Was told not to turn my amp on!

Discussion in 'Live Sound [BG]' started by synterx, Jan 3, 2009.

  1. synterx


    Jan 24, 2005
    Here's a first. Big show last night, at a big, big nighclub in Chicagoland. 500 people already there at the drop of the first song. Cool.

    I'm way, way late. I got lost, had 10 minutes to setup and go. Luckily tonight was the debut of my 1-trip-in-1-trip-out expirement. The sound guy says "there's your D.I. line, and don't turn your amp on". I said, what? He says "this stage hates bass, I'd rather you just use the FOH and monitors, okay? thanks.". It's a big stage, about 3' high. The guitar dudes had to put both of their single cabs facing backwards. I told the sound dude that I need to have my amp on, I need a little something to guarantee I can hear myself at least a little. He says put it on 1 if you have to. Mind you, I had my single NeoX-212T cab and Shuttle 6, that's it. Not exactly mind blowing as far as bass rigs go.

    I could only hear my self on stage if I walked within 2 feet of my cabinet. On a big stage, that's hard to do. Luckily I know our material so well I literally don't look at what I'm doing 90% of the time.

    But still.

    I'm done venting now.
  2. Laserman

    Laserman Guest

    Jul 19, 2004
    Ft Walton Beach, Fl
    I would turn my amp up as loud as I always do. it's his job to deal with the FOH , your job to to deal with Stage Volume. Sounds like he does not know how to deal with his job
  3. groooooove

    groooooove Supporting Member

    Dec 17, 2008
    Long Island, NY
    he knows the sound of his venue better than you do. he knows you want to hear yourself, but he knows what itll do if your amp is cranked..

    ive had worse sound guy experiences..
  4. Couldn't you have asked for more of yourself in the monitor(s)?
  5. synterx


    Jan 24, 2005
    Come on, no onstage amp? Give me a break. This guy had some type of complex. He then later brags to me how another band, one of our competitors uses in-ears and the stage was dead silent, and how easy that made his job. If we pulled in with full stacks and and attitude, then throw down the gauntlet. We all have small, small systems, and a 212 + shuttle is not a problem, especially when I told him I always play quiet, and wear ear plugs so I can keep my level down.

    Why do these guys have to be confrontational to us bands?

    I guess I'll just let this die, it's probably been beaten to death.
    VroomVroom...the guy told me to mainly rely on the FOH sound for my bass.
  6. 1954bassman


    Jun 7, 2004
    Hickory, NC
    Shucks, I've had soundguys ask us to quit. :meh:
  7. modulusman

    modulusman Inactive

    Jan 18, 2004
    You keep your volume down yet you wear earplugs. Doesn't make much sense to me. :confused:
  8. Deacon_Blues


    Feb 11, 2007
    Every soundguy needs to:
    - compromise between his and the band members' perceptions of a good sound, and prioritize the latter
    - respect every musicians' right to have their own sound
    - make sure the musician can hear his own sound as clearly as possible on stage.

    The soundguy should assume our amps are a part of our sound as much as the guitar amp is for a guitarist. Obviously the best thing for him would be if he could have every instrument dead silent until he pushes the faders. However, that will not be the case unless the band is prepared to and comfortable doing that.

    My guess is that that particular soundguy will not be very long in the business. I can't imagine the guitarists liked to setup with their cabs facing away from them either.

    Personally, I would have turned up my amp to a comfortable level. I'm convinced that in a venue with 500 people, its effect on the FOH sound would have been negligible. Boomy sound? Turn down the bass knob. That's why the eq is there.
  9. sedan_dad

    sedan_dad Supporting Member

    Feb 5, 2006
    I suppose if you got there on time the sound guy would of had more time to explain his reasoning in a nicer way.
    Sometimes you have to trust people to know what they're doing.
    You did say he was the regular soundguy at " big, big nighclub in Chicagoland".
    I'd have to trust him.
    Just give me plenty of monitor.
  10. synterx


    Jan 24, 2005
    I wear ear plugs because my head is near large cymbals and a drummer who likes to use them for 3+ hours a night. It's not because I play loud from my amp, that's for darn sure. Not to mention the Marshall half-stack to my left.

    I got tired of driving home with that ringing in my ears.
  11. i never trust the monitor. they can never seem to get it right, no matter what i ask them to put in there. i dont need drums.. im damn near sitting on them. i need 1 1/2 guitars (because the other is right next to me) and a little bit of vocal. we try to keep stage volume low because our drummer is a jazz musician and he throws a fit if things are too loud.

    i was having trouble with a bassy stage a few weeks back. after noticing that my typically extremely articulate amp was feeding me mud, i grabbed the master bass knob and turned it down. and down. and down. until it was something like 15 dB less bass.

    i asked the FOH mixer to give me bass in my monitors, but high pass it, because i have plenty of low, just cant hear notes (he had mentioned that my 4x10 was plenty and i shouldnt need any house support. this was brilliant.. hooray mind numbing stage volume). he says "turn your amp up." he was a great guy, and he took care of us, but thats the sort of crap i always get when it comes to monitors.

    ill set my amp according to the drums so *I* can hear it, everyone else can adjust to me and the drums. theres always plenty of guitar to go around.. they'll be fine.
  12. von buck

    von buck

    Feb 22, 2008
    wolcott ct.
    First off, no excuse for being late, you should of gotten there on time.

    It is the sound guys room and he knows what works best. If he says don't use use an amp, then don't. But it's your resposibilty to ask for bass in the monitor.

    Besides, that rig doesn't sound like it was going to sound any good out front, so ditch the ego and let the man do his job.

  13. synterx


    Jan 24, 2005
    Ego? Nah, not the issue here. He told me to use the FOH as my monitors, he was serious. Have you ever played a big room with only the boomy bass sound bouncing off the walls as your on-stage sound? I did. It was awful.

    I know next time to not bring my bass rig at all. The plus side is I can walk in with just my 2 basses and a d.i. and know I'll be out of there in 10 minutes. There's always a silver lining.
  14. IvanMike

    IvanMike TTRPG enthusiast, Happy, Joyous, & Free. Supporting Member

    Nov 10, 2002
    Middletown CT, USA
    well i usually come down on the side of the soundman if he knows what he's doing. however, he should be able to provide you with a monitor mix if he wants you off. I would have turned my amp sideways for a side fill effect and maybe cut the lows on my amp so i didn't rattle the stage (some stages are terrible with this). that way i could at least hear myself.

    but you shouldn't have been late. next time i'd have a discussion with this cat and the band before the show to come up with a solution for everyone.
  15. synterx


    Jan 24, 2005
    Being late is not the issue. It was a 2-1/2 hour drive, and I got really lost because I had to backtrack to a band members house to pickup our backdrop and stands. I arrived with my gear at the stage at 10:10, start time was listed on the contract as 10:45, and I was informed it was moved up to 10:30. There was no room for me to put my amp as sidefill. There really wasn't even room for my amp at all actually, the drum riser was 4 feet from the only steps on the side up to the stage, and they put a few big racks of their house amps and a drum monitor where a bass rig would go. I was actually in the walkway to the stairs, very weird.

    I had a discussion. It was simple. I will not bring any amp next time. I was going to bring just a 112, but then it would be aiming at my feet, so why bother. I'm actually looking forward to it as I hate lugging gear. BTW, I don't fight, argue, give dirty looks, nothing, to sound dudes. I knod my head and do what I'm told. But I deserve a little respect as well. He told me to turn the amp off, I said, "are you sure?" Can't I have a little of my amp? He said, put it on 1 if you must. That's what I did, and had one of the crappiest stage "vibe" of my life, 15 years of gigging. I haven't asked the 2 guitarists yet how they did with their cabinets facing the wall. It sure looked stupid!
  16. RustyAxe


    Jul 8, 2008
    Actually, the mission is to provide quality musical entertainment ... and that's the job of everyone involved. More bands should learn to trust the sound man ... especially in his own "house".
  17. fokof

    fokof One day ,I'll be in the future

    Mar 16, 2007
    I often play without amp.

    If I know that the venue I'm playing have decent monitors , it's a big pleasure to leave my amp home.

    I always bring my IEM just in case.....
  18. thejames

    thejames Guest

    Jul 8, 2007
    Manchester, MI
    Did you get any feedback from trusted ears on how you sounded out in the house?

    My similar experience: all set up and ready to go 10 minutes early, the sound guy hands me the DI (asks me if I know how to use it) and suggests that I just go thru the PA and leave the amp off. I ask him (nicely) if I can go into the amp first and take the DI feed out of the amp, he says OK but insists that the amp be turned down to 2 or less (no sound check yet, just 15 seconds of giving orders while hovering around behind my rig plugging things into things). I'm not very experienced, and there was no time for a short course on room/stage acoustics, so I went with the flow and all was well, mostly. I was able to later hear a Zoom H2 recording made at one of the tables, and the bass was a tad weak but not too bad. Here's the thing: I was all jazzed up about using my recently-assembled rig - a vintage WEST Fillmore with 1x15 and 2x10 cabs (you know, that whole tube thing) - and what came out into the room was solid-state garden-variety PA sound. At least I could hear my rig, even if nobody in the audience could. So I felt mildy wronged, I got over it halfway thru the first number, and filed it away as a learning experience.

    But here's the other thing: in the "real" band that played next, the one we opened for, the bass player had his speaker miked. No DI. Believe me, I watched carefully. They sounded magnificent - tightest blues quintet I've ever heard, and the bass curled toes.
  19. superfunk47


    Sep 9, 2007
    Sounds like a legit reason for him not to want the amp onstage. Although he should have been able to put enough of you into your monitor that you wouldn't have needed the amp up there anyway.
  20. Fnord Explorer

    Fnord Explorer Guest

    Feb 3, 2008
    A good soundguy at a good club that pulls that kind of crowd should be able to provide you with enough of a monitor mix to hear yourself. I side with soundguys only when they know what they're doing. Asking you to listen to yourself from the FOH is certainly NOT indicative of a good soundguy.