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FDP Forum / Performer's Corner / If you run sound for others

Rick Knight
Contributing Member
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St Peters, MO USA

Busy doing something close to nothing
Aug 4th, 2019 07:44 AM   Edit   Profile  

Other than occasionally helping friends, running sound doesn't interest me. Having to listen to music I don't like sounds like a definition of hell. Assuming that nobody likes every kind of music, or most bad attempts at any music, how do you handle it?

(This message was last edited by Rick Knight at 02:18 PM, Aug 4th, 2019)

ninworks
Contributing Member
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Middle Tennessee

Guitar Slave
Aug 4th, 2019 08:09 AM   Edit   Profile  

I always took the same approach as I do when playing very simple cover songs on guitar. Put all of you energy into making them sound as good as you are able to with what you have to work with.

I did FOH sound for years at a high-end night club that had circuit bands coming through all of the time that did disco covers. Great bands but, I really don't like disco.

The club had a DJ that played songs before the band, during their breaks, and after they finished. He played all of the same songs the bands did so I heard the originals through the same sound system I was using for the bands. I tried to make the bands sounds as much like the original recordings as I could. IMO many times they sounded better than the recordings.

Still hated the music but took pride in how good I was able to make them sound. I had countless compliments from the audience as well as the bands for how good the sound was.

(This message was last edited by ninworks at 10:10 AM, Aug 4th, 2019)

Roly
Contributing Member
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Whitehorse Canada

I don't get out much
Aug 4th, 2019 01:13 PM   Edit   Profile  

I find it just as rewarding as playing, unless the band is REALLY bad.


Juice Nichols
Contributing Member
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Panama City, FL

I'm just a dude, playing a dude...
Aug 4th, 2019 02:34 PM   Edit   Profile  

I’m with you Roly. I view it the same as playing an instrument. I always strive to make them sound as good as possible, but you can’t fix lack of talent.

Roger Ball
Contributing Member
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Canada

New guitars and old amps, baby!
Aug 4th, 2019 02:36 PM   Edit   Profile  

Years ago I volunteered to look after a sound system at an outdoor event that featured local folk artists and such. Everything was basically set up by the organizer but there were about a half dozen acts at any one time so he needed people to look after each PA setup.

One singer sounded OK at the very brief sound check but her guitar kept losing volume during the first few songs. People started to complain to me about it but nothing I did on the board helped.

Finally at some point she realized that the volume control on her new acoustic-electric guitar operated in the reverse direction to what she expected so she was turning herself down unintentionally.

It was a learning experience for sure.



ninworks
Contributing Member
*******

Middle Tennessee

Guitar Slave
Aug 4th, 2019 02:56 PM   Edit   Profile  

Running live sound is kind of like being the conductor of an orchestra. You have control of everything coming off the stage. Balances, dynamics, sound quality etc. It's a real joy when the bands are good. I have been very lucky in that everyone I have ever worked with have been very good.

Juice Nichols
Contributing Member
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Panama City, FL

I'm just a dude, playing a dude...
Aug 4th, 2019 05:54 PM   Edit   Profile  

“It's a real joy when the bands are good.”

It sure is. I’ve been doing production work for a local promoter who does singer songwriter events. Some of them are very good. Others need to take their act back to the living room. I still give them my best and I know they appreciate what I do for them.

My favorite gig is at church. I run FOH for a large Baptist church and the musicians are top notch. It’s truly a joy to mix those services. Not to mention I get to play with tour grade sound gear. :-)

Roly
Contributing Member
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Whitehorse Canada

I don't get out much
Aug 4th, 2019 07:56 PM   Edit   Profile  

I think a very important part of being happy with the mix is having the right tools to achieve ones goals.
At my house gig, I own the mixer, the crossover, the mics and DIs, the monitors, and their power amps, plus tons of cabling.
I also own the laptop, software, dongle, and some of the fixtures of the lighting rig....I consider lighting to be an occupational hazard and do not devote a lot of time to the lights.
House owns the front end and the front end power amps.
I could get by with the in house gear, but it is limited and my best effort with the house rig is inferior to what I can achieve with my personal gear.
It's important to me to leave the venue at the end of the show and think....that was pretty good.
cheers

BbendFender
Contributing Member
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American Patriot

About as ordinary as you can get.
Aug 5th, 2019 10:34 AM   Edit   Profile  

I'd like to run (set) my bands sound but I get overruled by the PA owner.

Roly
Contributing Member
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Whitehorse Canada

I don't get out much
Aug 5th, 2019 09:58 PM   Edit   Profile  

Hi Mr Bend
That's a complicated scenario.
If one does not own the rig, and the rig owner is not interested in your input...basically, you are hooped.
Don't beat your head against the wall....my forehead is flat....:>)

cheers


jhawkr
Contributing Member
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Wichita, KS USA

Retired April 26, 2019
Aug 6th, 2019 05:22 AM   Edit   Profile  

I was asked to run sound for a 3 piece folk/Bluegrass band. The band owns their own PA system, a Mackie 1608 with powered monitors and mains. I run everything from an iPad. It's not my preferred music but I really enjoy having control over what is out front. The band is very happy with my work and made me an equal share member. I'm retired now so I can be really flexible with schedules. Generally, once the band is happy with their monitor mix, I am free to tweak as I like. I roam around with the iPad so I'm not stuck in one spot the whole gig.

acplayer

MA

Earn while you learn
Aug 7th, 2019 03:55 PM   Edit   Profile  

I am a performing musician that also provides sound system for some local live performances.

I find being on the sound/production end of a performance (and doing a good job at it) to be interesting, however, if I were to choose one (performing) over the other (sound tech) I'd rather be the one on stage playing rather than the guy tech'ing the show.

Gigging (performing) is fun...even as a 60 y/o. Sound tech'ing came about for me as I owned some gear (from the bands that I had) and people asked me to run sound for them....then I got more gear...and then I got asked to do bigger events.

My biggest tech events are providing the sound system for the annual ACS Relay for Life and a local town's Fireworks (held every other year) and an annual outdoor high school graduation.

Like I stated earlier, running sound is interesting but for the most part, it is rather "unforgiving".
A funny note: I was tech'ing the stage for a small/local festival and a band on stage "really" f'up a song...the leader looked over at me...(audience could see him looking at me). When their set ended the bandleader gave me some guff saying that the monitors weren't right and that caused the miscue...
I said to him, "so that's why butchered the bridge on most of the songs...I thought that you didn't know what you were doing....







acplayer

MA

Earn while you learn
Aug 15th, 2019 05:43 AM   Edit   Profile  

Back on point to your original question "how do you handle it?".

I am just glad that I am hearing people make live music....some better than others...at least it's "live".


SecondHoneymoon
Contributing Member
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Columbia, SC

Aug 18th, 2019 10:30 AM   Edit   Profile  

Ive done it several times, but it isn't my favorite thing. Would much rather play.

If things sound fine nobody knows who you are. But if things start to go south EVERYONE is mad at you.

My worst experience was in a metal industrial building with concrete floors, doing BG bands. Feedback city. Worst problem was a prima donna banjo player who felt being there at sound check was beneath him. Then bitched their whole set that the monitor next to him was too loud, while the guy who wanted it that way had been there for sound check. He started to give me crap after their set but b then I'd had it. Told him he should have arrived earlier instead of walking on at the last minute. Didn't wait for his answer.

I'll do it in a pinch because I can't stand poorly run live sound.

Juice Nichols
Contributing Member
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Panama City, FL

I'm just a dude, playing a dude...
Aug 18th, 2019 11:02 AM   Edit   Profile  

Learning how to deal with all the different personalities and egos is as important to running live sound as knowing how to operate the gear. Monitors are always a PIA. Some musicians want them so loud that it’s difficult to get FOH over the top of them without killing the audience.

RicOkc

Nicoma Park, OK.

"Let the music do the talking"
Oct 26th, 2019 05:25 AM   Edit   Profile  

I ran sound for a large local church, not exactly my cup o' tea.

But...I learned a lot about mixing different instruments like violins, brass instruments, ect.



FDP Forum / Performer's Corner / If you run sound for others




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