Stage Volume and Audience Volume

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by gareth, Sep 24, 2003.

  1. gareth


    Jun 9, 2002
    My band is two guitars, bass, drums and vocals. The vocals and drums go thru the p.a.

    We're finding that the volume on stage is too high and that it is killing our ears and it is difficult to hear what you are playing.

    But we don't want to reduce the level of the sound that the audience hear which we believe is about right.

    If we stick to our present set-up and just turn down the bass and guitars, this will reduce the audience volume.

    Any ideas on how to reduce stage volume whilst maintaining audience volume - maybe putting guitars and/or bass thru p.a.?

  2. but i always thought everything goes through the PA [via your own amps/bass cab], and the sound is controlled by the soundperson through the board. I guess if you're playing with no soundperson, you let your gtr amps ring "naked", but by and large, my experience has been the sound gets run through the PA and your amps.

    maybe you can turn your amps out to face the audience a little more? or maybe your monitor(s) volume is too loud?

    gee, why'd i bother answering if i have no clue? well, maybe just to address that too high a volume on stage is a drag. you've got to be able to hear yourself.

  3. jive1

    jive1 Commercial User

    Jan 16, 2003
    Owner/Retailer: Jive Sound
    Get a wireless, or long cable and go out into the audience and hear for yourself while your band is doing soundcheck. I agree with reducing stage volume and running everything through the PA. The sound is better and easier to manage. But if that is not an option, see for yourself how the sound is from the audience perspective. The size and makeup of a room, as well as the number of people can make a difference in how things sound from one place to another.
  4. pbd

    pbd Commercial User

    Jul 17, 2003
    Metro Detroit
    owner Procables N Sound
    Ideally you want the sound person out front to have control of the front sound. dependant on the size of your venue you should turn your amps up or down accordingly. if your foh cabs are capable of handling the additional sound of the guitars then you should deffinitley run them through the p.a. and turn your amps down to a comfortable level. if you have small foh cabs be careful how much sound you try putting through them. it can start to sound odd if small speakers are working to reproduce numerous sounds at once. IE: a horn and a 12 or15 are small systems.
  5. wulf


    Apr 11, 2002
    Oxford, UK
    My preferred option is 'turn down' - if it could damage your ears, it could damage the ears of people in the audience and I don't really want to force that on people who want to hear the music I make.

    Alternatively, you either need a beefy PA system that can take all your instruments or to wear earplugs.

    FWIW, I tend to take my earplugs when hearing other groups and I'd probably go to many more concerts if I could be sure of audio quality rather than audio volume. I think the best amps probably wouldn't go up to 11 but just 3 or 4 instead ;) Therefore I may not be coming from quite the direction you are try to reach :D

  6. pbd

    pbd Commercial User

    Jul 17, 2003
    Metro Detroit
    owner Procables N Sound
    Right! Most people like to hear what is going on, not neccesarily feel it.

    Another option, since your mic'ing the drums put a wall around him or have him play with hot rods. This decreases the need to have your amps loud enough to hear over the drums, thus bringing down your overall sound.
  7. xush


    Jul 4, 2001
    mobile AL
    One of the stipulations when I joined my present band was that I'd gig with V-drums. They requested it. I don't know if that's an option for you at all, but I really love the low stage-volume scenario this makes possible. It makes monitoring (in-ear in our case) a little more critical, but it is working so well! Really digging it.

    Seems like when the drummer won't/can't play with less volume, it's going to be hard to get lower stage levels...
  8. use some headphones to hear yourself, not a very complicated problem there
  9. wulf


    Apr 11, 2002
    Oxford, UK
    That's certainly true for me - I can 'feel it' in the sense of making an emotional connection with the music without requiring the kick drum to be so loud it dictates my pulse rate.

    However, there's got to be some reason why every club I've been to has the volume 'too loud' (IMO) - either the club owners are turning away a lot of business they could otherwise capture or most people don't really care about the music but just want a sensation instead. Very sad :bawl:

  10. pbd

    pbd Commercial User

    Jul 17, 2003
    Metro Detroit
    owner Procables N Sound
    I think it may be that the bands don't know how to accomplish a quieter sound. I 've worked lots of small spaces and it deffinitely has different challenges over bigger spaces, more echo/slap back.
  11. What We do is we use personal ear monitors (pem's) and the powered mixer sits on top of my bass stack.

    I run a mic from the wireless PEM transmitter and place it in front of one of the PA speakers allowing me to hear with pretty accurate fidelity, what the audience is hearing.

    I then adjust the mix accordingly.

    The rest of the band uses floor wedges, by simply taking one of the PEMS out of one ear, I can hear both monitor volume and relative PA output volume.

    The only problem I have consistently is the drummer who plays like Animal from the Muppet Show!

    He couldn't hear a freight train bearing down on him when he plays so I don't know why he even bothers.:bassist:
  12. pbd

    pbd Commercial User

    Jul 17, 2003
    Metro Detroit
    owner Procables N Sound
    good idea! do you place it far enough out to pick up ambient stage sounds also?
    I'm sure this has never happened to anyone else, eh?:rolleyes:
  13. I place the PEM mic almost on the loudspeaker between the tweeter and the woofer so I don't hear all the low end.

    Since the PEM is not through the board, there is no chance of a feedback loop forming.

    Bonus: If others want to add PEM' problem!
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