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Seeking opinions on mixing a very loud band again

Discussion in 'Live Sound [BG]' started by musicman7722, Apr 30, 2018.

  1. Sorry for the long title

    I have a pretty good sound system at least IMHO and I mix for bands probably 3 times a month. I also play out 2 times a month in my band.

    I personally don't like loud bands anymore and when I mix I am a control freak meaning I want as much control as possible over the bands signal coming off the stage.

    I am currently mixing an 11 piece horn band with 5 brass. They are loud directly out front but otherwise a very good volume to control and they pay well so I work with their front volume.

    Ok this weekend I mixed an amazing tribute band (no names here). The venue was small and I knew it was going to be painful. Guitar player had a marshal with 4 x 12"s cabinet. Drummer had a huge kit including double kick.

    It was all I could do to keep the vocals, acoustic guitar and keyboard above the drum/guitar threshold. Management constantly came to me telling me to turn it down. Which of course I couldn't do.

    I felt I did a good job and I must have because they offered me another gig today.

    So my dilemma is they are just to loud for me personally.

    My thought is to ask them to turn the guitar amp around and ask the drummer to get a shield otherwise no go.

    Opinions would be very welcome.

    P.S. My ears are still ringing.
  2. Stumbo

    Stumbo Guest

    Feb 11, 2008
    Ear plugs.

    No, your suggestions won't be approved.

    Maybe disconnecting the lower 12s might work.

    Fire the drummer.

    And ear plugs, oh yeah, I already said that!

    Or you'll soon be deaf and unable to mix any band.
    Last edited: May 8, 2018
    Wisebass and Downunderwonder like this.
  3. It's the drummer first, guitar second as far as volume. And let me say again both players are very good and look and sound like the players they are impersonating right down to the dress and manner of playing.
  4. buldog5151bass

    buldog5151bass Kibble, milkbones, and P Basses. And redheads.

    Oct 22, 2003
    I doubt the guitarist will go for the backwards amp - he/she likely loves the sound. I would suggest one of two things:

    1. Only do the gig if they agree to a lower sound level, which would mean the guitarist turning down and the drummer using a shield, and agree to a sound check where you can verify that the sound is a more reasonable level, and agreement that you will walk out if he goes over to the amp and turns up (still bring ear plugs). or

    2. Turn down the gig.

    It's not worth risking your hearing.
    musicman7722 likes this.
  5. AdamR

    AdamR Supporting Member

    Sep 24, 2007
    Bethel CT
    have the guitarist turn his cabinet facing the other side of the stage like a side fill. this way he can piss off the rest of the band instead of the audience. Ive actually done this at gigs. Bass amp as far back as possible, Guitar cabs to the side facing in. It tends to help stage volume.
    Downunderwonder likes this.
  6. Sadly the guitar amp was pretty much shooting across the band stage not towards the front.

    I guess my question is have any of you turned down a mixing gig for this reason?
  7. It's why I gave mixing away, not that I got paid for it. Can't mix what is too loud for the room already.

    Back in the old days of bar bands playing stadium rigs it was commonplace in the UK to pull half the power tubes from the guitar amps. You can go further and disconnect 3/4 speakers.
  8. Ha can't see the tubes happening. I did finally write back to the lead singer/BL and ask him if the drummer would consider a shield and if the Gtr. player would use the little Vox 12" amp he used for three songs and let me put him in his monitor and anybody else that needed it. Furthermore I asked that he raise it up off the floor and shoot it across the stage.

    I do suspect the answer to be no, but so be it.
  9. Iso box for the 412.
  10. Wasnex


    Dec 25, 2011

    I don't generally like mixing with ear plugs in, but I will do it if the volume is excessive. Basically you have to estimate how the earplugs shift your hearing and adjust. My ear plugs are the custom ER15 but IMHO they are nothing like flat and they really compress the dynamic range. I have done a couple of gigs where I mixed with the ER15s in and closed ear headphones (Sony MDR7506) on blasting away to balance the band. Not ideal, but less volume than mixing with open ears. When it comes down to it, my hearing is more important than the mix on any given gig...the ringing in my ears never stops.

    Your call if you want to take the gig...my guess is the people in the band are unlikely to change. Also given they have done it for years, the probably can't hear well enough to play at a lesser volume.
    musicman7722 likes this.
  11. kalle74


    Aug 27, 2004
    Try explaining the band you're shooting for a common goal (of sounding better for the audience), and anyone's bloated ego (volume-wise) will stand in the way and be counterproductive. The "it's the soundman's job to make it sound good" attitude is not only wrong, it's very outdated.

    If they're unwilling to listen to you and make changes, turn down the gig. It's an uphill battle. A lost one.

    If, however, they are all ears, there's a number of things that can be done to improve the situation (below, not in particular order)...

    - Turn down any excessive volume on amps, and aim amps at the players' ears. I'm against limiting the drummer with brushes etc... It will kill the sound. However, going easier on cymbals is a skill every drummer should develop.
    - Have the band on IEM's
    - Have the band aim their amps so that the natural stage balance is very good. Adjust volumes again.
    - Only have what is absolutely necessary in wedge monitors
    - Try to control stage/cymbal bleed into voc mics
    - Make sure the vocalists don't stray too far from their mics
    - If possible, hide noisy amps behind obstructions, have them face in a direction that helps the situation, put the amps away in other rooms etc... Might need IEM's for this.
    - Avoid booking rooms that have crappy acoustics. Bad acoustics will you appear noisier than you actually are. And that works against you.
    - If the management is being unreasonable with their demands, try gently explaining the situation to them. Or, avoid further bookings
    - etc etc...

    IME, the more experienced bands tend to go with easier volumes...
    musicman7722 likes this.
  12. Lots of good ideas here from everybody thank you.

    The BL wrote back and said he didn't think a drum screen was necessary as it was an outside gig but would talk to the band. We shall see but I have decided to turn down the gig when they come back and say no.
  13. two fingers

    two fingers Opinionated blowhard. But not mad about it. Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2005
    Eastern NC USA
    Yeah it's basically out of your control.... and you tell the band that.

    "Last time I mixed you guys the manager kept telling me to turn down. If I had done that, you wouldn't hear anything but guitar and drums. The next time somebody tells me to turn down, I'm going to. If they tell me it's still too loud I'm going to direct them to you two and inform them that drums and guitar are not even in the PA."

    If they agree to those terms, show up and get your paycheck.
    Wisebass and Downunderwonder like this.
  14. derrico1

    derrico1 Supporting Member

    Apr 12, 2005
    Charlottesville, VA
    Sounds like you like the band. If so, ask about the venue they're offering.

    Seems that they've got a setup that doesn't work in venues that call for low or moderate stage volume. If the gig they've offered is another venue that won't work unless stage spill is low, I'd pass. OTOH, assuming the rest of the offer is compelling, if you appreciate the band and the music—and if the gig is at a club suited to loud music—then I'd consider it. (Not many of those venues left around here, but maybe it's still the 1980s in pockets of southern NH.)

    Yeah, more controlled stage volume would make for cleaner FOH sound in any event. But the deal-breaker would be running sound at a venue where management insists on SPLs that stage spill alone is exceeding. That makes for an unmixable band, a night of complaint-induced headaches, and no favors done for your rep w/ either band or venue management.
    Last edited: May 1, 2018
    s0c9 likes this.
  15. lfmn16

    lfmn16 Suspended Supporting Member

    Sep 21, 2011
    charles town, wv
    Ear plugs.

    You should suggest they turn down, let them know that the club management was unhappy with their volume, but the bottom line is you work for them. ;)
  16. BTW I went out of my way twice to talk with management to let them know I wasn't in charge of the volume of the band nor could I bring them down. When I showed them on my iPad that the drum s and guitar channels were all the way down they realized it wasn't me. I left there as a good guy in their eyes as well knowing I didn't fight them.
  17. Yes
    I had never heard them before but yes I did like them very much. I'll give you a hint - the theme song from one of the CSI series uses a song by the original act :)
  18. derrico1

    derrico1 Supporting Member

    Apr 12, 2005
    Charlottesville, VA
    That would be fun. And loud.
  19. kittywithabanjo

    kittywithabanjo Supporting Member

    Nov 26, 2014
    Coquitlam. BC
    It's a hard road if the band is to load you could baffle the guitar cab too although that's just going to disperse the sound it takes some of it of the direct line at least.
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