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Really feel I'm starting to do something special

Discussion in 'Live Sound [BG]' started by mellowinman, Mar 17, 2013.

  1. mellowinman

    mellowinman Free Man

    Oct 19, 2011
    We pack our own small PA, and run sound from the stage. My wife is the head sound person, and I am her assistant, even though it's my gear. She's very good at mixing, and she's very good with tone.

    We've been working hard at maximizing the effects and eq to get a crisp, clear sound, and it's all really started coming together.

    I just started using separate effects for each lead vocalist, so we can control the effects individually like the big boys do. It's really adding another dimension.

    I've also purchased a really nice keyboard, and been able to put a lot of sample tracks in, and found great ways to add that element of sound effects, added depth and such without sounding ridiculously artificial, or overproduced.

    It's fun to be a musician, but it's fun to be an engineer, too, because let's face it, you never know what you're going to get out there, when you're not in the higher levels of the business.

    Is anyone else doing any of this stuff, or maybe trying some things I haven't thought of?

    Let's open the floor to discussion about really taking sound to the next level, without spending a bloody fortune, or relying on a guy who's going to take a large percentage of your income.
  2. modulusman

    modulusman Banned

    Jan 18, 2004
    The 2 best things my band ever did to improve our sound was add subwoofers and go to IEMs. Subs add the lower octave and make the band sound fuller. IEMs eliminated monitor stage wash which helped the band sound cleaner and more defined. Personally I don't use much in the way of effects. Sometimes none at all depending on how reflective the room is.
  3. Rip Topaz

    Rip Topaz

    Aug 12, 2005
    Willow Street, PA
    Beta tester for Positive Grid
    I've been going through the same thing, trying to tweak out our system to get the best possible sound.

    My band is a trio, but I've got a LOUD drummer and a guitarist that scoops his mids. I've been finding myself playing louder than I have for years just to keep up!!

    My plan is to start by lowering the volume of everyone, then slowly introducing each instrument to the PA. My plan is to convince the guitarist to turn down and let the PA handle the heavy lifting, but so far it's like beating my head against the wall.

    Still, the little things help. I figure if I keep turning myself down, maybe everyone else will get the point.
  4. Vinny D

    Vinny D

    Jan 9, 2007
    Warwick, RI
    It's a great plan, but one I don't think anyone has ever achieved! :D
  5. gareth dunster

    gareth dunster

    Dec 8, 2009
    For the first time I tried a no amps setup for a small bar. Electric drums , di guitars mandolin and bass. While I was a little light on bass for myself the mix was so easy and clean and with the volume controlled, no police and better dynamics.
  6. Rip Topaz

    Rip Topaz

    Aug 12, 2005
    Willow Street, PA
    Beta tester for Positive Grid
    Yeah, my drummer and I had a long talk about it last night. I explained to him that by cutting his mids, it was forcing the guitarist to turn up just to hear himself. He gets it but the guitarist is gonna fight it. My plan is to keep him out of the PA until he gets on board.

    My drummer and I sat last night and tweaked until we got a fantastic mix at a decent volume. Now lets see how it sounds when the guitars are added.
  7. lbbc

    lbbc Supporting Member

    Sep 25, 2007
    Seaford , DE
    After going the route of the large PA and micing everything or hiring a sound guy....I decided to talk to the guys in the band and this was the outcome.....8 channel powered PA head, pr of 15" speakers on a "stick" for mains, pr of 12" powered speakers as side fills and 1 set of LED lights. Believe it or not, we were able to get a good stage balance and probably sounded the best we had in years (we've been together 14 years). Plus it only took 20 minutes for set up and tear down. Best part was everything fit in 2 S.U.V.'s. (including the drum kit). Sometimes the K.I.S.S. concept is best!
  8. jimfist

    jimfist "Cling tenaciously to my buttocks!"

    Mar 28, 2011
    Boston, MA (USA)
    I'm just starting to use the Mackie DL1608 with the iPad. First two shows using it last week went very well. Biggest hurdle is to digest the tactile interface and how the iPad mixer app is designed, but once that is under control, amazing IMO. TONS of processing power in that little board, 16 inputs, L/R mains, 6 aux sends, 1 Echo & 1 Reverb bus (built-in). The ability to remotely mix wirelessly with the iPad is very nice. Allows set up of the mixer in an out of the way, convenient location so stage mixing is a lot less hassle. I have an iPad mount on my vocal mic tripod stand. Works great. Anyone in the band with an iPad/iPhone can control the mixer wirelessly.

    Considering how much processing power is in this little mixer, it is amazing, small footprint, and light weight. Loving it!
  9. seanm

    seanm I'd kill for a Nobel Peace Prize! Supporting Member

    Feb 19, 2004
    Ottawa, Canada
    Putting a compressor on the vocals has made a huge difference for me. By being able to control the peaks, I have much more control. And I can get much more volume before feedback when I need it.
  10. Ukiah Bass

    Ukiah Bass Supporting Member

    May 10, 2006
    We're a small act: guitarist and me, with about half the songs played against his rhythm loop. Best and cheapest trick to getting good sound: I bought a used wireless unit so I could hear what we sound like from the crowd while playing along. This tool resulted in precision tone and volume shaping in just a few moments. Very easy to do, very effective.
  11. mellowinman

    mellowinman Free Man

    Oct 19, 2011
    As I said, Krystal is our Sound Engineer, and I am her assistant. We are both wireless, and we both play bass. We both have songs we do not sing on, and we both have songs we don't do anything on, and we strategically place them throughout the setlist so that there are all kinds of times during the evening when one of us can really get out there and listen.

    We played a place once where I heard our mix from every single corner of the venue, including the men's room, and the mix was so perfect! None of this go in the next room and all you hear is bass and kick drum, or whatever. So I've loved the mix, and a lot of other things, but my issue was her love of drowning vocals in too much delay.

    I like a nice, snappy delay, like David Gilmour on "Money." That is nice use of an effect; a little delay, a little compression, and a little reverb.

    She prefers singers like Axl, or Bon Jovi, who really go wet on the reverb, and frankly, I can't think of a singer that goes all echo canyon like she likes.

    So that's why I want some individual effects on vocal channels; I do not appreciate having to cut back the delay on MY channel, because she prefers a longer one, with long decay.

    Looks like the problem is solved, and I think Arthur prefers to be a little bit on the dry side, anyway, but if I have to, I can use the other channel of my new effects unit for his channel, as I am only running the "mono" in/outs.

    I'm guessing this will always be a work in progress, as obsessive as she and I are.
  12. modulusman

    modulusman Banned

    Jan 18, 2004
    Did Krystal think it sounded good in the mens room?:bag::D
  13. mellowinman

    mellowinman Free Man

    Oct 19, 2011
    You couldn't get her in there if you hired her as the janitor.
  14. TomB

    TomB Supporting Member

    Aug 24, 2007
    I mix from stage too. Just today I picked up an idea from this list that intrigues me: using a sampled kick triggered vs. an open kick mic. It sounds like a great idea, but I've no idea how to do it, and am waiting to hear back from the poster. My drummer really likes the idea too. ...just a thought that fits the spirit of this thread, I think.
  15. pflash4001


    Dec 2, 2011
    I did this this past weekend. The drummer I mixed had a trigger and wanted me to mic him so I dropped a Sennheiser MD-421 U5 in front of his kick and ran his module as well. I used the mic for the "snap" and punch and used the module for the low end "oomph." I got individual sounds for each on the console on adjacent channels...mic on ch 1 and trigger on ch 2. Once that was done I just adjusted levels on each and did some minor tweaking of eq...once the band came in all together for sound check I was really able to separate the kick and bass gtr sounds in the mix making both clear and distinct without being muddy. Worked out great.

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