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Mixing kick and bass with meters

Discussion in 'Live Sound [BG]' started by WashburnAB95, Sep 10, 2019.

  1. WashburnAB95


    Nov 18, 2013
    I know I know... you are supposed to mix your ears, not with your eyes, but in my circumstance I play bass and run sound in a Church setting at the same time. I used to have a wireless setup, but that is no longer available. So my standard work flow is to setup everyone else and get them sounding good while being mindful to leave room in the mix for the bass. Then I get my bass sounding good through my amp with the drums playing acoustically... however when it comes to punching my bass into the PA it is an absolute crap shoot. I error on the conservative side because I am mixing and it would look bad if I was too loud LOL. I want a better system.

    I have been told the key to a great mix is you have to get the kick and the bass at the same level. So wondered if this work..... can I simply set the gain for both on the board so they are peaking about the same and then set the volumes similarly?

    Then I thought about it... the kick is a very peaky signal and the bass is a much more sustained signal. So if both are hitting similarly on the meters won't the sustained sound sound louder? How would I compensate for this? For reference I am working with a Soundcraft SI Expression to let you know what tools I am working with.

    To simplify my question... If you want the bass and the kick to sound at a similar level what would it look like on the meters?
    Last edited: Sep 11, 2019
  2. Don’t go there. Ignore the lights for mixing. Get a wireless connection or a long instrument cable and go play in front of the PA to mix yourself.
  3. I mix one of my bands from stage. I'm SOOO not a pro at it - but I like to think I've done enough research and studying to get a pretty decent mix - considering the variety of venues we play. Long story short - you CANNOT MIX FROM STAGE. You have to get out to FOH. I've heard stories of guys that patch a main mix to their in ears, etc. - but that's still only 1/2 the story. You need to know how the room is reacting to your mix. At a min -you need wireless bass, and a wireless connection to your console. Anything less is a complete crapshoot. I'm sorry - but there it is.... And -no matter how well you do, a dedicated, skilled soundperson will do better.
  4. WashburnAB95


    Nov 18, 2013
    Of course I listen in the room to everybody but myself. I spend so much time making sure everybody else sounds good... unfortunately it is not reciprocated. The easiest solution should be for me the drummer and a trusted set of ears show up early and do it properly. Unfortunately by the time the drummer is set up and ready to go we are well into rehearsal time for the vocalists. I will eventually get another working wireless setup for my bass.... I loved it! (just other gear is more important right now).

    Also just to be clear I am not asking about eq compression or anything else... I am just trying to get our levels close.
  5. JACink


    Mar 9, 2011
    Another option, if you can't go wireless, would be a cheap loop pedal. Lay down a loop during sound check and leave it playing while you go out and check levels. It's not as good as the wireless option but it is far better than trying to do it with meters.
  6. Bassndrums73


    Mar 13, 2018
    Volume alone is not the only consideration. EQ is the other part. Change the EQ and you will need to adjust the volume to make it sit well in the mix or adjust one or the other to make it sit well. It’s a combination of both not to mention if you’re using compression then it’s a three way combination. You simply do have to use your ears to make it balance out. It’s why it’s called mixing.
    DJ Bebop and ObsessiveArcher like this.
  7. Stumbo

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

    Feb 11, 2008
    Song Surgeon slow downer. https://tinyurl.com/y5dcuqjg
    50 ft. guitar cable

    Can anyone else play the bass during sound check?

    Is the instrumentation the same each week? Take a picture of the mixing board.

    Upgrade the mixer to digital so you can save and recall the final mix settings.

    Have a meeting about everyone showing up at the appropriate time so you can get the mix set.

    Fire the drummer.:laugh:
    Last edited: Sep 11, 2019
    DJ Bebop, JRA, Wisebass and 3 others like this.

    MYLOWFREQ Supporting Member

    May 13, 2011
    New York
    Can someone else play your bass during soundcheck? You adjust your tone to your liking, and let someone play your bass w/ your settings. Not ideal, but the 2nd best scenerio if you can't go wireless. Leves on your faders and perceived loudness can be very different things.
    DJ Bebop likes this.
  9. Rhaco


    May 22, 2019
    +1 for someone else playing the bass, there has to be someone else in the church you could show how to play a couple notes on each string, then something up high on a short loop. It won't be perfect, since their attack will be a little different than yours, but it's a free solution and unless you suddenly go ultra slap funk halfway through should be close enough to get you there. The looper is also a solid idea, but I got the impression you didn't want to get more gear, so just grab someone.

    After that, +1 for a picture of the board. Every church gig I've ever played was the same every week. A picture would have gotten us 99% of the way there.
    DJ Bebop likes this.
  10. fhm555

    fhm555 So FOS my eyes are brown Supporting Member

    Feb 16, 2011
    How big is the place? Can you cover it with your amp so you can come out of the PA? You will still need someone out front to listen and get your level right, but it’s pretty easy to give you an up or down hand sign from out front. Unless we have a dedicated sound guy all we run through the PA is vocals, harp, and acoustic instruments, but we don’t do ear bleed so it’s doable.
  11. DanGroove


    Apr 27, 2017
    I agree with other posters that wireless is the way to go. If the ~$500 of a better unit is prohibitive, you could always get a cheap one and use it just long enough to get your bass level set, or you may even find the cheap one does the trick for you. They can be had for under $200.

    Added bonus, you can jump off stage and go run through the congregation like a rockstar.
    oyobass likes this.
  12. Paulabass


    Sep 18, 2017
    Aside from my answer of NO, Meters on most boards are AFL/PFL on individual channels, and then Main LR. What meters would you look at to see relative levels? Aside from constantly A/Bing AFL which would be tedious, and time consuming. I suppose you could assign bass to a submaster, and kick to a different submaster, assuming your board has individual post meters on the sub busses. Remeber- The meters/leds you see flashing on inputs are pre fader, so there is no relevent 'level' you can see there.
  13. Flooflox


    Aug 25, 2014
    The audience won't care or notice your new gear. Instead, they will be subjected to a bad mix.
  14. WashburnAB95


    Nov 18, 2013
    LOL I hear you! However in my case I want stuff like a better monitoring solution so hopefully that would help the mix also!
    The AMP I use could carry the room at the volumes we play at. I use the pa more for sound quality and dispersal than volume. I also really like keeping stage volume down. I don't want to start volume wars LOL.... others don't understand "you are playing through the PA I am not". For ease of work my style of mixing has been to balance us acoustically and then simply raise faders. I fear carrying the room with my amp would upset our acoustic mix and set off a series of problems that messes up our main mix as well.

    Looper petal-good idea I may already have a way to do that
    Someone else playing my bass-I don't like this because everybody else sounds different from me! lol
    50' guitar cable- wouldn't be a really good idea becasuse we play "in the round" in a big room. Different parts of the room sound different so you probably need 150-200' cable to do it properly.
    Getting a digital board- Already have one, it helps but even on an analog board I am capable of remembering settings from week to week. Then again you have to remember that no matter how hard I try I am not able to set up exactly the same way every week so it won't be exactly the same.
    DJ Bebop likes this.
  15. Paulabass


    Sep 18, 2017
    With enough memory, you could loop the whole show, and do sound with an ipad from the pews.
    DJ Bebop and foolforthecity like this.
  16. peter nicholas

    peter nicholas

    Aug 1, 2019
    ma, usa
    since you're playing in church, you could close your eyes and trust The Lord to guide your hands to set the best mix.
  17. JustAnotherFool


    Mar 20, 2017
    The Si Expression can be operated remotely if you establish small local WiFi and use an iPad with the Soundcraft Visi Remote app. That way somebody you trust could adjust relative levels from the congregation/audience.
  18. Paulabass


    Sep 18, 2017
    There's now about 20 different ipad mixers, and add ons, but I don't think that was the question.
    DJ Bebop likes this.
  19. JustAnotherFool


    Mar 20, 2017
    Yes, but the Si Expression is the mixer that OP uses in fact, so in fact possibly a very practical solution to OP's specific question.
    rohi likes this.
  20. set your best levels by ear, then run both through a compressor at about 3:1 with a fast attack and medium release. that will at least keep them around the same level, but sound may be effected depending on the compressor used.

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