Discussion in 'Live Sound [BG]' started by axe, Aug 5, 2009.

  1. axe


    Feb 1, 2003
    Yukon Oklahoma
    Our band is set up in an un used office space where I work, the area is aprox. 20' x 20'. We have been searching for a good sound mix for months now with no success, it is a muddy mess ,or someone is overpowering everyone else,or a combination of the 2. I would like to be able to keep the volume at a reasonable level without loosing the edge. I have tried moving all the amp cabs into a joining room and running it all through the P.A. but the mud sound seemed to increase in doing that. any advice ?
  2. rob2966


    Oct 19, 2006
    Vancouver, BC
    I find that minimizing what goes through the PA helps a lot. Usually:

    - no drums, not even the kick
    - no bass, a good gigging rig should have enough power to fill the room.
    - minimal guitar. Since the guitar cabs can be very loud AND directional it can be advantageous to lower cab volume, fill it out a bit with the PA but I find a little goes a long way.
    - keys usually need to use the PA; however, I often EQ out a lot of the low end, especially if the keyboard player can't keep his left hand in his pocket :)
    - PA, especially in a practice environment, should be primarily used for vocals

    Beyond that, also be careful not to have too much bass on bass and guitar amps, it sounds really cool all by yourself, but can become really muddy in a small room that is prone to vibration.

    Good luck
  3. Point guitar cabs at their owners.
  4. georgestrings

    georgestrings Inactive

    Nov 5, 2005
    My band uses the same monitor setup for rehearsals that we gig with - 3 wedges for the guitarist, bassist, amd singer - and an IEM send with it's own mix for the drummer... We mic up the guitar and DI the bass(and leave the faders all the way down) - for the drummer's IEM mix, but only run vocals through the wedges... As a result, we always play at the same volume - gig or rehearsal - and never have problems with our levels at any setting...

    You might want to consider trying that approach, and not even using FOH speakers during rehearsals...

    - georgestrings
  5. hbarcat

    hbarcat Supporting Member

    Aug 24, 2006
    Rochelle, Illinois
    The room has a square footprint (20'x20') which is going to wreak havoc with your sound, especially if the ceiling is 10'.

    But there's no helping that so all you can do is make the best of it. Low frequencies are affected the most by the room's dimensions and the less of them bouncing around in there the better off you'll be.

    Take everything out of the PA except for the vocals. Drums are already going to be too loud in that room and micing up the drums will only cause everyone else to have to turn up louder and that is the last thing you want.

    If you have enough room, place everyone in line along one wall with all instruments facing the opposite wall. Then face the PA speakers (with just the vocals in them) in the far corners of the room and face them back toward you. With only 20' available, it's unlikely that you will have enough room to do this so you should take the drummer off the side of the room with the instruments and put him on the opposite wall facing you. He should be able to hear the vocals coming out of the speakers on each side of him in the corners of the room, but if not, he may need a separate monitor.

    Everyone should be standing with their amps (used as personal monitors) behind them and they should be playing just loud enough so that they can hear themselves about the same volume as the drummer.

    If you have an SPL meter (I highly recommend you get one - they're only about $75) you should be able to measure the ambient noise in the room at no more than about 105 dB (A-weighted) when playing full volume. Peaks above 110 db are too loud.

    Controlling low frequencies is the only way to keep your sound from being muddy. Make sure the guitarists have their low frequencies rolled off and also make sure the vocalist isn't boosting his low end, either. Experiment with the EQ setting on the bass amp to get the best sound without mudding it up. In general, anything below 50 Hz that's being blasted out of your cab is creating a problem in that small space.

    I highly recommend you guys get some bass traps for the corners of your rooms. Commercial bought ones are expensive but they are highly effective. You can make them yourselves for cheap, but they also work very well if you make them correctly. Google ["bass traps" homemade].
  6. Stumbo

    Stumbo Guest

    Feb 11, 2008
    In addition to the above, I suggest you put some sound board (double sheets really blunt the sound) around the drummer to keep the noise down. Get the amp speakers up to ear level for each player. Also, you can hang some sheets of foam (or carpet) on the walls to reduce the echos.

    Start off adjusting the vocals first so they sound good. Then bring each person in one at a time at a volume that keeps everything sounding good. Adjust as necessary.
  7. hbarcat

    hbarcat Supporting Member

    Aug 24, 2006
    Rochelle, Illinois
    ^^ +1