What setup for our first gig?

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by AnTz0r, Feb 17, 2004.

  1. the 10th of april, my metal cover band will have it's first gig :)

    it will be in a bar, about 4 meters wide, and 15-25 meters tall. it has a low ceiling. the stage is about 30 cm higher than the floor.

    there will be a small singing amp, the rest of us will be playing our own gear. drums will go unplugged. our rhytm gutiarist uses a 120W brunetti valve stack, with 4x12". lead guitriats 100W trace elliot 2x12" combo. i myself use a 400W Trace valve stack with 4x10".

    we are a bit concerned how to set things up. we fear that we will blow our sound straight on too people. first rows hear everything loud, back rows hear nothing.

    we could hire some small PA or whatever. we dont have any DI's or something ourselves.

    what kind of setup will give us reasonably sound? any ideas to make the sound go in the direction of people's ears instead of peoples waists?
  2. Uhh... that sounds like trouble... How small are we talking here? You shouldn´t skimp on the vocal amplification; like it or not, vocals are the most important thing and if the audience can´t hear them, they´re gonna think you suck, no matter how great guitar and bass sounds you have.

    I would definitely rent a PA. It doesn´t have to be huge: 12" cabs and few hundred watts per side should do. It would be mostly for the vocals, but you could sneak in a little kick drum click and hi-mids from the guitars and maybe from bass too. Just don´t put any low end stuff into PA, the bottom should be provided by the backline (=your amp). The majority of guitars and bass should come from the amps, the PA will just help to keep the guitars clear in the back row and widen the sound a bit.

    But whatever you decide to do, try the keep the volume level reasonable. Don´t let the guitarists give you that "I have to crank it or it sounds crap"-BS. Again, nobody in the audience gives a damn about red-hot output valves if they cant hear the vocals. And BTW, even if you rent a PA, that "small singing amp" could be used as a vocal monitor.

    Hope this helps.
  3. this is what it looks like

    there is a PA, 2x12", 2x300W
    6 channels

    how can we best set this up, and will this amp cut it?
  4. Looks nice, I especially like the brothel style red drapes :D

    I don´t recognize the PA cabs so it´s hard to say anything about them. 300W per side isn´t much but I think it should suffice if you keep stage volume reasonable. Is that amp on the right side of the stage the singing amp you mentioned earlier? As I said, that could be used for vocal monitoring.

    The stage isn´t very high so remember to lift guitar and bass cabs on tables or something. They should be on your ear level, that way they will project nicely to the audience and their sound won´t be sucked by the front row..

    I can´t think anything else right now. Try to keep it as simple as possible. Will there be a sound man or will you do the sound?
  5. no, that amp is a bass amp :D

    we will have a soundman, a friend of our singer. he is supposed to be quite good.

    we thouguht about lifting our cabs, but they are heavy. the tables are not really solid, they wont do. any other ideas about lifting equipment?

    and what about instrument to PA? my amp has a XLR DI output, my guitarists amp only a 3,5" pre-amp out. will that do? our second guitarists amp has no auxiliary output at all, well need to mic him.

    but what is better? DI out, or micing?
  6. So will be there any kind of monitoring at all? If not, you should definitely rent an active wedge for the vocalist. 150W/12" should do the trick.

    As for instruments: DI is fine for bass, but guitars should definitely be miked; they will sound very nasty through DI. The cabs are an important part of the guitar sound. And speaking of cabs, you could lift them on chairs, boxes or beer crates (it´s a bar right?). Definitely try to come up with something, even if it means hauling a table all the way from your home. It will be worth it. The sound will get past the front row and you will hear yourself much better; after all, your ears are not on your knees ;) Keeping amps on the floor is a common mistake among bands and one reason for volume wars. The higher frequency information is lost in your feet and all you hear is mud. There´s a reason why PA cabs are always above the audience. The same laws of physics apply to instrument amps too.

    Again, just don´t overload the PA with guitars and bass, it´s primary function is to provide vocals; 2x300W just isn´t enough for the whole band. You´ve got more than enough power in your backline so use that. But since you´ve got a sound man who is supposedly up to par, he should know that.

    BTW, have you heard any other bands perform in that bar? If not, it´s always a good idea to go and see few gigs before your own, preferably something that fits your genre. Make mental notes about the overall volume level and balance. Listen carefully to the vocals; can you hear them clearly, are they distorting. If the PA doesn´t seem adequate, you´ve still got time for plan B (renting or borrowing a bigger rig). Talk to the bands about any tips or pitfalls.
  7. there regularly play other bands there, but nothing in our leagea.

    some jazzy and poppy bands, but nothing remotely resembling metal :p
  8. Ouch, that could spell trouble. The staff may give you hard time if they think you are too loud. And the PA obviously isn´t meant for high volumes.

    I know that you need certain amount of SPL to play metal convincingly, but you will probably be forced to make a compromise here. Also, the stage sound will most likely be far from ideal. You should take that into account in your rehearsals: set your gear up like you would be on stage. Try lowering your volume to the point that you can barely hear yourself under the guitars and drums. And the most important thing: prepare the gutarists mentally to the fact that they will NOT be able to crank their amps on eleven!

    BTW, what kind of metal are you playing? Sabbath? AC/DC?Metallica? Pantera? Poison :D ?
  9. the owner of the bar has played in a metalband too with our lead guitarist. should be no problem :)

    we will just set up like we do on rehearsals. drummer unamplified, and match the rest to drums. guitarists know they cant crank :D

    Heres setlist :)

    For Whom The Bell Tolls Metallica
    The Four Horsemen
    Creeping Death
    This Was My Life Megadeth
    Skin O' My Teeth
    Tornado of Souls
    The Prisoner Maiden
    The Gentle Art Of Making Enemies Faith No More
    Breaking the Law Priest
    Power And The Glory Saxon
    Detroit Rock City Kiss
    Shine Motorhead
    Princess of The Night Saxon
    Wicked Game HIM
    Moon Baby Godsmack
    Skeletons of Society Slayer
    Hallowed Be Thy Name Maiden
    Tie Your Mother Down Queen
    You Give Love A Bad Name Bon Jovi
    Renegade Hammerfall
  10. Good!

    I was referring to the stage layout: Put you amps where they would be on stage and stand where you would stand, e.g. guitar amps on both sides of the drummer etc. Remember to dim the lights! It creates the right atmosphere and is good practice for the real thing: being able to see your way around the fretboard is quite uncommon on gigs...

    I like your setlist, lotsa good songs there. Reminds me of the time I used to play in a metal cover band. And it´s always nice to see a little Finnish influence, although I´m not a big fan of HIM.