Author Topic: How many of you think you can hear FOH from the stage? Really?  (Read 2771 times)

Harpman

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It's really comical to hear musicians that don't put value in a sound man. They think they can run sound from behind the stage...Really? They think I "fiddle" to much with the sound. Last Saturday, my GF (lead singer) and I had a rare evening off and decided to have dinner at our favorite Italian restaurant where I also do sound for my GF's band. Her guitarist was playing that evening and is one of those musicians I mentioned above. First off, when the band started playing, the FOH was too hot (didn't bring my ear plugs either).  During the second song, the bass player steps out from behind the stage with his back to the audience to listen to FOH. The only time he stepped out the whole evening.  Must have been okay with him.  Let me tell you that it wasn't. If the FOH was too loud where we were sitting 25 feet away, I couldn't even imagine who the people felt 10 or 15 feet away. Since when do musicians think that live sound is like the studio (more static)?  The cold hard fact is that most musicians turn up on stage and never turn back down. Every song requires some adjustment, some more than others.  You sure wouldn't just "leave it alone" in a studio setting, would you? Yet, musicians think that since they've been playing for so many years, they are experts in sound reinforcement...WRONG.  Here's my case in point.  Band came back from their break, made no adjustments (what I expected) and the lead vocalist was buried in the mix. Need I say more?
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Greg C.

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Re: How many of you think you can hear FOH from the stage? Really?
« Reply #1 on: May 07, 2013, 03:46:05 PM »
Some bands can do ok setting up a mix with no FOH. Others don't. It's never ideal in any case. But no, you cannot hear FOH from the stage by definition unless you have the ability to be 2 places at once. The thing I find irksome are the folks on stage in larger venues trying to tell you how to mix based on what they're hearing. Clue to those kind of folks: you cannot hear what the mains sound like based on room bounce when you're standing behind them.
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WK154

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Re: How many of you think you can hear FOH from the stage? Really?
« Reply #2 on: May 07, 2013, 05:44:22 PM »
Didn't you know that most roadies know all there is to know about sound reinforcement and they've conquered and replaced the laws of physics at Warp Speed (that's faster than the speed of light). That's why the only thing they can handle is what I call Roadie Boom boxes (powered mixers) where all gain structure issues have been dealt by the engineers. Gain structure what's that ? Does it have knobs so I can twiddle ? Ironically a 20 yr. study by the World renowned House Ear Institute here in LA has clearly shown that 80 - 90% of the entertainment Industry members are HEARING IMPAIRED. They followed most music exhibitions around the globe and offered free hearing tests to the attendees. These are the "experts", Musicians and others, that tell the rest of us how it should sound?? PPPlleeease! No Beethoven stories please!
« Last Edit: May 07, 2013, 06:01:48 PM by WK154 »
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CyberHippy

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Re: How many of you think you can hear FOH from the stage? Really?
« Reply #3 on: June 14, 2013, 03:11:46 PM »
For years I mixed from stage for bands I played bass in, but I always had either a wireless setup or a really long cable so I could walk out front during sound-check and typically a few times during the gig.

If the band has good dynamics control and good musical habits (lower instrument volumes during singing & leaving room for solos) it can work, but ONLY if you do take time to step out front - you are correct that the stage sound can never be trusted to get the room mix right.

And similar to Greg's comment, I often remind musicians that the monitors are NOT the same as the mains so they can not be used to gauge EQ - "more bottom end in my voice please" "Sir, those SRM350's have no significant bass response" or if they're somewhat smart "the monitors are hi-passed for feedback control, don't judge your sound on what you hear through them"

Rdmitch

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Re: How many of you think you can hear FOH from the stage? Really?
« Reply #4 on: August 07, 2015, 03:00:19 PM »
Totally agree that you can not determine FOH from stage.
Aside from doing sound for numerous bands, I also play in two bands. We have this
discussion regularly about a sound person and I always get tired of fighting the battle
So...last week when playing a show, I just let the band set the sound from stage and play, I went ahead and put a nice little digital recorder about 30' out front and let it run.  After the show when I listened back and let them
hear the terrible mix of the vox and guitars.  They got to hear that a bad vocal harmony would have
been pulled way back by a good sound person. 
Hopefully I made my point and never will need to justify using a FOH person again
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Harpman

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Re: How many of you think you can hear FOH from the stage? Really?
« Reply #5 on: August 07, 2015, 07:37:58 PM »
Totally agree that you can not determine FOH from stage.
Aside from doing sound for numerous bands, I also play in two bands. We have this
discussion regularly about a sound person and I always get tired of fighting the battle
So...last week when playing a show, I just let the band set the sound from stage and play, I went ahead and put a nice little digital recorder about 30' out front and let it run.  After the show when I listened back and let them
hear the terrible mix of the vox and guitars.  They got to hear that a bad vocal harmony would have
been pulled way back by a good sound person. 
Hopefully I made my point and never will need to justify using a FOH person again

That recording along with a large club might do the trick for me  ;D.  My issue now is a drummer that doesn't know how to play softly indoors.  We play at a venue that has hard surfaces.  Behind him is a concrete wall.  It's funny, I mentioned to him about playing lighter and he joked and said "Drummer's can't play light".  I beg to differ. So he said, "Take my kick and overhead out of the mix".  I told him at the last gig I muted both his channels.  So my issue is 1. Drums get loud. 2. Bass, guitar come up so they can hear themselves. 3. The only thing that is going thru the PA is vocals and keys, so they get buried in the mix. 4. I get audience coming up to me saying they can't hear the vocals or keys, so I match the keys with the rest of the instrumentation and bring the vocals about 3-5 db's higher. 5. Then they say it's too loud. 

This happens to be a fine dining establishment with a lounge.  People come to have casual conversation and listen to music, as long as they don't have to scream at each other.  I'm tired of telling the band that the stage is too hot and they need to come down.  They turn down and turn right back up.  I'm going to have a little powwow with the band before tomorrow's gig. Drummer has to play with light sticks, bamboo sticks, something!!  Very frustrating  :(
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Rdmitch

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Re: How many of you think you can hear FOH from the stage? Really?
« Reply #6 on: August 07, 2015, 08:51:57 PM »
As a drummer for over 50 years I can say with total certainty that he can play softer.
Lighter sticks, and a bit of control will help. Many drummers feel the need to play hard because the energy is something we desire. Just like guitarist like to crank it up in order to get the needed overdrive and tone.

Why not have him put a acrylic screen in front of the drums and a panel behind him to get rid of the concrete reflectivity. Especially at a fancy restaurant where volume is critical. I often put something in front of guitar amps to block the sound a bit.  Maybe offer to help pay for the screen from band proceeds  since it helps insure future gigs for the whole band. There is nothing a sound tech can do to stop a player they have no control over. Got to nip it in the bud now in a diplomatic way explaining its for the betterment of the whole band.

The recording proved my point to the non believers who now see the light of a tech to help out. I am even willing to train someone's kid or wife on how to run the board. Unfortunately I had to pretty much tank the gig to make my point. Playing,  knowing how terrible the mix was was not the highlight of my week.
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jneau

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Re: How many of you think you can hear FOH from the stage? Really?
« Reply #7 on: August 09, 2015, 01:56:44 AM »
I totally leave the mix in the hands of our mixing dude.  Complete trust in him.

My only struggle has been getting decent tone from my 40w Blues Deluxe at a volume that lets him do his job properly.

troy mcclure

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Re: How many of you think you can hear FOH from the stage? Really?
« Reply #8 on: August 09, 2015, 07:27:31 PM »
I totally know I can't mix from the stage but I do every week.  In the bar band business there is no budget for a sound guy.  I am set it and forget it kind of guy.  I use the presets on the DL 1608 as a starting point , I hired a sound guy to come set us up at venue we play often and I base every thing off that setup. I very rarely touch the board except for volume and monitors at different locations.   Is it perfect, no but it is the only solution we can afford.
My band is one of the few bands in the area that does not try and blow peoples eardrums. 

Harpman

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Re: How many of you think you can hear FOH from the stage? Really?
« Reply #9 on: August 10, 2015, 04:11:39 PM »
As a drummer for over 50 years I can say with total certainty that he can play softer.
Lighter sticks, and a bit of control will help. Many drummers feel the need to play hard because the energy is something we desire. Just like guitarist like to crank it up in order to get the needed overdrive and tone.

Why not have him put a acrylic screen in front of the drums and a panel behind him to get rid of the concrete reflectivity. Especially at a fancy restaurant where volume is critical. I often put something in front of guitar amps to block the sound a bit.  Maybe offer to help pay for the screen from band proceeds  since it helps insure future gigs for the whole band. There is nothing a sound tech can do to stop a player they have no control over. Got to nip it in the bud now in a diplomatic way explaining its for the betterment of the whole band.

The recording proved my point to the non believers who now see the light of a tech to help out. I am even willing to train someone's kid or wife on how to run the board. Unfortunately I had to pretty much tank the gig to make my point. Playing,  knowing how terrible the mix was was not the highlight of my week.
He actually did play lighter this time  :). We have such little room on stage that an acrylic screen is near impossible.  At this gig, there are no proceeds.  My GF (lead singer) and I take nothing and pay the band  :(
Gio Stefani
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"We Bring Good Music to Life"

WK154

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Re: How many of you think you can hear FOH from the stage? Really?
« Reply #10 on: August 10, 2015, 07:58:38 PM »
Hi Gio,
Time to convince the drummer to go electric. Tell him space is at a premium then you can control him all you want.  :)
When in doubt KISS

nedorama

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Re: How many of you think you can hear FOH from the stage? Really?
« Reply #11 on: March 26, 2017, 08:14:41 PM »
My only struggle has been getting decent tone from my 40w Blues Deluxe at a volume that lets him do his job properly.

Ah, the Blues Deluxe. On that amp Fender cut a lot of corners to hit the price point - mounting the tubes directly to the PC board, cement resistors, but the worst of all is the linear taper pot used for the volume instead of an audio pot - not even sure why as there's not a big cost difference, but it makes the amp volume crazy.

Here's the instructions, if you're doing it yourself, or have a qualified amp tech (i.e. not Guitar center) do it. You'll have a much more usable amp.
http://guitarless.com/2011/07/how-to-fender-blues-deluxe-volume-mod/

For other guitarists that claim they can't get their sound with their amp unless it's really loud, unless you're playing on 40' stages, get a pedal and turn down.
« Last Edit: March 26, 2017, 08:20:11 PM by nedorama »
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slystewart

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Re: How many of you think you can hear FOH from the stage? Really?
« Reply #12 on: May 27, 2017, 08:18:19 PM »
.In our band ,two front guys/singers plus bass two guitars and  drums...myself doing the sound on stage as the bass player , Not through choice, we had sound guys some good some bad  and ones that only wanted to play on certain days and we were getting let down all the time ,to find the right person as in our case a 7th member of the band is a must.
On doing the sound on stage using iPad and Mackie Dl32r is the way to go and keeping level on stage down ,a good onstage sound leads to some what good off stage sound.
One last thing we could not find a sound person but every gig we did one of our friends always came along and  with a lot of help she has a second iPad off stage and a typical audience ear ..not sound tech wise but could tell if his vocals was to loud or he could not be heard and could do minor adjustments a bit limited but helps

TimmyP1955

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Re: How many of you think you can hear FOH from the stage? Really?
« Reply #13 on: June 30, 2017, 03:13:41 AM »
Loud drummer?  Take his sticks away and force him to use Vic Firth Rute 505s - it will help a fair bit.  And, if he hits too hard with those, they will fall apart :-)