Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by Sparty, Jan 1, 2013.

  1. Sparty


    Dec 26, 2012
    Can anyone give me some feedback or advice regarding backline tones, eq's & levels for a great front of house sound. etc.. (We always play off backline)
    I've noticed that the sound you have on stage is not always the sound you have out front of house. Is there a rule of thumb to ensuring you get a decent sound out front without having to splash out on wireless systems or engineers.
    Noticed this when I had a great bassy sound on stage but it was muddy and lost out front. It's alway a - hope I sound good out front tonite fingers crossed exercise at present.
    I have just bought myself 4x12 GK set up using an ampeg pf500 head.
    We play medium - large size function rooms 150-300 bodies
    60,s to today's pop styles..
    Cheers sparty...
  2. punkrocko


    Jun 18, 2002
    Nashville, TN
    Bring a good clean DI, and slip the sound guy a 20 before the show.
  3. JimmyM


    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    Yep...a common problem since bass frequencies bounce around in rooms and multiply in intensity, sometimes to a crazy degree. This is why going out and listening to the room on soundcheck is a good idea if you're mixing yourselves with stage volume. You will often be surprised by how ridiculously loud the low end can get in some rooms even though it sounds fine to you.

    Anyway, the number one rule of thumb I try to follow is make yourselves sound balanced onstage. You should keep your volume level balanced with everyone else instead of trying to hear yourself really loud over everyone else. Your rig is capable of insane volume, but there's no reason you need to use all of it. And trying to hear yourself over everyone else just creates volume wars. If it's balanced onstage, it's balanced in the house.

    Also, bassiness is nothing if the notes' pitches can't be heard. Listen to your favorite records...the bass sound is almost never a solid wall of low end. May sound that way to you in a mix, but it's usually not. That's where mids come in. Your amp has a killer mid selection switch. Get familiar with it.

    Generally, with a head like the PF500, I like to start off with all knobs at noon and any tone switches off, then tweak from there. Usually I'll cut treble but leave the mids and bass alone at first, and if the room's too boomy I cut some bass. Sometimes you might want to add some, too, but you'll likely find out that the best sounds in a mix can often sound a little ugly and not as low-endy by themselves as you might think. Check out some of the soloed bass tracks from hit records on Youtube. Pretty enlightening when you hear the tone of the bass by itself and compare it to how it sits in a mix. And bass boosts go a long way in large lively rooms.

    And then do a lot of gigs and experiment at soundchecks and listen out front when you can. It gets easier the more you do it.
  4. Sparty


    Dec 26, 2012
    Thanks for that insight..
    The balance and sound on stage is usually quite good.. So in a way you're saying use less low bottom end to start with and get a nice sound driving the Mids and rolling on/off the bass & treble to the sound in the room..
    Your right tho its a lottery for bass sounds from venue to venue. Think I will invest in a long guitar lead and start from there.
    Also the 12's should give me (i hope) a great balanced sound rich in Mids with the scope to use lower or higher tones...
  5. JimmyM


    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    If they do, it won't be because they're 12"s ;) It'll be because they designed a good cab.
  6. popgadget

    popgadget Supporting Member Commercial User

    Sep 4, 2005
    Eastern, PA USA
    Authorized Greenboy Designs Builder, Scabbey Road
    Well said. Speaker size has little to do with overall sound, although it does have a direct bearing on dispersion.
  7. kev b

    kev b

    Nov 28, 2012
    I would second using a long lead and going out into the room at soundcheck. Remember that the audience will soak up a lot of sound, particularly higher frequencies, potentially muddying your tone up.
  8. Floyd Eye

    Floyd Eye Banned

    Feb 21, 2010
    St. Louis
    Get a permanent soundguy and put everything in the PA. Listen to him when he tells you to turn your rig down.
  9. loanqotr


    Jan 1, 2013
    slip the sound guy a 20 before the show.[​IMG]
  10. There's a lot of great advise here. Always a valuable asset to the TB community, JimmyM is on point again.

    I personally used to have a cheap wireless system to check my sound out front until a drunk guy fell on it breaking the receiver.... I now just use a 20' patchcord and walk out as far as I can. I'll walk side to side and listen for those bass anomalies generated by the room, stage, and amp placement.

    One little trick that can help difficult rooms or unbalanced PA subs vs mains is to have an external DI with some eq'ing. Often the p.a. channel EQ is somewhat limited. My one band has a very effective but simple PA head and I use an Eden WTDI to specifically EQ my FOH sound differently than that required of my cab and amp at the stage. This ensures my stage sound isn't compromised to get things sounding proper out front. When your stage sound is just right, you play better!! :) There are many great pre/DI offerings by other manufacturers like MXR, Aguilar, Tech21 ect. if the Eden tone doesn't suit your needs. Just take the line out of your head into the DI and then to the PA.

    This trick of course can get complicated as you now have two separate eq's to set up and in most cases it isn't required. But when it's a difficult room, with a small stage set in a corner, it's nice to have as an option. Corner stages tend to amplify the low end of a bass amp driving you to cut some bass, with a straight DI post EQ of your amp, the FOH bass will sound weak and thin.

    Edit- this is all based on running everyone through the pa. I have found over the years this is the best way to play any venue big or small and keep stage volumes respectable. It takes the number of people in the bar out of the equation as all the instruments appear to come from the front center of the band and typically with raised pa speakers, the sound can reach all the way to the back of the bar and still sound mixed. Guitar amps are notorious for loosing all their bite when a slew of dancers get in front of the band and obscure all those highs from getting to the back of the bar. Then all you hear at the back is vocals and mud.
  11. Sparty


    Dec 26, 2012
    Yeah, I've started looking into 15-20 mtr guitar leads to do precisely that. If I went through the PA I don't suppose I would need to be too loud in the mix just EQ'd well to get a good presence..
    Problem is I've been so used to doing venues with house PA's at big venues or festivals that now we decided to do covers n wedding over original stuff we don't have that luxury and its a whole different headache worrying bout front of house..
    But really appreciate your advice ;0)
  12. 4x12 beams everything between about 500hz and where your tweeter picks up. The lows predominate your sound for most of the room. It's a terrible cab for your purpose.

    You would be much better off with some subs for your PA and a 2x10 for monitor. Carrying 300 pax room from the stage makes for a volume war, not conducive to weddings. You need the rest of the band on the same page.

    If the band is dead set about only doing vocal PA you only need a pair of 2x10 to keep up with drums on your loudest functions. You'll need some very good PA speakers.
  13. JimmyM


    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    Doesn't sound like he's going for a particularly bright sound to begin with. I doubt beaming will be a factor. I play rigs that beam all the time. Sounds good to me. Never heard anyone complain, "Hey, that B-15 of yours beams!"
  14. Must be nobody really cares. I care, that's why I position myself in front of the beam at backline gigs. I did this before I knew what a beam was.
  15. Sparty


    Dec 26, 2012
    What's a beam???
  16. Focussed sound like a focussed light.
  17. After owning and playing a G-K NEO412 for about 6 years, IME your assessment of this cab's performance is way off the mark.
  18. JimmyM


    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    Beaming is the principle that the larger a speaker, the more it directs highs and upper mids to the center of the cone, and the less you will hear them as you move from side to side.
  19. Sound doesn't usually behave like light but in this case the crossover terminology is ok.

    What happens when you put mid to high sources side by side is their combined sound filters in a series of lobes. The distance from the near one is just enough different to the far one to cancel it out.

    Below the beam frequency it is called comb filtering as some frequencies get boosted while others are canceling as you move across the room. At the beam frequency and above there is only one boost lobe in the centre and it's drastically cut either side.
  20. Sparty


    Dec 26, 2012
    So jimmym would you say the more speakers you have (regardless of size) the wider the beam??
    This is a new learning for me. Sorry if I sound dense..