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I HATE SOUNDMEN

Discussion in 'Bass Humor & Gig Stories [BG]' started by Mr.Phil, May 24, 2005.


  1. Mr.Phil

    Mr.Phil

    Apr 9, 2005
    Upstate NY
    I recently played a jazz concert at a local club. It was a decent sized room and the crowd wasn't bad either, about 450 people. The only problem I had that night was with the soundman. During the sound check, I dialed in my tone the way I liked it and we hooked it into the PA. It sounded great for the first tune, but then the sound guy started messing with my tone! He took all the lows out and raised the highs, it sounded like a funk bass. Now, I get a little annoyed and go to the amp, change the setting and fix the problem. Another song starts great... Then I start getting that high trebly bass sound (think Chris Squire on Roundabout) It was on an old Duke Ellington piece with a talented vocalist, but the soundman ruined it... Argh this guy really pissed me off. I played on an American Jazz Bass and i heard him commenting to others how poor the tone was and how he kept "trying to fix it". Well I guess this has turned into a bit of a rant, but I just hate when people screw with my sound.
     
  2. Josh Ryan

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

    Mar 24, 2001
    not to pick at the details, but did you ask him to stop?
     
  3. Mr.Phil

    Mr.Phil

    Apr 9, 2005
    Upstate NY
    SEVERAL TIMES... ooo well, guess soundman knows best.
     
  4. Time Divider

    Time Divider Guest

    Apr 7, 2005
    Don't hate all soundmen - just the prix. There are some good ones out there, too.
     
  5. forget tone! the guy won't even make me audible! worst thing is that my music director won't allow amps onstage! AAARRRGGGGHH!!!!
     
  6. My 'faves' are the sarcy ones. The ones that don't mess with your tone, but when you're trying to sort it out if you're playing through someone else's amp, they go: "Nice tone you've got there.". All this after refusing to mic up your amp.
     
  7. eldave777

    eldave777

    May 24, 2005
    Soundmen in my experience hate the bass player. So, with great passion I give you a short list of how to get them back. If you've got to sound like a transister radio when the rest of the band sounds full and schimmerey then that soundman should have the worst night of his life. TRY THIS!!!
    1. When singing backup REALLY pronounce your esses (S's) and pop your P's.

    2. Sing way loud, sing way quietly, when your band looks at you point at the soundman!

    3. Volume war! If he asks you to turn down during soundcheck do it! Then turn it back up.

    4. DISTORTION PEDAL ON 11

    Enjoy, and just remember when you get fired that everybody needs a bass player.
     
  8. jive1

    jive1 Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jan 16, 2003
    Alexandria,VA
    Owner/Retailer: Jive Sound
    How a soundman gets back at oppositional musicians:

    - Turn down someone when it's time for a solo
    - Alter the frequencies so that the sound is shrill enough to drive away the crowd. The lack of a crowd reflects on the band - not the soundman, even though it's the soundman's fault.
    - Turn down the monitors so that vocalists can't hear themselves.
    - Alter grounding so there is an annoying hum on stage. If the guy is smart enough, he may be able to cause a shock whenever you touch the microphone.

    The sound guy is supposed to help the band, and an oppositional approach won't help. Soundguys differ in tastes and abilities, but their goal should be to make the band sound good.

    When I have to deal with a soundman, I talk to them before the show to build a rapport. I try not to come across as a diva and begin my interaction with the soundman with belting out orders. I spend a few minutes getting a feel out what the guy is about. 99% of soundmen are gear whores, so talking to them about gear is a great way to start. After you build a rapport, then talk about what kind of sound you like. Most soundmen mix a bass to sound like a P-Bass, but each will have their own opinion as to what a good bass tone is. If you don't tell them what kind of sound you're after, they'll give you the sound they are after. I'll usually tell them what kind of tone I like, and hope for the best.
     
  9. Mr.Phil

    Mr.Phil

    Apr 9, 2005
    Upstate NY
    I LOVE THESE SUGGESTIONS! Anybody else have more?
     
  10. Stu L.

    Stu L. Supporting Member

    Nov 27, 2001
    Corsicana, Texas
    Well, seeing as how much of my living the last few months has been as a sound engineer, I can tell you not to screw with us. Like the above mentioned, When it sounds bad, it's never the sound guys fault at the show (at least not to the crowd ;)) I suggest just getting over it. If you have to play again where the same guy is running sound, offer ideas in a peaceful manner. Or suggest someone else run your band's set.
     
  11. eldave777

    eldave777

    May 24, 2005
    Yes, in a perfect world soundmen are out to make the band sound good! I'll bet however you wouldn't even have to take your shoes off to count how many times that has happened. Most of the sound guys I end up with can't get over the time they ran monitors for Molley Hatchett, or fetched Gene Simmons a Gatoraide back in '76 dude! Don't tell me about how a sound guy can shock you or screw up your sound. Try talking to some of these goobers about getting the sound you want and they'll give you the I'm the soundman your the bass player crap! It's a war do you hear me? A WAR. The only way to fight is to bring a gun! Sorry if that upsets anybody out there who can't pick a side. I'm all about getting along but don't pee in my face and tell me it's raining. The sound guy has all the knobs. Is that a fair fight?
     
  12. eldave777

    eldave777

    May 24, 2005
    See now why is that any different than what I'm saying. I'm not a DIVA by the way. Just a little jaded I guess. I'm a swell guy. Ha! :eyebrow:
     
  13. Eggman

    Eggman

    Dec 3, 2004
    Denver, Colorado
    This is why my band switched to using the Bose Personal Amplification System - NO SOUND GUY. We each get our tone where we want it and during soundcheck we just make sure we can hear eachother at the right level and that's it. Our sound is the same throughout the room as it is on stage. Simple and clean.

    We do not use the house system or the house engineer when we play in a bar etc., just the Bose system.

    (My apologies to any sound engineer offended by the above post - I do not dislike sound guys. We have just found that we like to be in control of our sound and we get better sound with the Bose.)

    PS - I do not work for Bose.
     
  14. jive1

    jive1 Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jan 16, 2003
    Alexandria,VA
    Owner/Retailer: Jive Sound
    In 17 years of gigging, I have yet to have a soundman give me the "I'm the soundman, you're bass player crap". Not one time. Out of 100s of soundguys I have dealt with, I have never had one say anything like "I control your tone, and I will decide what tone you have" or "I'm the soundman, so your preferences mean nothing to me". As far as competency, that's a different story. The truth be told, there are more bad musicians out there than bad soundmen.

    The sound guy has all the knobs, because most of the time it is also his or his company's equipment. And that equipment costs a too much money to let people screw with it. So if a guy does stupid stuff that might mess up their gear, it's their prerogative to protect their investment. So if i'm running sound and you're doing stuff that might blow a speaker or fry a board and ruin the gig, you bet your ass I'll do something to prevent a disaster. Oh, and by the way, frying the house system at a club is a great way to not get invited back.

    And really folks, can you guys really tell what your bass sounds like in the audience? What sounds loud and boomy from the stage, can sound muted and dull in the audience. The clear highs from your cab can sound like mush in the audience. The sound you hear from the stage is different from the sound in the audience. That's why the soundman is in the audience, not the stage (unless you a have soundman for the monitor mix). Really the only way you'll get an idea of what your bass really sounds like in the audience is to go out there and hear it for yourself.
     
  15. eldave777

    eldave777

    May 24, 2005
    Yo Jive! Can't we all just get along. I didn't mean to rub you wrong. I've had good experiences as well as bad. I've never punched out a sound engineer. I've never blown a house system. I'm just trying to bring a little humor to the situation. I'll probably never get the honor of playing a gig where you run sound. I'm sure if I did we would get along famously, and get the "low vibe" thing happening between us. You gotta know how helpless you can feel when your up on stage with the Mesa Boogie Bass 400+ cooing out the super sweet tube tone you've spent your hard earned money on. And captian mullet is behind the board trying desperately to make the sonic maximizer minimize you. Be one with me and my man Phil. Share, vent, Rock! :bawl:
     
  16. jive1

    jive1 Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jan 16, 2003
    Alexandria,VA
    Owner/Retailer: Jive Sound
    Sorry, didn't mean to come across as sour.

    Now that I've been on both side of the board (sometimes at the same time), I find that running sound has it's own set of challenges and crap to deal with. I just wanted to share the other side, so this doesn't become a soundman witch-hunt.

    As a bass player, I pay attention to the bass when running a mix. Personally, I can't stand it when a guy running sound takes no consideration to the type of bass or bass player. It's amazing when you go to some showcase gigs, and every band will have the bass sound the same. I didn't bring my Warwick so it would sound like a P-Bass.

    I feel for you Eldave, and if you did bring your Mesa 400 to gig where I was running sound, I'd do my best to get that juicy tube tone. I wouldn't want you to risk breaking your back lugging that thing and not getting the tone from it.

    I don't run sound that often anymore. Since I don't have a mullett, shower regularly, and my wife dresses me too nicely, nobody ever looks at me as a sound guy.
     
  17. Eggman

    Eggman

    Dec 3, 2004
    Denver, Colorado
    PM sent (yes they work well and we have played some big rooms)
     
  18. Eggman

    Eggman

    Dec 3, 2004
    Denver, Colorado
    Actually, yes I can. Please see my other posts here and in these forums about our Bose PAS system.

    Again - I'm not here pushing Bose - I just saying that there is a solution to some of the sound "issues" that are being brought up here. We don't have these "issues" anymore.
     
  19. jive1

    jive1 Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jan 16, 2003
    Alexandria,VA
    Owner/Retailer: Jive Sound
    I'll have to check out those posts. With the way sound waves work, I imagine there will still be some dispersion and resonance depending on the room. But maybe not?
     
  20. Eggman

    Eggman

    Dec 3, 2004
    Denver, Colorado
    You know Bose - they say that their technology does something different than we are used to - but then don't give you all the particulars. Some how it seems to work without much decay, delay, feedback or sound degradation. Also Bose has a forum dedicated to the PAS - check their website.