Thread: Sound check etiquette

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  1. #41
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    Default Re: Sound check etiquette

    with so many other things being negotiatble, the fact that i eventually have to eat, sleep, and go to the bathroom are kind of facts of life!


    While I can agree with all of that, and I actually do prefer to eat; there is a part of me that HATES coming back from lunch. On the really long shitty days, I always feel much more tired after lunch. I'm sure that the idea that lunch makes me more tired than without is an illusion, but there are days where it sure feels like it.


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  2. #42
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    Default Re: Sound check etiquette

    This all leads to how a proper production day is planned...Pounce is dead on.

    All of the productions I've worked that were organized that way...where people are spelled off in shifts for lunch...where people aren't competing for time on stage...where people have enough time to have a good meal. This all leads to shows going up and down smoothly.

    And remember, you, as a person, are a machine. You'll think nothing of making sure all of your gear is well maintained prior to taking it out on a gig. Why not do the same for you? Its amazing how quickly a problem is solved when your machine (body) is well fed and maintained.

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  3. #43
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    Default Re: Sound check etiquette

    Which is why I dug theatre gigs.

    I used to be the house audio cat for the Sandusky State Theatre, which, after the whole crew, TD, ATD, AE and LD bailed, enmasse after figuring out that it was run by complete idiots, closed.

    Load-in, unpack, break with doughnuts and coffee, set, sound check, focus, sort out the spot ops, dinner break that was catered, in house, tweak, door, show, strike, load-out.

    No dicking around.

    Never got my yellow card but I was never treated badly by those who had.

    Playhouse Square is a different tin of biscuits.
  4. #44
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    Default Re: Sound check etiquette

    Which is why I dug theatre gigs.

    I used to be the house audio cat for the Sandusky State Theatre, which, after the whole crew, TD, ATD, AE and LD bailed, enmasse after figuring out that it was run by complete idiots, closed.

    Load-in, unpack, break with doughnuts and coffee, set, sound check, focus, sort out the spot ops, dinner break that was catered, in house, tweak, door, show, strike, load-out.

    No dicking around.

    Never got my yellow card but I was never treated badly by those who had.

    Playhouse Square is a different tin of biscuits.

    Yeah I do enjoy that side to working in the theatre except im normally the little monkey who makes the coffee and also spot ops because they dont allow me to use anything over 6 channels in there. Makes you would think I havent engineered a 75 + bands in the past 6 months.
    Eating is essential , I always try to carry at least something to nibble on
  5. #45
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    Default Re: Sound check etiquette

    One thing that hasn't been mentioned...

    If you don't know frequencies... don't try to sound all teckie and shit by spewing out frequencies...

    If there's some feedback starting to creep into your monitor, tell the monitor guy that you don't know what frequency it is, but you can sing/play it, or an octave of it.

    Same holds true for just too much or too little of a tone.

    Oh, and try to be accurate in your descriptions... PLEASE?!? What you may call "sounds a little thin", might be someone else's "where's the ass end in this thing?"

    And when you give the monitor guy your example tone... just don't play or sing it one time... give it to him until you BOTH know it's taken care of.

    One other thing... If you can't get a CD to the FOH guy before hand, it's OK to send someone out to FOH who knows the music to help INFORM the FOH engineer... But this is best accomplished by someone who knows tact... and sober!

    Don't send some pissed up dumbass out there to bug the shit outta' my ass while I'm trying to work. A dude who knows the show that can give me a quick headsup about things is really appreciated... If you happen to be that dude... talk to me AHEAD of time! Give me some warning about special shit before they take the stage. I want your band to smoke ass!

    We all want it to sound good... help the crew accomplish that, and there's not much they won't do to make that happen.
    A performance is not perfect, it is passionate.

    Cultivate PASSION motherfuckers.


    Not the sample accuracy.

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  6. #46
    Bassist/struggling pizza boy! Thinks Ringo's wife is a famous Classical Composer
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    Default Re: Sound check etiquette

    Being a performing musician for many years, I have found it to be true that it is usually the soundguys that make our relationship an often troubled one. Of course this is from my biased position. I don't enjoy walking into a situation where I am being treated as if I am deaf and know little or nothing about sound. The fact is musicians spend a great deal of time listening and are often very aware of their sound, but most don't know how to convey this in technical terms to an audio engineer who has a completely different set of terminology. I have met very few engineers who know what an G7 flat 9, flat 13 chord is, but I would never fault one for not knowing this because it is not his job to know it.

    The fact is without the artist getting the booking in the first place there would be no need for soundguys. Without music you could sit there and turn knobs but it won't sell any tickets. I am not trying to pick a fight here, I am just trying to point out that many engineers aren't exactly the friendliest people all the time.

    I was doing a gig with Savion Glover over the summer and I learned a great "trick" observing him. Don't just introduce yourself to the engineer when you show up to the gig....ask for the soundguy's business card. We all have to work for a living.

    Last edited by FredSanford; January 12th, 2007 at 01:50 PM.
  7. #47
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    Default Re: Sound check etiquette

    Being a performing musician for many years, I have found it to be true that it is usually the soundguys that make our relationship an often troubled one. Of course this is from my biased position. I don't enjoy walking into a situation where I am being treated as if I am deaf and know little or nothing about sound. The fact is musicians spend a great deal of time listening and are often very aware of their sound, but most don't know how to convey this in technical terms to an audio engineer who has a completely different set of terminology. I have met very few engineers who know what an G7 flat 9, flat 13 chord is, but I would never fault one for not knowing this because it is not his job to know it.

    The fact is without the artist getting the booking in the first place there would be no need for soundguys. Without music you could sit there and turn knobs but it won't sell any tickets. I am not trying to pick a fight here, I am just trying to point out that many engineers aren't exactly the friendliest people all the time.

    I was doing a gig with Savion Glover over the summer and I learned a great "trick" observing him. Don't just introduce yourself to the engineer when you show up to the gig....ask for the soundguy's business card. We all have to work for a living.

    given your above attitude and decision that the musician/soundguy relationship is adversarial i have no doubt that you might have problems with your interactions with soundguys. i'd suggest that you stick around and perhaps you'll create a strategy that provides a better interaction with soundengineers and perhaps builds a better and deserved respect for their craft, which you don't seem to have. musicians don't need to know anything technical about sound per se, they just need to do thier part right. i would suggest them knowing something about the sound reinforcement gear is to their advantage, but yes, most do not truly know much about that. guess what, there is no "trick" to dealing with sound guys. introducing yourself, being cool, and communicating well will do just fine. i would give you my business card by the end of the gig if i wanted to work with you again anyway.
  8. #48
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    Default Re: Sound check etiquette

    in order to assure that my last post doesn't come off -too- strongly, i'll just amend it by saying that if you come in to a venue expecting the worst you just might get the worst.

    and i'll also obviously concede that not all sound guys are good by any measure, from technically to personality. since i work in a larger venue and deal with touring shows, i see techs that are typically good. my experience in clubs, however, is spotty. some guys are good and others are not. and the bad ones have less experience with bigger shows, bigger gear, etc. and their lack of experience and perspective shows. (obviously there are very good club guys working their asses off too, just to be clear).

    i'm going to start a thread that does address what do techs and venues do that is bad for the bands coming in so that it is seperate from this thread which is to focues bands on how to better get connected with the venue, gear, and staff to help make a better show happen. and in re-reading the post that got me started on this train of thought, i still think that the expectation that the soundguy will be the problem is the biggest problem you have, and that belief is going to diminish your ability to establish a productive relationship with the sound guys who are working hard to help you succeed. it's less about the techs having to kiss someones ass that we have a gig and more about adopting the attitude that we are all working on the same team to have a good sounding show. when bands think of me as an additional member, and percieve us as a team dedicated to them having a good show and sound, we achieve it together every time. and when a band in so many ways takes a more adversarial approach with me i am certainly disinclined to go the extra mile for them. treat me like the "problem" and you are not going to be getting my best work.
  9. #49
    Bassist/struggling pizza boy! Thinks Ringo's wife is a famous Classical Composer
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    Default Re: Sound check etiquette

    Hey Pounce dig this.....My "attitude" as you put it developed over years of repeated interactions with extremely negative people in the audio engineer business. I startet out as a young musician trying to find his way. I was always respectful and friendly. My Momma taught me that. That didn't seem to make any difference. In fact it made it worse. You are proving my point. How many posts here complaining about musicians? I post one from the opposite perspective. I would say that maybe in you years of experience you might do well to think about things differently. Believe me I wrote what I wrote to simply point out that there is always 2 sides of a story in situations like this. As far as your accusation that I haven't any respect for the craft, I say you are wrong. I have been practicing and learning it slowly over the past 10 years. If you can't beat em.....Why do you think I am here?
  10. #50
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    Default Re: Sound check etiquette

    well, i have started a thread where your topic can be better addressed. this thread is meant to be a primer for bands to learn what things they can do to better their chances of having a good show. no need to be defensive that it's all from that perspective, it's from one perspective by design so as to stay on topic. so it's not at all a matter of two sides to the story, it's a matter of addressing a singular topic effectively and without it being a matter of fixing blame.

    anyhow, you are not only very welcome here, but i specifically would like you to expand a bit on what you think creates problems for you from the band perspective in that thread to assure this topic is addressed. i want to hear more band input in general, but this thread right here isn't that place for it to happen. i'm quite certain that the constructive comments in this thread can help any band willing to digest the info. i certainly hope every musician does. that said, people on the other side of the mixer are not beyond constructive criticism, and putting well thought out and helpful comments into that other thread might prove to be a useful and informative thing for the sound guys in the forum.
  11. #51
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    Default Re: Sound check etiquette

    Well, having played both sides of that street, I can say that there is ample blame for the occasional adversarial musican-sound guy relationship on both sides. As a musician, I have known curmudgeonly sound guys who are brusque and condescending to the musicians in their charge right from the start, without any provocation. OTOH, as a sound guy, I have had to deal with snotty, arrogant musicians who are only concerned with getting their own rocks off, and who treat the sound guy like a subhuman.

    So, when one or the other happens, I guess it's not surprising that some residual animosity sometimes carries over to the next experience. It's incumbent on all of us, musicians and sound folks alike, to do our damndest not to bring this kind of baggage forward and to strive to build a symbiotic relationship from square one.

    Kumbaya, dammit!! ;^)
    Gordon in Austin

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  12. #52
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    Default Re: Sound check etiquette

    I've been on both ends of the audio chain for a lot of years. I've fronted a lot of bands and mixed hundreds more, and.. I can sort of dig what he's saying.

    I've walked into gigs where I knew this guy had barely a clue and a bug up his ass the size of Utah, and that is not the norm, but it happens.

    I'll go out into the crowd as far as possible and give a listen when I can and try and see what's going on and if there's any glaring flaws

    If there's something that needs addressed, I'll say "you know.. I know you know your room and your gig, but I was wondering if maybe you couldn't just give me ( a bit more vocal, a little less heat on the vocals, a bit more level on the guitars, put the keys into the mix, etc..) just to try it and see if you think it works for us as well as we do."

    Sometimes it works, sometimes it don't, but for the most part, I've run into techs who set up the rig, give you a solid sound check if you don't stand around with your thumb up your fanny noodling and jamming while he's trying to check the drums or the vocals, want at least one song where a lot of the band sings harmonies, gets a good balance etc.

    When they start saying stuff like "could you warm up your guitar tone a little" or tweak mic placements after sound check and ask the drummer to tweeze out a tom or two,.. then I know they know what the fuck they want out of the room which tells me that we'll probably work fine.
  13. #53
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    Default Re: Sound check etiquette

    I'll just add that many times, on both sides of the ball, attitude is inversely proportional to expertise.
    Gordon in Austin

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  14. #54
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    Default Re: Sound check etiquette

    I'll just add that many times, on both sides of the ball, attitude is inversely proportional to expertise.
    aint that the truth


    yeah, it's a two way street. on the gig i'm working on today, the touring crew is super great. when it's cool folks in with you for the day things go pretty well.

    ps: what does anyone think about this idea. if fred sanford has had so many problems with soundguys over the past decade of gigging, what about finding a single sound reinforcement company and or sound engineer, building that relationship, and using that person all the time? seems like a great way to eliminate what is apparently a recurring problem and establish a relationship that makes things go easier.

    besides, if the house staff is cranky somebody else has to deal with them (your sound guy). seems like a good solution, especially since you seem to have worse than usual luck with finding sound guys. i did have to at least -wonder- if you have more than the usual amount of trouble with soundpeople, is it them or something about your approach with them that is creating extra tension? i don't know anyone in this thread personally, so i have no idea how it is at the gigs. i've seen some pretty uncool soundguys over the years. but the question needs to be asked what can everyone do to find a better way to get everyone motivated to do their best at the gig.

    pps: with respect to the original posts in this thread, the thoughts about sound check etiquette, are there any comments that anyone disagrees with? my experience has bore out these things to be a typical representation of things that regularly happen. so i think it's fair. it is just from the sound guy perspective, but it isn't factually unfounded.
    Last edited by pounce; January 12th, 2007 at 11:36 PM.
  15. #55
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    Default Re: Sound check etiquette

    Fred,
    Pounce is the sound man you'd want to have. Because he's smart.
    See, it's not 'us vs them'.
    As hippy as it may seem, it's 'together we are one'.
    What you are describing is a language problem.
    It goes both ways. There are idiots in all camps.
    I used to be a touring musician, and now I am a studio musician/AE, so I get to see both sides.
    Musos can be real twits for the sound man. Not just because of an attitude problem, but simply by having no clue as to how things work. Sound people can be obnoxious by refusing to explain in clear terms what their problem is.
    Talk. Explain. Discuss.
    That's the only way.

    BTW, you're very welcome here !
  16. #56
    Bassist/struggling pizza boy! Thinks Ringo's wife is a famous Classical Composer
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    Default Re: Sound check etiquette

    I do indeed feel welcome here. I am thankful for that. I just was getting a sense last night that the post was taking on an "it's the dumbass musicians fault" tone. I am fully aware of the potential of musicians to be assholes. I have had my days like the worst of them. I agree completely that is better in the end to understand one other's point of view and strive to work together toward a common goal. Making the best music we can, even if we wake up on the wrong side of the bed sometimes.
  17. #57
    Bassist/struggling pizza boy! Thinks Ringo's wife is a famous Classical Composer
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    Default Re: Sound check etiquette

    Fred,
    Musos can be real twits for the sound man. Not just because of an attitude problem, but simply by having no clue as to how things work.
    I have come across plenty of live sound engineers who don't have a clue about music or engineering. You guys know that is a reality. I also realize that none of the professionals here fall into that category or else I wouldn't be here seeking wisdom.

    Let me end by offering my sincere gratitude for this great place and all of you who take the time to share your talent.

    Peace
  18. #58
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    Default Re: Sound check etiquette

    Talent - where????

    where do I have to sign up for talent????

    may I have a sticker up there for talent sign up



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