Gig sounded awful

  • Just this past weekend, one of the bar regulars asked if we could unmuffle the other guitar and turn mine up.


    I moved a fader *maybe* a millimeter and boosted the mids just enough to say ‘the knob moved’.


    The guy was ecstatic.


    Placebo is real.

    “Without music, life would be a mistake.” - Friedrich Nietzsche

  • Musician:

    Often someone playing an instrument good enough to gig but trying to mess around with their sounds to compensate for only hiring a budget sound guy.


    ;)

    Loved this. My only comment is that in the UK at least, at a mid level band, the sound guy comes as part of the venue. I've hired a PA that came with a sound guy, although we have our own now and I think few bands do this or the venue has their own guy.


    I have never hired a sound guy for these reasons but I think if I had very regular problems then I would consider it.

  • The audience will come after the show to you and say: i couldn't hear the guitar...the vocals or it was too rough. The audience is hearing what the foh sound is, bad or good. They will not necesarely know who is doing something wrong. They are seeing the big picture.

    We are a guitar oriented band and we like to hear that definition of notes..that smooth punchy tone so that is why i tend to overreact about the foh tone

    This has happened to me a couple of times. It falls into 2 categories:


    1) A bloke that thinks he knows better but he is wrong. Often I've asked a few other people and they have totally disagreed. They are just a pain as they create an un-necessary concern. Therefore I never listen to just 1 opinion.


    2) Genuinely a balance problem - I've heard this at pro gig's. If you can solve it by going out into the crowd and asking the sound guy, fab. Otherwise, you have to accept that it will happen at the occasional gig.


    The problem is, the sound does change once people turn up so a great mix at sound check can quickly become unbalanced. This is the purpose of the sound guy. Moving faders does not require a deep technical knowledge but sometimes it happens that they don't even fulfill this basic task


    My view on this is its all about context....

    Sometimes I play a gig and the on stage sound is dreadful. But if I can't easily fix it, I just run with it and use it for learning next gig. Same with the FOH sound. TBH your reaction is more important - no audience wants to see someone lose focus, get stressed, ( which usually leads to playing badly) over not being able to hear the solo that you've crafted for months. They are there for a show and will also understand that the balance wasn't quite right and not necessarily the bands fault. In other words they will pick up more on miserable musicians than a dropped note or un-perfect sound


    In other words its rarely make or break, its the nature of the beast. I'm not saying don't aim for the best possible sound, I'm saying keep it in context, even in a guitar orientated band.

  • Resurecting the thread. Had another gig in a club and had the same problem...kinda. At soundcheck the sound from the PA was like comming from the back room of the stage. Just like you would have a cabinet in the other room behind the opened door. The tone was lifeless, bassy and trebly, so as the other guitarists tone. Got my high cut at 6500 and low at 90 but from the desk it was added another 6500 and another 110. At an outdoor gig the sound guy told me that he boosted a little 800 and that was it..it was good as he told me. I don't get it how different from venue to venue can this be...you loose all the control of your tone. How should eq my tone in order to have at least 50% of it everywhere?

    depending on your rig, maybe a cut at 6500 is a bit too much. I tried those values and now I tend to set it up more to 7k5-8.
    for the low cut, I set it at 95 minimum just to give more bass if our sound engineer need it but the cut is also set around 110.


    the « secret sauce » if you want a fat tone is the mid, M Britt profiles are perfectly setup for that at really high volume.

    also reverb that sounds great at home can mess everything live at high volumes, I just apply a really small amount of reverb just to give a little less raw tone.


    My conclusion also is that when you use units like kemper or modelers you have to do some compromise between what tone you like to play and what works 99% of time straight to foh.


    I use 69 Marshall m Britt profiles exclusively live (all styles possible expect i don’t play jazz) I don’t like them that much when I play them but I gotta to admit they are really tailored for live use and are some kind of no brainer.


    I wish i could find some profiles that I like to play and work well live.

  • You mention Britt profiles and then there are others that have a bright, open top end. This is why arbitrary figures for high and low pass filters are pointless.


    The facts are that you will need darker profiles with more mid in the sound to make them work at high volume. It just takes some time and hopefully a good FOH engineer to let you know over a few shows what the state of play is with you setup.


    I have an HX Stomp as a backup and someone recommended getting the free IR "the best IR in the world" (you can search it in a YouTube clip for download). At home it sounded dull and lacking bottom end, but I tried it at volume and it is really well balanced.

  • Great perspective and I totally agree!


    The only bit I'd challenge is that its not unique to modelers/Kemper. Its the fact that they have the ability to be used in these multiple ways that highlight the issue.

  • Thank you all once again for the feedback!


    I will experiment as in the past concerts where i was in a club, the mids sounded very scooped, but on the open space gig it sound right in your face. So maybe i should be prepared for worst case scenario and have a lot more mids than i would use and on good PA's i should let the engineer scoop out as much as he needs. I have seen bands, well, all the bands that don't have any personal sound engineers that don't care about the foh. I was the only one :)) and maybe i should back up and focus on the playing

  • Resurecting the thread. Had another gig in a club and had the same problem...kinda. At soundcheck the sound from the PA was like comming from the back room of the stage. Just like you would have a cabinet in the other room behind the opened door. The tone was lifeless, bassy and trebly, so as the other guitarists tone. Got my high cut at 6500 and low at 90 but from the desk it was added another 6500 and another 110. At an outdoor gig the sound guy told me that he boosted a little 800 and that was it..it was good as he told me. I don't get it how different from venue to venue can this be...you loose all the control of your tone. How should eq my tone in order to have at least 50% of it everywhere?

    The "right" way to setup a band PA in a venue is to stay away from the channel eq! Eq the room with a known source (a song or two that you know well that has a good mix of content). Use the EQ on the main outs to get the "known content" to sound good. That should effectively "EQ the room" to normalize the bands sound and the channel eq's can be left alone.


    Rooms and setup can have a HUGE effect on the sound. Lots of hard surfaces and glass windows? Look out for high end feedback and harsh sounding cymbals. Long thin venue with high ceilings? Look out for the low end rumble and low end feedback.


    FOH speakers that aren't at least 2 ft in front of the vocal microphone plane (or just really close to a vocal mic)? Look out for tons of run-away feedback all over the spectrum.


    Guitar amps have the same problem, but to a lesser degree. The guitar speaker only has 1 position (vs 2 or more for FOH) and is way more directional than FOH tops are which minimizes the effect of room reflections ..... but makes it so only half the audience can hear the guitar :).


    You aren't alone. We have all had this happen.

  • The there's the phenomenon of sound checking in an empty room versus playing in a room full of people. Once I learned how to do the former in anticipation of the latter my gigging life got much better. We never played rooms with a house PA. Always carried our own. We could play two consecutive weekends in the same room. Sound check the second weekend sounded like dookie. "Don't touch it". By 10pm it sounded fine.


    Wanna know who I trusted the most for advice about the mix and the FOH sound? The band wives. They were there every weekend, they knew what the band should sound like and they could relay what they were hearing in plain English. Rarely did I trust the ears of some random Budweiser swilling patron.


    Boy, how I wish I had a Kemper way back then.

  • The there's the phenomenon of sound checking in an empty room versus playing in a room full of people. Once I learned how to do the former in anticipation of the latter my gigging life got much better. We never played rooms with a house PA. Always carried our own. We could play two consecutive weekends in the same room. Sound check the second weekend sounded like dookie. "Don't touch it". By 10pm it sounded fine.


    Wanna know who I trusted the most for advice about the mix and the FOH sound? The band wives. They were there every weekend, they knew what the band should sound like and they could relay what they were hearing in plain English. Rarely did I trust the ears of some random Budweiser swilling patron.


    Boy, how I wish I had a Kemper way back then.

    Yup... a room full of "Ugly bags of mostly water/Meat Puppets" changes everything.:D

  • Just this past weekend, one of the bar regulars asked if we could unmuffle the other guitar and turn mine up.


    I moved a fader *maybe* a millimeter and boosted the mids just enough to say ‘the knob moved’.


    The guy was ecstatic.


    Placebo is real.

    I transitioned from playing live to FOH around 1994. I've been doing av installations here and there since 1995. It was a rude awakening for myself to switch sides, I found out I was the jerk that no sound guy likes to deal with, and I've had that paid back to me a hundred fold lol! I learned that trick pretty early on Ruefus, I always label a spare channel or two to adjust when audience members decide to be helpful, works about 99% of the time.

  • Wanna know who I trusted the most for advice about the mix and the FOH sound? The band wives. They were there every weekend, they knew what the band should sound like and they could relay what they were hearing in plain English. Rarely did I trust the ears of some random Budweiser swilling patron.

    Definitely the best source of the truth and not afraid to say so.

  • Definitely the best source of the truth and not afraid to say so

    Oh this is funny. I never listen to the wives' comments. I've been with them at events with atrocious sound and they haven't a clue. Me:"that would have been an incredible show if it weren't for the unbearable sound quality." Them: "I thought it sounded just fine." Your set of wives must have totally different skills than my set.

  • Oh this is funny. I never listen to the wives' comments. I've been with them at events with atrocious sound and they haven't a clue. Me:"that would have been an incredible show if it weren't for the unbearable sound quality." Them: "I thought it sounded just fine." Your set of wives must have totally different skills than my set.

    The reality is that most of the audience *can’t* tell and often doesn’t care.


    This is especially true if the band isn’t the main reason for being there.. The only people not in the band that tend to be absolutely brutal about it are other musicians.

    Oftentimes, that’s more about ego than truth.


    There’s truth in the saying that people don’t remember what you played or said. They remember how you made them feel.

    “Without music, life would be a mistake.” - Friedrich Nietzsche

  • one other thing that i have thought about it is that i run the monitor out directly to my iem and i tweaked the monitor eq. Presence went drastically down, and also the low end.maybe this is a sign that my profiles are too bright and also boomy? I know that they are 2 extremely massive things, the iem and foh but anyway

  • Hello gain. Had a gig last night using the Kemper. I managed to get a good live tone in the rehearsal room but at last gig...it was awful. The sound was shrill on the top end and bassy on the low end. But it was waaayyy over. I mean i had the low cut on kemper at about 130 hz in the post eq section, a low cut at 145 before the amp to tighten the profile, and a 145 low cut on the foh mixer, bass on the profile at -2.Also, the high cut was at 6500 on kemper..and on foh at 8500. Also, the gain structure was different, as in from a high gain to a more than a crunch tone... i couldn't get a decent amount of gain/tone out of it. All in all...it sounded bad. Maybe it was the profile, the speakers, the room?

    I run my Kemper into a stereo tube power amp, 4x12 cab and mic 2 speakers L/R. I set the eq on the board to flat and get exactly what comes outta my rig.

  • I run my Kemper into a stereo tube power amp, 4x12 cab and mic 2 speakers L/R. I set the eq on the board to flat and get exactly what comes outta my rig.

    2 things:

    1) By definition you don;t. The signal chain is different. Sorry to be pedantic

    2) Why are you micing? 50% of the benefit of the KPA is not having to bother with that.

  • 2 things:

    1) By definition you don;t. The signal chain is different. Sorry to be pedantic

    2) Why are you micing? 50% of the benefit of the KPA is not having to bother with that.

    While I agree and don't use a cab and power amp myself, I can see a few reasons why someone would want to:


    1) Guitar cabs look cool on stage.

    2) Compatibility with a tube amp head also being used on stage

    3) Personal attachment to a guitar cab


    For me, I found that my VHT 4x12 and 2x12 both colored my tone to such a degree that many rigs sounded similar. Furthermore, my VHT cabs were HEAVY.


    Still, neither a FRFR or a Kemper Kabinet looks as cool on stage as my old tube amp and cabs did. While my eyes care, my back says "buck it up eyes!"

  • I transitioned from playing live to FOH around 1994. I've been doing av installations here and there since 1995. It was a rude awakening for myself to switch sides, I found out I was the jerk that no sound guy likes to deal with, and I've had that paid back to me a hundred fold lol! I learned that trick pretty early on Ruefus, I always label a spare channel or two to adjust when audience members decide to be helpful, works about 99% of the time.

    I've at best been the sound guy when no one else turned up, I know what i'm doing but i'm not a pro, or anywhere near close.


    I've never done so and not experienced a primadonna musician that wants this and that, complaining that they can't hear themselves or someone else. If i get on stage to hear what they mean, I can always hear what they can't.


    At the same time, some guys will make the most basic request and maybe another later in the show, play their arses off with a smile on their face.


    I fully understand the desire to have a great mix but some act as if it's a make or break issue.