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Couldn't hear my bass in the monitors (or on stage) last night...

Discussion in 'Bass Humor & Gig Stories [BG]' started by Planet Boulder, May 19, 2004.


  1. Planet Boulder

    Planet Boulder Hey, this is a private residence...man Supporting Member

    Nov 10, 2001
    6,482 feet above sea level
    I once had impure thoughts. Oh, and I pluck my ear hair.
    Man was I pissed after last night's gig! The sound guy had me turn my amp down so low that i had virtually no stage volume whatsoever. On top of that, I couldn't hear myself in the monitors and i had to (attempt) to rely on what I could hear coming out of the mains in front of the stage!

    As a result, I don't know if my inability to hear myself resulted in me "digging in" too much in order to compensate. Man - I HATE(!!!) not being able to hear myself on stage and thus, not being able to monitor my technique, the effectiveness of my own groove as it relates to the songs, etc.

    I had to ask him to turn it up in my monitors last night, but that went for naught. Why he had me decrease my signal so much is beyond me. If the signal is hot in his board (which it apparently was), isn't that what the channel's gain is for?!?

    Anyone else suffer this indignity?
     
  2. supermonkey

    supermonkey

    Mar 15, 2004
    Atlanta, GA
    Has anyone else NOT suffered this indignity, is more like it...
    :rolleyes: :eyebrow:
     
  3. Planet Boulder

    Planet Boulder Hey, this is a private residence...man Supporting Member

    Nov 10, 2001
    6,482 feet above sea level
    I once had impure thoughts. Oh, and I pluck my ear hair.
    Yeah, yeah - stupid question, I know. I guess I was seeking company for my misery. ;)
     
  4. Mickey Shane

    Mickey Shane what goes here?

    Feb 23, 2003
    Denton, Texas
    Luckily, I have a Line Out Volume knob on the front of my amp. When sound guys tell me I'm too loud I turn that knob down (they should be moving my channel slider south).

    In situations where you have to sound check early in an empty venue, it's better to turn down your amp's volume. Come back later when the place is full of people and turn it back up. Noone will notice.
     
  5. Matt Till

    Matt Till

    Jun 1, 2002
    Edinboro, PA

    ha. My advice, tell the sound guy off, I would have complained after the first song.
     
  6. Josh Ryan

    Josh Ryan - that dog won't hunt, Monsignor. Staff Member Supporting Member

    Mar 24, 2001
    Yep, that's useless. No DI?
     
  7. I agree, PB. It does suck when you can't hear yourself (and you're 'digging in' all night).

    - Would it be possible to re-position your bass amp on stage? Sometimes if you have room, you can position your bass amp to the side of the stage and aim it across (from left to right) or vise versa. This way, your bass amp is directed more toward the bandmembers and less toward the soundman who is telling you to turn down. The audience will still hear you thru the PA.

    - Do you have a banana jack on your bass amp head or cabinet? If so, you can try reversing the banana plug (either at the amp or the speaker, but not both) this will change the phase between your bass rig and the PA. What this does, is it causes the bass hotspots and deadspots in the room and onstage, to change. It may help you.

    - If the soundman is still insisiting that you're too loud, have your whole band approach him and tell him that no one can hear bass onstage and it must be corrected one way or another. No need to threaten him, just let him know that trying to play an instrument without hearing it, is like trying to run a PA while in an isolation booth. If he doesn't help, just turn you amp up and ignore him.

    Good luck.
     
  8. Planet Boulder

    Planet Boulder Hey, this is a private residence...man Supporting Member

    Nov 10, 2001
    6,482 feet above sea level
    I once had impure thoughts. Oh, and I pluck my ear hair.
    Yeah - here's the kicker. I forgot to mention this rather crucial piece of info:

    I was running a direct XLR out from my amp, yet the sound guy insisted on me turning down my amp because of said "hot" signal! :eyebrow: :eek: :confused:
     
  9. NJL

    NJL

    Apr 12, 2002
    San Antonio
    try finding a way of tilting your cab up at you. out ears are not on our legs.

    this is the biggest problem with me - i started stacking 2 410's together - the band leader was about to have a heart attack - the upper two 10's on the cab on top were able to give me what i needed. the band leader was very, very happy, that i didn't have to crack it as much
     
  10. Planet Boulder

    Planet Boulder Hey, this is a private residence...man Supporting Member

    Nov 10, 2001
    6,482 feet above sea level
    I once had impure thoughts. Oh, and I pluck my ear hair.

    Good points, bimp.

    It was our first time playng at this place and I was sort of at the mercy of the sound guy with respect to the fact that he was recording the show and burning it for us. We needed the recording for use as a demo and i just didn't want to p___ the guy off.

    Fortunately, it was a Tuesday night show, so it wasn't like there was a big crowd there with which to contend.
     
  11. jive1

    jive1 Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jan 16, 2003
    Alexandria,VA
    Owner/Retailer: Jive Sound
    I've had the situation you speak of. With a couple of amps, I could hit the pad switch to bring it down a dbs so the signal isn't so hot to the board. Another thing to check is whether or not the XLR out is pre-preamp or post preamp. If it is pre, then nothing you do to the preamp should affect what goes out to the board. The board gets a clean signal with no EQing. If it is post, then it could be simply lower the bass a little or rolling back the gain. If the EQ is parametric, try not to boost too much below 50Hz. Other frequencies could be the cause too, but a competent soundman should be able to handle it. Some boards don't handle lows (or other frequencies) well, and they overload too easily. Another option is to lower the gain, and turn up the master. The gain does affect what goes to the board, while the master shouldn't. So a louder master will give you enough stage volume, while a lower gain setting will send a cooler signal to the board.

    Used to live and gig in CO. What venue were you playing at?
     
  12. nonsqtr

    nonsqtr The emperor has no clothes!

    Aug 29, 2003
    Burbank CA USA
    Most sound guys suck. Sad but true.

    We use our own guy whenever possible, and when that's not possible we only use people we know. We've had more shows ruined by crappy sound guys, so the rule is that if they've never heard us play, we don't use 'em. We'll loan our guy to the house for the duration of the gig, and if they have a problem with that, then we don't play.

    Other rules for sound guys are:

    1. No one touches my gear or my instruments.
    2. No one tells me how to set my controls or my stage volume.
    3. The sound guy gets one XLR cable from me, and that's it.
    4. I don't want any bass in the monitors (and besides, my singers would rip my head off if they heard anything like that)
    5. If the sound guy ever complains to any of the band members, he's fired on the spot.

    My attitude is, the stage is ours and the rest of the venue belongs to the sound guy. Our job is to make us sound good on stage. His job is to make us sound good "out there".

    I can work with a sound guy I trust. The rest of 'em find me uncooperative. The thing I hate most of all is a pro audio dweeb trying to tell me what my bass should sound like. Heck, I can set up a mix, it ain't rocket science. It never ceases to amaze me how many people find it mistifying.

    For every 10 sound guys, there's one good one, one that's passable, and the other eight suck. That's been my experience over the past thirty years or so. Things haven't changed much during that time. :)
     
  13. Planet Boulder

    Planet Boulder Hey, this is a private residence...man Supporting Member

    Nov 10, 2001
    6,482 feet above sea level
    I once had impure thoughts. Oh, and I pluck my ear hair.
    Thanks, jive! The XLR out is actually pre-preamp.

    We played at Cervantes' in Denver.
     
  14. Just sitting at the board moving the sliders doesn't make him a qualified sound tech. Personally, I will try and arrive at a mutually agreeable solution and if I can't, I do what I need to do for the band and myself. I've seen too many deaf idiots sitting behind mixing boards without a clue. I have ZERO tolerance for incompetent sound techs. I NEVER have a problem with good ones and I don't think that's a coincidence.
     
  15. Planet Boulder

    Planet Boulder Hey, this is a private residence...man Supporting Member

    Nov 10, 2001
    6,482 feet above sea level
    I once had impure thoughts. Oh, and I pluck my ear hair.
    Oh and it gets better! Just found out that he didn't even record us last night!!!! :mad: :mad: :mad:

    Yay me.
     
  16. tkarter

    tkarter

    Jan 1, 2003
    kansas
    I am far from professional but as soon as that happens to me I pull the cord from the board and turn my amp up play to the room. I got cabs enough to make it sound good for me and sit under the mix just fine. If they don't want to hear the bass I do and make it so I can.


    tk
     
  17. jive1

    jive1 Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jan 16, 2003
    Alexandria,VA
    Owner/Retailer: Jive Sound
    That's the place that used to Quixote's True Blue, right? When you were talking about the soundman, I thought you were talking about Cricket on the Hill. I've heard quite a few comments about the soundguy(s) there.
     
  18. Planet Boulder

    Planet Boulder Hey, this is a private residence...man Supporting Member

    Nov 10, 2001
    6,482 feet above sea level
    I once had impure thoughts. Oh, and I pluck my ear hair.
    jive: Actually, Cervantes' is owned by the same guys, but it's a different place. They closed Quixote's, unfortunately.
     
  19. if i was a soundman and some guy in the band asked me for some more volume cause they can hear themselves i wouldnt get pissed off, in fact i would probly be happier because if nobody tells me my mistakes how would i improve?
     
  20. thrash_jazz

    thrash_jazz

    Jan 11, 2002
    Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
    Artist: JAF Basses, Circle K Strings
    I agree that the majority of sound techs suck, but OTOH I have done sound a couple of times and it is an utterly thankless job.

    Granted I am a bassist, not a sound guy, but I made sure to ask each band if they were happy with the sound and what they felt was lacking, and I tried my best to fix any problems.

    Sometimes it is an equipment problem - there isn't much that can be done if the PA was bought from Sears and is 30 years old.

    Also, you are usually getting grumbled at by several people simultaneously - usually singers and drunks in the audience.

    That said, they should be adjusting the board to work WITH the stage volume, not vice versa.