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Author Topic:  Band is too Loud!!
Craig Woloshin


From:
Florida, USA
Post Posted 18 Jan 2018 8:45 pm     Reply with quote

I sit in a few times a month with a group of very good musicians, problem is that their stage volume is way to loud...I find myself by the end of the first set pinning my amp at full tilt!! I find it very hard to finesse the steel at this level...Ive tried a few different solutions...position myself at different spots on stage, setting my amp up high and close to me, but its still way too loud!! Since Im a sit in player, not a full time member (my choice) I have no say....all the band members love the pedal steel and say they love the sound, but I know how much better it would sound with volume dynamics....Im looking for any ideas to help me make the proper adjustment on my end....
Gear: Zum Encore with the Quilter Steelaire 15inch speaker Amp

The band usually puts me thru the PA with a microphone....
I am trying to avoid carrying a monitor.....Any thoughts on taking the output of the sttelaire and using earbuds?? Any other ideas would be much appreciated....trying to find a way to concentrate on my parts without turning way up
Thx
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Lane Gray


From:
Topeka, KS
Post Posted 18 Jan 2018 8:49 pm     Reply with quote

Set your amp next to you, aimed at you, so that the sound person gets no sound from your amp. They'll turn you up in the mix.
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Fred Treece


From:
California, USA
Post Posted 18 Jan 2018 11:55 pm     Reply with quote

I wouldn’t take a signal from your amp and feed it into earbuds. At the volume levels you are talking about, that seems like a quick way to lose your hearing.

You could get fitted with some Westone earplugs. They cut volume 15 decibels pretty evenly across all frequencies. You do lose a little more on the high end, but hey who needs cymbal crashes when you’re trying to do a tasty volume swell?

If that and aiming your amp doesn’t work, find a new band.
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Tony Prior


From:
Charlotte NC..
Post Posted 19 Jan 2018 12:53 am     Reply with quote

Craig,the statement " the band is too loud" or "the stage level is too loud" carries no relative reference. Too loud for who, too loud compared to what ? Just saying the words has no reference. Maybe you are not playing loud enough. Too many variables.

Where are you set-up in relative position to other players, monitors or mains ?

Many of us play the same volume each gig, the amps are positioned behind us so we can hear ourselves clearly . I can easily tell if I am too loud compared to other players or perhaps not loud enough. I do not use or want a monitor. I am not in the PA system. The bands I work with regularly we do not mic instruments . Thru the years I have learned how to listen across the bandstand and judge volume levels based on that. Obviously if it's a small room, the levels are controlled "DOWNWARDS" . We play the room, the stage , the band all together.

I never use a monitor directly in front of me , I do not want to hear the band or other instruments aiming at my head. I dare say, many bands just put wedges out in front of everyone and have no reference as to what it really sounds like out front or what the level is. "We have monitors and by golly we are gonna use them". Problem is a majority of bands have only ONE monitor send and everyone is in the same monitor mix.

IF we are on a 15 foot wide stage with a Bass, an Electric Guitar and a Steel, why do we even need any monitors other than for vocals ? Yet, many times we see 2 or 3. To what end ?

The only bands I sit in with now and then that are said to be too loud are the ones who MIC everything . The entire planet comes out of the mains. The issue there is really not that the band is too loud it's that the mains are too loud and it's usually the vocals as they have to be above all the other instruments in the mix.

You may come sit in with me and say I am too loud while I may say you are not loud enough.

Remember, we set our amp volume on 3 or 4, and as a Steel player thats not our output volume. It's MUCH less. With our volume pedal we are using perhaps 50 to 60 % of the available volume. So we can't say, my amp is on 4 as a reference, it's not accurate.

Maybe sit your amp up on a chair facing you, but make sure you can hear the other players equally otherwise you may play too softly or complain that they are too loud .

This is not practice, it's a stage gig. We play the appropriate levels along with everyone else. Can we be too loud ? Sure, Can they be too loud ? Sure. But we can also be too soft with the notion that THEY are too loud.

"I can't hear myself , so they are too loud" may actually be due to some other factor , like your amp is in the wrong spot or you are not using enough volume pedal . Or maybe there is a monitor in front of you screaming bloody murder that you are fighting with.

It's all relative.


If it turns out that you just feel the band is too loud, you really only have two choices, adjust and join in or don't play. Sad
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chuck lemasters


From:
Jacksonburg, WV
Post Posted 19 Jan 2018 5:50 am     Band is too loud Reply with quote

I found that using hearing protection in those situations actually made it easier to hear, although it made it harder to judge my volume, with respect to the rest of the band. Like Tony, I absolutely hated a monitor pointed at my face, often turned it around, or at least off axis to me. I am glad to be out of that situation these days.
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Andy Henriksen


From:
Michigan, USA
Post Posted 19 Jan 2018 7:20 am     Reply with quote

Tony Prior wrote:
If it turns out that you just feel the band is too loud, you really only have two choices, adjust and join in or don't play. Sad

...or (3) address it head-on by discussing it with the band. "you guys are great and I love playing with you, but I think you could take your sound to another level by consciously incorporating dynamics better into your playing."

Volume wars are very common in bands, and rarely is it a conscious thing. It might very well be that it's never even been brought up before.
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Greg Lambert


From:
Illinois, USA
Post Posted 19 Jan 2018 8:13 am     Reply with quote

Been there done that.. Tony said it best ;

"1. Thru the years I have learned how to listen across the bandstand and judge volume levels based on that.

2. I never use a monitor directly in front of me , I do not want to hear the band or other instruments aiming at my head. "

The first statement is one that should be adhered by all the band members , including the drummer. This in itself would correct the balance of volume levels.

The second statement would correct excessive volume levels provided once the monitors are set that others do not continually increase their levels because they cant hear. If they cant hear dont fix the problem by increasing volumes across the board. Just fix the one or two that is out of balance.
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Fred Treece


From:
California, USA
Post Posted 19 Jan 2018 9:55 am     Re: Band is too loud Reply with quote

chuck lemasters wrote:
I found that using hearing protection in those situations actually made it easier to hear, although it made it harder to judge my volume, with respect to the rest of the band.

Exactly. With the plugs, I hear how my own amp sits in the stage mix much more clearly. I rarely get asked to turn down my volume.

Regarding floor monitors, I need them for vocals and keyboard players who run direct outs to the board.

I gave up on trying to estimate what the band sounds like in the house mix a long time ago. That’s the sound guy’s job, and we have to be able to trust him.


Last edited by Fred Treece on 19 Jan 2018 10:14 am; edited 1 time in total
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Rene Brosseau


From:
Chatham,Ontario, Canada
Post Posted 19 Jan 2018 10:06 am     listen Reply with quote

I've done this...sit out a few songs & go out & have a listen...see what's too loud...a lot of times a loud drummer will cause the rest of the band to turn up...it may be just the loud tele player beside you that's loud & you can't hear the rest. Hey, they may actually ask you "Hey, how's it sound out there...now's your chance !
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Jerry Overstreet


From:
Louisville Ky
Post Posted 19 Jan 2018 10:19 am     Reply with quote

I feel your pain. Been there. Impossible to play with dynamics when you're already dimed.

I'm assuming you are talking about stage volume.

You say they love the steel guitar. I hear the same things too and you know what they tell me? Can't hear you, turn up. How do you turn up when things are already too loud? It just turns into a volume war.

Your choices are suffer through it or leave...and sit as far away from the guitar player's amp as possible...that will help.

If they're not already aware of the situation, your trying to explain it to them will only cause friction and bruised egos, and you'll probably end up leaving anyway. You have different ideas of what makes for a good musical performance.

This is a major problem in too many bands. It usually starts with a rock drummer and guitar player who will tell you they can't get any feel or tone unless they play at these volumes.

Your trying to tell them that your situation is just the opposite and depends on dynamics is going to fall on deaf ears. Don't expect things to change. I can't tell you how many situations I've been through like this.

First thing I do is turn the monitor away from me, since I don't sing. With stage volumes what they are, I get plenty of sound from everybody's amps and the FOH system.

I wish you the best however, and I hope this group is intelligent and empathetic enough to make for a better playing situation.

Fred Treece wrote:

Regarding floor monitors, I need them for vocals and keyboard players who run direct outs to the board.


Here's a question no sound engineer or keyboard player has ever answered to my satisfaction. Why does the keyboard have to be in the monitors and/or FOH if no other instruments are? 99% of them carry an amp anyway and if not, why not?

For no explainable sensible reason, it seems to be default mode.

Nothing more annoying than a keyboard constantly dinking in my ear all night long.
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Fred Treece


From:
California, USA
Post Posted 19 Jan 2018 11:12 am     Reply with quote

Good question, Jerry. Especially since keyboard amp combos come with full range speakers and have stereo outputs for DI to the board. This makes it easier for sound guy to blend string and organ patches into the mix. They should be in monitors only if they can get a separate mix. And yeah, plinky keyboard playing can get on my nerves too. I’ll have it turned down if it gets to be too much.

But, I actually like to hear other instruments and vox in my monitor. If there is an acoustic guitar or keyboard or fiddle with their amp 20 feet away from me (or direct with no amp), there is no way I’m going to clearly hear what they’re playing. If the singers are good, I like hearing how the harmonies match up with instruments. Sometimes I’ll ask for kick drum, too. Usually don’t need bass, and I only want my own instrument in a monitor mix if it is an acoustic. I want to be either blending in with the groove or sitting on top for a solo. Stage volume is easier to manage when the players refrain from walking all over each other.
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Bill Moran


From:
Virginia, USA
Post Posted 19 Jan 2018 11:50 am     Reply with quote

The last band I played in was that way with a guitar player that wanted to add a few notes to everything I played ? Its a tough life .
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Barry Blackwood


Post Posted 19 Jan 2018 11:55 am     Reply with quote

Quote:
hey who needs cymbal crashes when you’re trying to do a tasty volume swell?


Or anytime..? Laughing
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Chris Templeton


From:
The Green Mountain State
Post Posted 19 Jan 2018 1:00 pm     Reply with quote

When I worked for Robert Randolph in 2002 and he was recording "Unclassified" in LA,
and while the band was in the control room listening to a mix, I went into the tracking room to tidy up.
For a moment, I thought there were monitor speakers playing the mix until I realized it was the sound was coming out of the 4 sets of headphones in the tracking room.
This was when Robert was transitioning to using in ear monitors.
I always wore ear plugs when working a live show because the stage volume was always HUGE.
At this time, Robert wasalso starting to use in ear monitors and, although I didn't say anything, I was very concerned about where the stage volume and in ear monitors would lead, and still am.
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Steve Spitz


From:
New Orleans, LA, USA
Post Posted 19 Jan 2018 1:50 pm     Reply with quote

As you mentioned, as a sit in player, the band may be less inclined to take your suggestion of lowering the stage volume.

Id have reservations about offering my opinions, if I was sitting in. Seeing as you chose to sit in, That may limit your your voice in any helpful discussion.

Im guessing they would have to sound better if they actually had dynamics. You mention they are good musicians. I think good musicians know this.

Im a nobody, but In my 40 years of gigging, Ive never seen anyone leave because the band wasnt loud enough.

I think it may be a situation where you do it if you enjoy it enough to endure it, or you chose to not do it.
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Rich Upright


From:
Florida, USA
Post Posted 19 Jan 2018 1:55 pm     Reply with quote

As soon as I saw you lived in Florida, I thought "I knew it". Bands here have very little sense of aesthetics or professionalism, so I would say prolly the easiset solution to your problem would be to move outta Florida. I wish I could.
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Craig Woloshin


From:
Florida, USA
Post Posted 19 Jan 2018 2:53 pm     Reply with quote

Thanks all....I approached the members and addressed my concerns about the volume....all were sympathetic and assured me at the next gig, they would accommodate the issues....for a fix for now, I'm moving away from the drummer and going to the outside of everyone! I'm going to try to move my amp a little closer and lower, pointed upwards....the drummer is the main volume culprit!! I'm hoping that moving away from him solves the problem!
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Chris Templeton


From:
The Green Mountain State
Post Posted 19 Jan 2018 3:08 pm     Reply with quote

It's amazing how a loud drummer can push the overall volume up.
That's what those plexiglass drum cages try and prevent.
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Steven Paris


From:
Los Angeles
Post Posted 19 Jan 2018 3:13 pm     Reply with quote

I think it would be a good idea to get one of those inexpensive Radio Shack Sound Level Meters and measure the sound levels of your band. THat way you have some actual hard evidence to make your point.
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Tony Prior


From:
Charlotte NC..
Post Posted 19 Jan 2018 3:32 pm     Reply with quote

Craig Woloshin wrote:
Thanks all....I approached the members and addressed my concerns about the volume....all were sympathetic and assured me at the next gig, they would accommodate the issues....for a fix for now, I'm moving away from the drummer and going to the outside of everyone! I'm going to try to move my amp a little closer and lower, pointed upwards....the drummer is the main volume culprit!! I'm hoping that moving away from him solves the problem!


You set up next to the drummer ! ??? And he is the main volume culprit ?

Rolling Eyes
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gary pierce


From:
Rossville TN
Post Posted 19 Jan 2018 4:58 pm     Reply with quote

I play with two guitar players, and my ears fatigued after the first set, since one guys amp is in my right ear beside mine.
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G Strout


From:
Carabelle, Florida
Post Posted 19 Jan 2018 7:56 pm     Reply with quote

If they are truly TOO LOUD. Do yourself a favour....
Quit !! Then move on...........
When musicians play too loud ..... always at the same high volume level then sadly, they have no sense of dynamics. Lacking that they likely have a limited sense of pitch, rhythm, taste, etc; and all the other elements that make up a musical performance.
Leave them to stroke their own individual egos and go find a musical gig. It will add many years to your life..... Very Happy Trust me.
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Fred Treece


From:
California, USA
Post Posted 19 Jan 2018 10:29 pm     Re: listen Reply with quote

Rene Brosseau wrote:
I've done this...sit out a few songs & go out & have a listen...see what's too loud...a lot of times a loud drummer will cause the rest of the band to turn up...it may be just the loud tele player beside you that's loud & you can't hear the rest. Hey, they may actually ask you "Hey, how's it sound out there...now's your chance !

We usually send the drummer out to give a listen. When he comes back he always says the drums aren’t loud enough.
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Tony Prior


From:
Charlotte NC..
Post Posted 20 Jan 2018 2:19 am     Reply with quote

well this thread started as the "band is too loud" , and many pontificated. The op could not hear himself.

Then the op told us his amp was not really in a position for him to hear it and he was set up next to the drummer.

The op, rightfully so, will MOVE away from the drummer and place his amp in a position where he can hear it.

IF we set up next to a drummer and we can't hear our amp because of placement, what are we to expect ?

He never mentioned if there are multiple wedges and if everyone is in the monitor mix. That right there kids is a false notion of how loud a band is on a bandstand, especially if it's a single monitor feed with everyone in the same feed.

My take, the op is doing the right thing moving away from the drummer and re-positioning his amp but also there was not enough information to comment one way or the other if the band is too loud on the bandstand. In the ops mind it was because he could not hear his Steel. But there are multiple reasons for that, only ONE is the band is too loud.

IF we are playing on a bandstand with wedges in front of us with all instruments blaring away, and we think the volume of the band is too loud, move that wedge away from you or unplug it. The bandstand volume drops by probably 50 % , like right away !

Why are we mic'ing amps in a small to medium size room anyway ?

Because we can ! Very Happy
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Jim Bates


From:
Alvin, Texas, USA
Post Posted 20 Jan 2018 8:28 am     Reply with quote

Too many microphones turned 'ON' with NO soundman monitoring and controlling the board is the main problem I have experienced in many 'joint'jobs. It looks good to have a bunched of mikes on the stage, BUT turn them OFF if not in use. I don't need 4 mikes in front of me left 'ON' picking up my "Clean' amp and producing a distorted steel guitar through the PA.

Oh well, this is a regular occurring story.

Thanx,
Jim
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