Tweaking your live tone...Use a P.A. or go to a Pro studio???

  • Couple of things first.

    I'm trying to use the Non Powered Kemper Main outs to the PA Board, and have a 4x12 or a 1x 12 cab near me for a reference monitor. I'm using a Mesa 50/50 to power either of the cabs. So far, I'm still tweaking the tone I'm getting from the cab.

    I've wondered about the live sound I'll be getting when doing a gig. It's not going to be the same as the cab sound I know...but if the sound guy isn't very good, you're tone will be crap regardless if you're going direct or mic-ing a cab old school style. He/She has access to the EQ on the board to adjust to what HE/SHE thinks is good, which may be different than that you think.

    So using the Kemper, is it better to go to a club (before it opens) that's got a decent sound system, and plug the Main outs to the board and sit with sound guy and tweak it to your preference? Or go to a studio with a cab, get your tone that you like out of the cab, then go to the control room and tweak the tone that will be sent out? Then go to the club and say copy these settings.

    I don't have a decent set up to tweak at home but have access to the options mentioned.

    Let me know what you would do.


  • I have the luxury of having a good sound man who travels with us so not sure I'm the best help for you. But, what I can tell you as a former tube amp user (Mesa Roadster miced with Sennheiser E609 sent to FOH through snake) is that the Kemper signal direct out to FOH is much cleaner...well, pristine actually...compared to the miced up tube amp. So many variables are taken out....mic placement, stage noise bleeding into the mic, etc, etc. Any decent sound person should be able to keep your sound relatively close to the sound you hear when you play through a good set of headphones or monitors at home. I think you will run into issues if you are trying to get your FOH sound to sound like the reference cab monitor you have onstage. I'm sure others will chime in on that but my thought is that you want to match FOH as closely to what you hear from your Kemper when it is not influenced by guitar speakers. If what you hear through headphones and/or monitors at home sounds great to you, assuming your PA is decent, it should sound great through FOH with minimal EQ tweaking from your soundperson. I play my guitar through wireless so I do like to walk out front occasionally during a gig and I might give some very minor advice to the sound guy but he's usually spot on.....other than, my guitar is never loud enough;)

    EDIT: I should also add that I just played my first gig with an EV powered monitor in front of me rather than a guitar cab behind me and loved it. Reason being, it's close to FRFR, in otherwords, much closer to what it sounds like FOH. In this way, I feel that what I am hearing onstage is relatively close to what is going on FOH. Hope that helps!

  • Well usually on a pro show , if the soundman is not good he'll be fired

    So if they are doing this job it means they are super good and trustable. You can sleep well you will sound better than usual

    If its a semi pro show then you need to check more at soundcheck but if act like you don't trust the soundman, and tell hm what to do , he may dislike you so much that he wont even care about your sound

    In a very low budget amateur show with low budget equipement then yes it may sound bad whatever you do... but as its a low pay , and wont be aired on CBC .... dont put your health on it , do the best you can and if the audience is drunk as much as the soundman , no one will notice ;-)

  • So is it safe to assume that the sound coming out of the headphone will be very close to what comes out of FOH?

    Noooooo !

    Don't go by that theory at all, unless you have a lot of experience tweaking your sounds for live. But from your question , it doesn't sound like it !

    What sounds great in headphones might sound bright, thin and aggressive in a PA, or bottom heavy ...

    If you can tweak your sounds at full PA volume, that is the best solution, that is what I do. I go to the club when no ones there and crank it at full volume and chose my best sounds. You'll hear what sounds good or not

  • I would strongly advise AGAINST sitting with the FOH sound engineer and trying to tell him/her how to do their job ;)

    What works as a great onstage sound very oten doesn't sit so well in a FOH mix anyway.

    As guitarists we tend to be totally anal about "my tone" and think it is the most important thing in the mix. However, the truth is the audience didn't come to hear our guitar tone, they came to hear great music and the guitar tone is just one of the many variables that contribute to the experience. IMHO this is always true, even when guitarists go to see guitar legends like Steve Vai, John Petrucci, Jeff Beck, John Mayer etc etc etc. I go to hear a great gig not to analyse the guitarists tone.

    What we guitarists often forget is that our tone has to fit in the overall mix of the band. The mix of the band is affected by the room and the audience (notice how much the sound changes between sound check and the gig!) All of this is why we have sound engineers in the first place. Even if we were able to get our perfect tone in a mix set up (say, in the rehearsal room or a recording) and save the full band settings it would still need to be tweaked by FOH to suit the specific venue.

    Therefore, I would suggest;

    1. get a sound on stage you that are happy with and inspires you to play.
    2. make sure that you can get a similar sound via the main outs at gig volume levels
    3. then just trust the FOH engineer to make you sound good in context

    This is basically what we all had to do in the old days with a valve amp and mic anyway.

    Just my tuppenceworth.

  • I did not mention that I am the soundman so for me, that is the best option.

    I never said to tell the soundman how to this his job! don't put words I have not written ;)

    if some dumbass guitarist tells me how to do my job , well were off to a very bad start for sure.

    But if he's cool and asks me if we can check sounds with him , I have never had a problem with that, I have gtr players check stuff when i'm just the soundman and if it makes it for a better sound in the end , i'm all for it !

    And many pro guitar players do it like that with their soundman BTW ! As in these band, the soundman works for them, not the other way around! ;)

    But from my experience, which I have a lot, get some PA speakers , and play loud and get your sounds sounding as best you can, which is basically what I wrote before

    As a soundman most of the tweaks I do, if the sounds are good, are High pass and Lowpass !

  • I never said to tell the soundman how to this his job! don't put words I have not written ;)

    I wasn't actually referring to your quote so I wasn't putting words you hadn't written ;) I was merely referring to the original post.

    From my experience which is only about 30 years of gigging ;) I think we are pretty much in agreement.