Stage volume vs PA

Discussion in 'Live Sound [BG]' started by kev451, Aug 22, 2018.

  1. GMC


    Jan 1, 2006
    Wiltshire, UK
    Personally...I like my rig to be able to carry a med sized venue on it's own merit...just in case the venue PA isn't capable of doing the job for me. Not that I would over-ride the on site sound's just that a lot of venues I've played in...the sound tech often wants me to support the PA and not the other way around. A quick glance at their desk...the EQ slope often cuts bass. Probably to save their amp and drivers. So I know that my amp / cabs can carry the room with punch...clarity and depth without pushing the PA too hard. Some sites have ample set ups...others...leave it to the bassist.
  2. Robscott


    Mar 20, 2017
    Tonbridge UK
    +1 what everybody else has said. Stage volume is stage volume - so you can hear yourself that's all. Your minimum stage volume is determined by the drummer cos that's acoustic, can't turn it down. U need a rig which will stand up with that (you have plenty). The guitarists can get their stage sound either from their amps (they have plenty also) or from foldback monitors. Speaker sizes don't come into that at all. The audience don't even hear your stage volume unless it is a very small venue or if you are way too loud. They hear the pa (I'm assuming the guitarists mike up their cabs or go DI). If the audience are saying the sound is unbalanced you need to get a sound guy who knows what he's doing, or one of youse learn to do it. Hey I just thought - this wasn't clickbait was it?
    SLO Surfer likes this.
  3. xnewyorka

    xnewyorka Owner, John Fox Bass Inactive Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jun 26, 2006
    NYC Area
    Dealer for Adamovic, Alleva-Coppolo, Bergantino, Dingwall, Richter, Skjold
    I wonder if you have considered the possibility that the issue is not that your guitarists are too quiet, but rather that your bass is too loud. If you are playing with a loud stage volume, it makes the sound guy's job extremely difficult. It might even make them give up trying to make it work. If you have a full range FOH system, EVERYBODY on stage should be playing at the lowest possible volume to be able to hear themselves play. And if you have any sort of a decent monitoring system (either your own stage monitor, or more ideally, your own IEM), then you don't even need any stage volume at all. Any of your sound that bleeds out from the stage to the audience is just messing up the mix for people who are close enough to hear it. And the louder you play, the more people are getting a bad mix because of your desire to be loud on stage.
    I recently saw a fantastic band that had great sound, and the bassist was using a 7-string bass that went all the way down to F#. He was using a little Hartke 112 combo amp on stage just to hear himself. I'm sure he sounded like crap on stage. But from the audience, he sounded fantastic.

    Here is another band I recently saw. (photo below) They were plenty loud and sounded awesome. And they had zero amps on stage. The only instrument heard on the stage was the drums. Everything else was direct to FOH only.
    I am sorry, but I have to agree with others who are saying that if you think your guitarists need bigger amps, then you have the wrong idea. If you could get them to use 5 watt amps, you should be happy about that. You'd have less of a need for hearing protection, and the sound guys will be able to easily dial in a great sounding mix. The only time you need to be loud is when FOH is underpowered for the venue and you need to supplement it to be heard. But when that unfortunate situation happens, some of the audience will hear good sound, and many people won't. It will depend highly on where they are in relation to the stage. 20180320_225516.jpg
  4. Kro

    Kro Supporting Member

    May 7, 2003
    New Jersey
    Well, unfortunately I can't make it up there this Saturday, though I'm booked there next month. If you're doing the main stage, we can compare notes on the sound tech/room afterwards. ;)
    kev451 likes this.
  5. 40Hz

    40Hz Supporting Member

    May 24, 2006
    My SO has a ‘65 Deluxe Fender Reverb that pushes 22 watts through a 12” speaker. It’s a very loud amp when dialed up.
    Omega Monkey likes this.
  6. SLO Surfer

    SLO Surfer

    Jun 3, 2009
    Los Osos, CA
    My guitarist/lead singer plays through a 15W combo amp with a single 12”, pointed sideways/backwards on stage. (Seen bottom middle of this pic) No problems here.
    Vanceman and cchorney like this.
  7. ficelles

    ficelles Inactive

    Feb 28, 2010
    Devon, England
    As a sound guy, I'd have to say that in rooms holding 100-350 people you will already have way too much volume coming from your backline (200w guitar amps aren't loud enough? Seriously?) and if I were doing your sound I'd probably be looking for my earplugs. Ideally your backline volume should match the your drum kit and the sound reinforcement should be done by the PA. As has already been said having larger diameter speakers will not make guitar amps louder anyway.
    Omega Monkey likes this.
  8. Bassbeater

    Bassbeater Guest

    Sep 9, 2001
    It might help to think of the PA system as a giant stereo. Then imagine randomly placed speakers set up behind the stereo at various volumes, and slightly out of phase. That's basically what's going on when your stage volume is competing with the FOH.
    Omega Monkey and Aqualung60 like this.
  9. Phil508


    Feb 19, 2012
    Central MASS
    Best sounding guitar I've run sound for was a small Marshall Combo 40-50 watts with 1 -12". perfect stage volume and great FOH mix[this was for 6 band festival with about 10k watts of EV for FOH], even better than 8x12 Marshall stack.

    Most of the time I ask Guitars to turn down, sometimes I ask them to turn up. Best sound is when they are comfortable with stage volume and I can crank FOH.

    Just remember the louder the stage volume the muddier the FOH mix and quality goes down. You get sound bleeding into all the mics and less control.

    I just saw a post that said the only thing that matters is FOH, I agree mostly, but the band has to hear themselves to perform at their best, so stage mix is a crucial component of a killer show.
    Omega Monkey likes this.
  10. Jack


    Sep 6, 2003
    Northumberland, UK
    The heavier rock band that I'm in started losing gigs and not being asked back to a couple of our regular haunts about 2 years ago. One or two venues you think "fair enough, they just don't want us" but it happened more and more. Then the drummer's boyfriend (who has been to every gig) said he wasn't coming anymore, we're too loud.

    See, about 3 years ago we seriously upgraded our pa system and started micing drums and putting everything through the PA. What we hadn't done was correspondingly cut stage volume. We were just twice as loud. D'oh!

    Drummer hits as hard or as soft as she wants, rather than full on volumegorilla.
    Guitarist went from a Vox AC30 to an AC5 and recently to a Vox modellng head with a class d power amp and DI.
    Other Guitarist went from a Blackstar 2x12" to a Blackstar 1x12" and a DI on his pedal board.
    I went from 1200W and 2x12" to either 600W and one or occasionally none.
    All the amps are now stage right and left pointed across like side fills.

    We've started getting gigs again! We're about the volume we were when we had the speakers-on-sticks, vocals only PA system but the mix is so much better, our post-gig tinnitus has gone and we've got a lot less gear to carry. We've essentially swapped three massive stage amps and everything that went with that for now carrying a subwoofer and a few extra mics.
  11. kev451

    kev451 Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 23, 2014
    New Jersey
    That’s something we can also try thanks for the idea!
  12. kev451

    kev451 Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 23, 2014
    New Jersey
    Wuao thanks for reading all the times I’ve posted within this thread that volume wise I’m BELOW my rhythm guitar players volume, and ALSO after soundcheck I have someone play my bass while I stand off stage to hear it and make sure I’m not over anyone. SMDH...
  13. kev451

    kev451 Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 23, 2014
    New Jersey
    Of course I know they run a backline I believe the bass cab is a 4x10 GK. Let me know when you are headed there I’ll try and make it up there it’s about an hour away from where I’m at.
  14. kev451

    kev451 Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 23, 2014
    New Jersey

    Usually volume wise I try and come in below my rhythm guitar player. After soundcheck I’ll hand someone my bass and have them play along with the rhythm guitar player while I stand off stage where the audience would be to make sure I’m not louder than anyone. I do this at pretty much every show to ensure I’m not over anyone...
  15. chadds


    Mar 18, 2000
    Can we start at the music. What suits the tune?
    Can your group play the same tune at different volumes. Can each player adjust their touch to deliver dynamics that propel the meaning of song?
    That’s the thing.
    Tears for Fears broke the airwaves with their hits done studio multi tracked. They came to the US and discovered their stage show was a big fail. Somewhere in the Midwest they were staying in a Holiday Inn. They went to the bar and heard a quartet fronted by a woman vocalist. They realized that they, Tears for Fears, didn’t know how to play together. They did a 180 and learned their craft. They actually included that lady singer in their next album.

    All this is a long winded way of saying is everyone listening to the sound of the whole tune? It can be too easy for players to just listen to themselves. This is hoping that the soundman will balance the band. Old school is for the band to be balanced if the PA suddenly failed. :) Old school necessitated musicians keeping the balance. Imagine B3 organ, rhythm section and horns with just vocals through a Shure Vocal Master!!!!! They had to self balance. They had to listen across the group and infer how it sounded out front.
    kev451 and mexicanyella like this.
  16. troy mcclure

    troy mcclure Supporting Member

    Mar 5, 2007
    Central Florida
    I used a 500 watt bass amp into a 410 and the guitarist used an 18 watt hand built tube head into 1 12 and he still had enough power. We both knew how to set our tone and control our volume.
  17. Robscott


    Mar 20, 2017
    Tonbridge UK
    Well that's just because you have got so darn loud on stage that the audience are listening to your stage sound not the pa. You need to get a set of those ear defenders they use with chainsaws
  18. kev451

    kev451 Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 23, 2014
    New Jersey
    You didn’t read the whole thread where I addressed my stage volume several times before posting this did you...
  19. Robscott


    Mar 20, 2017
    Tonbridge UK
    Dead right. Most guitarists will go for a small amp so they can crank it harder for drive. Different considerations from bass where the worry is farting out an overloaded cab
  20. I don't know if I read this yet... What is your guitarist's mids set to? If they're cut way back... That's issue numero uno.
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