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Thread: How to setup a live performance???

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    How to setup a live performance???

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    I've got an oppertunity to become the sound guy for a friend's band that plays at venues state-wide, but honestly, I don't know how it's "really" done!

    When I've done it before for some others, we've had to jury-rig the equiptment to get it do do what we needed (using the wrong stuff for the job ), and I just messed around until it sounded right. We were using a really big Mackie, a pair of Crown? 800w power amps, and some verry nice JBL PA/monitor speakers as that is what we had access to and all we were allowed to use.

    So, I'm guessing the common practise is to mic the drums, DI the bass and mic the guitar amps? We've have never used seperate preamps, just what came with the equipment we were using. Is the use of seperate preamps a standard/often done thing? From what I've seen, just use an analog mixer?

    This seems to be a better/more productive/cheaper route than starting off learning home recording as I had originally planned.

    I'm sure I'll have more questions as I think of them, but this should get me started...thanks in advance.
    --Kyle
    Jack of all trades, master of none
    Check out Attila Horvath (Shameless plug for my buddies )
    Currently Restoring a 1966 Ford Mustang and getting back into recording.

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    It's very rare to see external preamps on a live gig- usually you jsut use the ones in the mixer.

    My usual take on small-format gigs is the following (assuming a 4- piece):
    Vocal Mic (SM58)
    Kick Mic (SM57)
    Drum OH (SM81)
    DI bass
    Mic Guitar cab (SM57)

    1-2 foldback sends (run off auxiliries)

    The mics above are what you're likely to find anywhere, but budget concerns will govern exactly what you will use. If you've got more money and more appropriate mics, then go for it. Or, as you seem to already have a cache of mics, gimme a list and I'll give a reccommendation.

    I would also reccomment that you have at least one stereo EQ, two preferably.

    There are a few guides around here, however the only one I can find at the moment is http://members.cox.net/pasystem1/

    also, this thread covers a similar topic:
    https://homerecording.com/bbs/showthread.php?t=190000
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    I spend my days getting paid to push around air.
    That fact is both amazing and depressing.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Masterofnone
    So, I'm guessing the common practise is to mic the drums, DI the bass and mic the guitar amps? We've have never used seperate preamps, just what came with the equipment we were using. Is the use of seperate preamps a standard/often done thing? From what I've seen, just use an analog mixer?
    A lot depends upon the size of the venue. If you're playing an auditorium- or concert-style venue or a rather large room of a few hundred people or more, then miking the drims and DIing the bass may be in order.

    But if you're talking more of a club circuit kind of gig where you're playing a lot of bars, pubs or medium-to-smaller rooms with, say, 250 people or less (these are general round numbers), then, in my experience, anyway, a couple of things change....

    First, there is often no reason or desire to mic the drums in such venues, except for throwing a mic on or in the kick drum. The fact is that in club circuit-sized venues it can be a struggle just to get the rest of the band up over the drums without having the club manager telling you to turn it down, even when the drums are not miked. In these kinds of places, drums are plenty loud enough unamplified. Again, the exception with rock combos is usually the kick, which can use the amplification both both for the rock asthetic and just to keep up with the loudness of everything else.

    The same is often true with the electric bass. Unless your bass guitarist has an anemic amp/cabinet (not too common with live basists , his own amplification usually has enough juice to fill the room without requiring reenforcement through the PA. There is a caveat either way you go with this one; if you go un-reenforced on the bass (which is how I work with virtually all the club-circuit bands I work with), then it takes proper manual communication with the bassist during the sound check to have him adjust his cab properly. OTOH, if you're just sitting back behind a console and controlliing a DI feed of the bass to the PA, you're still going to have to communicate with him if his cab is too loud; you can turn him down to zero on the PA, but if his on-stage cab is booming too much, there's nothing you can do about that from the PA/FOH console...you'll still have to tell him to turn it down on his end.

    As far as miking the guitar cabs in the club circuit, that's a situational call depending on the band, the type of music and arrangements, and the type of on-stage gear the guitarists have. I work with some bands that do just fine without needing to mic the git cabs. I just now came back from a gig tonight where that was the case. On another band that I work with regularly, hovever, we find it necessary to throw a '57 on the guitarist's cab for three reasons: 1) he is the lone guitarist with no partner doubling any of his lines or filling in with another line, 2) the drummer is REALLY loud (defintely no miking of his rack needed! and the git needs help getting above it, and 3) their PA system is bass-heavy on the amplification due to a pair of Eliminator subs sitting under their EV mains, and the git needs some reenforcement there too. So in these situations that can go either way; it's your call.

    And finally, I concour with Cpl Crud that the use of external pres for the mics in most live situations is rare; the simple fact is that for live sound the pres in the mixer are good enough; putting a fancy Manly tube pre on a live vocal is like using the best china to serve the Purina to you dog, it just isn't needed. (If you have a seperate board for recording live, a DI split off to a better pre may sometimes be used, but for strict FOH/PA, what the board gives you is typically just fine.)

    HTH,

    G.
    Last edited by SouthSIDE Glen; 03-05-2006 at 00:37.
    [SIZE=1][B][COLOR=DarkSlateBlue]Glen J. Stephan,
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    Unless your bass guitarist has an anemic amp/cabinet (not too common with live basists , his own amplification usually has enough juice to fill the room
    I don't think that will be a problem...my buddy is the bassist, and he just spent 3 months worth of wages on a 550W Yamaha head & 6X10" stack. All I know is its enough to make me loose my breath if I'm standing 10ft away and its up about 1/3 of the way.

    Thanks for the tips...some of that seems like common sense...not mic'ing the drum or bass, ect. Why didn't I realize that earlier

    They're playing coffee shops, bars, clubs, that type of thing right now, and they've only played an auditorium-like large venue a couple of times. Some of those tips are gonna come in handy

    For now, its a drummer, guitarist, and bassist, but I got a call yesterday and he said they're looking for a rythym guitarist...I bet that will change things around a bit as far as sound setups are concerned.

    They do have a few mics, a couple SM57s and 58s, a large AKG of some kind, and a big Roland?. They're Shure freaks and they're getting some more SM58s (since my buddy gets the employee discount at the local music shop) so I suppose I'll have enough to work with if everything goes the way they're planning.

    So I guess we could get by without mic'ing anything but the kick? What I don't understand is that they like (or are often requested to by the venue) to use a PA system
    Thanks
    --Kyle
    Jack of all trades, master of none
    Check out Attila Horvath (Shameless plug for my buddies )
    Currently Restoring a 1966 Ford Mustang and getting back into recording.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Masterofnone

    So I guess we could get by without mic'ing anything but the kick? What I don't understand is that they like (or are often requested to by the venue) to use a PA system
    Thanks
    --Kyle
    The key is use, not abuse.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Masterofnone
    So I guess we could get by without mic'ing anything but the kick? What I don't understand is that they like (or are often requested to by the venue) to use a PA system
    Thanks
    I've worked with many bands in many club circuit venues over many years, and have watched a magnitude more since I've been able to legally go to such places (which you can see by my age is a longer time than I care to admit ), and I'll be damned if I can ever remember a single time when anything more than the kick drum mic was used or needed for PA enhancement of the drums. Again the exceptions are if someone is recording the performance, in which case the mics are used for recording only, or if it's a large auditorium-style venue with a massive house PA where the drums by themselves simply can't keep up.

    And yes, the PA system is still needed. Of course it's still needed for the vocals, usually for keyboards as well, and often for guitars as described. Also for bands with other instruments (acoustics, sax, whatever.) Plus the PA is still needed to drive the stage monitors as well.

    If the manager of the venue is requesting or demanding a PA, that's usually simply an indication that they don't have a house PA system and the band needs to supply their own. That's fairly common in the club circuit.

    G.
    [SIZE=1][B][COLOR=DarkSlateBlue]Glen J. Stephan,
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    [COLOR=DarkGreen]RECORDING RESOURCES AND INFO SITE:[/COLOR]
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    Quote Originally Posted by SouthSIDE Glen
    And yes, the PA system is still needed. Of course it's still needed for the vocals, Plus the PA is still needed to drive the stage monitors as well.

    If the manager of the venue is requesting or demanding a PA, that's usually simply an indication that they don't have a house PA system and the band needs to supply their own. That's fairly common in the club circuit.

    G.
    D'oh! I need to engage the brain! Vocals..duh! Makes sense...thanks a bunch
    Jack of all trades, master of none
    Check out Attila Horvath (Shameless plug for my buddies )
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    Quote Originally Posted by Masterofnone
    thanks a bunch
    No problem, my pleasure. If/when your boys ever decide to travel outside The Buckeye State and play in or near The Windy City, let me know, I'd like to check it out.

    G.
    [SIZE=1][B][COLOR=DarkSlateBlue]Glen J. Stephan,
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    Where in Ohio are you, and what kind of music is the band?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Adam P
    Where in Ohio are you, and what kind of music is the band?
    Here's the music Here's the band Honestly, their music, while I like it, isn't quite my normal cup of tea, and I can't describe it that well. They usually play either down here, near Ohio University, or up in Columbus.
    Glen...if they get to Chicago, I'll be letting a LOT of people know
    Jack of all trades, master of none
    Check out Attila Horvath (Shameless plug for my buddies )
    Currently Restoring a 1966 Ford Mustang and getting back into recording.

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