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Hollow stage setup

Discussion in 'Live Sound [BG]' started by One_Dude, Dec 27, 2017.

  1. I play in different groups (bluegrass, praise & worship, & americana) at various venues. Almost always on stages that are elevated and hollow. In an attempt to lighten my gear, I use a small (in size but not watts) amp and use the hollow stage as part of the acoustics for the sound I want. Problem is, all stages are different and I am somewhat picky about my sound.

    Even the amp location on the stage affects the sound, and I end up making adjustment tweeks during the first few songs until I get the sound I want. Ideally there would be enough time during the sound check to do this, but there seldom is.

    Any words of wisdom out there on how to smooth out this process?

    Thanks in advance for your input.

    Thump on,
  2. Stumbo

    Stumbo Wherever you go, there you are. Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 11, 2008
    Song Surgeon slow downer. https://tinyurl.com/y5dcuqjg
    IME, Unless you go FOH, getting "your sound" on stage is the same as trying to run the PA from the stage; you really can't, especially if you're running a combo that is flapping your pants below the knees.

    For me, hollow stages add odd resonances and reflections FOH. I do all I can to disconnect from the stage and put out a good, clean tone, despite the venue.

    HPF, cut low mids, EQ pedal, whatever, to sit well in the venue mix, regardless of how it sounds on stage or whether or not I can get my tone, standing in front of my rig.
    Last edited: Dec 27, 2017
    SoCal80s and JRA like this.
  3. JRA

    JRA my words = opinion Supporting Member

    it's a crapshoot because:
    but: it might help if you wouldn't be too...
    it's a bad combination of "must-haves" given your variables....just sayin! ;)

    edit: attempt to clarify
    Last edited: Dec 27, 2017
    4Mal and Stumbo like this.
  4. 4Mal

    4Mal Supporting Member

    Jun 2, 2002
    Columbia River Gorge
    As I am always in the FOH, my rig or rig’let of the day is a monitor. I have a broad range of acceptability... it really does help if you don’t get too picky. I work a lot, in a variety of good and not so good sounding spaces. I sure do prefer good but I’m beyond pouting when it’s not so good... sometimes you simply have to suck it up and do what makes the band sound good out in the audience...

    Boomy stages. Small rig, low volume if possible on a stand of some kind decoupled from the stage usually sounds better out front.

    There are two local rooms that sound bad enough that I don’t pursue sound gigs in them and my band doesn’t pursue gigs in them. It amazes me that other folks play them. Hard reflective surfaces and either square or rectangular. Ugly sounding...
  5. Gearhead17

    Gearhead17 Supporting Member

    May 4, 2006
    Mount Prospect, IL
    EQ pedal, using your amp more than normal, raising your cabinet setup towards your ears. The key to getting what you want on stage is removing the frequencies that are too strong to you on stage. If you are close to a subwoofer, it usually works well to reduce low end below 150hz on your rig. Sometimes the 400hz zone can get out of hand. It is almost always best to start reducing frequencies on your rig to get other parts of your tone to pop out. If you reduce your mids between 400hz and 600hz, the frequencies above and below that range will now become louder and more obvious. In the end, you are not likely to get the exact tone you want, but you are likely to get something more usable on stage versus just boosting whatever frequency you want emphasized. Doing that will lead to a lot of frustration.
    Stumbo likes this.
  6. I like the idea of getting the amp up off of the stage floor. Doing that will provide a constant that should only require an adjustment for the room acoustics. I have tried that on several ocassions and have not been able to get the sound I want. I like a heavy thump with an edge, and putting the amp on a stand seems to kill the lower frequencies and boost the mids.

    It seems like I have to use at least a 15 inch speaker if I elevate the amp. We generally play smaller venues where I don't go through the pa, but a 4x10 cabinet seems like overkill. Also, one of my main goals is to lighten the weight of gear that I am hauling. I know that some of the newer cabinets are much lighter so maybe I should look at getting one.

    Thanks for your comments and keep them coming if you have more ideas.

    Thump on

  7. Stumbo

    Stumbo Wherever you go, there you are. Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 11, 2008
    Song Surgeon slow downer. https://tinyurl.com/y5dcuqjg
  8. bucephylus

    bucephylus Supporting Member Commercial User

    Aug 18, 2002
    General Manager TecPadz LLC
    Hollow stages can produce unexpected results. In particular, mechanical coupling between the cab and the stage can bleed into microphones, causing major issues with level control in the FOH.

    My preference is to get a cab, which can carry the house, when necessary, with tones that are useful to me; and then isolate it from the stage. That way, I get pretty much the same thing every time.
  9. QuickNasty


    Jul 29, 2012
    I use this combo to great effect.

    I place a Hartke KB15 kicked back in front of me as a monitor and on an Auralex Gramma isolation pad.

    Lightweight and powerful, has yet to leave me wanting more with the speaker pointed at my ears (not ankles) and never over powers the stage acoustics through uncontrollable sympathetic vibrations.

    Hartke Kb15 SamsonTech

    + Auralex Gramma Isolation pad
    Auralex Acoustics | GRAMMA™ v2
  10. seamonkey


    Aug 6, 2004
    Gramma pads are a farce
    There's not a single recording that shows they make any difference.
    Use the money for a fellow musician to listen out front and make recommendations on how to adjust the stage sound for best audience sound. Often called a "FOH" or "Sound" engineer. Maybe have the singer walk out front as the band warms up.

    Hollow stages that resonate from a bass amp aren't safe to stand on.
    Set up off the stage. ;)
  11. QuickNasty


    Jul 29, 2012
    I've A/B'd the gramma pad on large hollow stages and have personally witnessed a difference in drum mic bleed.
    We recently had a problem with a floor tom resonating and creating a feedback loop when I would hit a low G note on the E string. I had started the night without an isolation pad as an experiment. So after the drum issue, I placed it under my amp and the resonate problem went away.
    Granted, it probably could have been solved by some eq adjustments, but the isolation pad saved the night in that instance.

    I also notice that my note decay is much faster on a hollow stage and i can hear more space between the notes, allowing for a tighter sound.

    I like real world results based on personal experience, and I hesitate to call something correct or a farce until I can run a test and formulate my own results.
    Then again there is always the off chance that it's simply wishful thinking resulting in a biased outcome, but I feel I've trialed it and seen good results enough to eliminate that factor.
    As always YMMV.
    Last edited: Jan 7, 2018
  12. seamonkey


    Aug 6, 2004
    And yet, it can't be recorded.
    Including from the manufacturer.
    It can't be heard other than anecdotal ear-witness testimony.
    MMDV - Your results are not reproducible by me.

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