Outdoor Gig and Amp Settings?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by Big Benner, Jun 29, 2005.

  1. Hey all,

    I have an outdoor gig coming up and I thought I'd learn from others before I made my own mistakes. But first some info on the gig - this is from the e-mail my guitar player sent me:

    - There will be 3 mic's at the front of the stage for vocals
    - Drum kit will be provided- plus bring your own breakables
    - The Kick will be mic'ed
    - Two overheads above the drums
    - Amps will not be mic'ed up or DI'ing of bass gear
    - Please bring your own amps for your instruments
    - There will be one monitor provided for lead vocals. (If you need more, please bring your own)
    - a total of seven bands, first band on at 3:00pm and last band ends at 12:00 midnight
    - stage to be set up in a barn facing the outdoors with about 20 - 30 feet for people to dance inside if it rains

    My guitar player received this info on a telephone message, so I'm going to try and track down more info.

    So my first question is, as a bass player playing clubs what sonic differences will I encounter when I put my full amp (SWR amp + Yorkville 2x10 + 1x15) on a wooden stage facing the outdoors? I usually play with flat EQ (SWR Aural Enhancer at 12 o'clock which I know is adding a bass boost), so will the bass frequencies be lost or exaggerated on this new stage? If I can get it to sound good to me onstage, what will it sound like 20 - 30 feet outside on the lawn?

    Second question is - usually when we play with our little PA (350watt & two 1x12 mains, 150watt & two 1x12 monitors) we run just vocals out of the PA speakers. Guitars aren't mic'ed and Bass isn't DI'ed but I stick a SM57 into the Kick Drum, run it through a Behringer preamp with boosted lows and then put it through the FXs return on the SWR amp. It's 800 watts going through bass designed 1x15 and 2x10 cabs and it just gives it that extra little low end thump (it's not super loud, my band doesn't notice it until I take it away). So, do I just do it and have 2 mics in the kick or do I trust that the PA has enough power and low end to make the kick drum sound good? I guess I can decide that when we get there and take a look at their system, eh?

    Third question is - I have a hunch that I might have one of the best, biggest and loudest bass rigs that will be on stage for the evening, so do I offer to let everyone use the system? That means that it'll be running from 3:00pm till 12:00pm midnight. ??? Would it be better for me to let them use the speakers and not the amp? I've always let people use the amp at a 10:00pm till 1:00am club gig with no problems, and I generally walk in without an amp if my band is opening up for another bigger band and expect to use their amp, but I'm a little nervous of the length of time for this. I'm also a little nervous that some of these bands are beginners and their bass players might get excited and just crank the amp and low end EQ and damage something. What are other bass players thoughts on amp etiquette.

    Fourth question is - do I bring one or two of my vocal monitors? Each cab is a SWR Monitor 12 (1x12 speaker + piezo tweeter - 250watts @8ohms). Can any damage happen to the speakers if I plug them into the system? What if the vocal monitor that is there is 8ohms, I plug my two vocal monitors at 8ohms each and the power amp that is there is only designed for a minimum impedance of 4 ohms? Will it damage my speakers? It'll probably damage their amp so I don't want anyone else to have equipment damage,... I'll probably just bring the one and triple check the system that I'm plugging into.

    Wow. That's a lot of questions and a lot of info. I guess,... we are a semi pro original alt rock band and I/we strive to have a great show every time we play. Being as I love gear and know the most about sound in the band, it's up to me to get the band to sound good every show that we play. I get the feeling that this outdoor gig is going to be pretty amateur, which is cool and should be fun, but I still want my band to sound as good as it can and not damage any equipment. Thought maybe I'd call on the experience and expertise of TB. Thanks guys,

  2. I would bring all of your monitors. You never know how these things go down. I would suggest putting the drums only through the PA only so the Sound Man has complete control. Be prepared to do run many different setups. They could have a kick ass PA or it could suck. I suggest calling ahead finding out the stage demensions and more details on the PA they are using.

    I hope that answered at least some of your questions.
  3. I wouldn't offer to use my system at an outdoor gig, and I've got 1500W with 2 500W cabs. That's probably more than your cabs will handle.

    Very hard to get the loudness you're used to indoors, people will push it to the extremes. You don't know if some of these guys are screaming loud 2 guitar with 100W Marshall stack bands. A 2x10 and 1x15 wouldn't keep up with that, could die trying.

  4. Yeah that is a lot of questions, I want to start with a comment... its kind of odd they'd mic the drums but not anything else... but anyway.

    Question 1) Usually I tend to actually end up more flat for outdoor gigs than I do indoors (no walls or anything to affect how the sound will travel), but this will prob be something you'll need to play with.

    Question 2) If they are micing, they'll put their stuff where they want it, just sit back and say nothing :D and hope the guys know what they are doing.

    Question 3) It says that everyone's supposed to bring their own stuff, so let them use their own stuff. Never offer to let someone use your own stuff unless your the headliner trust the other bands, if they ask then weigh the options then.

    Question 4) Well... I'd bring them and just inform the guy what ohms and ratings they are.

    I'd probobly warn you to expect the worst, seeing as what they are micing (and not micing) and what they are providing (and not providing) it doesn't seem like the sound people are the highest of quality.
  5. ESP-LTD


    Sep 9, 2001
    I'd want to hear some other folks out front and onstage, so you know what's happening. I think you would find it sounds boomy onstage (it's in a box) but that may or may not reach the audience at all.

    I'd let them use their rig for the drums since they seem to care about that part.

    I wouldn't let anyone use my equipment with a few rare exceptions. It's too easy to destroy.
  6. When you get a chance after you/your band set up and get thier sound together as best as possible, go as far out front as your cord will let you and have the band just play on a note with the drummer banging away for a few minuts. I dont like to play songs and give anything away! Try to get the best overall volume you can, if someones tone is real off then have them try to adjust, but dont take to much time doing this. Concentrate on getting ready to play your ass off! My band did a few small stage Warp tour shows, as for getting a decent sound this is really all you can do and just trust that the soundman will get the vocals right? Also, I would never let anyone use my equipment unless its an emergency, if so no problem.
  7. Kael

    Kael Supporting Member

    Dec 26, 2004
    Oklahoma City
    Generally if I don't know someone, then they don't touch my equipment. Seen to much equipment destroyed by incompetent boobs.

    I would bring everything neccesary for a worst case scenario (ie: the PA provided is one of those cheapo powered head/mixer jobs, with a Radioshack'esque 10" monitor) but only unload it if needed. Wouldn't even tell people that I had it to avoid people asking to use it unless I brought it out.

    Now I've done outside shows where I knew everyone else and had no problems lending out equipment, but I knew that everyone present knew their stuff.

    PS: I've always felt that group soundchecks should be with an actual song not just one chord. You don't just play one chord in your music (at least I hope you aren't "monochordic" :D ). Used to run sound for other people on the side, and it far easier to get a decent overall mix quickly if the band plays an actual song during soundcheck. I don't mean getting the input level set for each individual, talking about the overall mix. I do understand the "not giving anything away" suggestion though. Maybe pull out a song that had not planned on playing that day. Of course, with that many bands, you may not get a sound check beyond setting the input level and the soundman mixing on the fly.
  8. Of course, with that many bands, you may not get a sound check beyond setting the input level and the soundman mixing on the fly.

    Thats usually my experience with outdoor shows that do have a lot of bands playing. So it works for me to have the band hammer on one (same) chord with drums banging away. It really helps organize everyone and the sound in a real quick timely matter, just stand out in front, get a good level and tone, hop back on stage and get ready to rip. You now have have had some control of what you sound like and you can let the sound guy do his own thing, which is usually hurrying bands along. I also cant stand it when the band is standing around wondering what song to sound check with. Many times when my band has sound checked in busy situations with a "prepared song", where lucky to get throug a verse before we get a "ready to go" from the sound guy! Problem being the verse is basically a ballade. Just some of my experiences with busy outdoor/indoor festival type shows.