Post Number: 572
|Posted on Friday, April 08, 2016 - 9:37 am:
Hey guys, hope everyone is well. I had a gig last night and I was wondering what would you say about the way I set up my rig . Let me explain.
First, this is how I normally set it up:
Bass (Alembic Rogue)-> Effects (Eventide H9) -> Preamp (Alembic F-1X)-> D.I. (Avalon U5).
Then from the Avalon I send one signal to the engineer and the other goes to a second preamp and cabinets (or a combo, I usually use my Markbass Alain Caron 500W combo)
Now, my logic behind it:
Over the years, I ended up setting my rig like this for a simple reason. This way, I get to send to the house engineer the exact tone I like, with the EQ and effects I need/like. Then, for the stage sound (signal path after the Avalon), I can control the stage EQ with my second preamp so I can cut/boost anything I need to match the stage acoustics, without fooling around with the EQ I send to the engineer.
To make it more simple: I first create the bass tone/sound I like with the first preamp, then I send my bass sound to the engineer and to the stage: The engineer then compensates the EQ to match the venue's acoutics and I compensate the acoustics for the stage/band.
Does this make sense to any of you? Using two EQs, one for the bass tone itself (so you know the engineer gets the tone you want) and one so you can match the acoustics of the stage to also match the tone you want?
Of course, if I had one engineer that was always with me and knew how I liked my sound, he could set it up at the mixing console for me and I could send it flat to him, but as I get to play different places with different people many times, and many of this guys are not very capable (to be honest), this is the best way I found to get a consistent tone for my bass.
I've never seen anyone doing this, so I wanted to know what you think.
I have to point out that every sound person always compliments my bass sound, so it is working
Post Number: 2437
|Posted on Friday, April 08, 2016 - 10:26 am:
I like to give the house engineer a clean, flat signal. He's got to make it fit with the whole package in a room that surely sounds a lot different than the stage in front of my amp.
Several years ago I got to see Dream Theater open for YES. John Myung's bass was invisible in the mix, with the exception of chinky-chink highs and an indistinct rumble. I had a long chat with the FOH engineer after the show, mostly about his frustrations with John Myung insisting on sending a pre-eq'd signal to the board in the interest of keeping "his sound" intact, and thus not being able to give it any definition in a large hall. So That's something to consider.
Post Number: 2398
|Posted on Friday, April 08, 2016 - 10:42 am:
I always send a post effects, pre-q to the board whether I'm playing the bass or running sound. Contrary to what some folks think sending a post-eq signal does not guarantee your sound will be heard by the audience and frequently it is just the opposite. As John said pre-eq is the best way to get a good sound out in the audience since the engineer has the full signal to work with. While you can cut frequencies you can't add them if they aren't there. You also run into cases where the musician decides to tweak something throwing off the FOH mix.
Post Number: 212
|Posted on Friday, April 08, 2016 - 11:05 am:
I also use a U5 to send my signal to the house but pre-eq. Any EQ on my amp is used sparingly. All the engineers I work with prefer having a flat signal sent to the house for them to work with. I don't use effects but if did I would have them put a mic on my amp and then blend that with the flat signal from my U5 so the flat and the effected signal are always controllable by the engineer.
On the other hand, if what you are doing is working for you and the engineers you work with are happy with the result I am not sure why you are asking for opinions.
One thing I don't understand about your approach, though, is how you determine the "sound" that you send to the house if it is different than the sound you set up for your amp on stage.
Post Number: 573
|Posted on Friday, April 08, 2016 - 11:27 am:
John, Keith, thanks for the reply!
I completely understand your points, and appreciate your opinions.
The John Myung's issue really brings up my point, though: how does some one like him (or Billy Sheehan, for example, that has a very specific sound) should send his signal to the FOH mix? Does he simply have to completely trust every engineer that he has to work with?
I'm looking for some opinions here because this is a subject I don't understand much.
Do you understand my point? If John Myung does that, it probably works for him in most venues, right? It wouldn't make sense to keep an approach that doesn't work.
Thanks for the help!
Post Number: 4867
|Posted on Friday, April 08, 2016 - 11:31 am:
I like to have the FOH person come on stage to hear my stage sound and tone . If they have the ears and skill with supportive equipment the listeners might get what you intend.
I supply the FOH person with a PRE EQ signal with balanced line level AES PIN 2 HOT DI . I tell them make sure that their interface to me has PHANTOM POWER OFF . Depending on the DI signal coupling circuit design the phantom power could damage your equipment as was the case in the DI output design of the SWR GRAND PRIX preamps. This problem has been documented on various electronics internet blogs. I recently repaired such a unit and found a damaged Texas Instruments operational amplifier TLO72 ( dual op-amp) that was fried from a 48 volt phantom power interface. The op-amp was the socketed type and when I replaced it the unit was ready show-time again .
Better safe then sorry .
Post Number: 4868
|Posted on Friday, April 08, 2016 - 11:35 am:
PRE eq = before your settings . POST eq = your settings .
Post Number: 574
|Posted on Friday, April 08, 2016 - 11:37 am:
Stephenr, thanks for the reply!
The mic in front of the amp is not an option at the venues I play. No one gives me that luxurious possibility here in Brazil hehe
The reason I'm bringing this up is because I want to know if what I'm doing has a better or different alternative. It works, but I like to aquire knowledge and perhaps keep learning new things! I'm always looking for improvement.
Playing a Fender works for me and the engineers are happy. But playing an Alembic makes them happier!
As for your question regarding how I determine my sound:
I take my rig to the studio and work the EQ to match my taste regardless of where I'll play. I set it up in a "neutral environment".
Then, that sound/eq is what I send to both the venue's engineer and my stage amp. In a perfect scenario, I don't touch my amp EQ. But if the stage is boomy, for example, I get to take down some lower frequencies without interfering with my original tone that is sent to the FOH mix.
(Message edited by gregduboc on April 08, 2016)
Post Number: 575
|Posted on Friday, April 08, 2016 - 11:45 am:
That's a good approach. Thanks for letting me know. That's kind of the approach I do with my rig, sending them how I want to sound and usually they are successful in reproducing the sound over the PAs.
But to be honest, your solution is much simpler and will probably work much better regarding what I learned from the other comments!
And good info regarding phantom power as well.
One question though... What would you do if the engineer doesn't come listen to you or if he, lets suppose, has a bad ear? Just out of curiosity!
(Message edited by gregduboc on April 08, 2016)
Post Number: 1824
|Posted on Friday, April 08, 2016 - 12:15 pm:
The only problem I see with your setup is that you are taking the output of your first preamp to the input of your second preamp which could overdrive it & cause distortion.
I completely agree with your desire to have your own seperate EQ for what you hear on stage that you can tweak without affecting the PA mix. I do the same thing, but I send the output of my F-2B to a Radial Engineering ProD2 DI then the balanced out of the DI to the PA & unbalanced out to my SF-2 then to my power amp. So I can make adjustments on the SF-2 to color what I hear on stage without affecting the signal I send to the PA.
Like Wolf, I also have brought our Soundman on stage to hear the sound I'm getting so he can match it in the PA.
Post Number: 4869
|Posted on Friday, April 08, 2016 - 12:41 pm:
Greg , your question is worth gold ! A very good question .
I have had great results with FOH folks and awful results as well . I have learned from past experience to have my stage volume and sound as is needed. In the 1970's I had a really bad experience at a long gone venue called the " KEYSTONE PALO ALTO " where I was told to bring what turned out to be way under powered stage equipment and they would run me to the FOH system. That turned out to be " BIG MUD" with a time delay slap back , just awful . I really had a difficult time with that and it was going to be broadcast over the radio as well , I was really worried what it all really sounded like but actually ended up better then expected , the anticipation of hearing the recording was quite gripping .
The important part in a large venue or at an outside festival for me is hearing my self with the other musicians , my blend onstage. if I have other thoughts go through my mind and distractions like worrying about anything else while I am concentrated on what we are doing on the stage my and our performance could suffer. Therefore if the FOH folks are not willing to give you what you think you want before the performance ; if you have road crew person , friend , girl friend , wife or management person who can speak in your interest during the performance who knows your sound and has good people skills and can express them selves technically that can help . Sometimes it just is what it is , and there is nothing else to do .
Post Number: 1044
|Posted on Friday, April 08, 2016 - 1:26 pm:
FOH Sound People are like unto God and must be worshiped accordingly.
Tis like the old intro to the TV show, 'The Outer Limits'. "For the next 30 minutes we control the vertical, the horizontal, the sound, and your bladder. Do not get up for chips and beer or we will zap your brain with a dork-ray that will make thee exceedingly stupid."
Bring them offerings of food and beer, maybe they will take a liking to you. Ask them what instrument they play, for they all doth play an instrument and are frustrated they are not playing it at that moment, and showing thou that they are better than you.
Above all, do not piss them off or try to tell them their trade, or thou will suffer accordingly.
Post Number: 4870
|Posted on Friday, April 08, 2016 - 1:53 pm:
David , I agree ! Nice communication and treats , all with a smile .
Post Number: 2399
|Posted on Friday, April 08, 2016 - 2:40 pm:
"One question though... What would you do if the engineer doesn't come listen to you or if he, lets suppose, has a bad ear? Just out of curiosity!"
If the soundman has a bad ear then getting your individual sound out front is the least of your worries.
If they don't want or have time to listen to your stage sound you need to keep in mind they are getting paid to make you sound good to the audience. While you always have the chance to run into a real jerk most of these folks honestly want things to go well. Remember their job depends upon making the audience happy just as it is your job too. If you want to do it like the A list musicians/bands then you can always hire your own engineer to handle sound at your gigs. Even if, for some reason, the venue won't let them run the desk they can sit there and tell the house engineer what adjustments need to be made. An alternative is to have someone you trust sit at the desk as a liaison but they better be technical enough to communicate the sound needs and not someones girl friend (been on the receiving end of that one).
Post Number: 1045
|Posted on Friday, April 08, 2016 - 2:56 pm:
Yes, all humor aside, sound persons want you to look and sound good.
A good place to start with them is to ask them first what you can do to help them get a good sound on the bass. They probably know their sound system better than you, and are quite busy with other priorities, like getting the singers to sound great.
I try to talk to them during a break to see if something needs to change on stage. I also make a point of thanking them after the show, for theirs is a often thankless task and they will probably be there after the band (and everyone else) is long gone to pack it all up. You may well be coming back to that same venue at some point, and they could well remember how great your group is to work with and try extra hard for you next time, too!
Post Number: 4871
|Posted on Friday, April 08, 2016 - 3:57 pm:
I had a girl friend about 3o years ago who was a broadcast electrician having more FCC license credentials then she needed for her job and she had a great ear who worked for a local radio station . She was also a really good piano player and could tell you exactly the frequency in HZ for every note that she played ! She was exceptional as a person to sit with the FOH person and make sonic suggestions , and sometimes did. It was difficult for most people to reject her suggestions because of her positive personality . But then, folks like her are _____" One in a Million ".
Post Number: 576
|Posted on Friday, April 08, 2016 - 4:54 pm:
Alright, a lot of good info here!!!
Rusty, with the Avalon I get zero distortion, it's a great piece of equipment!
Wolf, I can imagine how you felt waiting for that recording to come! That's one scary situation you were through...
David, you bring a good point to the discussion. I've dealt with engineers just like that. But then again, humor aside, some others where great guys and very helpful.
Keith, I completely agree with what you said! Indeed most of them want to make it as good as I do, but there have been many jerks as you mentioned. They are the reason I decided to, let's say, give them "a help with the tone" with my rig. Then again, I now understand that maybe I might be making it more difficult for them.
Of course, nothing would be better then having our own guy. No doubt about it. But mind you that we get payed very little to play here in Brazil, what I get is basically enough to buy a new set of strings... And we get payed quite a lot, compared to other bands.... Scenario here is very hard, unfortunately.... So having our guy would basically be us paying to play. It sucks, actually....
But anyways.... You all brought good stuff to the discussion, I really appreciate it!
If there is anything else anyone wants to say, feel free! Every opinion is a great source of knowledge.
And, as for having my girlfriend helping.... She just recently learned to differ a guitar from a bass guitar.... So I don't suppose she can help
One thing that maybe someone can answer:
How does some one like Billy Sheehan, for example, that has a very eq specific sound should send his signal to the FOH mix? Would he do something like me, sending it post EQ, or does he simply have to completely trust every engineer that he has to work with?
Also, if you should only send your signal pre EQ so not to mess with the sound signal the FOH engineer gets as many of you suggested, wouldn't a preamp pedal like most players use, be ruining that? After all, they are doing the same as I am, right? Well, I can even go further and pointing out the use of active electronics: using an on-board EQ isn't the same as sending the signal post-EQ? Do you guys get my point? Help me with your knowledge! If I sound confusing, let me know.
Post Number: 2400
|Posted on Friday, April 08, 2016 - 5:53 pm:
Well Jimmy J has said he leaves it up to the sound engineer in some of his posts.
I don't know if Stanley Clarke sends a pre or post signal from his preamp but I have seen his bass tech at the board or talking with the engineer on some performances I have gone to. If he is actually advising I couldn't tell you but I would assume he would suggest corrections if things were off. I've also been to one or two shows where the bass sounded terrible.
Post Number: 1825
|Posted on Friday, April 08, 2016 - 6:25 pm:
A Soundman can make you or break you & as my friend Doc Greene once told a Soundman, "If he can't make an Alembic sound good he is in the wrong profession!"
Post Number: 643
|Posted on Saturday, April 09, 2016 - 12:08 am:
Hey Greg, there's no right or wrong way to do this so don't drive yourself crazy overthinking it. If the way you are running your gear works for you than that's the way to go. If you've run into some specific problems; distortion, noise, etc, then you can pursue alternatives.
My method is painfully simple - Alembic through a DI box. The end. Ha! But this is the sound I'm used to and since I'm not using any effects it's just a straight shot.
From what I've seen here, Stanley's rig seems to have several preamps chained together - and then he goes into the front end of a standard bass amp for one more. No idea where he taps off for FOH but he must have worked out all the gain settings so nothing is (accidentally) overdriven. Plus ... he brings his own bass tech and sound guys. Presumably Billy Sheehan has his own crew also.
I think your method makes sense - you know you like the sound as it comes out of your Avalon so what you are giving the FOH is as close to your ideal tone as you can send. Then you can make further tweaks after that point for any stage weirdness. As long as the rig is running clean and quiet, why not?
How are you taking two outputs from the U5, line level to FOH and mic level to your amp? Or are you using the "through" to your amp?
Post Number: 2275
|Posted on Saturday, April 09, 2016 - 8:27 pm:
I have thought about these issues for decades. It has been my goal to hear from my rig, or even better, IEMs, what the FOH hears. I usually talk to the FOH person after sound check, during set break, or after the show, and ask them about how the sound is.
For at least the last 15 years, the response I've gotten is: "I bring up the bass fader, then I check the guitars." I send a post EQ signal. The key is to learn exactly what it is you are sending to the FOH. It took me a little while to learn not to cut the mids too much.
This is the reason I try to avoid backline gear. SVTs etc., may be cool rigs, but they sound nothing like what the DI sounds like and only lead you to make EQ decisions that are usually counter to what the FOH wants. I would prefer to just go with my ears and have no rig on stage (did that just last Saturday night. Turned out great).
If you are open with sound people and cultivate good relationships and ask them about what you can do to give them a better sound, you'll find that very quickly you can learn how to give them a sound where all they need to do is bring up the fader. Also, practice making your notes even. Back in the old days of 4 track cassette machines, I used one as my practice device and would watch the meters and try to get all the notes even. I overheard a sound guy I've known for a long time telling the guy who was mixing our band that night that I would send a post-EQ/post compression signal and all they had to do was raise the fader. I interjected and told him I never use a compressor. He was surprised.
So, Greg, I think you are doing the right thing! Keep at it!
Post Number: 2573
|Posted on Sunday, April 10, 2016 - 2:39 pm:
+1 on the Avalon gear, you'd really, really have to try hard to sound bad thru them. I played thru the big 737 preamp/limiter once, and it sticks out in my mind like the first time I played a Bosendorfer. And the little half-rack DI / preamps can do terrific things just with the little rotary selector on the front panel.
Post Number: 577
|Posted on Tuesday, April 12, 2016 - 9:15 am:
Hey guys, sorry for taking a while to reply.
Thanks for your comments, very interesting stuff!
Jimmy, on my U5 I send the line level to the FOH and the through to my amp. Do you use the U5 as well? If so, how do you usually set it up? Just out of curiosity.
Edwin, you brought up some of the points that made me decide to set my rig like I do. Usually that's what the FOH guy will do: Just bring up the fader. I think we can relate in the sense that, basically, my stage amp is just a monitor that I can control with more specific Bass EQ for any stage weirdness.
Joey, I'm a fan of Avalon! It's just as you said... You have to try hard to sound bad thru them!
I've never tried the 737, but I really want to. They are very hard to find here in Brazil, though.