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Singers... more me in the monitors!


geoham

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A slight rant and advice seeking request!

It's great to be back gigging again. We play a variety of covers in pubs, and I do the sound. We're currently using two floor monitors, but have just upgraded our aging mixer to a digital one with enough aux channels to run an in-ear set up.

My singer spends as much time asking for himself to be turned up as he does singing, and frequently mid-song. To give an example, we were playing Hysteria by Muse on Saturday (a nice relaxed one on the bass). Mid-song, he turns round signalling to turn him up. Yeah, I'll just squeeze that in between these constant 16ths...

Inevitably the monitors are pushed to point of feedback, especially when he starts moving the mic around bit. I do try turning others down instead, but I then struggle with my guitarist (ampless modelling setup) who always has extra volume at source, despite me asking for his loudest possible signal while setting the gain on his channel!

 

In ears are the perfect solution as far as I'm concerned - lower stage stage volume and everyone can hear exactly what they want without worrying about feedback. Also the added bonus that I can hopefully put more focus on playing bass and less on maintaining an acceptable stage mix.

The singer however is rather resistant to the idea. They'll kill the vibe apparently... 

 

I'm sure I'm not the only one is a situation like this - what are the rest of you doing?

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7 minutes ago, geoham said:

...I'm sure I'm not the only one is a situation like this - what are the rest of you doing?

 

Not quite the same situation, but close enough. We don't play excessively loud, and our floor monitors are rather good, but it's true that the singer (he's very good, too...) needs to hear himself to be at his best. Our two guitars are the problem when rehearsing, as their cabs are facing each other, with the singer right in the middle, between 'em. No, it's not ideal, and there are other arrangements that could be made, but there's a certain amount of stubbornness in the mix, it seems. One solution that I suggested : IEM's. As a trial, I got a wired pair of earbuds, to see how it would work without too much initial expense. No good, as the singer couldn't get on with them (he's not very 'techy'...); he couldn't get them to stay in place around his ear, and the experiment failed. The issues are still there, but one needs some cooperation and 'buy-in' for any solution to have a chance. Luckily, we'd not invested in a quality IEM set; it would have been wasted.
I'm OK; I can hear just fine, the instruments and the vox, but, although the singer would be better off with IEM, it's not going to happen, I fear. :(

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Get him to try IEMs and I guarantee he'll never go back

 

Also, I know it might not be recommended, but 'one ear in, one ear out' does work to retain a bit of the live feel

 

You can also buy in ear phones with ambient filters which let in some of the outside noise.

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IEMs sound like a solution, but short term get someone to video one of your gigs and then get him to watch it. Then explain that everyone in the audience saw the same and was thinking what a Pratt. 

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Our singers seem to prefer not to use in-ears, although they understand the overall benefits of a quieter stage.  One has said to me his ideal setup is him with a floor monitor, everyone else on in-ears — you could try that?  But at least have everyone download the mixer app, so they can do their own mixes (whether that's wedges or in-ears) and not have to rely on you doing it for them.

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8 minutes ago, jrixn1 said:

Our singers seem to prefer not to use in-ears, although they understand the overall benefits of a quieter stage.  One has said to me his ideal setup is him with a floor monitor, everyone else on in-ears — you could try that?  But at least have everyone download the mixer app, so they can do their own mixes (whether that's wedges or in-ears) and not have to rely on you doing it for them.

I think that's quite a sensible suggestion. While it seems reasonably common, I'm not sure sure I understand the objections myself. I rarely sing, but when I do I need to hear myself very clearly or I'm out of tune. 


The guitarist will take some convincing... he'd still prefer to bring his Marshall 4x12 to a tiny pub gig, but that's a whole other thread!

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Excessive singer monitor levels (wedges & sidefills) is a problem that we have had to deal with for several years. It's the reason for my permanent ear damage. Loud 24/7 ringing in the ears is no fun!

Sadly, It's a problem that we still haven't really resolved.

Unless your singer is prepared to compromise you'll have to either quit, sack him, or live with it.

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1 hour ago, Dad3353 said:

.....the singer couldn't get on with them (he's not very 'techy'...); he couldn't get them to stay in place around his ear, and the experiment failed.

 

I belive this problem was solved many, many years ago.... 🤣🤣

Keith1.jpg.00e66e3245f03a5632aba594688aa9fb.jpg

 

13 minutes ago, chris_b said:

Is the singer asking for more monitors because the guitarist is too loud? I know a guitarist actually turning down is the ninth wonder of the world, so maybe turn his amp away from the singer.

 

Not always the guitarist......but mainly is my findings of running bands / sounds over the years :ph34r:. Getting a good and balanced sound out front AND keeping everyone on stage happy? The solutions are out there and have been discussed to death on many forum pages. I try and keep it simple:

 

1 - Can we keep it basic and solve the "problem" with the equipment we have eg: use the volume controls / positions of all the amps / monitors / drummers?

2 - Have a specific rehearsal with all PA / backline in gigging positions etc to allow the sound person time to work on level setting / balance / monitor mixes etc. Easier if you have someone who is just doing sound but like me, when you're leading the band, running sound, lights, singing harmonies and playing bass it helps to have some of the issues covered prior to mid-song at a gig. 🙂  It also helps the band to use long leads and hear for themselves the difference between onstage and audience sounds.

3 - Having gone through the "reheasal process" get an agreement from EVERYONE that in future once the sound is set and you start playing the gig "NO FURTHER TWIDDLING IS ALLOWED" 🙂 🤣

.......but then what do I know, I'm only the bass player? 🤣:facepalm::dash1:🤣

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48 minutes ago, chris_b said:

Is the singer asking for more monitors because the guitarist is too loud? I know a guitarist actually turning down is the ninth wonder of the world, so maybe turn his amp away from the singer.

 

Yes, that was my thought...volume wars!.

 

It's a slow process but I find some gentle education to the others of going down the route of everything else turning down to get a good balance.  Hopefully preventing the pattern of turning things up one at a time helps.

 

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1 hour ago, chris_b said:

Is the singer asking for more monitors because the guitarist is too loud? I know a guitarist actually turning down is the ninth wonder of the world, so maybe turn his amp away from the singer.

 

There's definitely an element of that. We've got the guitarist using an amp-free modelling setup, which is reasonably new (maybe a year before Covid started). but he always keeps a little back!

 

To give an example, we were setting up recently and the input from his pedal was barely registering a signal on the desk. Asked him to turn up full, as I'd almost maxed the gain on his channel. So here we are with the gain and the fader both pretty high and he's not that loud at all. Other channels were adjusted to compensate. Three songs in and I'm sure I don't need to tell you the rest....

 

George

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Worth giving a set of IEMs a go - there are some fabulous units out there I'm sure, but our singer/keytar player and I both use fairly basic LD Systems ones with KZ ZS10 earbuds (and decent foam earpieces) and they certainly work well enough to be useful and do the job well in the 'pub rock' environment.

 

I also sometimes do the frowned upon 'one in one out' (keeping the 'one in' on the drummers side helps!) Or just pop one in and out every now and then to get a bit of a reality check. We always mic all the drums btw which is obviously important.

 

The guitarist and drummer still prefer a small monitor, but both really like being able to mix this just for them via the digital app.

 

They are all more techy than me but even I can get my own mix ok. One of the biggest benefits is that you are definitely less battered at the end of a night.

 

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3 minutes ago, geoham said:

There's definitely an element of that. We've got the guitarist using an amp-free modelling setup, which is reasonably new (maybe a year before Covid started). but he always keeps a little back!

 

To give an example, we were setting up recently and the input from his pedal was barely registering a signal on the desk. Asked him to turn up full, as I'd almost maxed the gain on his channel. So here we are with the gain and the fader both pretty high and he's not that loud at all. Other channels were adjusted to compensate. Three songs in and I'm sure I don't need to tell you the rest....

 

George

Easy solution now you have a digital desk - compressor insert on his channel set for fast attack and a high ratio with the threshold set so it isn’t quite activating on his soundcheck loudest level. He can turn up as much as he likes after that and it won’t get any louder.

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2 hours ago, acidbass said:

Get him to try IEMs and I guarantee he'll never go back

I think get him to try some decent in ears and he'll never go back.  Tried this with two singers who both bought budget sets and hated them, another bought a more expensive set up and it suited them better. Poor quality In ears can ruin the switch

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24 minutes ago, nilebodgers said:

Easy solution now you have a digital desk - compressor insert on his channel set for fast attack and a high ratio with the threshold set so it isn’t quite activating on his soundcheck loudest level. He can turn up as much as he likes after that and it won’t get any louder.

What an awesome idea!

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11 minutes ago, Muppet said:

I think get him to try some decent in ears and he'll never go back.  Tried this with two singers who both bought budget sets and hated them, another bought a more expensive set up and it suited them better. Poor quality In ears can ruin the switch

The keyboard player and I have KZ ZS10s, which seem pretty decent for what they cost. I've never had anything more expensive to compare it to though.

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2 minutes ago, geoham said:

The keyboard player and I have KZ ZS10s, which seem pretty decent for what they cost. I've never had anything more expensive to compare it to though.

And they work well for my drummer too. the one's the singers bought were terrible. 

 

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1 hour ago, Acebassmusic said:

get an agreement from EVERYONE that in future once the sound is set and you start playing the gig "NO FURTHER TWIDDLING IS ALLOWED"

Plenty of decent solutions already mentioned, but this is also key.

Get everyone to soundcheck properly. If folks are 'keeping some in reserve', then you had might as well not bother in the first place.

Also, just as much as being able to perform and knowing the songs, getting on with less than perfect sound is a required skill. It's rarely ideal, and sometimes it stinks, but once you're in, you're in. Soundcheck to get it right or as good as you can, then it's gig time- nobody wants to watch a band fänny about and shoot each other dirty looks all night.

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1 hour ago, nilebodgers said:

Easy solution now you have a digital desk - compressor insert on his channel set for fast attack and a high ratio with the threshold set so it isn’t quite activating on his soundcheck loudest level. He can turn up as much as he likes after that and it won’t get any louder.

 

Basschat hero of the day! 🏆

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2 hours ago, Newfoundfreedom said:

I never have a problem with our singer. She's my wife so I just tell her to shut up.

 

Then she hits me until I do as I'm told and turn the monitor up. 

Exactly the same for me. In the middle of a failing transition to in-ears- she wants to hear more of herself whilst hearing exactly (EXACTLY) like it does in the room. 🤦

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