Band practice PA-system could not handle my Kemper

  • When practicing with my band for the first time in a rehearsal room, the sound was awful.

    I made a mistake with the output. Had my headphone output go to the PA-system instead of the main output.

    The other guitarist had a cheap Squier and played on the combo fender amp in the rehearsal room.

    The only thing I heard was the drummer (way too load compared to others) and the bassist.

    So what I did was cranking up the volume of my Kemper and the PA-system could not handle it.

    I already learned from these mistakes:

    1 putting the cable into the right output

    2 put duct tape on drums

    3 enabling the -12 DB option on Kemper

    4 putting a microphone in front of the amp of the other guitarist


    We play dual guitar parts, imagine how awful it sounded that you only could hear me from the speaker above and the other guitarist only back in the corner.


    So what would you guys recommend further to make it sound better together? A rehearsal room with a different PA-system? if so, what are the minimum requirements for the PA-system. I am no technical expert on the area of guitars, rigs, mixing etc.

    So keep it in mind while writing comments :)

  • Well it sounds to me, like you already know where your problems were. Firstly, you were plugged into the incorrect output of the Kemper, but you now know that. Turning up the mixer would only have made things worse, as it sounds like it did.

    Get there a bit earlier than your band mates next time. Try a few things. Plug into the 'correct' output, and make sure the input gain on the mixer is set correctly. If you don't know which knobs do what, I'm sure someone who works at the rehearsal facility will tell you?


    I use different rehearsal studios, and all I do is make sure the input gain on the mixer is set correctly. I never have any issues. As I suggest, go in early and have a mess & a play before everyone else gets there. I'm sure it'll all work out fine. :)

  • Sounds to me as though you need a monitor amp, like a DXRxx, to match the presence of your other guitarist's amp. It might be better doing that and skipping the PA.

    Go for it now. The future is promised to no one. - Wayne Dyer

  • I’ve never understood why bands rehearse at stage volumes. Get together in someone’s living room, without a PA, play acoustic guitars and the drummer play on his knees or with mutirods on something.


    Get tight and actually rehearse where you can hear each other. FIgure out parts, harmonies, transitions between songs and organize a set list. Then rent out a rehearsal studio for a few nights and play through your rigs as you’re actually going to use them. Run the intros and outros to each song and practice the transitions between songs. Then run the sets and go gig!

  • In my experience there's no way to get a band to sound great in a small rehearsal room. The sound levels just make everything horrible.


    The only hope is for your drummer (and all of you) to turn down.


    I think it pays to be clear about whether you're practicing or rehearsing. Practice should be quieter so you can talk things through and make decisions.


    Once you're rehearsing for a show I highly prefer finding a stage to rehearse on, so you can tweak your stage mix and main outs.

  • I know everyone loves to blame the drummer, but being one myself, there are just some styles of music that you cannot play at normal conversation volumes.


    Some of those jamming studios are so tiny anyway that all the sound just keeps bouncing around the room because they're so small.


    But then again, you may find yourself in such a situation in a small club with hard floors or a low roof as well.


    As such, the best course of action is to:

    1) Use the right outputs of the Kemper

    2) Lower your reverb

    3) Set volumes for both you and the other guitarist at the start of the jam. Then try to stick to that volume. No cheating by sidling over and starting a war by raising your volume or lowering his.

    4) Have everyone position themselves in the room in a way that they can hear each other. This is really important, especially if there are crashing drums less than 5 feet from you.

    5) Be ready to use the EQs in the output section to make sure you cut through the mix the right way. In this regard, in tiny rooms, it helps to cut the bass as this can be overpowering.

  • Just for context, I am in a metal band.


    But to echo echo echo some of the above statements, its really useful to have quiet practices and then loud rehearsals when everything is in shape.


    Its worth buying your drummer a cajon, and sitting in a living room with acoustics and no mics and just sussing out your beats and synchronisations and harmonies (if applicable) - and then taking it loud.


    Every small practice room will be a challenge unless you have loads of bass beef on the walls - you can make improvements by not having your speaker cabinets in the corners and having them in the middle of walls...


    Drummers do need to hit hard - certainly for heavier genres - but if that means collectively you are all turning up and it sounds nasty - then nobody is leaving rehearsal with a smile on their face - not even the drummer!


    Cheers,

    Greg

    PRS Custom 22's - Fender Strats - Diezel VH4 - Carol Ann OD2 - Toneking Imperial MK2 - Colin the Kemper - CLR Neo ii.

  • So much good advice here already so I can only echo:


    1) I'm also a drummer - yes you do need to rehearse at full volume but not practice. As Finally said, make the distinction. Drummers can play quieter to work stuff out. No point practicing or rehearsing if you can;t hear each other

    2) I don;t use the studio PA because they are often pants, use a backline

    3) Get IEM's - the biggest problems at rehearsal is usually hearing the vocals. If you can afford it, use IEM's even at rehearsals. If you go further a use an electronic drum kit you can near silent rehersals!!

  • not to mention we can just damage our precious ears!

    And being in my mid-thirties...I wish I had listened to this advice when I was 16...as now when someone tells me to look after my ears I can hardly hear them!

    PRS Custom 22's - Fender Strats - Diezel VH4 - Carol Ann OD2 - Toneking Imperial MK2 - Colin the Kemper - CLR Neo ii.

  • Thankfully, no hearing damage here.


    The goal in rehearsals or even on stage is to hear everything, not just heard yourself.


    To that end, work on the balance of all the elements at the start of the jam. Then, when you guys take a break, discuss who couldn't hear what and make *minor* adjustments to the level or EQ tweaks.


    If everything works out, you can just use those settings at the next jam and all will be well.


    Playing live, it's important to have communication about this within your band because if you're on some stages where you have five minutes for sound check, you guys need to be able to work out all the kinks for all of you rather than just one guy saying raise this or that in my monitors.


    Just another element to practice.

  • No one has mentioned P.A placement.... so,

    P.A placement!


    Make sure the speakers are at ear level and positioned so noone is getting blasted while the others cant hear. If you cant hear the singer in that particular PA, everyone else has to turn down/play lighter so the vocals can be heard. You hear alot that the drummer is the loudest acoustic guy in the band so we all have to turn up to match them.... that's the wrong thinking. The vocals should typically be the clearest thing in the room for a good sound, so it's the bands job to make sure that happens. Everyone's.


    If you practice alot, try to do it a

    the lowest volume as a band possible. It will make you actually listen to the sounds as a whole and ultimately play better together, keep you in the room longer, and allow some finesse in the performace/song to shine through. Louder does not equal sounding better - and good bandmates understand this.


    It can be a challenge when the room is an echo box and the PA is possibly undersized for the particular style of music you're doing, but do what you can to steer the herd away from the classic rehersal volume wars.

    You're not the first band to deal with it, and surely not the last!

  • Good point but many rehearsal places have their speakers fixed ( to stop theft) so its not always an option.


    In other words its viable if its your own reherasal space with your own PA but less of an option if its rented..

  • One of the things that sets a good drummer apart from a great drummer is their ability to mix themselves - it could be a good exercise for them just to record themselves (good phone or handheld recorder thing) so they can think are they bashing the cymbals and is that whats drowning things out...etc

    PRS Custom 22's - Fender Strats - Diezel VH4 - Carol Ann OD2 - Toneking Imperial MK2 - Colin the Kemper - CLR Neo ii.