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. WashburnAB95


    Nov 18, 2013
    Of course it would be nice to have a sound guy. But I think if you really learn to use that board properly you should be able to find a much more efficient work flow. Once you have dialed them in... if you are always playing with the same guys, you should be able to set and forget all your channel settings. As long as stage volume isn't as issue you should be able to use the same exact mix at every show. All you should have to do is adjust your master level and master eq for the room you are in. If you want a different mix from song to song that is fine... just work that out in rehearsal and save the scenes on the board. One button or one push of a foot petal can switch you from song to song.

    Your band mates need to learn to do there own monitor mixes. There is no reason not to.
    Yellow Bang66 likes this.
  2. Tim Skaggs

    Tim Skaggs

    Sep 28, 2002
    You swerved into one of the most common things in humans; if a group of them find someone that will do something that has to be done, and nobody else wants to do it, that one person that will do it gets it dumped on him or her. Even if you aren't the best at doing it, a group of humans will let you keep doing it as long as you will. You get to decide how long that is.
    chupacerveza, poopshoot and Wasnex like this.
  3. Samatza


    Apr 15, 2019
    It works like this: make time to train the rest of the band how the PA operates so if they have a problem they can fix it themselves. This is assuming you can't afford a sound guy.

    I provide the PA for one of my bands, digital desk, everyone uses IEM and in control of their own mix. They know the rules, I'm here to play bass, if your problem with sound is a trivial one don't bother me until the break, if it's a major issue I'll know about it way before you notice. Nobody complains. Everyone having control of their own IEM mix is the best thing ever. I never let anyone use a stage monitor, only IEM, last time we had a keys player with a stage monitor that's pretty much all you could hear on stage.

    I charge for providing the PA, 1. for my time as I need to get there earlier. 2. to help support the cost of the gear and upkeep. That's fair and if anyone else is willing to do it they can get the extra pay.

    I dial in the sound at soundcheck, after that there should really be no changes with the exception of the mains, we may need more level after the room fills up. If it's a new venue everyone is there early for sound check and the settings are saved for that venue.

    Sometimes you need to push back a little (or a lot) to get others to understand that it's not entirely possible to do both jobs at once, particularly given the fact that you can't hear FOH from where you're standing and the fact that the bass can't just stop playing, it's not a guitar for heavens sake.
  4. juancaminos

    juancaminos Supporting Member

    Someone earlier mentioned getting the sound system to a set and forget state. Although stressful I actually enjoy being the sound guy/bass player. Yeah it's a thankless and stressful job and yes I only get a few minutes to do my own bass set up. But once you get comfortable being the King of Sound you won't like the way others do it. I'm very anal about it...Eventually you will get the system to a point of very little adjusting required. Just make a deal with the others that they set it up and you man the controls. It will get easier and it's good to be the king, at least I think so.
  5. juancaminos

    juancaminos Supporting Member

    I am working in a new band situation where they want me as the shut up an play bass guy so its not so much joining forces. Just me joining a BL. But they don't seem to have a good pa. We rent a rehearsal studio know so I really don't know what they have. They know of my past and know that I have a large pa and can get gigs. So my deal is going to be: either we collaborate (join forces) or I take orders form you. If I am the oder taker then I will receive double pay for the pa and getting gigs. In other words my pa will become and equal member of the band. Is that about right?
    Oddly likes this.
  6. Tell them you need more money to handle the sound then use that money to pay a sound guy?
    KarateChris likes this.
  7. Samatza


    Apr 15, 2019
    Yes it is. If the PA/sound engineer was hired there’s a cost, why would you do it for free considering it’s extra work on your part and no one else wants to do it. + gear costs money, is anyone else willing to share the cost?
    At some venues we have full production so I can turn up the same time as anybody else with my bass and amp and not have to worry about FOH.
    juancaminos and Stumbo like this.
  8. Stumbo

    Stumbo Guest

    Feb 11, 2008
    Put some yellow tape around the PA power cord ends to mark them so the melon heads don't strike again.
    chupacerveza likes this.
  9. juancaminos

    juancaminos Supporting Member

    Cool... as mentioned earlier I do enjoy it but it gets old when you are the first guy there (by a long shot) and the last to leave. Not to mention the busiest guy there all night long...right?
  10. Wasnex


    Dec 25, 2011
    Unfortunately they are totally ill equipped to run sound or understand what it takes for someone else to do it well. So they have no idea of the burden they are putting on you, or how inconsiderate they are being. Probably the saddest part is you would probably enjoy doing this, and do a fine job if they were just a bit more gracious and appreciative. The problem is you have let the Genie Out of the Bottle. They know you can do the work and take it for granted, so it's going to be difficult to get out of it.

    Unfortunately this is probably one of those rare situations were you have to put down really hard boundaries and give them an ultimatum. I actually enjoy doing this sort of work so I would personally look forward to doing it, but I would make it clear that I am not there to take a bunch of grief and abuse.

    The biggest difficulty is it is often not possible to provide good sound in a given room and people tend to blame the audio tech when the problem is really due to factors such as bad acoustics, uncooperative musicians who refuse to play at reasonable volume for the room, or gear that cannot provide adequate and appropriate coverage of the area. If you are to continue, they need to understand that their criticism is unwelcome, and if they cannot exhibit self control they should expect to step up and demonstrate to proper way to make the system sound perfect, because that is the only acceptable action if anyone deems your work is substandard.

    Another thing they need to agree to is to help with gear hauling and setup, and to give you sufficient time to sound check and take care of your own needs. This generally means everyone needs to arrive earlier than they normally do, so they can help set up mics and speakers and such. They should also setup their own gear and get a basic sound, and then they need to give you some quiet time to trouble shoot and tune the system so it is ready for sound check.

    IMHO, this is a lot of extra work and stress. Depending upon how the other work of the band is distributed, it may be appropriate to ask for a bigger share, up to 150% depending upon how much extra work you have to do. I usually provide the entire audio system and arrive before anyone else to set it up and tune it by myself if I ask for 150%.

    Hope some of these ideas or helpful. I can definitely empathize.
    chupacerveza, 31HZ and Stumbo like this.
  11. Wasnex


    Dec 25, 2011
    In my experience it takes a certain aptitude to run sound and most people don't have it. So expecting each band member to be proficient in operating the PA is not reasonable.

    People are happy to push sliders and think they are doing a good job, but most of the time they are not. Many people mix by sequentially turning up what they want to hear better, rather than balancing the mix by turning down channels that are too loud. Pretty soon the distortion and feedback starts and everyone is holding their ears instead of having a good time.

    It's progressively worse when they have to try and EQ something and deal or setting up dynamics like compression, noise gates, or de-essers. It usually become a totally lost cause when you start discussing even the most basic configuration and routing matters, or trying to teach someone how the aux/send buses function different than the main mix bus.

    It's great if multiple people in the band have the interest and aptitude, but most bands are lucky if one member has what it takes. I think the OP has what it takes, but the band is taking advantage of him and being pretty uncool about the whole situation.
    chupacerveza and 31HZ like this.
  12. Wasnex


    Dec 25, 2011
    I don't totally agree with this. I have seen lot's of working bands put on great shows without an audio tech, and I have done it myself with rock bands and even full big band jazz ensembles.

    Do I think having a good audio tech is better? Absolutely! But I think the band has to elevate to a certain quality of gig and level of pay before they can really justify bringing on a full-time audio tech. Also, if you going to pay an audio tech, you probably want a lot more sophisticated audio system than what the OP's band has.
    chupacerveza likes this.
  13. Wasnex


    Dec 25, 2011

    There is a lot of truth to this. You can save and recall scenes for each performance venue. If the mic placement and amp settings are relatively consistent, then you can get really close by just normalizing the input gain for each channel and ringing the system for feedback. You will have to make some minor eq changes, but it should be relatively close. The problem is people change their amp settings and don't setup the band the same way every time. But yes theoretically it works.

    It works especially well with IEM based system with eletronic drums, where everyone runs ampless, then it really does pretty much just come down to changing the room EQ...but that is not the situation here.
    WashburnAB95 and Stumbo like this.
  14. A long description of path of least resistance...btw, your signature wisdom is very true.
  15. JRA

    JRA my words = opinion Supporting Member

    reluctantly say "no." you're an IT guy, not an audio expert. good luck giving up what you started yourself! :thumbsup:
  16. theduke1

    theduke1 Supporting Member

    Dec 22, 2010
    Sussex WI
    Pardon me
    The setup shouldn’t change much from one gig to the next
    I have run sound from the stage most of my playing life
    When you get your system dialed in take some pictures of the board so you have a place to start
    Channel settings for vocals should stay close one gig to the next
    We don’t use digital gear so maybe that is the difference
    But if you put the same things in the same order in your mixer it shouldn’t change that much from one gig to the next
    Last edited: Jul 30, 2019
  17. Anemic_SluG

    Anemic_SluG Supporting Member

    Dec 1, 2009
    All of this sounds very familiar. I own a ui24r system and from one place to the next I usually don’t have to change much in order to make a go of it and have never had complaints.
    One thing I have done to eliminate some of the stress of being pa guy is that we hire a sound guy to come in and do sound check. Get all the levels correct and then he leaves once everything is good. It keeps the cost down and Allows him to free himself up for the night to go do other venues etc.
    with the UI if everyone sets up the “more me” section it is incredibly easy to adjust their own monitor mix. There is a great Facebook group as well for more information on setup and using the ui24 from all experience levels as well as venue sizes.

    Best of luck.
    chupacerveza likes this.
  18. gumtown


    May 7, 2007
    New Zealand
    You can only do one job at a time, and make it known,

    play bass > some one tells you they need their monitor mix fixed > stop playing bass mid song > adjust mix > check he's OK with it > resume playing bass.

    But once you get a few shows done and scenes saved in the desk, you should be able to recall the venue or last mix and just EQ the FOH to the room.
  19. And I

    And I

    Feb 19, 2009
    Witchtown, MA
    Don't do double duty. You reluctantly said yes. "Yes but only until we have a soundperson" was maybe the answer you needed. You've addressed it, now stick to your guns and get a soundperson.
    Nevada Pete likes this.
  20. Nevada Pete

    Nevada Pete Guest

    Nov 22, 2016
    Your first move is, "I am not going to do the sound anymore". And stick to that.

    There comes a point in a band's performance career when they can either stop progressing in their bookings, or take it to the next level. All things being equal, the difference is going to be in how good the band sounds. If you are at the point where you need a sound person, then as long as you continue to fill that role, you'll never get one. Find some way or another to advise your band mates that if they can't figure out they will ultimately make more money with consistent quality of music out in the audience, then they should consider using another brand of tooth paste because fluoride appears to be affecting their brains.
    Last edited: Jul 30, 2019
    chupacerveza and Yellow Bang66 like this.
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