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Soul crushing sound engineers

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by Fo' Shizzle, Nov 19, 2003.


  1. Fo' Shizzle

    Fo' Shizzle

    Aug 28, 2003
    Hello to all....
    I need some help from the peeps on this one. I have 2 regular gigs. Praise team at church (5 services on Sunday) and a 2 gits,bass,drums band that gigs 4-5 times a month. Both gigs provide lots of fulfillment musically and otherwise. But a problem has surfaced on both fronts that has my musical sanity in peril.
    I am dealing with a soundman on both projects that hates bass and all that it stands for. This guy (let's call him Ron since that's his name) is a really good person. The fellow praise teamers and Christian rock guys out there will recognize the phrase "servant's heart". He has the technical skills needed to do the job. From a willingness to work standpoint you'll find none better. He's not in it for the money. He just wants to help and that's all good.
    But he wants, more than anything in the world, to make my 5 string sound like a Strat. I know I'm not the only one who has heard the sound guy babble about competing frequencies and all the rest. I've heard and said the same things. (I was a sound engineer for 4 years in the 80's) But this guy starts every gig by taking everything from 250 hertz and below and notches it out. Completely. I try and compensate by boosting what I've lost. He counters. I thrust. He parries. On and on..... til the night is done and I havn't heard a thing I've played all night.
    I celebrated my 25th anniversary as a bassist this past summer. I've spent thousands of hours and probably billions(!) of dollars crafting my tone. To have it undone my the guy behind the console is killing me.
    Sorry about the rant. I guess I really needed to get rid of that. Any advice? Similar problems? Don't leave me out here all alone!!!!!!!!!!!
    Dejected,
    Fo'
     
  2. SuperDuck

    SuperDuck

    Sep 26, 2000
    Wisconsin
    Believe me... you are not alone. I, and I'm sure the majority of us, have the same problem. (At church, too, no less!) The sound man is constantly turning me down, or asking me to. Luckily, our musical director/band leader always tells me to turn up. :D My sound guy caves, usually, but he's always a little peeved, I can tell.

    It's tough being a soundman, though, as you know. Everyone thinks they can do a better job at something that is very subjective. Too bad we subjectively get the short end of the stick most of the time. :D
     
  3. Fo' Shizzle

    Fo' Shizzle

    Aug 28, 2003
    So true. I think the part that makes me the craziest is that these guys are just trying to help. What are you gonna do? Fire 'em?
    Peace,
    Fo'
     
  4. Sean Baumann

    Sean Baumann Supporting Member

    Apr 6, 2000
    Livin' in the USA
    Exactly what I go through!! It's always been this way for me, no matter where I am playing. Maybe I'm just terrible, but I highly doubt that's it.

    Honestly tho', I don't think it's just sound people. The majority of people at my last church did not like bass. They'd rather hear just vocals and maybe guitar. When I was able to get the sound people to make me audible, some of them would complain. I finally had enough, and just quit playing at that church (and actually stopped attending, but that's another story). Before I stopped playing, I tried to compensate by bringing my Eden metro to use as a monitor, but they complained that they kept getting reflection. Oh...and better yet, they stuck me next to a heavy handed drummer and expected me to be able to hear myself w/ almost no monitor. I politely ask the drummer to play softer, and he proceeds to play heavier (and subsequently damages my hearing, but that's yet another story). If I play again at a church, I'll invest in some sort of in-ear system for myself. Good luck and God bless!
     
  5. The 0x

    The 0x

    Aug 24, 2003
    Timonium, MD
    Get an SVT & 810. Problem solved. ;)
     
  6. Steve

    Steve

    Aug 10, 2001
    Are you sure about that? A servants heart is no substitute for a soundman's ears
     
  7. HeavyDuty

    HeavyDuty Supporting Curmudgeon Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Jun 26, 2000
    Suburban Chicago, IL
  8. fourstringdrums

    fourstringdrums Decidedly Indecisive Supporting Member

    Oct 20, 2002
    San Antonio
    Tell him that until he cuts the crap you're gonna to get a Schecter OMEN bass with 666 inlay and play that at church.
     
  9. Exactly! And where better to play GOD's own amp?
     
  10. er... what about sitting down with the guy and talking about this in a civilized manner? Dueling with each other over this kind of thing is totally immature. You guys (yes, both of you) can ask yourselves if this really glorifies God. If not, maybe you should reconsider your actions. Worship isn't about you showing off your hard earned tone and skills, or the soundman getting the mix he likes, it's a about glorifying God. Just make sure you have some perspective on it. Your rig and his mixer won't be following you guys into heaven.
     
  11. vanselus

    vanselus

    Sep 20, 2000
    Boulder, CO
    None
    maybe you could compromise - ask him to cut everything under 100 instead. that leaves him plenty of room for the kick, but you'll get back some thump.
     
  12. wulf

    wulf

    Apr 11, 2002
    Oxford, UK
    Are you talking about the front of house sound or what you can hear on stage?

    When it comes down to it, the FOH is his patch - it's generally hard to judge what it's like from a stage position. The observation that many people don't like booming bass is certainly true, so in any conversation you have with the soundguy, don't assume that what you would like people to hear is necessarily the best answer (assuming you have a prejudice in favour of a solid bass sound like I recognise in myself :) )

    Wulf
     
  13. Fo' Shizzle

    Fo' Shizzle

    Aug 28, 2003
    Clef.........
    Of course I have. More than once. Perhaps a key point got missed. This isn't about ego. It's simply about being heard. When you can't hear yourself all you can think about is not hearing yourself. This isn't a typical "gig" for me. This is my ministry. Every service is a thank you to God for the gift and an earnest effort to pass that gift along with all the passion I can muster. Situations that distract me from the task at hand (praise) are extremely difficult.
    Peace,
    Fo
     
  14. Fo' Shizzle

    Fo' Shizzle

    Aug 28, 2003
    Dark. Very dark.
     
  15. vanselus

    vanselus

    Sep 20, 2000
    Boulder, CO
    None
    why can't you hear yourself? don't you have your own amp to monitor your sound? he should only be able to kill you in the PA... maybe i missed something.

    personally i think that phrase "servant's heart" when used in conjunction with a situation like this is complete BS and just an excuse for mediocrity. if he really had a servant's heart, then he would work with you on this, not be such a unmoveable wall. unfortunately, this attitude is all TOO common in churches.

    don't you love what a little bit of power will do? :)
     
  16. Fo' Shizzle

    Fo' Shizzle

    Aug 28, 2003
    On stage only, Wulf. I defer to him totally re: the house. You really have to. Any info regarding how you sound in the house is second hand from people who my or may not know what they're talking about. I do have strong opinions about what the FOH should sound like and I keep them to myself.

    Peace,
    Fo
     
  17. wulf

    wulf

    Apr 11, 2002
    Oxford, UK
    Headphones.

    To get enough live sound in the room for me to be happy with (especially when playing fretless where playing by feel is even less fun) I have to have the amp moderately loud... enough that the person on the sound desk doesn't have a lot of control over that aspect of the mix (we're talking a smallish room and 70-80 people max).

    What I've taken to doing when not leading (when I'll be playing fretted and feel justified in dominating the sound since I'm using the bass to direct the music) is running into the PA from the XLR out on my SABDDI box and taking the jack output to a small guitar combo which has a headphone output. Plugging in headphones kills the speaker so I can get all the bass I want to my ears but know that I'm not stomping over anyone else. I've not had too many comments about it looking weird but I did get given a new pair of headphones by someone in the congregation so it's turning out to be a good deal so far :D

    To hear some of the rest of the sound, I just position the phones slighly off my ears - what I'd really like is on of those Rolls PM boxes that let you mix your instrument and vocal signals with the a monitor feed but this will do in the meanwhile.

    Of course, the situation is a bit different if other people in the group also feel they need to hear more bass but it's worked for me so far. Mind you, to complicate matters, we've got a kid joining us on drums this Sunday morning so I might have to go back to creating a bit more noise pollution...

    Wulf
     
  18. Fo' Shizzle

    Fo' Shizzle

    Aug 28, 2003
    Due to space considerations we're all running thru the monitors. So my fate is in his hands.
    I must respectfully disagree with the second half of your post. If it was exclusively about the band I could come around to what you're saying. He's answering to many more people than just us, most noteably the music director and senior pastor. Believe me, I know what he's faced with.
    This might be a thread within a thread, but has anyone else been blamed for all of the low end woes on stage? In my case, I'm dealing with 2 woofy, midrangy, accoustic gits and a very loud key guy that will wear you out with his left hand (reading that back I'm not sure I like how that sounds!!).
    Just wondering.......
    Fo
     
  19. Fo' Shizzle

    Fo' Shizzle

    Aug 28, 2003
    Sadly phones aren't much of a solution. I tend to behave like a mental patient when the music moves me and I would probably have to duct tape them on my head like Keith Moon in "The Kids are Allright". Until I can go in-ear I guess I'll just keep on keepin' on......
    Fo'
     
  20. wulf

    wulf

    Apr 11, 2002
    Oxford, UK
    How many monitor mixes are you playing with? How much EQ flexibility is there on the board? Could you use a small amp as a personal monitor, stuck next to the other monitors so as not to be obtrusive?

    Wulf