Two Dumb Questions About Sound

Discussion in 'Live Sound [BG]' started by Flatwoundround, Dec 23, 2014.

  1. Flatwoundround


    May 18, 2014
    To most people here I am pretty sure these two questions will seem simple and obvious, but I would still really appreciate sharing your knowledge with me on this. Thanks much.

    Question 1

    We had a gig last weekend and the place was relatively small. Our drummer likes to put my bass extension cab speaker next to him so as to use as a monitor. He was in the corner and had the extension cab pointing at him which was essentially pointing at the corner. Isnt this the worse way to position the bass cab. Common sense tells me that the sound waves are simply hitting the corner and then hitting audience while my primary amp is pointing to audience. It sounded a little funny to me like a slight delay.

    Therfore shouldn't we have pointed the cab towards the audience and not towards him in the corner? In other words put the cab right by his side but pointing towards the audience and not towards him and the corner?

    Question 2

    Our band is having volume issues in practice and at gigs (too dam loud). I told them last night that we need to play quiter as we are bothering the audience, eroding our sound quality, and maybe causing some hearing damage.

    Are decibal meters helpful in these situations? If so what are typical settings. If my band does not start to play quiter then I will let them know I will leave the band for this reason.

    Thanks in advance.

  2. Not sure what a bass extension speaker is, but anytime you have two bass cabinets at different locations you have the potential for all kinds of issues, such as nulls and peaks at certain frequencies as the cabinets interact with the room boundaries and with each other. Naturally you double the amount of such interactions with the two speakers in separate locations compared with having them together, like in a single stack. Assuming the extension cabinet is generating the lower bass frequencies, its output would be omni-directional and the way it was aiming wouldn’t matter a whole lot, but assuming one of the cabinets was closer to you than the other that could account for the delay you were hearing.

    A SPL meter can certainly be helpful. Typically things are getting uncomfortably loud when you’re averaging < 90 dBA.

    Wayne A. Pflughaupt

    Administrator, Pedulla Club #45
    Administrator, Tobias Club
    Fretless Club #943
    Big Cabs Club #23
    My Rig: Stage and FOH Friendly

    Geri O likes this.
  3. friendlybass


    Jul 19, 2012
    I do that same set up at a church I play at, and I put the speaker behind his stool facing out. My rig is essentially right next to it but that way all my speakers are facing (generally) the same direction.
  4. Wayne has covered the split bass cabs quite nicely. I've had to deal with bands in the past that were very loud on stage.

    The more of your sound that fires directly from the stage toward the audience, that harder it is for the FOH mixer to control the balance. It's common sense, really. If I'm mixing your band, and I can't hear your amps and drums from where I'm sitting at the board, I can adjust and eq to make a great mix. If I'm hearing a wash of cymbal crashes, guitar screech, and low end rumble from the bass, I'm going to have a much harder time trying to clean up the mix out front. I understand that rock bands want to FEEL the sound. I like it myself on stage. The big BUT here is that the FOH will always have to be louder than the stage to get an effective mix. It will also have to eq around the frequencies leaking from the stage.

    There are lots of ways to counter this. I've seen bands tilt amps at their heads. I've seen bands put amps to the side of the stage like a side fill monitor. I've seen bands go to in ears and put their amps behind or below the stage. In a decent sized room, all you have to do is turn down a bit.
  5. emart


    Sep 2, 2009
    SF Bay Area
    Regarding stage volume, this may sound sarcastic, but why are you so loud on stage? Are you having difficulty hearing yourselves, or is it just for the joy of being loud?
  6. Coolhandjjl


    Oct 13, 2010
    If you are not wearing earplugs, you WILL suffer permanent hearing damage. Not from you, but from the drummer, especially the cymbals; and also from the gui****ist.
  7. Flatwoundround


    May 18, 2014
    Thanks for the reply Wayne and that makes total sense. So the amp is the source of the sound waves and then those waves are bouncing off everything and interacting with the source sound waves and anything can happen. But having two amps in two separate places makes the chaos of the sound wave interaction even more crazy. Therefore from now on I am going to have the two amps sitting on top of each other and pointing outward towards audience to minimize the wave interactions.

    Am I thinking about this the right way now?

    Thanks again for your kind reply.
  8. Flatwoundround


    May 18, 2014
    Right on. I am working to get the volume reduced but I am also going to bring earplugs to gigs. At practice I will take a firm stand on volume issues as I am the one with the practice space I can exert a little more pressure there. Don't get me wrong the guys in the band are all great but I think the singer and drummer already have hearing issues as they seem to not get it that it is a little to loud (need to turn down a good 20% in my opinion).
  9. Flatwoundround


    May 18, 2014
    Well here it is in a nutshell. Problem is drummer is weak and loud and my idea and guitarist agrees is to turn louder to help cover up when he makes mistakes (erratic and unpredictable, sometimes he is on and sometimes not so much). So I figure this strategy is not working so good. Drummer, me and guitar player all agree to start playing softer, jury still out on the singer but like I say I provide the practice space so I can exert more pressure at practice to turn down. At gigs I am going to start bringing earplugs just in case.
  10. Coolhandjjl


    Oct 13, 2010
    Some people who have something like a stack of 12/6 cabs or similar, will face the bottom one towards the drummer.
  11. s0c9

    s0c9 Supporting Member

    Jan 9, 2014
    1964 Audio artist, Fractal Audio Beta Tester
    Many would read this as being time for a new drummer... You can only cover for others in a band up to a point. Masking timing issues by being weak/loud is taking you nowhere but problemsville!
    Geri O likes this.
  12. Flatwoundround


    May 18, 2014
    Man you are so right about this. I have a friend who is a pro level Jazz drummer (not the drummer in my band) and that is exactly what he told me. He told me to turn down and make the drummer carry his own weight. I have been his time crutch for close to a year now and it is time to stop.
    TimmyP, Geri O and s0c9 like this.