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Author Topic:  Band is too Loud!!
Dave Mudgett


From:
Central Pennsylvania
Post Posted 23 Jan 2018 12:48 pm     Reply with quote

For most small-medium club gigs, the biggest mistake I see people make (band or house sound person usually) is to bring too-large amps for the situation and crank them to where they "sound good" but are way too loud for the venue. Followed by putting instruments into the monitors at all. Nothing will kill stage sound like winding up with loud drums, bass, and guitars in the monitors. Players turn up, the monitor mix turns to mush, and vocals are lost. And yeah, I think Tony's right - for a lot of small-medium clubs, multiple monitor mixes are a luxury for sure.

But IMO, the difficulty with discussions like this is that there are so many different contexts in which to consider the issues. And often different dimensions within each context. For example:

1. Type of music
- Acoustic, electric, mixed
- Rock, country, jazz, blues, folk, indie, bluegrass, metal, punk, or whatever
- More aggressive vs. softer within styles

2. Venue & Acoustics
- Audience size
- Coffehouse & living room type
- Small, medium, and large clubs
- Strictly listening venue - e.g., church, music hall
- Corporate gig ballroom
- Large stages (indoor vs. outdoor)
- Mondo stadium (OK, I know most of us don't do them)

3. Band Equipment and PA
- Instruments use old-school back line only
- Instruments have monitoring back line with front-of-house support only
- Instruments have little to no back line with instruments in monitors and front-of-house
- Traditional monitors vs. in-ears
- Band does own sound (sound experience frequently mixed)
- House provides sound person (sound experience frequently mixed)
- Serious and professional sound person

4. Club and Audience Expectations
- Audience loud and unruly and/or like it real loud
- Expect fairly loud but comfortable
- They freak out if they can't have an intimate conversation at low volumes while band playing
- It's a totally listening venue

5. How Much Money Involved
- Freebies & jam sessions
- Small cheap gigs
- Regular decent-paying club or festival gigs
- Lots of money gigs

There is no one-size-fits-all. To get a good result, one must size up the situation and know how to deliver for it. And it doesn't mean the band/musicians are not professional if they do their own sound. That is a red herring. Everything must be taken into consideration. And I've run into many band members that are better at running sound than many so-called "professionals" I've run into. Of course, there are situations where a truly experienced and savvy pro sound person is critical. But that is sometimes overkill, or it just ain't gonna happen.

IMO, if the band, the venue, and the people in the audience are happy, then it's a success. If not, then one needs to figure out what is at the root of the problem(s) and fix them. This requires analysis, discussion, and correction. And yeah, you know that's what musicians are best at, right? (Hey man, you're killing my buzz with all this analysis and talking. Shut up and play yer guitar.) Evil Twisted

Quote:
At my very first professional gig NYE 1980, the sound guy said if we wanted to hear the kick drum in the PA, he was going to need a few lines of blow. True story!

Don't even get me started. Laughing
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Tony Prior


From:
Charlotte NC..
Post Posted 24 Jan 2018 1:24 am     Reply with quote

I owned a very stout PA, 14 channel bd, 2600 watt stereo amp for mains and 2000 watt amp for monitors. But only ONE monitor send.

I sold the 2000 watt Crown amp for monitors and if I am the one who brings the PA I don't bring any wedges !

I solved the too much in the monitors issue, it was easy !

And yeah, if the room is BIGGER, we can split the 2600 watt amp into mains and monitor, and we have , but only one wedge in front of the singer.( he brings the wedge)

I must be the 5th Beatle and the Steel player !
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Stephen Silver


From:
Oakland. California, USA
Post Posted 24 Jan 2018 8:05 am     Too Loud Reply with quote

Easy answer...quit playing with them.
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Fred Treece


From:
California, USA
Post Posted 24 Jan 2018 8:55 am     Reply with quote

Tony Prior wrote:
I solved the too much in the monitors issue, it was easy !

I must be the 5th Beatle and the Steel player !

Now if you can get rid of the mains you might really be on to something Cool
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David Cubbedge


From:
Toledo,Ohio, USA
Post Posted 24 Jan 2018 9:28 am     Reply with quote

I got asked once to turn down.....and we hadn't even unpacked the gear yet!
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Bill L. Wilson


From:
Oklahoma, USA
Post Posted 24 Jan 2018 11:14 pm     The Loud Gigs. Reply with quote

I hardly ever mic my amp unless the lead singer can’t hear me on the stage, or if I’m playing outside, and need to be louder. On these gigs I play steel thru a Peavey Session 400 Ltd., and guitar thru a Twin, Pro Reverb, or a Marshall 1/2 Stack. This Sat. night I’ll use the Deluxe Reverb for steel and my little Princeton Reverb for guitar at Roosters Chicken Shack in Beautiful Hennessey Ok. A very low volume gig, which actually sounds better to my ears than Blowing the Walls Out of The Dump. Ordinarily, our band doesn’t get many complaints about loud volume, we are old school running the sound from the stage. If the barmaids can’t hear, we turn it down.
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Tony Prior


From:
Charlotte NC..
Post Posted 25 Jan 2018 4:31 am     Reply with quote

I was unloading into a club a few years back, a multi-band show. I was rolling in my 71 Twin Reverb and this guy says;

"You are gonna be too loud"

I just laughed and said, "it's just for looks , it doesn't even have a power cord " Rolling Eyes
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Mark Hepler


From:
Virginia, USA
Post Posted 25 Jan 2018 8:19 am     Let it rip! Reply with quote

Loud bands/players will never turn down . . . it’s wishful thinking to hope so.

I’m living it right now, but thanks to Etymotic plugs (cheap & effective) I can still hear.

Turn your solid state amp all the way up--it’s scientific fact that, unlike tubes, they sound best at full volume (damping/impedance etc.).

The loudest guys will tell YOU to turn down, but F ‘em. Let it rip . . . after awhile, you will learn to intuit the mix and ride your pedal accordingly.

Recordings provide great feedback.
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Rich Rubel


From:
Colorado, USA
Post Posted 26 Jan 2018 1:32 am     Reply with quote

Fred – It’s mostly with the younger talent that I occasionally encounter the slightly outsized egos. But then there but for the grace of god go I. I remember when that was my folly, give them their head and try to do the best with what’s left to me. It is a pleasure to I run sound for seasoned talent who understand our partnership as you do. Then I will bring the Waves soundgrid server on line and give them every trick I know. That is always a great evening

While I am a bass player who owns a sound system, I wont use my system with the band and I wouldn’t run live sound from the stage. As Clint Eastwood once said “A man has to know his limitations”

Howard – That’s a really nice way to go. The Posse Personal Monitor is probably a step down but for me it is a fast set up and very compact
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Tony Prior


From:
Charlotte NC..
Post Posted 26 Jan 2018 2:32 am     Reply with quote

here's a thought, what if the band is actually NOT TOO LOUD and the person complaining is , well, just complaining ?

Thats never happened before Rolling Eyes
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Fred Treece


From:
California, USA
Post Posted 26 Jan 2018 9:28 am     Reply with quote

Tony Prior wrote:
here's a thought, what if the band is actually NOT TOO LOUD and the person complaining is , well, just complaining ?
Thats never happened before Rolling Eyes

One time even during sound check. Guy at the bar came up to the stage and told us to get our “rehearsing” done somewhere else. The barkeep had to support this jerk, of course, and we had to wait 20 minutes for him to leave.

btw, Tony, I have heard some of your stuff and I am sure you are the Paul McCartney and the 5th Beatle in any band you’re in.
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Tony Prior


From:
Charlotte NC..
Post Posted 26 Jan 2018 10:37 am     Reply with quote

Fred Treece wrote:

btw, Tony, I have heard some of your stuff and I am sure you are the Paul McCartney and the 5th Beatle in any band you’re in.


Ha ! Fred, more like the broken spoke or the flat spare tire ! Very Happy
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Brooks Montgomery


From:
Idaho, USA
Post Posted 26 Jan 2018 12:13 pm     Reply with quote

In my small town, I've been playing at our local bar (my favorite bar) since 1980, in a variety of bands. It is a small bar, a narrow shot-gun rectangular building with front door and back doors at either end. A high-ceiling with antique metal tile ceiling: an impossible horrible room to play. The crowd packs in, you turn up, it echoes off of everything--just muddy crap.

The guys I play with now came up with, after all these years, a pretty decent solution: we set up in the back, where we always set up, but we face our mains and amps, and most of the four piece band, at the wall across from us (narrow bar, the opposing wall is only, maybe 25 feet away), instead of trying to broadcast all the way down the hall to the front of the bar.

With this set-up (and no monitors, mains behind us), we can hear ourselves, it is obvious when it is too loud, because it is too loud for us. Folks come back and dance in front of us, people up front can talk, and those that can't hear us, come back and crowd in, which is always good for the ego.

No moral here, but after 38 years of struggling to get the sound down in this bar, our drummer (who use to work in Austin) came up with a great simple fix.
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Kevin Fix


From:
Michigan, USA
Post Posted 26 Jan 2018 4:47 pm     To Loud!!! Reply with quote

I won't play for groups that PLAY TO LOUD. Got no use for it. About 25 years ago I was playing in a top notch country band playing top 10 top 40 country. Playing big clubs at the time. The lead player in the group played dam loud. He was good but dam loud. Almost made my ears bleed. He played on the road for Bob Seger for some time. Could be reason he was so loud. I quit. It was more than I could take.
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Steven Paris


From:
Los Angeles
Post Posted 26 Jan 2018 5:31 pm     Reply with quote

Find out what is TOO LOUD!:
https://www.ebay.com/itm/RADIO-SHACK-33-2055-Digital-Sound-Level-Meter-NICE/302611257767?epid=1200024326&hash=item46750959a7:g:HrMAAOSwFMdaZTwV
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Terry Winter


From:
Saskatchewan, Canada
Post Posted 26 Jan 2018 6:30 pm     Reply with quote

This really is an interesting thread! I play with a few various groups and luckily they are all really good at sound. In small halls I don't mike my amp but in a larger dance hall I will. Doesn't really make me louder on stage but boy I can blend and swell my sound in and out so much better in the mix. Remember.... less is more!(or something like that) Smile
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Bill L. Wilson


From:
Oklahoma, USA
Post Posted 26 Jan 2018 10:24 pm     Watch Your dB. Reply with quote

Along with a tuner, I have dB meter on my smartphone. And they were both free apps.
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Fred Treece


From:
California, USA
Post Posted 26 Jan 2018 11:50 pm     Re: Watch Your dB. Reply with quote

Bill L. Wilson wrote:
Along with a tuner, I have dB meter on my smartphone. And they were both free apps.

So your tuner and dB meter only cost $400 plus $45 monthly and you still need to get a hearing protection app?

I know I know...that wasn’t a clean shot at all. A friend of mine showed me an ambient graphic eq app which is pretty cool too. I think it’s about 4 bucks.
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Tony Prior


From:
Charlotte NC..
Post Posted 27 Jan 2018 2:16 am     Reply with quote

I'm back , what a shock !


So, if the room is 100 feet wide and 200 feet long, the band is setup at one far end against the wall.

People sit along both sides from front to back, People dance in the back, the middle and the front of the room closest to the band.

A person stands directly in front of the mains or maybe directly in front of my Steel, meaning like 3 feet in front of me. Then complains that the music is too loud.

Am I too loud, is the band too loud ?

Can't wait to hear us all pontificate . Rolling Eyes

We read these threads with no knowledge of anything and make assumptions . Someone says the band is too loud and the next thing you know we have a 10 page thread on how to turn down , which bands we will never work with ever again or how to set-up so that guy standing in front of the mains or directly in front of MY AMP will be happy.

Those of us that indeed play regularly know when we are too loud or when the band is too loud. We just know it.

I guarantee some of you will sit in with the bands I play with and tell me I am too loud or maybe the band is too loud. Hogwash...

Then there is this, we indeed have had fill in players with us over the years, sometimes we would bring in a Steel player and I would stay on the 6 string or vice versa. More than a few times we brought in another player who we couldn't hear on the bandstand , we would ask him to turn up, he would say, you turn down, you're too loud. . Funny, because the real issue was he didn't know the songs and didn't want to be heard. He was playing for himself.

We could have turned down to zero but that would not have helped those couple of players. Yet, they said we played too loud.

Of course this has never happened to anyone else Rolling Eyes

Volume and too loud is just way too subjective.

Bands setup and play the venue, we don't setup and play to the desires of one of the band members. Whoa!

And also don't mind me I'm very opinionated , it's one of my greater virtues ! Very Happy
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Steve Spitz


From:
New Orleans, LA, USA
Post Posted 27 Jan 2018 5:48 am     Reply with quote

While Tony has a good point , too loud is subjective.

OK, I agree. Ive had a bandleader tell me to turn down. No problem, my bad,if I’m too loud I can turn down. Now people are coming to the bandstand asking to turn up the steel. People have also asked me to turn up the steel when I thought I was loud enough. Ill usually ask the band to weigh in, and turn up if they suggest it as well.

Maybe we can agree that we know that what sounds right on the bandstand , May not sound the same out front. In addition., too loud AND not loud enough is subjective.

Maybe we need to change our statement to “its too loud for me “.

For me, too loud takes all the fun out of it. And if its no fun, it has to pay stupid good. Too loud rarely meets with big time dough in my world.

Too loud doesn’t make it more exciting. Musical dynamics make it more interesting.

Ive never seen anyone or heard someone comment or leave a gig because the band wasn’t loud enough. One time , in a big room someone came to the bandstand and said
“We cant hear you in the back.” We said “stand closer”.
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Greg Lambert


From:
Illinois, USA
Post Posted 27 Jan 2018 7:43 am     Reply with quote

Steven Paris wrote:
Find out what is TOO LOUD!:
https://www.ebay.com/itm/RADIO-SHACK-33-2055-Digital-Sound-Level-Meter-NICE/302611257767?epid=1200024326&hash=item46750959a7:g:HrMAAOSwFMdaZTwV


Heres a freebee ;


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Barry Blackwood


Post Posted 27 Jan 2018 9:05 am     Reply with quote

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Bryan Staddon


From:
Buffalo,New York,
Post Posted 27 Jan 2018 12:05 pm     Easy Reply with quote


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Fred Treece


From:
California, USA
Post Posted 27 Jan 2018 12:40 pm     Re: Easy Reply with quote

Bryan Staddon wrote:


I assume the two mics are there for monitor feeds Cool

I always wondered if bands that set up walls of speaker cabinets (some even with speakers in them) like this have some kinda advertising deal going on with the manufacturer. Ya think?
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Bryan Staddon


From:
Buffalo,New York,
Post Posted 3 Feb 2018 1:18 pm     Definitely Reply with quote

Those were probably the ones that were actually working, one on, the other the backup!
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