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Pulling a decent sound on a proscenium stage?????

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by Petebass, Apr 7, 2003.


  1. Petebass

    Petebass

    Dec 22, 2002
    QLD Australia
    I'm not looking forward to my Saturday gig. I should be - it's a popular night club jam packed full of people who know how to party. Trouble is the stage sounds really really bad. It's enclosed by walls on 3 sides, with only the front open. It's not echoey, but it's really loud and really muddy. If I try and cut some bottom end, I suddenly sound like a banjo. I can't seem to get that nice in-between. And the sound guy complains that it's muddy out front even if it's thin on stage.

    I've bought a different set of speakers in all sorts of combinations every time I play there. I usually end up just tuning out from my bass sound mentally, turn it down, and play the gig without being able to hear myself.

    I'm posting this hoping that someone out there plays these types of stages often enough to find a system that works? Does anyone have any suggestions? Speaker combinations (4x10s, 6x10, chuck a 15 in there)? Maybe speaker placement? EQ? Anything?
     
  2. Are you making sure to get your cabs up off the floor and out of corners? That helps a lot. The stage in my church's "cultural hall" (read: gym) is much the same way. There are some portable baffles used for meetings in the gym while the other congregation has sacrament service, so when I play there I put one or both of the baffles behind the band and that cleans things up a lot.

    If other bands have this problem, maybe you should ask the club owner to invest in some bass traps.
     
  3. PollyBass

    PollyBass ******

    Jun 25, 2001
    Shreveport, LA
    I would go for as many 10's as i could. If you can't get deep without the sound guy complaining about it being muddy. maybe if you just filled more space, i.e. more speaker area, it would help a little? maybe not, maybe just bring as few as needed, and crank them. Maybe (as i do in some places) put one of you're cabs RIGHT ON THE FRONT OF THE STAGE so as to project into the crowd. Also, what pete said about getting out of the corner and tilting them up sounds like a good idea to.
     
  4. ChenNuts44

    ChenNuts44

    Nov 18, 2001
    Davenport, IA
    Perhaps let the soundman do what he wants to your tone, but have him EQ your monitors so you cut through the mix like a hot knife through butter? It might sound like absolute garbage to you, being all middy and tinny, but as long as you can hear it and as long as the soundman can do what he wants to your tone, it should work.

    I've never had the chance to try them myself, but maybe some in ear monitors would work in a situation like this? Probably not worth the expense if it's not a regular gig, but it's something to look into.

    Decoupling the cabs with the walls and corners as Pete brought up is a great suggestion as well. I wish you the best of luck. Not being able to hear myself is probably one of the most frustrating situations I've encounter when playing out. IMO, cutting through > pleasing tone. Bring on the banjo!!! ;)
     
  5. BassWizard55

    BassWizard55 Guest

    Dec 21, 2002
    Rome, Ga
    I agree with Polly, a 410 on the front of the stage and a 210 or 115 for a monitor ought to do perfectly.
     
  6. Petebass

    Petebass

    Dec 22, 2002
    QLD Australia
    Thanks guys. Some good ideas here. Some of which I've already tried but a few I haven't. Pete the owner isn't going to spend any money on the stage so I'm not even going to try that one. And the gig isn't regular enough to warrant the cost of in-ears.

    How's this sound? It's a loud stage - I need 2 speakers to get loud enough. But stacking one on top of the other just adds to the coupling and creates more mud. So.......

    1) My Nemisis 4x10 doesn't have a big bottom end on it's own. I usually use it with a second speaker to fatten it up. Maybe I should put it behind me, away from the corner, but on a speaker stand that I've got that tilts back.

    2) Then I can grab my 2x10 home made bass wedge and put it in front of me, on the floor, aimed at my head. It was designed to be used with a 15 so it doesn't have a lot of bottom end.

    The sound guy will get very little spill since everything's being fired up into the ceiling. I get a bass wedge but one that I'm in control of. And neither speaker will produce much low frequencies so there should be less boom! Works in theory.

    Any thoughts??????
     
  7. ChenNuts44

    ChenNuts44

    Nov 18, 2001
    Davenport, IA
    Sounds like you've got a decent battle plan. Have fun!!!
     
  8. gfab333

    gfab333

    Mar 22, 2000
    Honolulu, Hawaii
    I've played gigs on a few stages like you described. I liken these gigs to playing just inside the mouth of a shallow cave. You often end up with a muddy lousy tone. All of the posted suggestions are very good ones --- especially the ones such as keeping your cabs away from the walls, getting them positioned as far up front as possible, not using too much bottom in your settings, etc.

    It's still a crap shoot because you can't really tell what you sound like out in the audience.

    I found my solution to this situation pretty late in my bassplaying career: use a wireless at soundcheck and set your EQ according to your own tastes when the whole band is playing. The key is to hear what you sound like outside of the "cave". Granted the acoustics change once the audience comes in and sits down, but at least it's better than just guessing while your playing inside the "cave".
     
  9. The wedge is probably a good start. The best solution is a drum screen. It has been my experience that once you get the drums stage volume down to a reasonable level, everything else falls into place.
     
  10. Petebass

    Petebass

    Dec 22, 2002
    QLD Australia
    There is a venue in Sydney that has a screen around the drummer. It's a long story but the pub is is an area where the only neighbours for 30 years were the cows. I blinked and suddenly there are houses and appartments everywhere, with noise complaints galore. So in came the noise restrictions.

    The screen surely brings the volume down but the drummer can't hear the band. So it makes for a sloppy performance. If we used em more often we'd probably get used to it, but it was definitely a trying gig.
     
  11. Pete, see all the posts on Auralex Gramma Platform.
    works for me in any situation.
     
  12. Munjibunga

    Munjibunga Total Hyper-Elite Member Gold Supporting Member

    May 6, 2000
    San Diego (when not at Groom Lake)
    Independent Contractor to Bass San Diego
    Put your cab right at the front of the stage and stand behind it.
     
  13. Bard2dbone

    Bard2dbone

    Aug 4, 2002
    Arlington TX
    Put the 4x10 at the front like Munji said but with the 2x10 on top facing back at you. It looks stupid but I did it and it works.

    And I have played in a cave before. It wasn't as bad as some clubs I have been in.
     
  14. Petebass

    Petebass

    Dec 22, 2002
    QLD Australia
    And block my view of the hot chicks in the crowd? NEVERRRRRRR!!!!!!!!! :)

    Serious question - wouldn't it sound all muddy standing behing the cab? The stage is already pretty muddy so I don't want to add to it.

    I can see how this would improve the sound out front. The PA guy can deal with the FOH, and he's actually pretty good. He has indicated that the best thing to do in that room is to minimise stage spill.
     
  15. BassWizard55

    BassWizard55 Guest

    Dec 21, 2002
    Rome, Ga
    Let us know how the gig went.
     
  16. Bard2dbone

    Bard2dbone

    Aug 4, 2002
    Arlington TX
    That is why you turn the 2x10 toward you while the 4x10 is aimed at the audience.

    Of course you will still sound like a big ball of mud to the rest of the band. But they weren't paying attention to your tone anyway.
     
  17. Petebass

    Petebass

    Dec 22, 2002
    QLD Australia
    I love you guys! I love TB!

    I just got home from the famous gig and I'm pumped! I used the Nemisis 4x10 behind me and the bass wedge 2x10 in front to me. IT WORKED. It sounded better than it ever has on that stage. Sound guy liked it, the band liked it, I liked it, the crowd loved it!

    I missed the 15 whenever I went for the 5th string, but it was a small price to pay for the massive over-all improvement in that room.

    I would never have thought to use that speaker combination without input from TB'ers - Thanks again!