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Soundguys eqing your signal

Carl

Inspired
If the soundguy is EQ'ing/processing your signal wildly, then he either doesn't know what he's doing, or he does.

Sound onstage does not equal sound out FOH, and there is no way to find out what's going on out there unless you give your guitar to someone else while the band plays and you actually go out there for a listen with the punters.

And i'm sure the soundguy would just love to hear your opinion of the guitar sound too... :)

You know, those guys are dealing with a whole band in a whole room and a whole sound, usually in a "one shot/seat of the pants" type situation, so of course they're going to have a bunch of basic workarounds/settings/presets/falbacks/basic starting points etc.

Yes, we are at their mercy. Be kind to them.

Or get one as part of the band...

(Somewhere, in a not so parallel universe, a bunch of soundguys (and gals!) are having the exact opposite "discussion" to this...)
 

steadystate

Fractal Fanatic
If the soundguy is EQ'ing/processing your signal wildly, then he either doesn't know what he's doing, or he does.
One specific guy, who we worked with for years, hates the sound of the Axe FX II and claims the only direct preamp that ever sounded good was the Rockman.

Another put a compressor on the master bus that ducked the entire mix under the lead vocal by about 20 dB (in other words, the lead vocals were 20 dB above the mix). The entire mix would disappear for about two seconds every time the lead singer sang or spoke. I could hear it acoustically through my IEMs, but these "professionals" were unaware. The band had to stop the show, approach the board, and ask him to remove the compressor.

I could site dozens of other examples, but you get the idea. And these aren't dive bars. These are nice "showrooms" with great gear and a budget.

Any FOH person who puts LPF and HPF without listening is either ignorant, lazy, or incredibly pressed for time. Since we have house gigs each and every week at the same venues, with the same guys, the same gear, the same mixer scenes, the same schedule, and with plenty of time before every show for sound check, I can rule out the last of those possibilities and go with one or both of the former.

There are some great ones out there, but there is no objective quantitative test to weed out the bad ones. Very much like musicians in that regard :)
 
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stereotactic

Experienced
I'm glad to see some on here who understand that there is an orthodoxy among FOH people, and that it should not be accepted without question. The only other instrument with more frequency and dynamic range than an electric guitar would be an acoustic/electric piano/keyboard. And because keyboard instruments are featured more often than guitar in pop music, especially in the last 20-30 years, they are treated differently in the mix. I doubt any FOH person would ever radically EQ an acoustic piano or 88 key synthesizer for any reason. Most music is written on keyboards, so consequently they are generally viewed as more central to music than electric guitar. Guitar has been historically treated as an accompanying instrument, and aside from the relatively few times in the 70-80's when there were guitar based bands in the charts, the development of guitar centric music which explores the unique articulations and tonal possibilities of the electric guitar is a more recent phenomenon. The guitar as both the main polyphonic and solo instrument necessarily challenges musical and production traditions.

As I said previously the main problem is that conventional mix wisdom is really constructed around densely arranged, vocal forward pop which would be totally inappropriate for an instrumental 3pc. It is not too much to ask the FOH person to try and understand the intention of the music they are mixing and to adapt their approach to it. While I'm sure there are guitarists who want more sonic space than the music will allow, I'm equally sure the FOH is capable of assessing and understanding the difference between that and those bands where the guitar is more featured and perhaps the main polyphonic instrument. You can't change physics, but you can and should change your perception when new things come along.
 
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stereotactic

Experienced
One specific guy, who we worked with for years, hates the sound of the Axe FX II and claims the only direct preamp that ever sounded good was the Rockman.

Another put a compressor on the master bus that ducked the entire mix under the lead vocal by about 20 dB (in other words, the lead vocals were 20 dB above the mix). The entire mix would disappear for about two seconds every time the lead singer sang or spoke. I could hear it acoustically through my IEMs, but these "professionals" were unaware. The band had to stop the show, approach the board, and ask him to remove the compressor.

I could site dozens of other examples, but you get the idea. And these aren't dive bars. These are nice "showrooms" with great gear and a budget.

Horrifying. But, unfortunately not surprising given how many professional types love to show how opinionated and "in charge" they are...
 

Geezerjohn

Fractal Fanatic
I ask them to start flat. Unless the room is horrible (thankfully not too many these days) flat will get close to how I have dialed in my presets. Usually just a small tweak is needed. I get a lot of compliments from sound guys. When playing in a new venue, I walk out front of the FOH and give a listen. I also make a point of thanking the sound guys in advance for their
 

Carl

Inspired
I ask them to start flat. Unless the room is horrible (thankfully not too many these days) flat will get close to how I have dialed in my presets. Usually just a small tweak is needed. I get a lot of compliments from sound guys. When playing in a new venue, I walk out front of the FOH and give a listen. I also make a point of thanking the sound guys in advance for their

..their what???

OMG, the suspense...how does "The Geez" achieve harmony with "The Soundguy"???

Thank them for their appropriate (if somewhat dishevelled) dress sense perhaps?

Their pre-show playlist choices?

Tell us Geezerjohn, we all need to know!!!!
 

Geezerjohn

Fractal Fanatic
I ask them to start flat. Unless the room is horrible (thankfully not too many these days) flat will get close to how I have dialed in my presets. Usually just a small tweak is needed. I get a lot of compliments from sound guys. When playing in a new venue, I walk out front of the FOH and give a listen. I also make a point of thanking the sound guys in advance for their
O man. I see what I did there. That's what happens when I get interrupted. Frankly, now that I see the replies, I prefer that I left off the remainder of my thought. I was basically saying
 

AndyOrr

Experienced
Although I think that live sound is so much better now, there are a couple of problems I see regularly these days: Too many people mix with their eyes and not their ears. Now that most mixers come with internal RTA and a graphical display for PEQ and GEQ, I see folks regularly dialing up their favorite settings before the band hits the stage. Generally speaking, it's HPF around 60hz, slight cut for mud at 450-550 and the vocal boost around 800-1200. This isn't necessarily a bad place to start but, if you haven't heard the first note..

I've also seen a lot of interesting graphic displays when bringing a mixer back in or jumping on after another user. The most curious one had a dozen or so very narrow 12 db cuts and boosts that displayed like it was a mouthful of shark's teeth. I wondered what that mix sounded like...

The biggest issue is that a lot of installs have Driveracks or some kind of speaker processor inserted. Since no one onsite ever seems to be sure what condition the venue was in when the speakers were tuned, the engineer can't believe their eyes when they have to tune the room after it fills up. I've seen Driveracks add 3-4 db in sub 120hz frequencies when the room was tuned that turned to absolute dark mud when the venue filled up. Still, the visiting engineer refused to cut and boost as needed because they couldn't get past the visual. "It's not supposed to look like that!"

The other problem I hear regularly - and I mean regularly - is multiband compression turned on in the driverack, another multiband compressor activated in the power amp or powered speaker DSP and another one strapped across the LR outs by the mix engineer. That seems to be the new sound of every festival I go to - no peaks, no valleys, no dynamics and sometimes a sudden clip on reverb tails or repeats on delays.

It would be great if modern mixers put a simple "no display" option on the GEQ to remove the visual influence. But, while this seems like a rant, for the most part, I think everything sounds better these days. The amount of processing power that can be had for under a few thousand dollars is mind boggling.
 
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Techboy57

Inspired
As a sound guy and guitar player myself, My view is if the FOH guy has to get too cute with the EQ there is one of two problems or worse yet, both.

1- The PA system is not properly tuned, then corrections will have to be made to all channels where the problems exist.

2 - The sound coming from the Axe FX is not properly dialled in, corrections will have to be made to the presets or the global EQ on the fractal.

Generally, I may cut some low and top end to prevent that the sound isn`t overly boomy or harsh. And I will ask the guitar player what sound he is going after to try and help them get closer to their optimum tone. Too many times there is too much gain on overdriven tones and an imbalance on levels between clean and driven patches.

It's always a team effort to get a good sound coming from the PA. But when someone resists too much I leave things as they are and focus on the rest of the band.
 
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Jul

Inspired
For live shows, I have concluded that FOH is out of my hands (and control) ... I pay attention to my backline / monitor setup sound to keep me in proper focus... if it sounds good than I tend to play better and hopefully reach "the zone";.... if not, I am frustrated and playing in a "try to tolerate mode" - which is obviously much less than an optimal experience..
 

chris

Legend!
I'm glad to see some on here who understand that there is an orthodoxy among FOH people, and that it should not be accepted without question. The only other instrument with more frequency and dynamic range than an electric guitar would be an acoustic/electric piano/keyboard. And because keyboard instruments are featured more often than guitar in pop music, especially in the last 20-30 years, they are treated differently in the mix. I doubt any FOH person would ever radically EQ an acoustic piano or 88 key synthesizer for any reason. Most music is written on keyboards, so consequently they are generally viewed as more central to music than electric guitar. Guitar has been historically treated as an accompanying instrument, and aside from the relatively few times in the 70-80's when there were guitar based bands in the charts, the development of guitar centric music which explores the unique articulations and tonal possibilities of the electric guitar is a more recent phenomenon. The guitar as both the main polyphonic and solo instrument necessarily challenges musical and production traditions.

As I said previously the main problem is that conventional mix wisdom is really constructed around densely arranged, vocal forward pop which would be totally inappropriate for an instrumental 3pc. It is not too much to ask the FOH person to try and understand the intention of the music they are mixing and to adapt their approach to it. While I'm sure there are guitarists who want more sonic space than the music will allow, I'm equally sure the FOH is capable of assessing and understanding the difference between that and those bands where the guitar is more featured and perhaps the main polyphonic instrument. You can't change physics, but you can and should change your perception when new things come along.
great points.

for most live music, i personally prefer the instruments to be near the vocals in the mix. maybe i'll carve out some frequencies for vocals to stand out a bit.

but what i absolutely can't stand... and so many of the sound guys here do it... when the vocals are like 10dB (yeah that high!) louder than the instruments. sure, vocals are important. but to me, nothing sounds worse than an almost "acapella" performance. why is the band even there if you can't hear them? and i'm not talking about too much bass, too much guitar, shrill sounds, etc. i mean just standard mixing. it drives me crazy.

for musical theater, that's a totally different thing. there's a story being told and you bet i have the vocals up so you can hear them. but for a band singing songs everyone already knows, put the band up in the mix! give some cushion, atmosphere. it's ok. the world won't end if the vocals aren't the loudest thing every single moment. ugh i hate it!
 

barhrecords

Axe-Master
I actually prefer the LV to be at least 4db above the band and BGV's 2db above the band.

You can still be loud and still sound like the band has balls but make the vocals be above the mix.
 

Techboy57

Inspired
Usually when I do foh, I can hear only the guitar amp at 130db from the stage. Add a teeth-shatteringly bright tone and the evening has a great start. :)
Nothing like a 4 x 12 with 100 w of power aimed straight at your head at FOH
 

aziz

Power User
As an extreme measure, I've walked on stage once to turn down the guitar amp mid gig. The drummer was on electric drums and guitarist was louder than an explosion. I really did not want to do that but it wasn't a good combination :D
 
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