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Sharing the Love

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by badgrandad, Nov 22, 2004.

  1. Here's the problem (and I hope this is the proper forum so please move if not!!)

    I love the sound of my rig and have spent alot of time (and some fair $$) developing it. My band loves the sound. Even my wife loves the sound! The problem is that the audience never gets to share the love. Almost without fail the sound comming out of the P.A. is nowhere near as good as my sound on stage, and due to the circumstances under which I play I have not been able to participate with the sound guy as to my tone settings.

    To get to the question, do y'all think that micing my amp would be a quick way to have a better chance at capturing my tone FOH. I rarely get to use my rig without P.A. support. but when I do I get lots of compliments on the sound ( and never do when all that is heard is the P.A.).

    I am sure there are problems associated with mics as opposed to DI but I want to sound good out to the audience not just the band. Also what mics are recommended??
  2. MrBonex


    Jan 2, 2004
    New Hampshire
    I've always preferred a mic'ed cab over a direct box. That said, some gigs just call for 'em -- and I don't have a solution for that.

    Most often, the guy who does my sound puts a "kick-drum" type mic on me and it sounds great out in the house. I think he uses a Sennheiser -- but I don't rememer the model.

    The mic I would someday love to own and take to gigs for getting my sound would be a Blue Mouse. Go to "bluemic.com" for info (I don't work for 'em). Sweetwater sells 'em for about $1300 -- so they're not cheap.

    A good Shure, EV, or AKG would not be a problem, but hey, that Mouse my dream.

    It's funny how we spend many thousands of dollars for our rigs and then we put our faith in a strange soundperson that may or may not have our best interest in mind -- and has the opportunity to screw with our sound at his/her whim. Or the club/sound company only has run-of-the mill direct boxes or whatever. Taking your own great mic might be a solution to this problem.
  3. metron

    metron Supporting Member

    Sep 12, 2003
    Ive never miked a cab. Always get a great sound with a countryman type 85 di and just picked up an avalon u5 over the weekend. Two top notch DI boxes that will deliver great sound to the house.
  4. A possible plan of attack would be to buy your own microphone or D.I. that YOU try out and YOU like. Try to find a place (rehearsal studio, friends garage) where you can mic or D.I. your rig and find the EQ settings on the board that you like. Then when a sound guy goes to hook up your stuff, have either the mic or the D.I. already set up and ready for him. If you know that the mic or D.I. shortchanges you on your frequencies, tell the guy, "Hey, could you give me about a 3 db boost at 250 hz and some 4:1 soft knee compression. mmmKay, Thanks!"

    This will do two things: A) Let the soundguy know that you actually care about how your rig will sound through his system, causing him to actually care about your sound...and B) Maybe clue the soundguy in that you might know just as much or more than him about running bass.

    Either way it gives you a moderate level of control and puts some factors in your hands.

    Also, if you don't like D.I....tell the soundguy...and have a mic handy if he doesn't have an extra.
  5. BillyB_from_LZ

    BillyB_from_LZ Supporting Member

    Sep 7, 2000
    Is it the same sound person each time, or a different one?

    Can you change the circumstances so that you can talk to them a little bit. If you can, be nice, buy them a drink, etc., etc., etc.

    Perhaps there's a valid reason why the FOH sound can't sound like your stage sound...I sure don't know 'cause I've never heard you, etc.

    If your stage sound is pleasant to you and your bandmates and inspires all of you to perform better, but the FOH sound isn't holding the band back (bigger gigs, better pay, whatever), and you can't get the sound person to improve it, perhaps it would be best just to grin and bear it...and give the best performance regardless.

    This reminds me of and article I read in Bass Player a while back. That very thought provoking guest column was written by Greta Brinkman and dealt with and working through less-than-optimal performance situations. I'll have to see if I can find out which issue it's in.

    Good luck!
  6. Thanks for the input. By way of further explanation, I play a lot of festivals where the band is one of five or even more bands on a given stage typically running a 45min - 1hr set and 15 min to set up and sound check. I have a good relation with several of the sound guys that I seem to see over and over again but no-one in my band plays bass so I can't go out and do a "sound check" of the FOH and really often times don't have the luxury of the time. Usually the sound guys have the best of intentions but their idea of bass is usually big out of control and way too loose for my style. I have used several different DIs and like the output from my GK head as good as any, but it still sounds different due to the different speaker configs and tone settings from the PA. I just wondered if a mic would make it more "idiot proof" (no offense intended to sound guys out there). Secondly do I get a near field mic, a kick drum type mic or will the typical Sure 57 type work?
  7. I'd think you'd want a mic designed with bass in mind. A lot of players (me, included) have used AKG-D112's, which are almost universally used as a bass drum microphone. The only problem with these is you won't get the 'zing' of new strings or the upper harmonics. If that's okay with you, then I'd say look into it. The SM-57 is a workhorse mic, mainly designed to mic everything in a satisfactory manner. It's not designed for bass, and if you like really punchy bass or have a deep low-end, you could over-work its diaphragm. Bass Drum mics are designed with beefed up diaphragms especially for this purpose.

    Another thing to consider is going wireless. At EVERY show, I walk out into the house during my sound check...even if it's off to the side in a crowded room. If something is wrong, I'll know right way.

    ps. I've also become the de facto ears of the band, and make sure everybody and everything is heard well.
  8. Eric Moesle

    Eric Moesle

    Sep 21, 2001
    Columbus OH
    Doing the mic thing is just as problematic as a DI. Don't know about you, but my bass cabs sound MUCH different two feet away, four feet away, six feet away, etc. When you mic it, you are getting the sound 2 inches in front of the speaker, nothing from the porting, and angling a mic even a tiny bit at the cone makes a HUGE difference in sound. In my experience every sound man will make your mic'ed rig sound different.

    I personally think, though its best to use BOTH a mic and a DI when possible, that its usually much more consistent to just use a quality DI. For that reason, I bring my own, since you wouldn't believe the cheapo DI's most soundguys lay out for you.

    Finally, the best way, and really ONLY way to get "your" sound out to the people is to hire a great soundman that you work with on a regular basis. Work with him to get your tone through the mains, and he'll do it every time so all you have to focus on is your performance.
  9. tubster


    Feb 5, 2003
    Southwest Spain
    I think that you summed up the problem yourself - you are at the mercy of the soundman and if he is one who thinks that bass guitar is an extension of the bass drum or worse, believes it should sound like the rap vibrating car that just pulled up beside you (unless that is your genre!), you have little chance of getting what you want.

    Mic or DI will make no difference at all. You have to educate the sound man. How about taking along a tape or cd with a way to play it and tell the sound guys that this is what you want to sound like? He might be insulted but hey, you are not getting what you want anyway!

    Once you have done the education bit, the sound man 'should' say - ah yes, that needs an AKG D112 or SM57 with a bit of DI mixed in, or whatever. Play up to the guy as the expert and ask questions like, "do you think it would sound better with more upper mids and a cut in the low end -can you show me how that's done?"

    The suggestion of a wireless is excellent.

    One other thing to bear in mind is that you cannot judge your FOH sound by either a) being on stage b)playing solo. You have to get time out front and get the band playing with you.

    Good luck
  10. msquared


    Sep 19, 2004
    Kansas City
    I would advise against this for a couple reasons:
    1) The frequency response of your bedroom/garage/studio isn't going to be anywhere near that of an outside gig or a club. In fact, the frequency response of two clubs isn't going to be the same unless they have the same size and layout. There are too many variables for this to work, which is unfortunate because it'd be a great idea otherwise.

    2) The soundperson isn't there to make one person shine. They are there to make the band not sound like mush when you are combining several mics from a drum kit, a bass feed, a mic on the guitar amp(s), vocal mics, and a keyboard feed. Their job is already problematic before you throw in requests from the audience (which only anger them) and the low pay that most of them are getting. So if you try to act like you know how to do their job better than them, half of the time you're just going to aggravate things.

    Oh, and don't forget that just about all good sound people either wear earplugs or have hearing problems.

    There's no easy/cheap solution. Get a good DI. Don't bother with mics, and especially don't bother with kick drum mics. Make sure your band's stage volume is low. Either get a regular person to run your sound or be ready to slip the tech du jour a twenty to dial in your pet frequencies.

    If all else fails, concentrate on your playing. There's nothing wrong with letting taste and technique outshine your good or bad tone.
  11. metron

    metron Supporting Member

    Sep 12, 2003
    I have to disagree. There are lots of variables when you mike a cab but the only problem with a DI is using one that doesnt sound good. Thats why I suggested two very high quality DIs, the Countryman and the Avalon U5. If you sound bad in the house with either of those then you need to fire the sound guy. ;)
  12. msquared


    Sep 19, 2004
    Kansas City
    Metron speaketh the truth. Listen, and your tone will thank you.
  13. Eric Moesle

    Eric Moesle

    Sep 21, 2001
    Columbus OH
    And if you read my post, I recommended getting YOUR OWN good DI . . . that's why I carry a Radial with my rig . . .
  14. tubster


    Feb 5, 2003
    Southwest Spain
    $$$ CASH CASH CASH. Hadn't thought of that, probably far more effective than anything else yet mentioned.

    Re-reading the conditions under which you play, any piece of gear, quality DI or mic, is not going to make a whit of difference. Buy the guy a beer!
  15. O.K> Let me see if I have this right! Next gig bring:

    3)D.I. (good quality)
    4)Mic (good quality)
    5)Bribe money (and/or beer!)
    6)talented playing
    7)thick skin

    Got it! Won't even need a roady for the extras (except if I bring beer)
  16. either that or you need to fire yourself.

  17. metron

    metron Supporting Member

    Sep 12, 2003
    I definitely didnt read your post. Just the first sentence! ;)