The Way We Work Our Craft


#1

As suggested by @FantomXR, this is a topic to share how and where you perform. Whether on stage, in studio, or on the streets, and how you make it all happen. Not only could this be interesting, but resourceful for others


#2

Here is the beginning, which started in another thread


#3

Hi,

One thing I will start with as I will be interested in your comments on it…

In Welsh Floyd, before I left, we had Tim Grey as a sound man for about a year. Works for MIDAS consoles.

Very good sound man - so people listening to it said (always hard to tell when you are on stage and listening to your own mix with the general problems of stage sound that requires you to put your faith in the sound man).

What I am interesting in is the opinion about whether or not to worry about stereo effects/mixes. We had stereo effects on some backing tracks - simple thing like instrument placement to give them separation, effects on “On The Run” going from side to side (ditto for some key stuff I did live). Anyhow, Tim was surprised that we had even bothered to mix to stereo and that we were giving him stereo pairs for the FOH backing track and keyboards. His point was the first thing he did was mix them to mono, His opinion that stereo imaging in a large venue is too problematic to worry about.

Thoughts?


#4

I have had the same input from most sound guys, especially the large venues. I recently saw Brit Floyd and was sitting appx 8 ft from the boards. I tried to speak to the guy before the show, but even tho he was all set to go and not busy, he really wasn’t open for any questions. I am not positively sure, but I really believe he was mixing stereo from the looks of the board and the sound I heard. In 2 of the bands I play in, I personally mix the sound in stereo (I am the mixing guy…small clubs). I think it works well in smaller places, but I can see where it could be a waste in really large venues. Also, I run in-ear in stereo…so much better to hear everyone much clearer, and feels much more like being onstage, surrounded by bandmates. Those 2 bands do not use amps at all. It is all pedal boards and electronic drums.


#5

I knew a woman long ago (I forgot her name!) who did sound for tons of huge bands in large venues through the 80’s and 90’s, and she told me that if the band requested it, she would do a true stereo setup, but otherwise it was ALWAYS mono - for the ease of setting up and handling the digital delays, primarily. But, she said that all the setups she ever worked with made going stereo or mono a pretty simple operation. Not quite a toggle switch thing, but not crazy hard.

Terry


#6

Much like Corky, our band uses stereo in ears and a personal monitor mix. The click and cue tracks are in ears, as well as, song announcement. We have no bass player, and never have for the past 3 years. All bass tracks done in the studio by our guitarist to a click in ProTools 12, then arranged with vocal cues like (in our ears) “Stormy Monday! click - click - Intro! - click - One - Two - Three - Four!” We start our songs with no count off from the drummer. We are just standing there and suddenly all start playing at once. It is very cool, actually. I am the soundman for our small gigs. I run stereo. I use a SoundCraft UI24R and merge Ableton Live to the SoundCraft audio engine, and access the same engine for C3 via ASIO4ALL. Stereo backing tracks are great. However, when playing a large venue (1500+ people) we only run mono. Haven’t encountered a sound company that ran stereo for bigger gigs. We had a medium gig in an amphitheater, and that sound company asked for a stereo signal from me (which means they were running stereo, evidently). Most of our gigs are Winery’s, weddings, opening acts (none of us are famous. Just hobbyisis). On facebook a guy from Germany referred to me as a “redneck” even though I hate country music (go figure). I am a long, long time electronic musician who is playing live with a classic rock band that is regionally relevant. I am rambling. Sorry.


#7

@terrybritton was her name Sweet Connie? :rofl:


#8

I seriously wish I could remember - she’s American. Lives in the Smokies now. Awesome lady! I’m pretty sure she’s retired.

Terry


#9

@Howifeel

You don’t have to play country to be a redneck. Ever seen a Skynyrd concert? :smile:

Isn’t Stormy Monday in 6/8? :joy:

Sorry…couldn’t resist it !!


#10

By the way. The UI24 cuts out a lot of gear. No breakout audio interface, no mixing board, no mixing console at 50-100’ with a snake. No Ethernet personal mixers (if you have any wireless device, phone, tablet or Ipad you can mix your own monitor, and no app needed to use it). No rack effects (Lexicon effects on board and the UI24R can access C3 and integrate effect racks into the UI24R as an effect block). Goodbye crossover. UI24R has a “link to master” option to separate frequency bands to respective tops, mids and subs. I just show up to a gig, hook the UI24R to amps feeding Subs and Columns, plug in wireless monitors. Plug in instruments and vocals. 1 USB connection for my audio, and one USB for my MIDI. Done. I could go on.


#11

Okay you got me on the 6/8. I was fishing for a familiar tune that was timeless. Yes, it is 6/8. That is a good case for why I preview the backing tracks and cues at least 3 times before I offer them up to practice. Stormy Monday would be Intro - click - 4 - 5 - 6 - 1- 2- 3 - 4 - 5 - 6 (band in). You had to say that! Good point about the redneck thing. We play the tired and overplayed Skynyrd stuff. It takes a lot to act like you love a song that you hate to play.


#12

I have been considering the UI24R lately. I bought a QSC mixer sometime back exclusively for the small gigs. I love it.


#13

I ALWAYS have an analog backup to a wireless setup, just in case. You never know. I have a Makie 16 channel with a Yamaha submix.


#14

Thank God Skynyrd requests are lesser now. I learned 15 yrs ago to learn different Skynyrd songs and say “We don’t play Free Bird, but I will play you a Skynyrd song” and kick in with “I Ain’t The One” or “I know A Little”. I believe I have learned most of the Skynyrd catalog.

I always carry backup as well. I never used it, but…


#15

Good choices if you have to play Skynyrd. I try to use a Wurly patch whenever I can. I will never play Free Bird, ever. I always say that that song reminds me of the unsolicited conversations with coked out drunks during break, who won’t shut the hell up so I can get my drink and be on my way. Just goes on, and on, and on. Which is why I don’t like playing clubs, especially bars. We stick to other venues. Also, clubs that have their “in house” sound man drive me nuts. Those guys never do sound right. Another reason those days are over, for me. Weddings, wineries, fairs, events etc. that’s all we do, anymore. If you spring for the U24R, you will be amazed. I have fully used the thing already. Recording, track VCA mapping, etc.


#16

Thanks for the replies - interesting opinions.

In The last few gigs I did in Welsh Floyd I had gotten the Midas app onto my phone and it was great being able to run your own monitor mix and set it how you wished. No more trying to get the sound man’s attention to say the guitar was too loud in your foldback :slight_smile:

Also agree with the comment above. It was great having click count ins on IEMs that only we heard.


#17

Wow, you aren’t kidding - this thing looks FANTASTIC! On my wish-list!
https://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/Ui24R

Terry


#18

i got it from Sweetwater. I did the 3 easy payments option.


#19

One thing I learned a good while ago was never to give FoH the ability to control the balance on my keyboards. Even guys that were fulltime with the band and knew the music well have way too much going on to need the hassle of getting those details right even if they think they want to. I always submixed on stage and sent stereo outs. (Actually, mono for the most part- I’m in the “stereo live makes no sense or actively sucks” camp.) They could usually still bump solos up because they’d be out over a pad or on their own. Now of course I’m mixing in the box and if they complain they can’t control levels between sounds I just point at the interface and say, “Sorry.” My setup is so complex now they’d have no way of knowing what sound was happening where and what I want to balances to be. I remember I used to have to try to explain that just because they saw my hands on a keyboard it didn’t mean that’s what the sound was coming out of.


#20

WARNING Caveman Crossing …

I came up working with a heavy and powerful system that I carried with my keyboards in a tradesman van. It had 2 sub-woofers and 2/way mains on stands and a 4 amp/channel stage monitor setup. I used it in clubs, outdoor pavilions, theaters and restaurants but it was a large PA for a loud Southern Rock, Classic Rock / Prog Rock band with acoustic and electric guitars, electric bass, full drum kit, congas/percussion and 3 Kurzweil Keyboard setup (K2500SX, K2600X and PC-88). It was 3 way active mono on the front and 2 way passive mono on the monitor systems and I had a extra mono send on the board to send to the house in the event they piped it into their own indoor or outdoor speakers. We mixed our monitor sound on stage ourselves and our main outs were adjusted using me and a band mate with hand signals we worked out to adjust to the different rooms and eventually we got some FXB feedback eliminators for our stage monitor to tame the mics (we had the kit miked with 5, 2 more on the perc and 4 vocal mics all open all the time no gating). We also had house mix men along the way but often just handed them a mono feed of the mixer out we had on stage.(we made no sound-man friends this way). And at the rare event where there was a really large PA company doing the event we would ‘get in line’ and do it the traditional way with the sound man mixing the monitor mixes and the mains from scratch for each of us. That said the system is still here but has been retooled to stereo mains and 2 mono monitors all from the same cs800 amplifier and I added 2 stereo eq’s with Feedback locators built in. All that history of my way of doing my “craft” said I only use this system rarely now and have changed to a new thinking about how I play and how the mix should sound. In a word quieter …

I now use lightweight powered bass woofers and a Yamaha Stagepas 600 stereo PA that has the mixer/amp so that it snaps into the back one of the speakers and can be removed for more central location when hooking up. It includes feedback suppression, a built in crossover and a sub-woofer out. So we started an acoustic/electric thing with this system, it’s a 4 piece with keys, acoustic/electric guitar, conga djembe cajon and a female vocalist. We started rehearsals in my cave with this setup and soon found ourselves engaging in discussions on how the mix sounded in the room. We had no monitors just this PA I described, so the PA was placed behind us in stereo with mono on the subs and we found that by playing each song a bit we could agree on the mix we all liked coming from it (so it’s like the Bose style tower PA systems but more directional). Since the start of this way of crafting the music these things have happened over the past several months

  • We all like the mix we get when we perform - no fighting with the soundman you are ‘all’ the soundman
  • The lead knows where they are in the mix much better and the rhythm backing parts can adjust down a little if needed to help the lead and hear how it blends when they do.
  • Less ear fatigue - no sound hangover after gigs or practices
  • No in ear monitors needed - less gear to contend with
  • In most small venues it works as if at the house no adjustments necessary and still have the speakers behind us
  • In bigger venues we can place them in front of us, turn them up more and still use the same mix sent back through a monitor send off the Stagepas 600 to powered small monitors so we are used to the mix we see each time even in a louder venue

So it’s primitive this method and not usable for a great many groups but ultimately for our needs it’s more than just fine. There’s way less ear fatigue but still plenty of punch and headroom when needed. I have sat in as a keyboardist at a few festivals where the power to sound big is all there but it’s so loud on stage that no player knows what’s going out the front, you just trust the mix man and if he’s good you’ll sound good …

I played a benefit for a fallen drummer this past weekend and they had a similar wireless setup for their system to the @Howifeel setup and the only thing that came up was wireless signal loss which led to a few minutes reacquiring it before the mix could be adjusted again. Is this rare? I’ve read it happens and seen it happen a few times now so just curious about it.

Thanks

Dave