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here's one for ya (stage set up) vent...

Discussion in 'Bass Humor & Gig Stories [BG]' started by unclekebm, Sep 17, 2008.

  1. OK, I got a new gig at a one Vegas' "premier" lounges,
    here's the stage set-up i get...

    ampless and I have to share my monitor mix with the drummer (electronic),
    that's OK, it gives me a good feel for the rhythm section...
    here's the kicker,
    the only mix available to us has to share the house EQ/mix
    sounds great out front, sounds like butt to me!!
    I can't bring my favorite pre-amp cause any EQ adjustments i make
    are countered by the soundman, what a nightmare!
    my otherwise great sounding bass is over compressed has no lows or low mids and all upper mids and highs
    when i dig in all i get is a squished, distorted tone,
    if i play light it's passable but still poopiee and when i slap? no bottom and lots of unwanted upper mids...argh!
    exactly the opposite of "my tone"

    when i try to talk with the soundman he says "yeh we'll dial it in", "just let me know what you need"
    then he talks behind my back about me being difficult..
    the "paycheck" and respect for my awesome band leader
    keeps me from whippin' his ars!

    I know...i could just quit and get another gig...
    but the paycheck is awesome and the band rocks!

    anyway, I needed to vent, thanks
  2. Trevorus


    Oct 18, 2002
    Urbana, IL
    You may try to work in an amp. I use a 400RB and a 112 cab which I tilt back from my side so it has almost no impact on FOH, and I get all the sound I could want.

    The other setup you could try is get a headphone amp and split the signal off of your bass and put it in one ear, and have you taken out of the monitors a bit, which should clear up the other things. That way you can remain ampless and keep the soundman happy.
  3. I've been tactfully trying to get him to let me bring a small tilt-back amp
    that would solve it...

    and i've been considering the headphone amp approach as well...
    this guy is a nightmare to work with...not to mention the sound system (2 monitor mixes) for an ampless 5 pc band w/ electronic drums.
    all he ever talks about is how great he is
    and how he used to run sound for Dio and Dakken...

    I must admit, FOH sounds great!
  4. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    DR Strings
    I showed up at a new venue and had the following experience with a buttmunch soundman (no, they aren't all buttmunches... but this guy was extra primo buttmunch).

    Very tight stage area and this guy proceeds to make some of the dumbest suggestions on where to set up my relatively small rig (Schroeder 1210L set vertically, Markbass LMII head). His best suggestion was that I set up beside the drummer and the guitarist could put his rig on top of my speaker. Then I could play standing about a foot away from this stack. He was insistent that this would work fine.

    Uh huh.

    Apparently I needed to explain how soundwaves work.
  5. IanStephenson

    IanStephenson UnRegistered User

    Apr 8, 2006
    You can get cheap headphone/monitor mixers that mix an instrument signal (and pass that through), with a monitor/house mix. That would allow you to control the level of the bass in your own mix.
  6. Hey Brad...LOL good one...

    Hey Ian can you elaborate on that idea? I'm not quite getting it...
    my problem isn't level (volume) it's EQ
    my monitor mix is "post fader"

    for FOH they boost 800Hz 6db and 500Hz 3db
    plus they've got me so compressed that when I dig in I get less and it distorts

    so my stage sound is SHEE-ITE!!
    I'm telling you it is UGLY! and no dynamic range...

    all he's gotta do is let me bring in a small tilt-back combo or a powered wedge
    but no...soundman (buttmunch) insists that his way is best
    after all, he mixed Dio and Dakken and he will NEVER let us forget it...

    good thing it's not twenty years ago or this guy would be in the hospital!

    OK i'm done
  7. IanStephenson

    IanStephenson UnRegistered User

    Apr 8, 2006
    Your bass and the current "monitor" mix goes in. Bass comes out and goes to desk untouched. Headphone out goes to you, adding extra unmessed with bass into your headphone feed. Bass will be louder to you, but at least part of it will be untouched by the sound guy.

    The result is no different to having a small amp on stage - you hear your bass direct, plus what the sound guy gives you.

  8. thanks Ian,

    I've thought about splitting my signal and sending myself a signal to my ear...but
    I have to be wireless because of the show...

    I think i'm stuck in the mud, unless he let's me bring a small amp

  9. Funky 1

    Funky 1

    Jun 29, 2006
    Insist that he set your monitor mix to "pre-fader"
  10. being insistent gets me written up then looked & talked down upon...
    which will lead to a "broken faced" soundman and an out of work bass player
    right now I need the gig so I'm trying to be cool

    believe me...I've suggested several "fixes" for this situation
    only to get yelled at and written up...
    and told that he mixed Dio and played in a band with Vinnie Appice and
    smoked a joint with Rick Derringer and blah F#@^!^$! blah...

    I'm telling you this guy is a KNOB!

    but like all gigs...it's just temporary so right now a weekly paycheck is cool
    and I still have some time to do original stuff, so there is some balance
  11. gweimer


    Apr 6, 2000
    Columbus, OH
    So the soundman isn't a complete tool, and can back up his claims. At the risk of calling you a namby-pamby, that's how you sound. I did years of not really hearing what I sounded like. It's only really important that things sound great to the audience. It's a hard thing to get used to playing when you don't hear what you want to hear. I used to stand out front during soundcheck, and then get a reference on what I actually sounded like. Over time, I learned how to relate what I heard on stage with what was in the room. I'm still doing that.

    Having said all that, the guy does sound like he's being obstinate in trying to help you with the onstage sound. It could also be that his hands are tied - you haven't said if this guy has complete control of the stage, or if he is working under a contract, as you are.

    Maybe, instead of complaining, you posed the issue as a question to the soundman, you might get somewhere. You know that it sounds great out front (tell him so), and that there are restrictions to the stage, so "what can we do to give me a better mix onstage?" Ask him if there's anything that can be done to give you what you'd like without compromising the in-house sound or the stage. If you ask him for a solution instead of just bitching, you might get somewhere.
  12. Yep, what he said..
  13. Ric5

    Ric5 Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jan 29, 2008
    I Grow Organic Carrots
    I just did a gig where the bass amp was set up to scoop out the mids and the PA was set up the same way, and the sound man countered my every move to add mids to make it growl.

    Sometimes when the sound man has found the suck dial on the PA and is determined to use it you are just screwed.
  14. mrokern

    mrokern TB's resident Rush freak

    Jul 20, 2007
    Minneapolis, MN
    I'm calling "bull" as politely as I can. And this is coming from someone who would gladly compare audio resumes with Mr. "I mixed for Dio". I'd win.

    If you're mixing FOH and monitors from the same desk, your job is BOTH. I don't know why more sound engineers can't understand that one of the best ways to ensure a great FOH sound is to provide solid monitors to the players. Solid monitors = easier for musicians to perform to their potential = better sound to put into the house mix.

    Now I'll grant you, there may be other technical restrictions going on here (e.g. not enough mixes from the desk), but this guy sounds like a total tool.

    The advice of approaching Mr. Ego from a "what can we do to improve this" is good, though. Taking a moron like this head-on isn't going to get you anywhere, especially if it's a union gig.

  15. I've never been called a "namby pamby" before...;)
    I don't "complain" or "bitch" to him, and I don't confront him "head on"
    I ask in a professional manner for what I need, and I ask him what he thinks, we usually agree and he's nice and professional back to me...
    then he doesn't give me what I need and proceeds to talk to the higher ups that I'm being difficult...

    which leads me to what happened just the other night,
    the main boss (ent. director) chewed his ars!
    told him that we're not here to make his job easier, he's here to help us.

    I agree he's not a tool, he's a "buttmunch" two different things...

    YOU can go years of not getting what you want and be happy with it, or "compromise" or "guess" or "relate" to what you sound like...

    Not me! I've been rockin' too long to compromise my stage sound/mix, not to mention I do this 5 nights a week 4 hours a night
    that would be like being a porn star with a flacid two inch pee pee or a Batista with no coffee or....I think you get it.
    I've learned to work with soundpeople, I am one on the side...they have the tools to make it sound better, why not use them?
    I know how to make the stage sound better, especially being able to utilize his expertise..
    but until he got reamed by the Ent. director he wasn't listening,
    now he's going out of his way to make sure everythings good...and not because of me (the lead singer wasn't getting what he needed to hear himself)
    he's the "star" of the show...

    only problem, me and the drummer are still stuck with
    one 12" wedge "post fader" mix between us,
    I'm not complaining, the paycheck rocks....I just know it can be fixed

    I do agree with what the audience hears is most important...
    I also believe that a great stage mix bridges the gap for sending
    not only the sound but the "feel" of the show to them...

    cheers, rock on...
  16. mrokern

    mrokern TB's resident Rush freak

    Jul 20, 2007
    Minneapolis, MN
    AMEN! Sing it, my brother!

    :D Now that's funny.
  17. paganjack


    Dec 25, 2007
    Los Angeles, CA
    isn't it nice when people that deserve it get chewed out?
    it's like schadenfreude but for people you don't like to begin with:D

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