Author Options:

I play in a band with some seasoned musicians. We played our first gig last saturday and we sounded like )(*? Answered

I play in a band and we have practiced and perfected a lot of material, however our first gig, (last Saturday) did not sound as good as I thought we would sound.  He hooks up stuff to the new mixer and runs it through the The key word here is "sound". Here is a quick overview of our resources. We had a lot of cracking (distortion) going on throughout our performance, thus taking away from our actual abilities and capabilities. *I think we are overloading our poweed mixer.

WE have two powered mixers. One is an older model (6) channel mixer and the newer powered mixer has approx 16. The band member who owns all the equipment makes the decisions as to how everything is hooked up. I do have experience and have had college courses on mixers, but am reluctant to say anything about how things should be hooked up.

I was thinking maybe we should run vocals through one and all other equipment should run through the new mixer.



8 years ago

Agree wholeheartedly with "set it up at a rehearsal, test it all out there -- get a few clueful friends to listen, if possible. Record -- both off the board and room sound -- and play back so those of you who were on stage can comment on whether the mix is right. Remember that headphones are NOT the way to monitor a live mix; they can be useful for zeroing in on something, but what matters is what's coming out of the mains.

Sound reinforcement, if you're doing it yourself, is effectively another instrument in the band. It needs to be involved in rehearsal just like everything else is.

To GuardianFox's list, I'd add plugging things into different outlets, which can yield a ground loop and hum. We got in the habit of running the entire system, both stage and boards, off one circuit even if we had to run a 50' extension cord to do it.

If your sound guy has even half a clue, he should be aware that something went wrong. Asking if you can work with him to fix it may be less threatening (and a better opportunity to educate him) than taking over.

(My own experience includes mixing for pros -- but mixing folk/blues/zydeco rather than rock, and rock is a Very Different Beast. For the others, the goal is that everyone in the hall can hear the band but they should never notice the sound system. For rock, the board and amps really are part of your sound..)

As far as splitting vocals and instruments across the two boards.... That's _probably_ not going to help significantly, and it's a matter of style in any case. Some techs like to group each performer's vocal and instrument together on the board(s), left to right across the stage; some like the instruments and vocals separated. Depends on how that individual thinks about the task. The main thing you'd gain by splitting these would be that you'd essentially have vocal and instrumental submixes, which can sometimes be useful... again, depending on how that tech approaches the problem.

Personally, I'd suggest running everything through the 16-channel board.rather than haul both around. Odds are that, unless you're going overboard switching instruments, 16 channels will be enough.


Answer 8 years ago

Note too that if you have a stereo board running a mono house amplifier, you can use left and right as submixes.


8 years ago

 Asked my son, Ed,  if he could help--he's pretty busy now but gave a short answer:

Having done live sound the first thing I would note is that human ego must be factored in. -Doing so is quite a trick indeed! People need to understand that louder is not better. Once things start exceeding to "headroom" of amplifiers (and speakers) -Distortion becomes an issue.  

As Jimi Hendrix would have noted- on a tube amplifier carrying guitar sounds- a little distortion can be quite nice. But on drums and vocals it sounds like crap.   Also- if you damage your hearing- you probably won't get it back. You will just hear a high pitched whine off " tinnitus" -You may recover from it but consider it a serious warning....


8 years ago

Point out that the sound was sucky, and suggest the whole kit is reassembled for testing and the problems identified before the band is embarrassed again. If the sound engineer reckons they knew what the problem was (and adequately explains why they couldn't fix it then) hold them to it not happening again.



8 years ago

Without seeing the setup myself, it's hard to say what's going wrong.

First off, if you know what you're doing and you think you can solve the problem yourself... be more assertive and SAY SO.

Here's the potential problems I can think of off of the top of my head:

1.  A bad cable or a dirty connector in a piece of equipment.
2.  A chopped-off or broken ground pin on one of your AC plugs.  The same goes for AC outlets and extension cords with faulty grounds.
3.  Running really long instrument cables. -Use XLR cables for long runs.
4.  Feeding something that expects mic-level, line-level.
5.  Too much gain used on any or all channels of the mixer.
6.  Using phantom power on equipment that doesn't want it.
7.  Not using phantom power for equipment that needs it and trying to make up for it with gain.
8.  Volume set too low on powered speakers and too high on mixer.
9.  Trying to drive non-powered speakers that are too large for the amp.