. Probably all the band members are going to be loud so it will be in some sort of balance. You might even suggest someone turn up, it's been known to happen.

    OTOH, if it's a band that is supposed to be in balance and for some reason one element is really sticking out on stage it's often something that can't be compensated for in a club PA. (since this issue does scale differently, to the original point, a single much louder instrument is much more easily dealt with when it's a much larger venue and the stage/instrument volume is less of a factor for the audience). Sometimes its simple things like that guitar cabinet is pointed at the audience in a way that it's louder than the performer realizes.

    Any sound guy who is working for the sake of a good show will at least point out things that the band is unlikely to be able to tell from the stage, and work to keep things reasonably balanced at whatever volume the show is.

    Piano and cello duo's are great at any scale Just use some nice mics on them and let them control their performance and dynamics - it's lovely. DPA's work nicely for this. I'm spoiled that I work with this more than the scenarios in this thread.

    Piano and cello also aren't expected to amplify themselves in any setting, but it's still possible that those performers who do use amps will amplify themselves in small spaces to the point at which the sound system and crew cannot establish a balance, so this idea that one might adjust volume to the space is just a general precaution. In a punk band I'd anticipate -all- members to be loud so while it all might be loud it's fine.

    Performers have to understand the room acoustics, the limits of the PA, and know that it's possible in small clubs that they could play so loud that the PA can't help them. In extreme cases they might be playing so loud that they are likely to damage the gear or just plain drive out the crowd which also effects the sound guy, the venue, the promoter, etc. So a number of jobs, reputations, and monies are always part of the equation in the bigger picture of it.

    Mostly, bands can play as it suits their style, but in some instances it removes the ability of sound personnel to help the balance and in those cases nobody should blame the sound guy (although they still often do). I do understand it to be a day to day concern in small venues.
  2. #62
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    Default Re: The main mistakes bands make with live shows



    It's more like haircut logic where you can be cautious and have them only take a little off and then possibly have them take a bit more off it that wasn't enough, but if they take too much off you are stuck with it. (but sort of in reverse)

    Obviously super loud in a small room means you are stuck with it. The sound system or sound person isn't going to be able to magically balance things out. It just is what it is.

    If it actually is a punk band and that fits their intentions that's fine. The crowd will expect as much. Probably all the band members are going to be loud so it will be in some sort of balance. You might even suggest someone turn up, it's been known to happen.

    OTOH, if it's a band that is supposed to be in balance and for some reason one element is really sticking out on stage it's often something that can't be compensated for in a club PA. (since this issue does scale differently, to the original point, a single much louder instrument is much more easily dealt with when it's a much larger venue and the stage/instrument volume is less of a factor for the audience). Sometimes its simple things like that guitar cabinet is pointed at the audience in a way that it's louder than the performer realizes.

    Any sound guy who is working for the sake of a good show will at least point out things that the band is unlikely to be able to tell from the stage, and work to keep things reasonably balanced at whatever volume the show is.

    Piano and cello duo's are great at any scale Just use some nice mics on them and let them control their performance and dynamics - it's lovely. DPA's work nicely for this. I'm spoiled that I work with this more than the scenarios in this thread.

    Piano and cello also aren't expected to amplify themselves in any setting, but it's still possible that those performers who do use amps will amplify themselves in small spaces to the point at which the sound system and crew cannot establish a balance, so this idea that one might adjust volume to the space is just a general precaution. In a punk band I'd anticipate -all- members to be loud so while it all might be loud it's fine.

    Performers have to understand the room acoustics, the limits of the PA, and know that it's possible in small clubs that they could play so loud that the PA can't help them. In extreme cases they might be playing so loud that they are likely to damage the gear or just plain drive out the crowd which also effects the sound guy, the venue, the promoter, etc. So a number of jobs, reputations, and monies are always part of the equation in the bigger picture of it.

    Mostly, bands can play as it suits their style, but in some instances it removes the ability of sound personnel to help the balance and in those cases nobody should blame the sound guy (although they still often do). I do understand it to be a day to day concern in small venues.
  3. #63
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    Default Re: The main mistakes bands make with live shows

    Mostly, bands can play as it suits their style, but in some instances it removes the ability of sound personnel to help the balance and in those cases nobody should blame the sound guy (although they still often do).
    see, thing is, I think that, in a small venue, that's almost always a good thing
  4. #64
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    Default Re: The main mistakes bands make with live shows

    see, thing is, I think that, in a small venue, that's almost always a good thing
    It feels like this presumes that -

    Imbalances in sound particularly from young bands in small clubs are always intentional on the part of the band

    And

    All sound persons efforts to help whether via discussion of stage volume or via mixing within the system are bad

    That doesn't leave us much. I've found that some bands on the entry level need some help. Maybe it's just figuring out how to point an amp or something simple. Sound guys and the audience will certainly notice if a guitar amp is so loud that nobody can hear the vocals. I can't see how that's a good thing.
  5. #65
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    Default Re: The main mistakes bands make with live shows

    I don't think we fundamentally disagree (I think)

    but the key word is 'some' bands


    i DO think that in small venues, the less that goes through the PA at all, the better it usually sounds.
  6. #66
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    Default Re: The main mistakes bands make with live shows

    A good band that only needs light reinforcement is s great thing. As a theatre guy I'm used to natural sounding reinforcement more than sound by the pound. For sure this matters more in small spaces where you want to avoid a race to the top of the fader. Actually, a lot of work I do is in a theatre that sounds amazing and many shows are strictly acoustic there. Its great, and all sound guys should have the strictly acoustic sound of performances as a reference. A PA should just deliver that performance to the audience as evenly as possible using only as much PA as you need. It should still feel like the performance originates from the stage, not from the PA.
  7. #67
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    Default Re: The main mistakes bands make with live shows

    ... all sound guys should have the strictly acoustic sound of performances as a reference. A PA should just deliver that performance to the audience as evenly as possible using only as much PA as you need. It should still feel like the performance originates from the stage, not from the PA.
    Exactly
    that's where we agree completely

    It's funny, (or not really funny), that it's in theatre and dance that I've been noticing lately so much, how often the sound is the opposite of what you're saying.
    I hate it when it sounds like they're playing a recording, even though there is in fact a live band in the pit.
  8. #68
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    Default Re: The main mistakes bands make with live shows

    see, thing is, I think that, in a small venue, that's almost always a good thing
    I'm inclined to suspect that that's because you've always played with musicians who can balance themselves well, and probably don't attend very many shows put on by "nightmare" bands.

    EDIT: Maybe "nightmare" isn't an entirely appropriate word, but it's the best I have at the moment.
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  9. #69
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    Default Re: The main mistakes bands make with live shows

    I'm inclined to suspect that that's because you've always played with musicians who can balance themselves well, and probably don't attend very many shows put on by "nightmare" bands.
    Ha!
    you never saw Too Much Joy live!

    but I found out straight away that the only way it was going to work when you had 4 guys trying to 'out loud' and upstage each other at any moment, was to go out in the house to listen and say "turn that amp up" to compensate for the other one, etc.

    hoping the FOH guy was gong to "mix" away the balance issues or even that the PA was capable of it was always a mistake.

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