What to do when FOH is SO loud...

Discussion in 'Bass Humor & Gig Stories [BG]' started by bdplaid, Sep 3, 2017.


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  1. bdplaid

    bdplaid Supporting Member

    Aug 31, 2007
    Not sure where to post this so here it is...

    What do you do to get a decent bass sound onstage when the FOH is so loud you can't hear anything else? I kept turning up and adding midrange to get some sort of definition out of the amp, but nothing seemed to work. Had the amp up louder than it's ever been. Bass coming out of FOH was super low and loud.

    I could make out the other instruments because they operated in a higher frequency range, although everything was definitely overcome by the low end from the FOH. But the bass was just lost.
    The room was a big one, two-story affair with the acoustics of a gymnasium.

    I've done a lot of gigs similar to this, but this might have been the worst.
     
  2. lz4005

    lz4005

    Oct 22, 2013
    Cut your lows.
    Make sure your speakers are pointed at your ears.
     
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  3. bdplaid

    bdplaid Supporting Member

    Aug 31, 2007
    Thanks. yeah, I did that. almost worked. I think I was just up against something too powerful to overcome - namely a soundguy without a clue. I've worked many gigs where I could hear the bass from the FOH, but this was off the charts.
    If I have to work that room again, rather than bring my Aguilar 410 (which is not especially thick in the lows anyway), I think I'm going to bring a single 15 and elevate it. Otherwise I might run my Ampeg pre into a QSC monitor as my onstage rig.
     
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  4. BassCliff

    BassCliff

    May 17, 2012
    So. Cal.
    Hi,

    A couple of times we have worked with a sound guy who seems to know how to mix only for rave parties. Big, boomy, woofy, indistinct, muddy low end with lots of shrill on top and nothing in between. All the kids are doing it these days. ;)

    Sometimes you just got to take what you get and do your best with it. I can put up with just about anything for two hours, collect my paycheck, and hope to never see that sound company again.

    Yes, point your amp at your head and give the EQ more mids and highs. Hopefully you can hear yourself.

    Thank you for your indulgence,

    BassCliff
     
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  5. bdplaid

    bdplaid Supporting Member

    Aug 31, 2007
    For as long as I've been playing, one would think I'd have found a way to deal with this, but I never have. But for certain, I know when it's a good guy on the FOH when I feel and hear the deep low end from there, but still get articulation from my amp.
     
  6. superheavyfunk

    superheavyfunk 音楽は人生だ

    Mar 11, 2013
    Toronto
    I run into this issue a lot, as I end up playing a lot of "parties" at venues around town. I decided to go with an in-ear setup. It doesn't solve the issue of being practically thrown around the stage by the giant and unnecessary subs that I'm often forced to stand beside/behind, but it does make it so that I can isolate and hear my bass and my vocals much, much better than I ever could before.

    I just give the FOH my pre-EQ DI (since they're gonna mix it however they want anyway) and run my amp only as loud as it needs to be for the band to hear it if they don't have individual monitors or don't want the bass coming thru them. It lives on my pedal board with the rest of my effects. It does the trick and only cost me around $150 to get it all together. The downside is that I had to give up my wireless for my bass... I miss the freedom I once had. :(
     
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  7. bdplaid

    bdplaid Supporting Member

    Aug 31, 2007
    Please do tell us more about your system -

    wireless in-ear?
    any pics of your board?

    I've toyed with this idea as well. back in the day I was so frustrated with sound men that I stopped using an amp altogether and ran it through the monitors. Maybe I'm looking at that again.
     
  8. superheavyfunk

    superheavyfunk 音楽は人生だ

    Mar 11, 2013
    Toronto
    Sadly, I'm tethered again. One day, I'll make the investment and try to go wireless IEMs and wireless bass but that won't be for a while.

    I use a Rolls PM351 (used, $65 USD) and a set of KZ ZST earbuds (new, $25 CAD), along with a 15' extension cable for the IEMs so that I have some room to move around on stage (I bought some black gaffers tape and taped the extension cable to the 1/4' lead for my bass so that they run as one cable, to reduce the chances of me pulling one or the other out accidentally). I'm not posting from my phone right now, so I can't upload a pic, but I will do later. For now, my setup is as follows:

    Bass > Octave > Compressor > Envelope Phaser > OD > EQ> Reverb > TU-2 > PM351/Amp

    The TU-2 is clutch for this rig because it has the line out, plus a bypass. This allows me to split my signal and send the line out to the amp, and the bypass to the Rolls for my ears. As a bonus, I can mute the amp for tuning or for in between sets by just turning the tuner on.

    The PM351 is especially nice for me because I also sing and it has independent volumes for each of the inputs (House/Vox/Inst). If you don't sing, there are smaller ones that could work better for you and even come with built-in limiters, so that you don't have to worry about feedback and volume spikes hitting your ears
     
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  9. bdplaid

    bdplaid Supporting Member

    Aug 31, 2007
    Thanks for the detailed info!

    I know what you mean about being tethered. I don't mind the guitar cord, but having to gang it together with a headphone... ugh!

    Yes I sing, and the one thing that terrifies me about this that my band(s) are knuckleheads about feedback, and I have heard horror stories bout feedback in the in-ears.

    I'm gonna mull this over. Thanks again, mucho!
     
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  10. superheavyfunk

    superheavyfunk 音楽は人生だ

    Mar 11, 2013
    Toronto
    It's my pleasure! :D

    You could always buy a cheapo limiter pedal or something to put between the house feed and the PM351 (if that's what you decided to go with). I'm sure Joyo or another of those brands have one for $30 USD or less.

    As for being tethered, yeah it's a lot less fun but I didn't really see a point in running my bass wireless while I'm using the wired ears. It just made more sense to make the one cable out of the two of them.
     
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  11. bdplaid

    bdplaid Supporting Member

    Aug 31, 2007
    I actually don't like running my bass wireless - too much crap to drag along and set up. I don't move around a lot, so it's not really useful. But in-ears, that a different thing. 1., It's an additional cable, and 2., they're pretty thin and delicate.

    I really hate complexity... This is making running my pedalboard into a QSC monitor look a lot better... :)
     
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  12. superheavyfunk

    superheavyfunk 音楽は人生だ

    Mar 11, 2013
    Toronto
    hahaha. Fair enough. For me, it didn't seem like a lot of work but everybody's different. Let us know what you decide when you get it all figured out. :)
     
  13. buldog5151bass

    buldog5151bass Kibble, milkbones, and P Basses. And redheads.

    Oct 22, 2003
    Connecticut
    I've done gigs with my foot against the bass drum peg when the sound sucked. It was the only way to stay in sync with the drummer.
     
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  14. RoadRanger

    RoadRanger Supporting Member

    Feb 18, 2004
    NE CT
    ^ :wideyed:
     
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  15. BassCliff

    BassCliff

    May 17, 2012
    So. Cal.
    Hi,

    There have been times when I had to stand next to the drummer in such a way that I could visually watch the kick drum pedal.

    Thank you for your indulgence,

    BassCliff
     
  16. bdplaid

    bdplaid Supporting Member

    Aug 31, 2007
    I don't know why the answer comes to me a couple of days late, but it always does... Guess I'm a slow learner.

    What I should have done was reach back to the XLR DI out and change the switch to "Post," and turn down the low end. Then I could have controlled the low end in the FOH from the stage, as the moron out front wasn't actually doing anything.

    Doh!
     
  17. buldog5151bass

    buldog5151bass Kibble, milkbones, and P Basses. And redheads.

    Oct 22, 2003
    Connecticut
    Sounds nuts, but works. Also a good trick if you and the drummer just are not grooving. You can feel exactly where he/she is.
     
  18. craigie

    craigie

    Nov 11, 2015
    calgary
    I was wondering why you didn't do that. My amp has a noticeable output difference between pre and post so try it one time to see if it alters your gain structure to the board.

    I recently ganged my in ear extension cable and instrument cable together too lol. Stepping on the headphone cable and having the IEM'S pulled back is a PITA.
     
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  19. pigpen1

    pigpen1 Guest

    Aug 2, 2017
    Also important to remember that what your hear and feel on stage is not 100% representative of the mix the audience is getting. If you have a choice between sounding good in the audience but less that stellar on stage, or perfect on stage but thin/weak out front what would you pick? Not saying it is a zero-sum choice, but sometimes it is close to it. One way to avoid this from the start is to make your band more balanced on stage before any sound reinforcement is applied. As a former foh guy, some of the easiest band to mix in a small venue are the ones that mix themselves well on stage. It was ruined most of the time buy loud lead guitar guy btw, and loud cymbal drummer guy (think Van Halen or Rage against the machine)
     
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  20. dbase

    dbase Gold Supporting Member

    Jan 3, 2008
    South Jersey, USA..
    Yeah .. What BassCliff said .. Play and get out.
     
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