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Adventures in a very loud pub band..


theplumber

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As the title say's... Been with the guys 3 or 4 months now and have been using various makes of earplugs. They do make a bit of a difference. The hissing is still in the ears after most gigs but it goes away over a few days. The band is bass,drums,two guitars and singer.One of the guitar players is pretty deaf and when he puts his earplugs in and turns his amp up,the volume is over the top. The other player has his Marshall cab cranked up and the drums are trying to compete followed by me and then the vocals rammed up full tilt. Now some gigs are better than others,so it's not just the volume issue,it's placement, in house PA,etc..But last Saturday was the very worst. I found myself stuck in a volume triangle of drums,bass and guitar. I had my plugs in but at times it was painful. The pub was medium size and packed to the hilt. No room to move away from the sound source. I have brought it up with the band and they have agreed to turn down....again!  I like the guys,it's a great wee fun band but it's time to try and sort out some stuff. I don't really tyhink much will change so am looking for a solution. The plugs are ok to a point but I am thinking about some sort of in ear monitors for myself. I know all the stuff about the whole band going through the desk and using in ears...that won't happen..trust me! Years ago I did a theatre show for a few nights. In rehearsal the actors used ambient mikes,those square ones that you see on tables etc..This was to allow them to move about and sing (It was RENT) Anyway,I struggled to hear vocals above guitar,bass,keys and drums. I rigged up a mike through a wee mixer and stuck some headphones up picking up the ambient sound,ie the band and singers.It seemed to work ok. When the show was performed they had head mikes and the sound was even better... The point is (yes there is a point) Has anybody had a similar situation and how did they sort it out. Apart from turning down,I feel they only way forward is to set up a mike and stick some cans on or earbuds getting an ambient feed of the band and trying to block out the actual racket on stage... I could take a feed off the mixer but it would only be vocals and some drums cause thats all thats going through...Any ideas?

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First thing I did when joining a new pub band was persuade them to go ampless and in ears. It's the classic problem with a lot of bands - someone (usually a guitarist...) decides he can't hear himself well enough so turns his amp up - then someone else can't hear themselves over the new volume and turns themselves up, and on and on until it's deafening.

 

Bottom line is you are doing yourself physical harm every time you play at that volume.

 

There will be inevitable pushback and reluctance and the only way might be to do what I did which was shell out for the mixer and monitor amps, and tell them to just buy/bring some headphones. Took a lot of arguing and several rehearsals of persevering with it, but they're all very happy with the setup now - can all mix their individual mixes on the fly, and the pubs and punters are happy because you provide a consistently good sound at reasonable volumes.

 

There's lots of ways to do it but I went with the Behringer xr18 and Behringer P2 monitor amps - the singer and both guitarists have now bought themselves wireless monitor packs and would never go back to loud stages now. No screaming feedback from the vocal monitor and no screaming ears for 48 hours after a gig (or forever which is what the inevitable outcome will be if you continue like this!)

 

It's far easier to say than to do, but if they refuse I'd walk away - it's not worth risking your hearing for the rest of your life!

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If you are getting ringing that means you are sustaining damage every time you play with those guys. Must be stupid loud to do that through plugs.

 

You best hop to getting your custom IEM molds made and get some over ear muffs to bolster the plugs in the meantime.

 

See if you can get the guitards to stand opposite side of the room their rigs at next rehearsal. Start with the drummer and the vocals, add bass, then bring in guitars at sensible volume.

 

 

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35 minutes ago, Downunderwonder said:

If you are getting ringing that means you are sustaining damage every time you play with those guys. Must be stupid loud to do that through plugs.

 

 

 

 

 

This. Do not be blasé about this if you want to keep your hearing and/or avoid tinnitus.

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ACS earplugs I think are the answer. My classic rock band is incredibly loud due to matching the drummers volume, yet thanks to my ACS plugs the band volume is like a loud stereo, and I can hear each instrument individually. Before the ACS plugs I had a couple of different makes and they took the edge off, nothing more. Probably the wisest £120 I’ve ever spent on musical gear.

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45 minutes ago, Downunderwonder said:

If you are getting ringing that means you are sustaining damage every time you play with those guys. Must be stupid loud to do that through plugs.

 

You best hop to getting your custom IEM molds made and get some over ear muffs to bolster the plugs in the meantime.

 

See if you can get the guitards to stand opposite side of the room their rigs at next rehearsal. Start with the drummer and the vocals, add bass, then bring in guitars at sensible volume.

 

 

-1? That’s one quieter…

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My custom moulded plugs are probably the best money I have ever spent. I put mine in before soundcheck last night and didn't take them out again until we started tearing down afterwards. I didn't realise how loud the ambient noise in the pub was until I took them out! What sort of plugs are you using, @theplumber?

 

EDIT: definitely the best money I have ever spent.

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25 minutes ago, theplumber said:

Currently ACS Pacato but also have some off amazon called Hearprotek..Anything with pro in it must be good lol and Docs pro plug which I like then lost one...

Have a look at this... well worth a punt. Mine are superb. You don't have to be a pro musician to be eligible.

 

Edited by Rich
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I have a friend who used to promote gigs at a local venue. He mixed the sound but only vocals and keys ever went through PA. He was always moaning about guitarist playing far too loud.

 

I told him to get tables, flight cases, or beer crates, put the guitar amps on top of them and aim them at the guitarist head.

 

That did the trick.

 

 

 

 

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1 hour ago, EBS_freak said:

If you think that you have it bad, think about what your audience are experiencing.

This, I go to my local most weeks to see live bands and if they are too loud, then I leave, and many others do the same. 

When I play live with the band, we always check with the venue owner and the bar staff to make sure we are not too loud. 

Just out of curiosity, why do you need to be so loud in a pub? 

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1 hour ago, thebrig said:

why do you need to be so loud

Usually it is one of two reasons and/or a conspiracy of sorts between the two.

 

Guitards.

Drummers.

 

Guitar player wants to hear himself louder than everything else but with the cab down on the floor he is missing a lot of the screeching and howling great tone so cranks it. And/Or he's getting his tone from 50 or 100 watts worth of power tubes into 412. One way or the other he's tens of times louder than needs be if he just had one 12 and 5 or ten watts and aimed it at his own head with a mic to feed the PA.

 

Drummers like to hear their kit and it is easy to make it hard to hear with a Marshall stack right by their right ear. So smash n bash becomes the order of the day with super large tight drum heads and massive cymbals.

 

The feedback loop of drums and guitars makes for an argument over who started it and who is too too loudest.

 

That's why I suggested having drummer balance with vocals before adding bass, then guitars.

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5 hours ago, theplumber said:

Currently ACS Pacato . . . .

 

These are not good enough. 

 

Get the ACS PRO 20 or 26 moulded plugs. Mine have the clip and chord connecting them. I Seriously they are probably the best you can buy.

 

https://acscustom.com/uk/products/hearing-protection/pro-series

 

Some of the larger Boots stores have audiology departments, usually in with the opticians.  They will make the moulds and ACS will send you the plugs.

Edited by chris_b
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1 hour ago, chris_b said:

 

These are not good enough. 

 

Get the ACS PRO 20 or 26 moulded plugs. Mine have the clip and chord connecting them. I Seriously they are probably the best you can buy.

 

https://acscustom.com/uk/products/hearing-protection/pro-series

 

Some of the larger Boots stores have audiology departments, usually in with the opticians.  They will make the moulds and ACS will send you the plugs.

 

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Back in the 80s, 90s & early 00s, I was either at ludicrously loud gigs or playing in a band and creating ludicrously loud gigs. Then, mid 00s work decided to do baseline hearing tests as we were using headphones regularly. At the test, went into the booth, after the 1st set of tests there was a long pause. At the end I asked what the pause was about and was told that the test result sheets only went down to -50dB and my hearing was in the -70 to 72dB range (just above referral for a hearing aid apparently), so they had to add a couple of lines to the bottom of the test sheets.

My hearing hasn't got better in the intervening years but what has changed is my physical tolerance for loud volumes and now it just hurts. 

Moral of the story, get IEMs and buy the drummer an electronic kit.

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5 hours ago, Downunderwonder said:

And OP is currently catching a case of tinnitus while using same! The mind boggles!

You can swap the filters out to increase the sound reduction. I wonder what db reduction he’s got going on? Also this band sound crazy loud so even a decent amount of db reduction may not be enough!! :/ 

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