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If it sounds good FOH does onstage matter?

Discussion in 'Live Sound [BG]' started by Sleeping Giant, Jan 23, 2012.

  1. Sleeping Giant

    Sleeping Giant

    Aug 3, 2011
    I gigged recently and the onstage sound was awful. Guitar was too loud and bassy, I couldn't hear the singer very well or myself.

    I said to the guitarist that we had to sort this out as I was not enjoying myself at all. He said the sound out front was good and it didn't matter if it sounded bad where we were.

    He has a wireless and goes out front during soundcheck and during the first couple of songs to see how the mix is. I also think he is always surrounded by a glorious bubble of guitar whenever he gigs so doesn't appreciate my feelings on the matter. Anyway, enough complaining about the guitarist.

    My question is do you guys think that a great onstage sound is an absolute imperative or it doesn't matter as long as it sounds good to the audience?
  2. robd

    robd Supporting Member

    I think the band plays better if it sounds good on stage too, I know I do. Nothing distracts me more then my bass tone and/or the mix not being good.
  3. chadds


    Mar 18, 2000
    Unless you're just phoning in your performance of boring material that you don't want to play, your onstage sound provides the inspiration for the whole band.

    Your audience cares. Bring it!
  4. klokker


    Jan 7, 2009
    Steele City, NE
    I think it matters more than your guitarist said. Some effort should be made so that you can hear yourself reasonably well.

    Having said that, what it sounds like out front is different than on stage, and if you can hear youself you just have to go with it. As long as I can hear myself, I'm not too picky about the monitors. You have to let it slide a little bit.
  5. Well if you don´t hear yourself good and not enjoying the gig because the sound on stage isn´t right than yes, it will affect the FOH.
  6. testing1two

    testing1two Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 25, 2009
    Southern California
    A good stage mix enables consistently better performances which in turn are easier to mix well at FOH.
  7. 6jase5

    6jase5 Mammogram is down but I'm working manually

    Dec 17, 2007
    San Diego/LA
    One out of every 5 shows at best I like the mix onstage. Playing original music for 35-50 minute sets, you usually get whatever mix the last band had unless it's a big show.

    Sure, I'm not saying I wouldn't prefer a nice mix onstage, but soundguys are soundguys. Pretty much par for the course not hearing myself sing, but having done it enough, no big deal. If I can't hear the lead singer and the drummer, that's an issue. I need to at least hear both of them.
  8. chaosMK


    May 26, 2005
    Albuquerque, NM
    Hi-fi into an old tube amp
    What is FOH?

    Just stand up for yourself, whatever the issue is.

    A bad bass stage mix drives me insane. I use a loud rig for that reason and prefer minimal through the monitors... I need to hear myself just right to play my best.
  9. Perhaps it shouldn't matter but I know the better I can hear myself and the closer i am to my target tone and band mix the better my performance is.
  10. TodB


    Nov 7, 2011
    Los Alamitos, CA
    Two answers:

    1. You know your guitar player. If he says it sounded good FOH does that mean that THE BAND sounded good or does that mean THE GUITAR sounded good? Maybe you're asking the wrong question.

    2. The end result is all about the FOH. Yeah, I'd love to always get a good sound for my ears on stage, but I don't always get that, and the point is to play well even when the stage mix sucks.
  11. DWBass

    DWBass The Funkfather

    And that's why we call them 'gui****s'! FOH should mirror what's happening on stage! I absolutely HATE a loud and unbalanced stage mix (or loud FOH for that matter)! Hate it! There's a reason there is a PA in place and some cats just don't get it. Control the stage volume and balance the instruments mix! Everyone should be able to hear everything reasonably clear!
  12. DBCrocky


    Oct 18, 2011
    Cary, NC
    Well, there are levels to this.

    Band members need to be able to listen to each other for cues. If I can't hear the keyboard player singing from the other side of the stage, I won't know when the change is coming. This will result in embarrassing gaffs or even train wrecks. The sound on-stage HAS to be good enough so everyone can hear their cues.

    Drums and bass need to be able to hear each other to get a pocket groove going well. Otherwise, you will get a shaky rhythm section which will make the band suck, even if they everyone can hear the cues.

    Band members also need to be able to hear each other in order to effectively improvise. If you can hear your cues, then great, but you won't be able to jam as a unit unless everyone can hear everyone. Not all bands jam, however.

    Finally, there is great on-stage sound, which allows band members to not have to think about overcoming bad mixes and let's them pay attention to their performance.

    So obviously, the better the on-stage mix, the better.

    But for small gigs without a soundman, sometimes you just have to bite the bullet and go with what you can get.
  13. RNV


    Apr 13, 2010
    Loxahatchee, Fl
    fEARful (I endorse them, not visa versa)
    I want FOH to be mixed well. We play an hour+ of originals and we know our music well enough to perform well without a killer stage mix. I need to hear the kicks and lead, with vox being heard but no overpowering. I usually settle for a few free beers and a thumbs up for musicians in the crowd that I trust.
  14. Vinny D

    Vinny D

    Jan 9, 2007
    Warwick, RI
    Of course a good stage sound is always best to have, but sometimes the size/shape of the venue and the size of the PA system may have more to do with how your stage sound is then anything.

    There is a local venue here in my area that has a large install rig, a large stage that is angled out of one corner with subs installed all along the front bottom of the stage and highpacks are flown over head.
    I have yet to know of any band that has ever liked there sound on stage there....but, the sound in the room is very good.
    The lowend rumble from the subs and the wash from the high packs overhead just make it sound like you are standing in a wind tunnel.

    The only way to even try to fix it in this venue is to have a even louder stage volume.....which will only lead to even more problems.
  15. DanHB18


    May 4, 2010

    You should never listen to a guitarist about sound.
  16. fokof

    fokof One day ,I'll be in the future

    Mar 16, 2007
    The paying audience should always come first but it doesn't mean the sound on stage should be bad.

    If you give me a choice between a good FOH sound or a good stage sound , and I can't have both , I will always choose the FOH.
  17. viper4000


    Aug 17, 2010
    It's two fold -

    1) Always strive for best sound on stage and FOH. Week in and week out determine what needs to be done to maintain both. New EQ settings, new gadgets, etc to to attain the best of both.

    2) Day of the gig, if you can't get both to sound optimal, then error on the side of FOH.

    I currently fight with this in my band. So I typically bow out of the "I can't hear myself" argument, and just roll with the flow. If I can hear the singer and the basics of the song, then I can give a good performance of rehearsed songs.
  18. derrico1

    derrico1 Supporting Member

    Apr 12, 2005
    Charlottesville, VA
    The thing about stage sound is that it tends not to be singular. Even on a small stage, what you hear depends on how close you are to the various sound sources--instrument amps, monitors, drums, etc.

    It's hard to say what *the* stage sound is, unless (paradox alert!) you're running a silent stage.
  19. derrico1

    derrico1 Supporting Member

    Apr 12, 2005
    Charlottesville, VA
    Of course, if you're getting buried on stage, it's harder to play well--and to avoid digging in too much in an effort to get louder.
  20. A good rehearsal space will allow you to approximate what you're probably going to hear on a typical stage.

    We spread ourselves out and all face an imaginary audience when we rehearse, and play/sing with a monitor mix. This way we simulate the stage environment. We then tailor our stage mix at rehearsal. When we get to a real stage, we've already got a good idea how we are "supposed" to sound.

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