playing a choir show, bad theater

Discussion in 'Live Sound [BG]' started by uethanian, Jan 28, 2009.

  1. uethanian


    Mar 11, 2007
    so i'm playing bass for my school's choir, in the theater. HORRIBLE theater from the 70's, too small, incredibly boomy, ground is hard, seats are hard, whatever. i've been screwing around with the bass setup in rehearsal (that means listening to the other bassist and running to the audience, then running back to make an adjustment, then running back). its gotten slightly better, but it still sucks. the amp is turned up way past where it should be, yet it doesn't cut through to the seats. i've tried adding mids and cutting back on lows, but that just creates other issues. what really gets me is that the sound guy is running a direct out for recording purposes, but not for house PA, which imo would be a huge improvement.

    i'm stuck with the small (112 i think) version of the Line6 LowDown combo. it can certainly be a loud little amp in most situations.

    also it seems like the volume isn't responding at that level. like when i'm plugged in and i turn my volume pots (passive jazz bass) just a little, the volume goes way up. but then for the 3/4 rotation that i can still turn my knobs, there doesn't seem to be a volume increase. is the amp maxed out or something? its not distorting, but it certainly doesn't sound good.

    me and the amp are up on a riser next to the drum set, and there's a lot of stuff in front but i've done what i can to get the amp facing through a window. :help:
  2. A theatre seems a very large cubic to fill with a 112 combo. Why aren't you being sent through the PA? That seems like it'd be cheaper than them renting you a proper-sized rig.

    Don't worry too much about that "window"; I don't think it'll make much difference.
  3. yamaha


    Apr 7, 2006
    Yeah, school shows are hell. The ''sound guy'' is probably a school employee, in charge of the auditorium. Probably not a sound man, but a fader pusher. Also, what is the house PA. It might be a kit intended for public address (vocals) only. Maybe that's why he's not going through the PA. If he is so inclined, try going through the PA, but he may be thinking ''choir'' is the main thing, the music is just background. Probably best solution would be to borrow, or rent, a bigger amp for the show. Sorry I coulden't help more, and good luck.
  4. TheXym


    Oct 19, 2006
    Huge +1 for this theory. Many school setups that don't have input from the music department run into this issue (like ours), and in most cases the "sound guy" is a fader pusher (if that). If I'm not running the sound at my school, it's a problem (for years they tried to just have a custodian who had absolutely no interest in learning how).

    I'm a choir director and I've used bass with some songs, and I've generally been able to get the level I need with just a 1*10 amp (70 voice unmiked choir) in our auditorium with an active bass. I do mike soloists through SM58s and a small Yamaha mixer with power monitor speakers that works well.

    Your auditorium could be a big part of the issue, but have you experimented with where you have your cab positioned? It could make a difference. You could also try putting on a stand or tilting it. I'm also surprised that you're not being fed through the PA as well. I'd suggest talking with the choir director about it, possibly having them step out and listen for levels. They'll probably have more leverage with the sound guy than a student would.

    As far as your passive bass being an issue, I can't comment on that possibility as I haven't used as passive bass in years, so hopefully someone else can help on that front.
  5. Pilgrim

    Pilgrim Supporting Member

    If you have to depend on the amp, try to put it up against a solid surface that will reflect more sound back toward the audience. The passive bass is not an issue - you get the volume the amp will put out regardless of whether the bass is passive or active.
  6. tbone409


    Feb 17, 2007
    kenosha, wi
    ha, i sympathize, my school has a CAFETORIUM! the school musical is Les Mes, and i'm in the pit band (and i play with the show choir in the show band), i either use my own EBS 1x15 rig, or the school's 50w bassman and 4x10. luckily the sound man for me is a fellow bass player and friend, so EQing is never really an issue for me, but a parametric cut of low mids, and boost of high mids, coupled with newer strings helps me cut through (great int the mix but sounds horrible solo).

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