Solo boost amount

  • So I'm speaking to those that don't play arenas and large stages and don't have a soundperson with their finger on your slider or automation console making sure every solo note is heard, just using a volume boost to get to proper solo levels "like the album" (which is normally right up with the lead vocal and normally much louder than the rhythm volume).


    Nothing sucks more to me when hearing a band & the lead solo starts and is some distant sound in the background you can barely discern. Nowadays clubs with lazy sound men that ask me "don't you have a boost?" that don't know your music and will start turning your solo up halfway through when they finally comprehend it's happening:cursing::cursing::cursing:& if they're not chatting with someone, you are expected to boost your own solos. (At the risk of red lighting the console).


    From all my years doing this I have found your solo volume under these circumstances need to be MUCH MORE than you think they are in your studio setting them up. I'll set up a boost when programming and go "Wow that's plenty" and live it is about half what I really needed. When I return home after a solo volume was properly tweeked for live, it shocks me to hear how much it really needed to be. I have learned a lot from doing this over 1,000 times.


    Wondering...How many DB do you all boost for a leads? ( I realize clean and dirty leads take different amounts) I'm planning on using rig volume to do this.

  • No expert here but when playing pubs i boost my lead 2DB (and sound guy doesn't have to mess around). Having said that, I've read about people boosting anywhere between 3-6DB which for me sounds over-killed. I guess it depends on what kind of music you're playing, one or two guitars etc. I don't think there's a one size fits all approach.

  • I never rely on the sound guy for boosting so totally agree with you!


    In fact, we supported another band and the sound guy said to their guitarist " can I have your solo volume now please?". His response was " That's your job isn't it?".....to me this showed a lack of professionalism...heightened by the fact he was playing through a 1 x12 Marshall cheapy combo,..


    Anyway I don;t measure the DB boost, its about the only tweak I've ever made at a gig during sound check. This is because its about cut as much as volume plus whether its a single guitar band or dual ( or triple if you are fancy). What I can tell is yes....its more than you'd expect :).


    So what I do is:

    1) I have a separate sound for solo which is purely dedicated

    2) I give it a healthy whack of boost volume compared to rhythm when setting up at home

    3) I test at rehearsal and sound check and tweak if necessary. Now set I never change it, only if I change my profile.

    4) At sound check I give the sound guy Rhythm and lead volumes to ensure I don;t fry the desk.

    5) I also boost for riffs but using morph. I have this set a bit lower than solo sound but enough to punch through


    The key is you want it to cut but not dominate ( sorry bit obvious).


    Hope that helps.

  • heightened by the fact he was playing through a 1 x12 Marshall cheapy combo,..

    In my opinion neither price, nor size, nor brand are reliable indicators of whether someone is a professional or a good guitarist.

    I have already experienced many counter-examples (in both directions).


    Back to the topic:


    Yes, it depends (as previous speakers have written) on many factors, such as style of music, number of guitar players, etc.


    In the past I used to have a pure booster after the stack section, set (I think) to about +3 dB.


    Meanwhile I switch to solo via morphing.

    But not only by increasing the volume, but also changing the tone control (especially boosting the mids) to be able to take the frequency place of the "missing singer".

    So in my opinion it's not only a question of volume, but also of frequencies.


    The verification I do from time to time through live recordings, from which I get a good impression afterwards whether I have to readjust.

    I don't make any adjustments directly before the gigs.

  • In my opinion neither price, nor size, nor brand are reliable indicators of whether someone is a professional or a good guitarist.

    I have already experienced many counter-examples (in both directions).

    True...although I did say heightened....I just thought it interesting to make such comments and yet not really care much about the sound he was sending to the PA. His amp was in my opinion inadequate for the type of band and size of venue...so to make such a Diva comment and yet turn up unprepared was my point. Didn't mean it that literally.


    Like you I have seen many people with amazing gear sound dreadful etc. probably includes me...


    You don;t agree with the connection, fair enough.

  • Thanks for the replies. I am just interested in what everyone does.

    In the past I used to have a pure booster after the stack section, set (I think) to about +3 dB.

    Just wondering: why use a pure booster and take up a slot when you can just morph the rig volume knob? Unless the booster is very last, it will affect whatever is after it. The rig volume won't.

    At sound check I give the sound guy Rhythm and lead volumes to ensure I don;t fry the desk.

    This is the exact reason that I agree with the "unprofessional statement"- "Isn't that your job?". IMO it IS, but most soundpersons aren't in the game enough so I don't count on them. If you boost solos onstage the gain on the board pre has to have the headroom to accommodate that which could affect the channel response. If the soundperson is doing it, that issue is moot. When we hire a soundperson as part of our group, I give them a USB with all of our songs on it and tell them I want songs mixed just like this. If someone doesn't know what it's supposed to sound like how in the heck are they going to be able to mix it correctly (clean levels, backup levels, lead levels, vocal FX etc.) From what I have read V8 thinks the way I do pretty closely. Normally I can set up lead boosts pretty good just by having a drummer play along.

  • I was guessing I might need 2-3 DB but at home with no drums playing I always shoot too low! As I said, I've shocked myself coming home and switching from rhythm to lead sounds I had programed live to be "just right". After a while you start to learn your particular rig and what you need but I rarely will home program a lead to be too loud, it's usually too low even knowing it needs to be louder that what you likely would guess. Normally people in the audience will use their memory of the album as what to expect for it to "sound good". Lead volumes from rhythms can never be enough just boosting the front of an amp with a tubescreamer (unless the amp is set clean then it can get close) Leads on major albums are turned up a LOT from the rhythm sound normally, right up with the lead vocal or more.

  • On some rigs I set up a pure boost - at about 2- 3db and sometimes that doesn't seem like enough. If we are playing on a clean song it is enough but a heavier song it doesn't seem to cut through. What I found works best for me is to set up a volume pedal in the output position and set it to -2 which is about 60 % of the full volume, that way I have it for leads and also if I just need to boost a little to get above the mix for certain parts of a song. I never rely on the sound man/woman to boost my leads.

    “I used to jog but the ice cubes kept falling out of my glass.”

    Dave Lee Roth of Van Halen - 1979

  • Just wondering: why use a pure booster and take up a slot when you can just morph the rig volume knob? Unless the booster is very last, it will affect whatever is after it. The rig volume won't.


    I wrote "in the past" because these was what I did in the pre-morphing-time (yes, there had been times when there was no morphing available ;-) ).

    Since morphing is available, that's what I use for solo-boosting (as I already wrote above ;-) )

  • On some rigs I set up a pure boost - at about 2- 3db and sometimes that doesn't seem like enough. If we are playing on a clean song it is enough but a heavier song it doesn't seem to cut through. What I found works best for me is to set up a volume pedal in the output position and set it to -2 which is about 60 % of the full volume, that way I have it for leads and also if I just need to boost a little to get above the mix for certain parts of a song. I never rely on the sound man/woman to boost my leads.

    For me there a re a couple of problems when using a volume pedal for solo/riff boosting:

    1) Its always a balancing act, I'd rather just switch on a off. I don;t need the variability because what tends to happen is your ears get worse during a gig and so I rely less on my judgement then

    2) You use up a pedal when you don't need to. I find a double click if using morph quicker and simpler

    3) You can adjust the boost depending on the slot - clean tends to cut more so the relative boost is lower


    ...but its great to have all these options!

  • This is somewhat familiar dilemma. Have been many times in rehearsals trying new rigs in practice just to notice the levels are all over the place. :D


    Using only DB only feels hard as the amount of sound level boost is directly linked to the tone - boosting mid scooped sound to be heard requires much more DBs than some mid forward tone. And sometimes the dynamics within the band get carried away more than usual.


    I usually solo boost with morphing by both adding level and sculpting the tone to poke through little better as well. Then I also like to have a dedicated booster available post-stack to be used only if the situation really calls for it. :evil:

  • I know what you mean, there are times when I get too much volume with the pedal, then I find myself pulling it back and come back to far and then struggling to find the right level. So I think I will try the morph approach. Are you boosting rig volume?

    4db usually works about right for me with 1db of mids around 750 Hz, in a two guitar band.

    Are you boosting the volume with the rig volume and boosting the mids with the output EQ?

    “I used to jog but the ice cubes kept falling out of my glass.”

    Dave Lee Roth of Van Halen - 1979

    Edited once, last by sstauffer ().

  • I never could go with the volume pedal thing. If you play clubs, there are so many opportunities for that thing to get stepped on.

    I like using it with a 1 channel amp (pre Kemper) - I could back the volume pedal down, turn the guitar volume up to get a high gain sound with room to boost the lead by increasing the volume pedal and to get a clean tone I would turn down the guitar volume, turn up the volume pedal and then use the guitar volume to boost the leads. I do that somewhat with the Kemper but with all the different profiles and settings it is not necessary.

    “I used to jog but the ice cubes kept falling out of my glass.”

    Dave Lee Roth of Van Halen - 1979

  • I know what you mean, there are times when I get too much volume with the pedal, then I find myself pulling it back and come back to far and then struggling to find the right level. So I think I will try the morph approach. Are you boosting rig volume?

    Are you boosting the volume with the rig volume and boosting the mids with the output EQ?

    Actually thinking back the mids thing might be a bit misleading as it actually may not be 1db of mids or 750Hz exactly, I'm getting mixed up with my go to settings on my Axe FX 3 and any other equipment I might use.


    My solo boost on the Kemper is actually my main rhythm profile, in the Amp Stack I add 1.0 on the mid pot and add 4 dB on the rig volume plus usually I add 2.0 on the gain also. Then I add more delay or reverb etc to taste.