Here are some things I've heard from performers.

I have to be inspired by my sound before I can give an inspired show to the audience.

Most of the time the audience will not hear the difference between a $300 guitar and a $3000 guitar.  So why spend the money?

It's good enough for live.




I regularly play at a venue with a mediocre sound system. The monitors are ugly, and the sound in the house is muddy. Whenever I play there, I bring my Bose gear even though I know the regulars are happy (enough) with the house system.

I dropped in there to catch the last set of an up and coming band. I've heard them there before, and the sound was typical for that room. On this night the band was on fire and so was the audience.

The sound was atrocious, much worse than usual. Everything was distorted; vocals, keys, e-drums.

I waited until the show was over and went to visit my buddies on stage. Here's what had happened.  The band was uninspired by the house system on previous occasions, so they brought their own board and monitors. They ran two lines to the house mixer plugged into XLR inputs. They didn't set the inputs to Line Level.

Okay - so you have figured out what was wrong.

Here's what was right. The band had a ball. The audience had a ball.

What's more important; what you hear or what the audience hears?

Original Post

I don't have to be "inspired by the sound" of the house system but I HAVE noticed that the audience finds it harder to pay attention to a sh*tty sound system and that along with the lousy sound bums me out enough to cause more mistakes in my performances...

Good sound can't fix lousy performances but bad sound can sure degrade good ones.

Hi ST, 

Good question, I just finished a gig at Seattle's Union Gospel Mission a few hours ago. Used my personal Bose S1 Pro to stage monitor in conjunction with the house system. I normally use my Bose L1 Compacts slightly behind me at this venue, I was not able to do that today.

IMG_0240[1)

My setup as follows (hope to answer your question)...

Stage monitor Bose S1 Pro,

Vocal Mic  > vocal processor > to channel 1 of S1 Pro

Guitar > pedal board > to channel 2 of S1 Pro

Balanced line out of S1 Pro > DI box > to snake-FOH > mixer Allen Heath, EAW mains (professionally installed system)

All this to say that I'm pretty picky about my mix and what I hear on stage (the S1 Pro was amazing). With this set up I use my own reverb, delays, processing, guitar/vocal balance, etc. 

The FOH engineer gets a single channel sent to FOH. This gives me some comfort that my audience is hearing a fair representation of my monitor mix. He basically kept things flat on his board and simply controlled volume. It's certainly not ideal, but it works in a pinch.

Your Question... "What's more important; what you hear or what the audience hears?" I really strive to make sure what I hear is about the same thing the audience does, thats why I really like the Bose L1 concept of speakers behind the performers, or my setup I used today.

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Harry posted:

Hi ST, 

Good question, I just finished a gig at Seattle's Union Gospel Mission a few hours ago. Used my personal Bose S1 Pro to stage monitor in conjunction with the house system. I normally use my Bose L1 Compacts slightly behind me at this venue, I was not able to do that today.

IMG_0240[1)

My setup as follows (hope to answer your question)...

Stage monitor Bose S1 Pro,

Vocal Mic  > vocal processor > to channel 1 of S1 Pro

Guitar > pedal board > to channel 2 of S1 Pro

Balanced line out of S1 Pro > DI box > to snake-FOH > mixer Allen Heath, EAW mains (professionally installed system)

All this to say that I'm pretty picky about my mix and what I hear on stage (the S1 Pro was amazing). With this set up I use my own reverb, delays, processing, guitar/vocal balance, etc. 

The FOH engineer gets a single channel sent to FOH. This gives me some comfort that my audience is hearing a fair representation of my monitor mix. He basically kept things flat on his board and simply controlled volume. It's certainly not ideal, but it works in a pinch.

Your Question... "What's more important; what you hear or what the audience hears?" I really strive to make sure what I hear is about the same thing the audience does, thats why I really like the Bose L1 concept of speakers behind the performers, or my setup I used today.

That’s a great way to communicate with yourself and the audience hearing virtually the same makes a great platform for confidence and gig satisfaction for yourself and the Audience. 

Im a solo performer using 1 L1 Compact and 1 S1 Pro with the T4S Mixer.

great to be confident you will get a fab sound and mix for yourself and the audience whatever the venue throws at you.

regards

John 

I agree with Chet. I find with our L1/S1 when we hear what the audience hears we can adjust our playing when we can really hear what’s going on to maximize as best a sound we can deliver. To that point, we tend to play in more intimate acoustic venues so people are more than likely really listening making the quality of sound more important.

In a noisy bar atmosphere, where the audience may not be all that attentive, then the sound probably doesn’t matter as much. 

Oh, believe me, it matters in a noisy bar atmosphere as well!

The venue I was talking about was a restaurant/bar during Happy Hour and the subsequent (pretty talented musicians playing in the) Open Mic.  A potential good listening environment was turned into a "noisy bar" by muddy sound.  ;-)

I've emailed the owner (a friend of mine) to ask if I could bring my Bose S1s and Behringer subs some night and see if that would make the kind of big change in the environment that I think they would make.  He hasn't answered yet.  ;-)

In the absence of a (bonafide) sound guy, it is very nice to know what the audience is hearing. It not only benefits the listener by the performer being able to reliably adjust the mix as needed, it boosts the confidence of the performer by freeing them up from worrying about a bad house mix. 

We're an acoustic act and went from a typical powered mixer with 2 on a stick + monitor setup to a pair of L1 Compacts behind us with a small analog mixer and we'll never go back. And honestly, even when we've had to use a house system, we've usually gotten better results from plugging our own mixer in on stage and sending a stereo mix to the house mixer/monitors and mixing it ourselves. I'm a sound tech myself and it's kinda embarrassing how blase some of the techs I've run across are towards bands...

Jeff

What's more important; what you hear or what the audience hears?

I've heard lots of people (not just here), say they have to be inspired to do a great show. If you don't like what you hear, how can you do that?

I love playing in new collaborations with relative strangers. A great way to do that is to drop in and play at a jam session. There are lots to choose from around here.

I can check out new venues, play different styles of music, hear and play with musicians I wouldn't meet otherwise.  It's a terrific way to keep my chops up, get inspiration to develop in different directions, and make new collaborations. 

This also means playing in situations I can't control.

  • Music I don't know
  • People I don't know
  • Other peoples' gear
  • New stage layouts
  • New venues
  • New Audiences
  • New house rules

All of these things are exciting and fun and fraught with terror.

When I'm not in control, the most I can hope for is decent sound through someone else's guitar rig on stage, and the board supports phantom power.  I can't expect to use my Kemper Profiling Amp or my ToneMatch mixer at a jam. There's precious little time in a jam situation to set up, and I spend most of it showing the guys in the band what I want to do (I play originals and somewhat eclectic tunes).

My jam gig bag has a Boss GT-1, Neumann KMS 105 (requires phantom power), EV N/D767A (dynamic mic), and some cables.  Most of the time I just run through whatever guitar rig is on the stage (often straight into the amp).  That's part of the fun on the tightrope.

And this is why I asked the question: What's more important; what you hear or what the audience hears?

At my gigs, I don't have to choose one over the other.

When I play in other settings, I have to do without my carefully designed signal chain, live with what I hear on the stage, make the best of it, and hope things sound okay out front. 

It's interesting to be reminded:

  • An entertaining performer can get it done with a $100 microphone. Do I really need that high-end condenser?
  • A $300 guitar can be as entertaining as one that costs 30 times as much
  • A great band can engage and entertain a crowd with mediocre (even terrible) sound

Can you achieve musical nirvana when what you hear on stage in less than ideal?

ST

If the audience likes what they hear, regardless of what you’re playing through, I guess that’s one measure of success and could perhaps be one view of a musical nirvana. 

But it might not be all that satisfying to the performing musician. I tend to agree with @Jeff K where he states “(hearing a good mix) boosts the confidence of the performer by freeing them up from worrying about a bad house mix”. If we can’t hear what we sound like in any reasonable fashion, we have to power through the gig and “hope” that we sound ok. It’s hard to adjust your playing to better address your audience if you don’t know what your sound is like. Can they hear the vocals, are the vocals in balance, is the guitar too loud etc.

We have some gigs like that, which we enjoy for the most part, but have to rely on the venue staff running the in-house system that we sound ok as we rarely can hear ourselves well through the on stage monitors. If the audience is being positive, then it’s a good night, but not one where we, as the musicians, find musically satisfying. No nirvana there from our perspective. It’s just a good paying gig in a nice place where we can at the least play music. It sure is a quick and easy setup for us though.

In contrast, we play at active adult/over 55 retirement communities using our L1 and can control our sound in a somewhat intimate setting and can really reach the audience. Or, we play at facilities for the memory impaired just acoustically with no system at all. Seeing those folks react positively to music is very gratifying as well. Both of those situations we would define as musical nirvana for us. 

Hi ST (and of course anyone else reading this thread),

"What's more important; what you hear or what the audience hears?"

Interesting question, and not one that I can answer in a couple of sentences. This could take some time so I'll start by commenting on your original post.

ST posted:

Here are some things I've heard from performers.

I have to be inspired by my sound before I can give an inspired show to the audience.

I don't see it quite this way. Having started performing live at the end of the 60's (that's 50 years now), there was really no good live sound to be had anywhere. This would mean that I myself and everyone else (including top professional musicians) could never give an inspired performance in the early days of PA development. There were some really good performances at this time which have inspired (and continue to inspire)  musicians for 50 and more years.

To hear oneself well when performing is definitely a bonus and can maybe help to lift the performance to a higher level. Vocal intonation for example is easier when the vocalist can hear his/her voice well and not have to put a finger/hand over one ear to hear the voice through the bones of the head. Most of us have seen vocalists doing this on really loud stages (especially before the use of in-ear monitoring).

Most of the time the audience will not hear the difference between a $300 guitar and a $3000 guitar.  So why spend the money?

It's good enough for live

This is probably very true. Most of them won't. If we look at acoustic guitars at this point the pick-up system sounds anything but like the guitar it's amplifying.

Why spend the money? 

I can only speak for myself here, but this is how I see it, and it's also how I came to buy my main live acoustic guitar.

If I go on stage playing a guitar that I only play on stage, this instrument is going to feel at the very least a little strange. What I really needed was an instrument that wasn't going to break the bank but also one that I play in my living room. 

I kept away from the Gibsons/Martins/Taylors etc. as I would also be paying for the name to some extent. Instead I looked at the top range of less high-end manufacturers and ended up buying the top of the range Seagull Artist Studio CW (cutaway) and had the newly released LR-Baggs Anthem installed. The guitar is so good that it soon became my go to guitar at home and also live. The anthem gives it a really good live sound, and purely acoustically it sounds really good and has "aged" well through being played very often. On stage I have a guitar that is really familiar in my hands because I play it a lot at home. 

I would say that this instrument inspires me to play well, and has no hidden pitfalls when I use it live.



I regularly play at a venue with a mediocre sound system. The monitors are ugly, and the sound in the house is muddy. Whenever I play there, I bring my Bose gear even though I know the regulars are happy (enough) with the house system.

I know the feeling. Especially in loud locations (pubs, bars etc.) where people are there to have a good time and the overall sound isn't too important. I would also probably take a compact for my own back-line. It does make me feel better if I have a good sound myself. I suppose that I could say I'm spoiled nowadays in comparison to the early days of my musical "career".

I dropped in there to catch the last set of an up and coming band. I've heard them there before, and the sound was typical for that room. On this night the band was on fire and so was the audience.

The sound was atrocious, much worse than usual. Everything was distorted; vocals, keys, e-drums.

I know this feeling too. Generally there's a fair amount of help coming from the alcohol being consumed. A certain amount of inebriation can go a long way to "improving" one's perception of sound. If it's loud as well, the ears aren't as sensitive as they would be by less volume.

I waited until the show was over and went to visit my buddies on stage. Here's what had happened.  The band was uninspired by the house system on previous occasions, so they brought their own board and monitors. They ran two lines to the house mixer plugged into XLR inputs. They didn't set the inputs to Line Level.

Okay - so you have figured out what was wrong.

I guess the inputs were overloaded and distorting pretty heavily. The band probably had OK sound as they were using the monitors they're used to.

Here's what was right. The band had a ball. The audience had a ball.

That's the main thing at such gigs. Not my cup of tea, and probably not a gig that I'd really want to spend a long time at. I can remember seeing the group YES when they were doing the "Fragile" tour 1971/72. The one thing I really remember about that gig (apart from the fact that the band was awesome) was that I'd never heard such a good sound before. It was in a completely different galaxy to everything I'd heard up to then.

What's more important; what you hear or what the audience hears?

I would say that both are important. I know from experience that you'll generally find musicians in the audience at a lot of gigs. They'll be happier if your sound is good.

Also, having a good sound is really good advertising for musicians/bands. If your sound is good in a small (loud) location and you happen to have someone in the audience who promotes gigs, he/she is more likely to be impressed and want to hire you than if your sound is really bad.

So now down to my own thoughts for my own gigs.

I prefer to play more intimate locations if I'm doing solo gigs. they fit my repertoire and performance better. Solo I try not to do open air any more. This means that the audience generally aren't as loud because they're there to listen to my performance. Also, using L1's they don't have to shout if they want to say something to the people next to them as the volume of the system doesn't need to be deafening to reach the people at the back of the room.

If my sound wasn't important to me I wouldn't be spending my money on Bose gear, but would be using some of the cheaper stuff which is on offer.

Using L1 systems means that I more or less get to hear what my audience hears. If a compromise has to be made sound wise (because there's maybe hardly any room for me to set up and I have to stand really near to the system) I'll always try to make the compromise affect what I hear more than it does to what my audience hears. I'm there for them and not the other way round. 

For example, I've even been slightly behind and very close to my Compact when playing. It meant that my own sound wasn't as "pristine" as it could normally be. My audience however had good sound.

I think that I've probably written enough now for you to get the gist of my views on the points you raised in your question. I hope it's been of some help and maybe even of some interest.

Tony

 

I think you are asking what venues you play, does quality mean anything to those audiences and can you tell the difference yourself from the sound coming from your speakers. If your crowd is a bar crowd volume may be your major criteria. Some reasonable big __s kicking coned speakers that can rise above the ever escalating hooting and shrieking from your "good time charlies" is probably much more important. If you play in venues where people listen to the music then you will want to spend the money on more quality sounding equipment. The smaller the venue the assumption can be they are there to listen to the music, then the betterment of your sound will determine your next quality gig. These assumptions or formulas goes without too much thought. What are your goals and can you hear the difference? Many have to learn to hear, that means hear the difference from equipment based gigs. Go out test drive and listen to people who use different rigs. When you can hear the difference then you can compose your rig accordingly. Many hear a specific sound and say, "I like and want that sound," then begins the quest to achieve that sound and the learning curve begins. This is equipment listening and has little to do with music preferences or skills. It is learning to listen to music through electronics not  music through tastes, like rock verses country. On the other hand the equipment you choose may relate directly to your music style, hopes and goals.

The feedback from the crowds at the bar gigs we've played (and call backs from the venues) where the norm is relatively lousy sound telling us how much BETTER we sound than anyone else (with Bose L1M2 and an F1) would tell me that even at a venue that's mainly a support group for alcoholics, great sound matters!

The first time we played there, we used the house system and had a horrible time.  Semi-listless response to our bummed out, brute force performance. 

I also recently played at a big hotel up north and our set was a total BUST thanks to terrible stage sound from distorted monitors that the sound guy never bothered to come back and listen to and adjust! 

The human brain can only juggle so much...terrible distorted sound takes millions of 'little gray cells' away that should otherwise be used to focus on the performance!

I want to control the both the monitors and the sound coming off stage. I try to bring my gear to compensate for **** out sound systems. I listen to the monitor and then go to the back and listen and then confer with the sound guy.  Trying situation but above all I want all to sound as close to my head as possible. For me the name of the game is the sound quality both front and back.

There's a Farmer's Market I play almost every week.  They own a Bose L1S system that has had a consistent problem that may be caused by flaky power and/or a defect in the system.  The day usually starts out with the system sounding "muddy" and after a period of time from an hour to 2 or 3 it suddenly "kicks in" with normal eq and sound at a higher volume and a mad dive for the master fader on the mixer.  After dealing with it for nearly 3 years, we mainly ignore it.

Yesterday was a little different.  I'm working with a new partner and along with working in the new act, I'm working on getting her to listen to the vocal blend and the mix instead of fixating on just her voice.  Our last practice was delightful, she was really GETTING IT! 

Alas, yesterday the Bose sound system was especially muddy - I didn't know how bad it was until I watched the video I shot, very bad on stage and as a result our set was a disaster.  Too bad we can't get the Bose fixed here in the middle of the Pacific.

I wish I'd brought one of my S1 Pros to use as a monitor - and will in the future with this partner!  Although most future gigs will be with MY system - 2 S1s and one or two Behringer 1200s..

But again, through no real fault of ours -- bad sound equaled very rough performance.

Thanks for letting me vent...  :-)

 

This post was forked into a new topic here: Product support and repair in Hawaii

However, one learns to do the best one can even if lousy sound makes it impossible to perform at the highest level one is capable of performing.

I talked with my partner afterward and she said she literally could not hear herself or our mix due to our (also lousy) location on the stage + the 'muffled' sound from the system.

Chet,

Something you might "keep in your back pocket" for just such an occasion; pick up a headphone distribution amp (DA) with enough outputs for all band members, some battery powered beltpack headphone amps, earbuds/headphones, and cables of sufficient length to reach the performers. Feed the headphone DA from the venue PA's unused main output, headphone output, aux out, control out,etc. This will get you a clean mix before the speaker outputs, assuming the issue is not with the mixer output itself. Rolls has a number of inexpensive personal monitoring products that would work well without breaking the bank. 

My acoustic trio has two L1 Compacts that our percussionist sits somewhat between. If the stage is not deep enough to put the L1's behind us enough, she ends up being between them and out of the mid/high speaker path. As I use a looper that she has to stay in time with when I use it, we have a pair of headphones and a 10' or so headphone cable so she can listen to the headphone output of our Mackie ProFX8 mixer (copy of the main mix). Works pretty darn well.

Hope this helps,

Jeff

Seriously we all for the most part want to sound good, that is why I stopped depending on the house for sound. I bring my sound system whenever possible that way I have more equipment to problem solve. My effects, amp, pre, ... ... are always mine never having to depend on those from the house. Yes I carry a case with all in pedal format that is the beauty of building a pedal board. Your sound - you can make any speaker sound good unless the speakers are blown.

CCC, so true. Besides my trio, I run sound for a local Southern Gospel vocal group and the first thing I had them do was save up for their own portable sound system for exactly that reason. As the group mostly plays small to medium sized churches, the house PA's are generally horrid...and the churches we play at generally see our little Presonus Studiolive / QSC K-series system as light shining from Heaven. (Btw, I used my dual L1 Compact setup for some small gigs we did recently, and guess what's next on the purchase list? Yesssss).

Somewhere along the line churches (and many small venues) started interpreting "being a good steward" as "always go with the lowest bidder" and either try to do it themselves from Radio Shack or get taken for a ride by some Trunk Slammer "AV guy". I'm also my church's tech director so I can say this with confidence, lol, although I do actually know better as AV Integration is my day job.

Jeff

I have been mixing sound for 40 years. The vast majority of people have no idea what good sound reinforcement is or bad sound reinforcement. I’ve sat at concerts where distortion and feedback dominated the evening. People acted as if they didn’t notice it. I just leave. 

I've been mixing sound for 51 years, recording for 50 and performing for over 60.

It's a both/and not either/or. 

I can't count how many times audience members have come up and commented about how great the sound was - like nothing they'd ever experienced before and how much it increased their enjoyment of our performance.

The other side of the coin is that nothing can kill a performance faster than lousy sound on STAGE.  No performer can completely block it out.  The brain just ain't wired that way.  IMHO and experience, it's humanly impossible to completely concentrate on communication with the audience when the sound on stage is bad.

How about the latest noxious trend at "rock shows" to mix the kick drum so loud that one's kidneys hurt at the end of an evening during which one notices that one hasn't been able to hear ONE NOTE from the actual bass instrument being played on stage.  That's my latest pet peeve.  I've walked out of one performance because of that and been seriously disappointed at a recent Los Lobos performance thanks to that pernicious habit.

pixmixr posted:

I have been mixing sound for 40 years. The vast majority of people have no idea what good sound reinforcement is or bad sound reinforcement. I’ve sat at concerts where distortion and feedback dominated the evening. People acted as if they didn’t notice it. I just leave. 

I've also left on more than one occasion where the FOH sound was really bad. 

Chet posted:

I've been mixing sound for 51 years, recording for 50 and performing for over 60.

I've also been performing and/or mixing for 50 years or so.

It's a both/and not either/or. 

I would agree with you on this point, but as I stated in my post here on 13.03.2019 (you also posted one day later) I would always be prepared to sacrifice some of my sound in favour of FOH if a compromise had to be made somewhere. If I want to play just for myself I don't need to leave my living room where I have the best sound possible for an acoustic player (live sound without amplification which is always a compromise when compared to non amplified sound). As I'm on stage because people want to hear what I have to offer I would always try to offer them the best part of the amplified performance.

I can't count how many times audience members have come up and commented about how great the sound was - like nothing they'd ever experienced before and how much it increased their enjoyment of our performance.

I've heard this a lot too, even though sometimes my stage sound was less than good. I'll always try to have a good sound for myself, and with the L1 system it's generally not a big problem. Sometimes size of the performance area/stage won't allow for everything to be completely satisfactory, and this is where I find that I may have to compromise a little.

Compared to how the stage sound was when I started 50 years ago, the sound I have nowadays is always better than it was then. There were still  however good performances even in those days. It would however be interesting to hear bands like Free, Cream, The Beatles through the modern systems of today. The Beatles would probably be mind blowing. 

Excellent stage sound has always raised my performance to another level. It's got nothing to do with how good I am or how well I can play. I can remember one gig especially in the 80's where everything just clicked together. The stage in the club, the audience, the PA, Backline, monitors ... everything. We did mostly covers in those days and one song I had to sing was "He ain't heavy he's my brother" from the Hollies. We had wedges as always, but also side fills and our sound guy just put the right amount of reverb on the side fills (the wedges were generally pretty dry because of feedback reduction, but the sound coming from the side fills felt like being right in the middle of everything). I'd never sung that song so well live. People came up to me afterwards and commented on how I'd pulled them into my ban. For me that was an experience I'll never forget.

The other side of the coin is that nothing can kill a performance faster than lousy sound on STAGE.  No performer can completely block it out.  The brain just ain't wired that way.  IMHO and experience, it's humanly impossible to completely concentrate on communication with the audience when the sound on stage is bad.

I have to agree with you oaths too. I would however also say that in my opinion musicians who've been doing it since the days when there was no good sound can probably compensate better than those who've never experienced what it was like when live sound was starting to evolve. Things like having to have 2 microphones taped together. One for FOH and one for monitors to mention just one of the problems we had to face back then.

How about the latest noxious trend at "rock shows" to mix the kick drum so loud that one's kidneys hurt at the end of an evening during which one notices that one hasn't been able to hear ONE NOTE from the actual bass instrument being played on stage.  That's my latest pet peeve.  I've walked out of one performance because of that and been seriously disappointed at a recent Los Lobos performance thanks to that pernicious habit.

Unfortunately I know that feeling too. For me personally, the people sitting on the mixers at such concerts haven't understood what is being asked of them, which is to give as good and evenly spread sound of the music which is being played. If I can't hear the bass instrument because the kick drum is so loud as to drown out everything else there is something seriously wrong.

Nowadays I don't generally go to big stadium concerts because of the sound. There are just so many factors to take into consideration and many sound engineers aren't up to coping. Sometimes it's because of the budget for the PA, and often I feel that it's because they just aren't good enough ...

I'll never understand the prevalence of check-thumping kick drums in concerts today (regardless of the era of music or the applicability thereof). Classic East at Dodger Stadium was a great representation of good vs bad sound in that regard: Earth Wind and Fire, lots of thump, although appropriate but too much. Journey? Love them, but their sound was horrible, sooooo much drum thump, muddy and I measured 113dB plus in the left field upper decks(!!). People were leaving the stands. Now, Fleetwood Mac and (especially) the Eagles? Friggin' *BUTTER*...sounded like your home stereo...clear, defined and enveloped you in the music.

More to the topic, back in my earlier cover band days, we didn't even have monitors. We had a backline and a drumset: 2 guitars, bassist/keyboardist, drummer and female vocalist, so we had 3 vocal mics up front. The mics were generally far enough forward of our PA in the backline that we didn't have issue with feedback, and we could hear everything, and pretty close to what the audience was hearing. Me and the other guitarist wired our practice amps up to take a feed from the each other's main amp, so our guitar sound was well balanced, and we could easily hear the other guy at a slightly lower volume (2x12" for ourselves and 1x10" from the other guy).

Today we have our pair of L1 Compacts behind us, similar to what I used to do back in the day and again, we hear pretty much what the audience hears so it's all good. At most, if it's a shallow stage, as I mentioned before, I may give our percussionist a pair of headphones from the mixer or give her a small Mackie SRM150, but that's about it. I much prefer this setup to general house monitor mixes unless you've got someone really taking care of you, which is usually not the case (I say this as a sound guy as well).

Jeff

 

Great points seagullman.

It's true that there's a spectrum of stage sound depending on the system and gigs.

At home I practice with my stereo guitar effects mixed stereo through a QSC Touchmix 16 into a Behringer sub and 2 S1 Pros (left and right) at a decent level pointed toward me from across the practice space.  That's a 10.

I have a regular gig where the band plays in a semi-enclosed space with a Bose L1S and B2 right next to me (along with a tempo and taste challenged conga player) and it's always a test between getting enough volume with my vocals and acoustic guitar without feed back but we're so used to the arrangement that we play well there.  That's usually a 7-9 situation.

We've played other gigs I've mentioned elsewhere using 2 EON ONES (one on each side and slightly behind), EON ONE and 2 S1s, 2 S1s alone, etc.  They've ranged from 6 to 8.

And then there was a duo gig at a fancy hotel up north where we had almost no time for sound check and the sound guy NEVER came back behind the monitors to find that they were so horribly distorted that I had to use my mic to publicly ask him to turn them down.  My fellow band mate and I hadn't played as a duo much so the awful stage sound utterly destroyed the performance - that was a 2.  The audience reaction matched the performance...we never really caught up during our relatively short 20 minute set opening for another, more famous act.

The old Fillmore was interesting.  The sound was spotty although Moby Grape was not only the best band in S.F. but they always seemed to sound good.  Of course they were great musicians playing drums, 3 guitar amps, bass amp and 3 vocal mics.  Not too hard to work with.

Other times, often band's vocals were sent to Fender Dual Showmen turned to 11.  Not pleasant.

The best sound I experienced in the olden days was Pink Floyd at Pepperland in 1970 - the Atom Heart Mother Tour -- magical. 

Another was one of the last Grateful Dead (New Year's) gigs at the Oakland Colosseum in the 90s.  Back in the days of the Fillmore I walked out on the Dead a couple of times when they were too stoned to tune their instruments (that hurt my ears) but that night the sound was the best I ever heard in that very challenging location (and I wasn't stoned although I smelled a lot of "rope" being burned).

I wired up my band in '68 to help keep it all together by routing my lead guitar and the singer's rhythm guitar to both sides.  We were playing through amp heads then into 2 speaker cabs with 2 12" in each.  Our direct sound was sent to the top speaker cab with the lower one on each side carrying the other guitarists' signal.  that arrangement also kept the bass player and drummer informed about what was going on.

Onward and Upward to perfection (or at least more 9s)!

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