Can You Hear the Real Me?? - Home Theater Forum and Systems - HomeTheaterShack.com

Old 04-26-10, 11:52 PM Thread Starter
Senior Shackster

Pep

Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: Bear, DE
Posts: 132
Can You Hear the Real Me??

The Scene: 600 seat auditorium with stage. Rock band with stage monitors.. no in-ears.

Front of House engineer (FOH) is complaining the band is so loud that he barely has the FOH speakers turned up. Everyone turns amps down.

Musicians are livid.... they can't hear themselves play or sing!

Stage volume rule of thumb... anyone?
PepAX7 is offline

Old 04-27-10, 12:14 AM
Senior Shackster
jonathan

Join Date: Mar 2010
Posts: 241
Re: Can You Hear the Real Me??

Oh, I know this, the ratio of foldback levels to front of house levels can be expressed as a number by using this formula.......

((foh*aor) / cuF (noms) )
(---------------------- )* pTIU
( (dh*aoa) )

foh - Front of house level in db
cuF - cubic feet of venue
noms - number of marshall stacks
aor - age of rockers
dh - percentage of hearing left in drummers right ear
aoa - age of audience
pTIU - probability of band just turning everything up as soon as they go on
jonathanm is offline
Old 04-27-10, 06:17 AM
Shackster
BB

Join Date: May 2008
Posts: 27
Re: Can You Hear the Real Me??

Quote:
PepAX7 wrote: View Post
The Scene: 600 seat auditorium with stage. Rock band with stage monitors.. no in-ears.

Front of House engineer (FOH) is complaining the band is so loud that he barely has the FOH speakers turned up. Everyone turns amps down.

Musicians are livid.... they can't hear themselves play or sing!

Stage volume rule of thumb... anyone?
OK then here we go:
• Make sure all the drums are damped with rings, gel, gaffer tape or any of the usual suspects
• Make the guitarists turn their amps pointing inwards no less than 45deg 90 deg across the stage is even better
• Tell the band that the house power supply has a sound level meter attached that will cut the mains power if the overall level in the venue exceeds 85dB
• Spend as much or more time getting the monitor mix and volume levels right on stage
• During sound check if they don't listen, secretly pull (or have an assistant pull) the breaker for the stage power
• Tell the band over the talk back that they exceeded the sound limit and wait 30 secs before restoring the power - doing this two or three times usually does the trick when the band are reminded that this could happen during the nights performance if they turn their amps up any higher!

It won't always work but it's worth a try!

Cheers
Anton
BoogieBear is offline
Old 04-27-10, 09:30 AM
Elite Shackster

Tony

Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: Edmonton, Alberta, Can
Posts: 14,817
My System
Re: Can You Hear the Real Me??

At our old church building we always had this problem. The band was way to loud and you could not hear the vocals without pushing everything above 90db's. For me the general rule was the stage volume was not to exceed 75db's at the sound booth. Drums were kept in behind a plexiglass booth and the bass and electric guitar had a blanket over the back of their amps top keep the sound from coming out the back of them.
I always think of the mix as a layered cake: Rythum and guitars were the bottom layer unless doing a solo, Drums on top of that and piano on the next layer and then for the icing the loudest part were the vocals.
Our move to our new building solved allot of issues. The Bass and electric guitar player both use headphones or in ears, Drums are digital and he also wares headphones. The auditorium its self is completely built to be acoustically sound and we installed a concert series sound system complete with subs.

Home theater:
Onkyo 805, Yamaha YDP2006EQ, Samson Servo 600 amp
3 EV Sentry 500 monitors across the front, 4 Mission 762i's Surrounds, SVS PB13U sub, Panasonic BDT220, Harmony 1100, Nintendo WiiU
Panasonic PT-AE8000 on a 120" 2,35:1 fixed screen

Living room system:
Sherwood/Newcastle R972, Mission 765's, SVS SBS02's, A/D/S MS3u sub, Yamaha YDG2030EQ
Yamaha KX-393 Tape deck, CDC 805 CD changer, Panasonic BD60, Sony turntable PS-T20
Panasonic TC-P50ST60, HD-PVR & WDTV Live, Harmony 900

tonyvdb is online now
Old 04-27-10, 02:05 PM
Senior Shackster
gropher

Join Date: Feb 2010
Posts: 291
Re: Can You Hear the Real Me??

Walk up to the vocalist and tell him "I can't hear you very well through the monitors because the
guitars are too loud...maybe you can ask them to turn the volume down".

Should work 85% of the time.
immortalgropher is offline
Old 04-28-10, 10:08 AM
Senior Shackster

Nathan

Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Lincoln, UK.
Posts: 110
Re: Can You Hear the Real Me??

Heh, nice one Astral Plane!

Very much along the lines of what I was going to sugest as a last result -I ask the lead singer if hearing him is important. Divide and Conquer!

I find that the vocalists complain if the stage levels are to high and the backline, drums and cymbals mask the vocal monitors. Turn the backline down and the vocalists are happier, but the guitarists then complain they can't hear the cabs six feet behind them, even though you're only just hearing the vocals over them 100 ft away! Ususal problem here is their cab is sat on the floor and most of their sound passes straight past their legs. Bung it in the monitors if they can handle it, at least then it's pointed towards their ears.

This is where good communication and diplomacy are essential. Guitarists can be very sensitive (even precious) about their "sound", which includes the volume it is produced at, even to the detriment of the entire band's sound. Live performance and sound reinforcement is always a compromise to a degree, and working with them to find a best balance is the best course of action, although you are bound to meet individuals with whom there is no helping. This is when getting the vocalist on your side is one of few options left to you.

Remember that as a rule of thumb, you need to be able to reinforce to a level about 10dB above the stage sound to be able to retain some control over the overall instrument levels. Is this is not possible due to PA headroom, to not being able to give the vocalist enough gain before feedback, or because the resultant level is too loud for the venue/event/audience, then you will have a sound that is compromise by this stage level.

I have had one gig this month where I was asked repeatedly to turn down the guitarist, he was so loud on stage that I was not amplifying his cab at all. We had set levels in soundcheck and then he had turned up at showtime. There was nothing I could do bar send messages to stage to ask him to turn down at source.

Then saturday's gig was the opposite -bassist and guitarist in a theatre show who were only too happy to set their levels to whatever was needed, because some of the singers were wearing hairline lavaliers and it was difficult to amplify their solo spots. Very professional guys, and even the drummer was obliging behind his acrylic screen.

It's an age-old endemic problem, and I don't think it will ever go away.

Nathan.

>
planetnine is offline
Old 04-28-10, 08:58 PM Thread Starter
Senior Shackster

Pep

Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: Bear, DE
Posts: 132
Re: Can You Hear the Real Me??

Very good tips from all... thank you. It does help with "divide and conquer".

What about putting the monitors on a compressor/limiter and hold the level on stage at 85-89db?

What about an amp closet/room? I read that some venues are placing the amps off stage in an "amp room" to keep the "tone" guys(gtr players) happy and feeding this into the mons. Anyone see/try that?

Pep
PepAX7 is offline
Old 04-28-10, 09:26 PM
Senior Shackster
gropher

Join Date: Feb 2010
Posts: 291
Re: Can You Hear the Real Me??

Quote:
PepAX7 wrote: View Post
Very good tips from all... thank you. It does help with "divide and conquer".

What about putting the monitors on a compressor/limiter and hold the level on stage at 85-89db?

What about an amp closet/room? I read that some venues are placing the amps off stage in an "amp room" to keep the "tone" guys(gtr players) happy and feeding this into the mons. Anyone see/try that?

Pep
The amp room is indeed beginning to become popular, but you can also use a plexiglass iso chamber
with an open top to move the mic around in. If you have a 609 you can just loop it around the
amp handle and let it hang in that kind of a set up .

I wouldn't compress or limit the monitors...
immortalgropher is offline
Old 04-29-10, 04:17 AM
Senior Shackster
maikol

Join Date: Nov 2008
Posts: 191
Re: Can You Hear the Real Me??

Quote:
jonathanm wrote: View Post
Oh, I know this, the ratio of foldback levels to front of house levels can be expressed as a number by using this formula.......

((foh*aor) / cuF (noms) )
(---------------------- )* pTIU
( (dh*aoa) )

foh - Front of house level in db
cuF - cubic feet of venue
noms - number of marshall stacks
aor - age of rockers
dh - percentage of hearing left in drummers right ear
aoa - age of audience
pTIU - probability of band just turning everything up as soon as they go on
maikol is offline
Old 05-09-10, 04:10 PM
Senior Shackster

Nathan

Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Lincoln, UK.
Posts: 110
Re: Can You Hear the Real Me??

Re compressing/limiting the onstage monitors: it's not usually the monitors that cause the issues, rather the drums and backline amplification -which of course the SE has no direct control over. Sometimes you can lose control over a monitor mix in that everyone wants their monitor turned up to overpower everyone elses mixes instead of turning down what is not needed. This results in iterative requests to turn up, and the result is a stage level that makes you wince and a sound that you can't hear things through!

This is where good communication between SE and band, and trust and pragmatism on the part of the band are required. There will always be band member who expect the impossible or won't compromise...

>
planetnine is offline

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