Need opinions on situation with my band and ownership of live sound; How would you handle?

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by npbassman, Jul 29, 2019.

  1. They either:
    1. Pay you more to be the sound engineer and bass player
    2. Hire another member to be the full time sound engineer
    3. Trade in that mixer for one that is more user friendly for everyone or spend the money to get a better digital system that everyone can control their own mixes on an iPad or iPhone.

    Good luck!
    lokikallas and 2tonic like this.
  2. Oddly


    Jan 17, 2014
    Dublin, Ireland.
    As I also worked for a sound-hire company and knew my way around a PA system, I got sucked into the same situation as the OP several times when I was a lot younger and a lot stupider.
    It took all the fun out of being in a band for me, and was a big factor in my quitting the whole game for a long time.

    I know there's plenty of guys on here who double-job on sound, and are happy to do so, but it seems to me the OP isn't in that camp here, and needs to have a very firm talk with his band members.
    Last edited: Jul 29, 2019
  3. Ggaa

    Ggaa Supporting Member

    Nov 26, 2018
    We mix from stage, we could use a dedicated sound guy too. I'm wireless so I get out front a few times during the night for a listen. Usually once we're set it stays good. Everyone helps with pa setup so one guy doesn't get stuck with the full headache alone.
    chupacerveza likes this.
  4. A) Come to an agreement with the other band members to hire a sound tech.
    B) The following:
    1) Purchase, read, and study the Yamaha Sound Reinforcement Guide. Then:
    2) Thoroughly read and study the Soundcraft UI24 User Manual. Then:
    3) Devote 8 - 10 hours of band rehearsal time to trial-and-error analysis of the band’s FOH sound quality and monitor mix(es) quality. Insist that all band members participate in this effort AND duplicate the end product mixes. If they are unwilling to do this, refer them back to option A.

    In my band in NY, two of the three partners did all of option B (with the Alesis 1622 analog mixer we used at the time). The third partner approached plugging anything into the mixer as Barney Fife approached putting his bullet into his gun. But he wasn’t averse to spending the money necessary to make us sound good.

    All the technology is great, but using it is never as easy as the band thinks it is. Hence the requirement for band members’ participation.

    Or, option A.
    Last edited: Jul 29, 2019
  5. 40Hz

    40Hz Supporting Member

    May 24, 2006
    Sound is something that needs to be run.

    But there’s nothing to say you have to be the one to run it. So if you don’t feel sufficiently qualified and you don’t want to do it, there’s no reason why you have to continue. You’re perfectly within the bounds of what’s reasonable (assuming you’re dealing with adults) to remind the band that running sound isn’t really your thing. And while you did offer to help out for the greater good, it wasn’t something you were agreeing to take on permanently as part of your role in the band.

    Complainers have a simple choice. Either step up to the plate and do it yourself - or pay someone else to do it.

    And if it ends up costing everyone a cut, why should that be a surprise? Nothing is truly free. If a former band member was doing it for nothing - or less than what a sound person would cost - then he’s a guy who’s doing double duty - and the band was basically exploiting his better nature by unfairly profiting from his contribution of extra time and effort. The technical term for that is “ripping somebody off.”
    chupacerveza, Wasnex, 2tonic and 4 others like this.
  6. klyph

    klyph Supporting Member

    Mar 28, 2009
    Cape Cod
    DO NOT offer to keep the responsibility for more pay. That is a disaster waiting to happen. A soundman should not be a hard sell. If you are getting “tons of gigs” then you should be able to turn down those that don’t pay enough to carry PRO SOUND. This is the next step for a club band, and without taking it you will never get to the level of good paying private work (weddings, etc.). You need to find someone IMMEDIATELY before doing any more harm to your reputation, as a band or as a player with a band that “squeals”. Your instincts are 100% correct, what you need to do is cool your emotions down to the point where you can actually sell your band mates on the benefits. You WILL get even busier and able to command better pay If you hire a good sound man. You WILL NOT if you don’t.
  7. Plucky The Bassist

    Plucky The Bassist ZOMG! I'm back from the dead! Supporting Member

    Jul 30, 2010
    I'm sure this has already been said by someone in here, but as a fellow IT Engineer, rule #1 for me in anything like this is "Never let someone know you can do something that you don't want to do indefinitely."

    When I was a hired gun for a solo artist, there were two situations where they needed someone to work the board. I simply said "I'm only good with adjusting my amp EQ", which wasn't a lie at all, because for the level we needed I wasn't going to be able to cut it and I've done exactly what the OP has done twice before and it never ends well.

    This is a classic example of the band not understanding how much goes into what they are asking for....or not wanting to understand what goes into it. But hindsight is 20/20 so what I'd say the solution going forward would be paying the sound tech a fixed rate or less than the band for their services (since I'm assuming there is no rehearsal or learning new tunes or woodshedding for the sound tech). Either way, don't take any flak for stepping away from the board. If someone wants to complain, like you said, point out that any of them can take this up and if they complain about it, just reply with "Well if it's not worth doubling my take, then anyone should be able to learn it and fill in."

    Honestly though, live and learn. It has never benefited me to step into doing a job I wasn't hired to do. Maybe that sounds selfish, but it would have saved me a lot of headaches in the past.
    Oddly and Ronzo like this.
  8. dbsfgyd1


    Jun 11, 2012
    Mascoutah, IL
    As a working musician, paying a sound engineer is worth every penny.

    To prove the point, if they object to hiring one, tell them that everybody is going to take a turn running sound. The dude that yaps the loudest and complains the most is up first.

    To finally drive the point home, make sure you record the gig and or rehearsal. Nothing like a recording to prove a point.
    DirtDog and 2tonic like this.
  9. BAG


    May 5, 2014
    New Zealand
    It does sound like you could use a soundman however he will be concentrating on FOH and you may still have problems with stage sound.

    The good thing is that with the Ui24 you have all the tools needed to make life easier. You can "lock out" certain settings so that the drummer and other band members can only change their own monitor mix and not change the main mix. Once you get them set up they can simply use a phone or tablet to adjust what they want in their monitor. If they don't want to learn then tell them they can deal with the mix they are given.

    Also, ringing out the system on the Ui mixers is so easy with the AFS (Auto Feedback Supressor). Learn to use this and it will find the problem frequencies for you. You can also use it on each separate monitor mix as well.
    Finally, at the right of the mixer under the functions tab there is a save snapshot button. Use it regularly as you are setting up so that if something happens you can recall the settings. I'll hit that button after making any setting changes while setting up and quite often during a show.

    It really is worthwhile spending a bit of time learning how to use it properly. They are an amazing mixer. Also, don't forget to save a different snapshot name for each venue you play. Next time you go there you just recall the settings and you'll be in the ballpark right from the start.
    Ronzo likes this.
  10. pappabass

    pappabass Inactive

    May 19, 2006
    Alabama !! Roll Tide
    Yes on this. If you have this many gigs, paying, you need good sound person. If its a dedicated player its OK. But everyone needs to help not @#$%&
    Ronzo likes this.
  11. Booking person gets the first 15%
    Sound person gets next 10%
    Band splits the rest
    Stumbo, 2tonic, ELG60 and 1 other person like this.
  12. buldog5151bass

    buldog5151bass Kibble, milkbones, and P Basses. And redheads.

    Oct 22, 2003
    I would tell them they have three choices:

    1. Hire a sound person.
    2. Pay you as sound person (if you are willing to do it).
    3. Shut the @&([email protected]#& up and take the mix you give them.
  13. It isn't as simple as everyone here seems to think... you are not in the same boat as npbassman.

    Personally took an interest in the FOH mix and used a wireless (so I could walk out while playing and hear the room) and ran the board myself. My reward was not money, it was compliments on our sound from the audience.
    Stumbo likes this.
  14. Tad

    Tad Supporting Member

    Dec 10, 2007
    Island Park, Idaho
    4. “Mix it yourself.”
  15. dBChad


    Aug 17, 2018
    Daytona Beach, FL
    Now that you have the hang of the board, teach everyone else. If your band runs their own sound, it's unacceptable to only have one person who knows how to do it. Sometimes you need ears in the room calling to someone who can reach the controls to make certain adjustments, and this 2 person team needs to understand each other for it to work.

    If everyone knows how to mix the sound, the collective workload between everybody will be small enough that no other mouths need to get fed.
    Ronzo likes this.
  16. TheReceder


    Jul 12, 2010
    When you run sound from the stage you're guaranteed to hit the suck switch once in a while.
    When sound men hit it... they usually shut it off in 1/10th the time.

    I ran one of my systems from stage once, I did all the load in, line checks while the rest of the band was noodling. I was a sweaty mess and need to change before we started playing. I asked the guitar player to ring out a couple monitors while I changed. ( he was qualified) he blew it off and I ended out with feedback city. Found out we had a deaf keyboard player that moved his monitor behind him, and pointed directly at his mic.

    I vowed to never run sound again.
  17. TexasHeat


    Jun 6, 2015
    in a large complicated band, you can't mix from the stage. For your busy band, you really need to have a person dedicated to sound, but not just hiring someone, he should be a full member. That way he has your band's best interest.

    I ran sound for a pretty successful bar band in the 90s and I was an equal member. The other guys bought instruments, I bought a PA. It worked out well.

    But finding a person to run sound is not so easy. Having the Ui24 helps a lot, but the guy/gal needs a good ear. Find someone who's willing. Take him to other shows in your area and talk to the sound guys there. Let him hear a good mix, let him talk to the sound guy. Maybe he can get some mentoring.

    Then once he's up to speed on mixiing your band, it's time to turn his attention to the light show.
  18. mwbassace


    Jul 26, 2010
    N.W. Ohio
    You should be able to set the mixer up with you as the "master" & lock everyone else out of messing with anything but their own monitor mix. That could solve the "drummer playing with the mix" issue. And then make everyone get the app & be responsible for their own monitor mix. With a little effort & help they should be able to do this. And be ever aware of where your powered up from & save right away.
  19. Bullitt5135


    Nov 16, 2010
    SE Michigan
    No good deed goes unpunished.

    It’s relatively easy with your mixer to allow everyone to control their own mix (and to lock them out of the main mix). Insist that everyone provides their own device ($50 Kindle Fire works nicely), and then they are responsible for their own mix and feedback management. Walk them though it, make them take notes. Then wash your hands of it. Your job is FOH (if you choose), and they are on their own for monitors. I’d draw a very strict line if I were you.

    I’ve invested a lot of money and time in PA gear. I’ve gotten pretty good at running sound while I play, but I don’t like it at all. It distracts majorly from my playing and makes gigs more stressful than they need to be. Right now, I can manage my 3 piece band with 8 channels...but if I ever get a 4-5 piece cover band gigging again, a soundman will be on the payroll.
    hrodbert696 and Ggaa like this.
  20. Do this, Assign a task for each member in this order:

    One member sets up the mixer/amps.
    Another member sets up the monitors.
    Another sets up the mains.
    Another sets up the mics and stands.
    You show up, and do the mix.
    Tear down and load in reverse order.
    And, give the drummer the easiest of the tasks, because he has the hardest/longest instrument to setup.
    If you don't have a band trailer, have each member bring the respective gear for their task.

    I saw one band doing this, and it went jiffy quick, because everyone was working in parallel, and knew how to setup, wire and connect up. You reason, is to share the sound duty equally. Hard for anyone to push back.
    Ggaa likes this.