• We would like to remind our members that this is a privately owned, run and supported forum. You are here at the invitation and discretion of the owners. As such, rules and standards of conduct will be applied that help keep this forum functioning as the owners desire. These include, but are not limited to, removing content and even access to the forum.

    Please give yourself a refresher on the forum rules you agreed to follow when you signed up.

Soundguys eqing your signal

bread

Experienced
I'm oblivious to FOH because I'm on in ears but I do set my guitar first before everyone gets there with our engineers just to make sure.

I have output 1 echo to output 2 so what I hear is as close as possible to what the audience hear. Our engineers only make small adjustments to the EQ, usually just cutting the low end at 100Hz - everything else is flat. If I want some more EQ done, we use a separate show file on the desk so we can recall the settings whenever we go back. So far I've zero complaints about my tone, and more often than not the house techs giving me great feedback about the Axe Fx after the show. I'm very much a "if it isn't broke, don't fix it" kinda bloke so my settings don't change that much between FW updates.

My global EQ for out 1 and out 2 are also flat - all EQ is done via the amp, cab, PEQ block and filter blocks. I also use 2 guitars that are almost the same so if I need to switch one out mid show, the tone is as consistent as it can be.

Boring I know, but it works for me.
 

Sonofiam

Power User
My philosophy is that it's my job to provide the best representation of my tone I can and let the sound guy do his job. If it ends up sounding bad in the house that's on him. If it becomes an issue that I'm being blamed for, that's a completely different situation. I realize there are nimrods out there but I've never been in a situation where there's an expectation of being responsible for our own mix without being told that was the case.

One thing I have made a habit of doing is meet the sound engineer before even setting up and get a feel where they're coming from. Some guys like total control, others are willing to cooperate to a certain degree. The only thing I ever ask when using an amp is to use my personal mic, I have one that I prefer and it's usually not an issue, especially after they hear it. As far as using the AX8 live, I just ask that they turn the channel eq off or start with it flat, add a low cut @ 80 Hz and go from there.
 

stereotactic

Experienced
With all due respect to the intentions of everybody speaking about specific EQ's, its pretty hard to make any useful generalization about how much needs to be cut from any guitar signal in an FOH situation. Why? Because not all of us have the same tone, use just six strings or are in the same band configuration.

And any FOH person who starts spouting off EQ generalizations before discussing a band's configuration and sonic priorities is probably a lazy know it all who has it all backwards. Being in a guitar centric, instrumental band, I have dealt with this many times and usually I am able to make my point and win them over without too much trouble. It's the ridgid guys who use "the rules" to avoid doing any extra work and flex their limp egos who are the real problem. Almost every band has specific needs, even bands at a genre festival can have big differences between them. Does anyone think some heavy guitar band with one seven string that goes down to A and 2nd guitarist who uses a regular E-E six string wants to have the same EQ applied to their guitars as every other guitar player that's been through the FOH's hands?

Plain and simple, if we get to the point of talking hierarchy, respect and job description, we are not onstage to make the FOH look good. The audience wants the best performance from the band they paid to see. The audience did not come to hear the FOH show how good they are at following a bunch of one size fits all rules. I understand the temptation with all of the incredibly precise and powerful tools for the FOH to tinker and control the spectrum/dynamics. The question is to what end? So they can show how "pro" they are? Isn't the point of all that control and knowledge to make the band sound as great as possible?

Unfortunately, the difference between these two mindsets does not seem widely understood. And it's not going to get better if we guitarists keep deferring to the FOH orthodoxy. Last time I checked, change is a constant in most music. And as such FOH should be learning something new every night. All the best FOH people I have met were very curious, friendly and communicative. I always get the distinct impression from these people that they are there to work with me, not tell me how many rules I'm breaking so they can turn around and break my balls...
 
Last edited:

stereotactic

Experienced
When you can't hear the vocal clearly, it sounds amateur to me.

Sure, but rhetorically speaking, shouldn't the vocals have some drive and fight to them too? If you apply a dB target above the band, does that target include the softest vocal passages? Are you shooting to hear every syllable no matter how quiet or slurred? To me that's diva territory and has little or nothing to do with the sound of a band...
 

barhrecords

Axe-Master
I don't worry about FOH really. I don't see the point when I'm performing, why worry about it?

That creeps into control freak territory for me and the last thing I want is to be distracted during a show by anything other than the performance or tits.
 

stereotactic

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.

I agree with all of your points above and thank you for taking the time to relate those observations about the downstream dynamics chain, it explains a lot. It's always interesting to hear someone explain a phenomenon like that and how it may become a trend. Me, I'm anti-trend, classic all the way..:)

Speaking of now and then, you are correct about the truly amazing state of pro sound processing power available to even small venues. It seems all the more remarkable then that I rarely hear live music which sounds memorable or great. Sure, live sound tends now to be clearer and the low frequencies are definitely tighter, but why do I remember Queen on both News of the World and Jazz tours in a hockey arena sounding much better than most anything I've heard recently in big or small venues with full acoustic treatment and modern PA's? Is it the gear, a different philosophy/aesthetic, or some particular combination?

It seems to me that FOH engineering in big venues before time alignment was about achieving a harmonious blending of things, utilizing the resonances of the room and balancing the rest of the spectrum against those nodes rather than fighting or trying somehow to eliminate them. I remember hearing everything very clearly at the Queen shows, but also how the room seemed to be alive and part of the sound. It made the sound bigger, it had more dimension than this newer approach, which seems like an attempt to recreate the sound and dynamic range of a record projected out perfectly, equally to every member of the audience. At every show I saw, I would get up and walk around during the performance to see how the sound varied. I made a point of walking over to Brian May's side of the stage both tours and was able to get right up level with his wall of AC30's. I liked his sound on record, but holy shit did those amps sound great up close, absolutely one of a kind ferocious tone. The drums sounded amazing, everything did, all very dynamic and very fucking loud.

Hell, I don't even like Tom Petty that much but I saw a concert movie of his and and was totally blown away by how good it sounded. A friend of mine was in a band that opened for him on tour and who also owned a studio and said he couldn't believe how much top-quality vintage studio gear Petty brought out on the road. He said shit was always breaking but they would fix it and every night it sounded amazing...

What gives???
 
Last edited:

stereotactic

Experienced
I don't worry about FOH really. I don't see the point when I'm performing, why worry about it?

That creeps into control freak territory for me and the last thing I want is to be distracted during a show by anything other than the performance or tits.

The OP asked about FOH guitar EQ situations, hence the "worrying" about FOH practices.

Sure the performance comes first, but my performance is greatly enhanced if I know it sounds great out front. The audience cares, so why wouldn't I?

If anybody is going to be allowed to be a control freak, it should be the performer, not the FOH. But apparently they aren't always getting that memo...
 

steadystate

Fractal Fanatic
I've worked with a monitor guy who will only give you what "he" thinks is best for you in your monitor. EQ, gating, compression, you name it. He'll adjust the relative levels as you want. But if you tell him the gate is cutting off your vocals or making instruments abruptly cut in and out of your mix causing distraction, he will simply think you don't understand what a gate is supposed to do. If the eq sounds bad in your in-ears, don't ask him to adjust it to a curve that doesn't "look" right to him.

Perhaps it is my failing, but I can't put on my best performance knowing the FOH tone is lacking because the operator is not listening and/or not skilled.

Don't even get me started on guys who put tap delay on every song. Every song.
 

chris

Legend!
I could have the time of my life on stage, but if my band sounds horrible out front, people won’t like us, or they’ll associate us with sounding bad. I’m surprised at how many don’t care about that aspect at all, or maybe they just assume it can’t ever be THAT bad. Unfortunately it can, and often does.

Though I feel a bit burdened at times that I do know about sound and I’m always thinking about it, the extra worry/care has almost always been a positive aspect in my performances. It’s surprising (or maybe not) how easily the audience gets into a band when they sonically sound good vs not.
 

stereotactic

Experienced
Speaking of performances, anti control freakery and delivering the goods straight to the audience:


Deep Purple, Denmark 72', no inears, no monitors or side fills, not even a floor wedge for the vocalist. And look at how much amplification is on that stage, you couldn't fit another cabinet. Breaking every contemporary FOH rule in their hidebound book. Just a tight band listening to each other and killing...
 
Last edited:

pauliusmm

Fractal Fanatic
I could have the time of my life on stage, but if my band sounds horrible out front, people won’t like us, or they’ll associate us with sounding bad. I’m surprised at how many don’t care about that aspect at all, or maybe they just assume it can’t ever be THAT bad. Unfortunately it can, and often does.

Though I feel a bit burdened at times that I do know about sound and I’m always thinking about it, the extra worry/care has almost always been a positive aspect in my performances. It’s surprising (or maybe not) how easily the audience gets into a band when they sonically sound good vs not.

On the other hand if you're not having the time of your life on stage audience can see it. In some cases poor monitor sound can really make the peformance really hard to enjoy and deliver to the audience. Believe it or not more people judge the performance by how impressive it was: how charismatic was the band, confidence, appearance etc. Very few people actually understand if it was good musically. If you're enjoying your performance on stage theres more chance to catch the audience's attention.
Of course you need both: FOH sound is really important, but not at the expense of bands comfort on stage. Poor sound in front can ruin the gig as much as poor sound in the monitors.
 

stereotactic

Experienced
Can you imagine what Richie Blackmore would've done if the FOH guy told him to turn down, or that his tone wasn't "fitting in" and that he should "adjust" it?
 
Last edited:

Andre Antunes

Inspired
This is a weird trick and not professional at all, but works for me. Some sound guys I know tend to completely destroy the guitar, when they listen to it solo'ed, they start boosting and cutting the most weird frequencies, that you won't even notice in a band context, OR, may be needed in a band context. So my fellow band members always join in when I'm doing my checksound. Now the soundguy is mixing in a band context. And believe me, most of them don't touch the desk at all when this happens.

I don't recommend it, but thought it was worth sharing.
What I really recommend is having a soundguy with you that knows your tone and can give valueable inputs.
 

chris

Legend!
Of course you need both: FOH sound is really important, but not at the expense of bands comfort on stage. Poor sound in front can ruin the gig as much as poor sound in the monitors.
Good thing they’re usually separate. I can’t think of too many situations where a good FOH directly means a bad monitor situation for the band. Unless you’re in a very small space. Sometimes a live band shouldn’t perform in a space where they want volume control. Physics just don’t allow certain things. Like a drum set next to people eating dinner. “We want full on metal, but can you turn it down?” I’ve literally been asked that. And the answer is no. It just can’t be done.

One topic not brought up yet is basically abandoning FOH and just using stage sound for the audience. This naturally happens in small venues and honestly the FOH becomes more of a vocal speaker only. This is totally fine if the venue is ok with the volume and the sound guy knows what to do. To many people, this actually sounds more natural and preferred. An issue arises though when the venue ISN’T that small, yet the band wants the stage volume to light up the room.

As with most discussions here, there are many different situations and what someone said in one post doesn’t mean they think that for every setup. Many ways to do things and many requirements due to different setups.
 
Top Bottom