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Playing live with a pedal board

Discussion in 'Live Sound [BG]' started by nextdimension, Aug 27, 2012.

  1. nextdimension


    Jan 30, 2008
    Austin, TX
    I've just recently started playing with a fairly large pedal board. This weekend I played my first big show through a large PA with the board. Luckily we had an awesome sound guy who has been to some of our practices and knows what we like to sound like and we had a long sound check hours before the show.
    My setup is bass>pedal board(good amount of filters and dirt)>Mark bass little MarkII>Mark Bass 4x10. They mic'ed the cab and ran a DI from my head. The sound through the monitors was really trebly and tinny and when I used effects or overdrive it got really distorted and farty. We spent quite a while trying to figure it out and really couldn't get it too much better. I was able to walk off stage while I played a bit and it sounded much better through the mains and everyone assured me after the show that my tone sounded awesome. But on stage I just had to keep telling myself that it sounded good out there cause it just sounded like farting to me. The whole show got professionally recorded so once I get that I guess I'll know how I really sounded.
    I've had problems before with my DI on the mark bass sounding tinny but not the farty sound I got this time. Any suggestions on what I could tell the sound guy on the next show? We should have the same sound guy which is great because he really takes time getting the sound right and doing what we ask but this was his first time doing sound for a bass that has so many effects. So what would you all recommend?
  2. AndyLES


    Aug 25, 2008
    New York
    Sounds like there was a phase discrepancy somewhere. When mixing DI and mic signals, the engineer should be listening for discrepancies in phase and polarity - remember, the DI signal arrives slightly sooner than the mic'd signal; when the soundwaves arrive at different times (phase), they don't line up (a polarity mismatch).

    Tell either the FOH or monitor engineer to hit the polarity switch on the console channel; if he doesn't have one, then start carrying around a phase reverse XLR-plug.
  3. AndyLES


    Aug 25, 2008
    New York
    OR, have him cut the low end from the Mic channel (which gives the added benefit of getting rid of subsonic stage rumble, guitar amp/drum bleed, and other BS you don't want anyway). Since most phase/polarity problems happen in the low end, this might do the trick.
  4. Robdrone


    Jul 27, 2012
    Lancaster, PA
    I can't tell you how many times I've played shows and just had to trust that everything was fine through the FOH. I rarely get my bass in the monitors and sometimes when i do it does sound like crap. I have walked out to hear it, and it's usually fine. I'd recommend maybe getting an external DI. I haven't had much luck with onboard DIs of course I play an Ampeg and they are not really known for their onboard DIs.
  5. nextdimension


    Jan 30, 2008
    Austin, TX
    I'm kind of thinking it's the DI on my amp as well. I've had this problem before when playing just through the DI with nothing mic'ed. If it was a phase/polarity problem wouldn't that come through the FOH too?
  6. AndyLES


    Aug 25, 2008
    New York
    Maybe - depending on the setup, there could have been a phase problem some where. Also, keep in mind that monitors are run off auxes, and go through their own EQ and whatnot, pre fader. Maybe he compensated for something at FOH but was unaware of what was happening with the monitors.
  7. AndyLES


    Aug 25, 2008
    New York
    Ah ha! Now we're getting somewhere. Perhaps the pahse problem is there (sometimes the pins are wired differerently, depending on where the amp was made -overseas, sometimes pins 2 and 3 are actually swapped). Try an external DI (one made by or for the North American market) and see what happens.
  8. lowfreq33


    Jan 27, 2010
    Endorsing Artist: Genz Benz Amplification
    Next time tell them you only want the mic channel in your monitor.
  9. the Arsonaut

    the Arsonaut

    Aug 27, 2012
    let me disclose, I do live sound (foh, & mons), and run a mother****er of a pedalboard.

    If your filtered sound is throwing a lot of sub/lows, these might be rolled right out of regular club wedges (ie, we absolutely cut 50hz and lower right out). So, if only filtered tone is going in...you can see the issue.

    I know a lot of guys will say "oh, the monitor engineer should.." if this is a smaller room, the monitor engineer is also the FOH guy, at FOH. You should be able to ask him for more presence, or ask how he's EQing your wedges.

    Proper sidefills are the remedy for this issue..that's what they're for. That, and annoying your guitarist.

    DI & mic can cause phase cancellation if they are being laid on top of each other...

    For my own rig, I've been ABYing it for years. I throw my "lows" [synth, low pass, tuned od, etc] to my 15s. My "highs" [fuzzwah, delays, chorus, 2nd synth, etc] to 2x12s or whatever's clever. I call them "hi" "low", but it's more of a voice, than a crossover.
    2mics, something's always coming through my monitors with a full[er] bandwidth.
  10. nextdimension


    Jan 30, 2008
    Austin, TX
    Thanks a lot everyone, a lot of great info here. Excuse my noobness here but what do you mean by proper sidefills? Also to do a "hi" "low" setup like that I would have to get a second amp correct? I really like the way my pedals interact with each other right now, if I were to split them into separate channels (ie, fuzz separate from filter) would they still interact the same way, the fuzz wouldn't be giving my filter the articulation it's getting right now would it? How would you recommend setting something like that up? I'm currently running distortion and eq>pitch shifter>fuzz>wah>overdrive>Source audio BEF pro.
  11. the Arsonaut

    the Arsonaut

    Aug 27, 2012
    proper sidefills are the bigass cabs you sometimes see on big stages...some can be bigger than SVTs, pushing mids and some lower end. It's a solution, but likely not yours. Imagine dragging along a 2x15/8x10/extended LR 3way pa cab, and telling an engineer, "I need this"

    What kind of amp are you using, before we go any further?
    If it's lil, go larger (something that can handle these lows) and use your amp as your monitor...then you can tell the engineer to 'stuff it'.
    My setup is more like an A/B stereo image. 2 amps. I broke up effect chains to two different amps, this has been going on for over 15 years. It's not a decision I took to immediately. But, let's get back to your issue now, before the No Effects police get here.
    If you broke up your chain, you can decide which goes where...but if you really like your sound now, and it translates well @ FOH...we simply have a monitor issue.
    How about IEM. Or try cans first, with your ensemble.
    Take your headphone feed right out of your amp.

    If your soundcloud is any indication, I'll point out that a lot of DJs-if they even get a monitor: don't get more than a simple 2way (12 or 15w/horn) and, whether they're using Serato or vinyl, or CDj, they can't have a poopon of subbass rockin' their decks in their booth.
    They get used to lots of mids, or use headphones, and trust in their mix and audience feedback.
    By audience fb, I mean...when a sub blows up, and everyone goes "aww"
    DJs do have the luxury of just having a mix to play back, they're counting measures, following the beat. You are making a mix.

    So, maybe a different amp for you. Or a personal monitor system (headphones/in ears), or suck it up like a DJ.

    By the way, one of my roommates is Dubstep producer, Symetrex...he's on sc
  12. JimmyM


    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    Monitors suck for bass. Just don't even bother with it. You've got a rig...use it.
  13. G3Mitch


    Feb 8, 2011
    New Zealand
    excellent thread. only started using alot of pedals over the last 2 years, and have recently started regular gigging again. /subscribed.
  14. guy n. cognito

    guy n. cognito Secret Agent Member Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 28, 2005
    Nashville, TN
    If the rig sounded good on the mains, then it's probably not a "phase issue". I'd bet the monitors were hi-passed and generally not equipped to handle the low end.
  15. nextdimension


    Jan 30, 2008
    Austin, TX
    The amp I'm using now is a Mark Bass Little Mark II and a Mark Bass 4x10 cab. The group I'm playing in is a 4 piece;drum, vocal, guitar and me. We play pretty loud aggressive prog metal/electronica. My soundcloud account is a solo project I have just messing around with my pedals to a garage band drum beat. My amp was right behind me, but so was my guitarists. I probably could have cranked it up enough so I didn't need the monitors so much but the sound guy advised me not to because the show was being recorded off the board so he said that if my amp was loud he would have to compensate by not putting me loud through the mains which would mean I would be quiet in the recording mix.
    So maybe iem are the way to go(always something new to buy) I'll probably get a DI box first and see how that helps.
    I think this was the case, the drummer had an issue with some sounds on his trigger pad sounding clanky with no deep boom like they usually have.
    I should have a rough mix of the show today so that will tell me a lot more about how it sounded FOH.
  16. the Arsonaut

    the Arsonaut

    Aug 27, 2012
    I think the real culprit is going to be your filtered lows (and effected signal in general) just running beyond the scope of a typical monitor wedge.

    We use those roll offs (you say Hi Pass, I say Lo Cut..) to protect the monitors, night after night from things like BASS DROPS.
    A kind and gentle soundguy may open it up a lil, but those chances are not likely, by'n'large.

    You had to keep your amp down for recording purposes. In that case, this probably won't be an issue as often, but still worth finding a fix.

    I'm not saying, go back to the drawing board, but remember that effects are just as serious as having the right amp and bass.
    I start my setup on paper...walking through the chains, loops, if any. Try it in the garage. Back to the drawing board. Onstage. Back to the drawing board.

    For some instruments, monitors are just a reference. A drummer might ask for only kick, or kick and snare (but a lot of it). Bass, especially in wedges, it's the same thing. A fella playing picked J bass through an SVT is going to be able to keep tabs on his picking. Dancing on a set of taurus pedals, not so much.

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