Sound check sound quality versus curtain sound quality

Discussion in 'Live Sound [BG]' started by mikegug, Feb 3, 2014.

  1. mikegug


    Oct 31, 2011
    This happens a lot:

    The quality of sound during sound check is awesome. Curtain goes up and sound quality goes down. Most noticeable for me is guitarist's sound. He swears up and down that the patches are the same but it sounds like mush and general garbage a lot (enough for me to post here...).

    Here's some background: Hard rock, 4 piece: guitar, bass, keys, vox and drums. We don't bring our own PA or sound guy, and everyone let's me have input on mixing.

    We play churches, outdoor festivals, indoor stuff... all kinds of equipment levels from garbage systems to high end pro-level festivals. Even when we played the Air 1 Stage at Spirit West Coast, we got the same result.

    We go direct into the board to make it easy on the sound guy (they loves us for that).

    I assume, it's the energy of the playing in the gig versus the nonchalance of sound check(?). Anyone else ever get this?

    The latest example: Played on Saturday. Medium-quality sound system (good Mackie board and older JBL SP-15's and Mackie subs) Sound check before the game was great. We played post-game 4 hours later, with no other band opening for us, and got garbage.

    Should we power down with 4 hours before curtain?
  2. Passinwind

    Passinwind I Know Nothing Supporting Member Commercial User

    Dec 3, 2003
    Columbia River Gorge, WA.
    Owner/Designer &Toaster Tech Passinwind Electronics
    Do you sound check with a room full of patrons? ;)
  3. bkbirge


    Jun 25, 2000
    Houston, TX
    Endorsing Artist: Steak n Shake
    +1. This makes a huge difference, you are basically playing a completely different room when empty vs full.
  4. pedroims


    Dec 19, 2007
    Empty room vs full room makes a huge difference, also, what you mean with ''garbage'' sound. Did somebody that was FOH told you that you guys sounded bad or it is your perception from stage. What you hear in stage is way different what you heard in FOH
  5. jimmybc91


    Oct 8, 2013
    Los Angeles
    +1 Empty room and full room make quite a difference.

    +2 Damn I replied late..haha
  6. john m

    john m Supporting Member

    Jan 15, 2006
    If there actually is one--
    Curtain up vs curtain down also makes a HUGE difference.
  7. thedane


    Sep 25, 2011
    If there actually IS a curtain.
  8. Ukiah Bass

    Ukiah Bass

    May 10, 2006
    I don't believe I've ever met a guitarist who never changed his settings after they were supposed to be set "right." They'll swear up and down that they didn't change a thing. Those dagnab guitar knobs seem to have a life of their own....
  9. +1 to all the above. Alcohol can also affect hearing - do any of you drink while waiting the 4hrs after the sound check, if so - stop.
  10. My experience has usually been the opposite. The audience fills the hall, and the whole sound tightens up. I think the soundman has also had a break, and comes back with fresh ears. It's now down to tweaks.
  11. Don't tell people what to do. :p
  12. Don't tell me what to do. :D
  13. mikegug


    Oct 31, 2011
    HAHAHA! No. No alcohol involved on these gigs. And no actual curtain.

    I thought about the patron idea. And at the last gig we had a good sized semi-circle in front of the stage, so I stood at the circle's peak, center stage, and still bad sound.

    These last mains were powered speakers. Should they have stayed on the whole time with no sound coming out of them?

    How about the increased effort (driven by good crowd reaction) given to the guitar playing?

    I am not playing on stage. I manage the band. Main roadie/consultant/fan/dad. I aged out of the band.
  14. JimmyM


    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    The sound always seems to improve on my gigs when the people get there. They seem to cut down on the mush.
  15. 4Mal

    4Mal Supporting Member

    Jun 2, 2002
    Columbia River Gorge
    I think I would need a better definition of garbage... If you are the sound guy and everyone is going direct... It seems to me that maybe you should look into a sound guy mentor. Somebody who really knows the ropes and have him come along for the ride as a paid guy and help you get a handle on things. I have a guy that lets me grunt for the shadowing experience once in a while. I team up with another guy who is much more advanced than I and uses a very similar system (We both have the Presonus 16.4.2 board and a mac alongside). I have learned a ton from those guys...

    I have never met a 'born' sound guy. All the good ones I have met got there by logging huge hours...

    Current powered speakers go into sleep mode when there is no input for some period of time. It doesn't sound like FOH gear is the issue. Because you mentioned that the guitar seem to go to mush, I'm guessing that there is some kind of modeller at play in his rig and that there is way too much distortion going on. I would direct you and him to Malcolm Young and his sound. It's way clearner thatn you think... Early Joe Walsh as well... Neither of those guys were holding back when it comes to 'rockin'.

    Guitarists suffer from bedroom tone everybit as much as bass players, maybe more...
  16. By your second sentence you need to actually read all of the OP's posts.
  17. Baker69


    Mar 24, 2008

    I seem to recall sound guys referring to audiences as "MAB's", which was an acronym for Mobile Acoustic Baffles ! :p.
  18. mikegug


    Oct 31, 2011
    Gig this weekend that will allow for some field testing.

    Test/Fix #1: Tell the guitarist to hit the strings at 75% and SERVE THE SONG!

    Test #2: after sound check, power down stuff (within reason) if curtain is a long way off (more than one hour).

    We'll see.
  19. ngh


    Feb 6, 2013
    brooklyn, ny
    maybe the guitar player should run through an amp, instead of direct into the board.