Sax on the Web Forum banner
1 - 20 of 31 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
10 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Had a gig last night - didn't get a sound check (we went on last) and the sound guy didn't know where to place the mic for the soprano sax. He started to place it under the bell - I said, "no, no , put it here" (about 7 inches up from the bell, about 1 foot away). Long story short, the mix in the monitors was poor and I couldn't really hear myself, or much of the rest of the band either. Was my advice correct? What is proper mic placement for live soprano? Thanks.
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member
Joined
·
878 Posts
I've always clipped a mic directly to the bell of the horn. I've never had a problem doing it that way. Then again, I'm so used to being drowned out in the monitor mix that I've gotten used to not hearing myself through the montors. Thanks to the ear protection I use, I can always hear the horn "inside my head", so to speak.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
13 Posts
Hi, this is my first post on this forum... be kind. Guess what .. I am a Sound Guy.

The problem stems from your knowledge that the instrument does not only speak from the bell. In order to hear the complete and whole sound, the microphone must be placed at some distance from the instrument.
Well, that's fine in a studio where good seperation from other band members can be achieved; but you were not in a studio, you were at a gig.

In order to reduce spill from anything other than your instrument you must place the microphone where it will get lots of your instrument and very little of anything else. You guessed it, that means just in front of, in, or near the bell. And you're correct; it will not sound like a proper studio recording, but it's the only way to be able to amplify your signal without muddying the mix by also amplifying spill from everything else.
In this context the miced up sound is the best you are going to get, relax and be happy with it. Did someone say inverse square law?

This also partly explains the poor monitor mix; fading you (and all that spill) up just messed with the monitor mix and brought feedback ever closer. A good monitor mix is more important than almost anything else if you want a succesful gig; that, and keeping the levels on stage at a sensible volume. You were unlucky not to have the chance of even a rudimentary soundcheck, but thats the way it goes ...sometimes!

Hope this helps :D
 

·
Distinguished Member, Forum Contributor 2008
Joined
·
3,884 Posts
hbl said:
Had a gig last night - didn't get a sound check (we went on last) and the sound guy didn't know where to place the mic for the soprano sax. He started to place it under the bell - I said, "no, no , put it here" (about 7 inches up from the bell, about 1 foot away.
That's one of the compelling reasons for using a curved sop. It's easier to mic and much easier to hear yourself in the first place.

Failing that, SD systems makes a two mic soprano setup - one above the keys, one at the bell.
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member/Forum Contributor 2014
Joined
·
29,621 Posts
I bought a Sennheiser(the long black&silver one)on the recommendation of our soundman, when I was on the road doing top 40, on tenor.
From what I understand he had the volume turned very low on stage, I had to be right on the mic.[It was a rock rhythm section, with the drums sounding like cardboard boxes.]But, somehow he cranked that sound up for the speakers; some kind of dual volume control, I think.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7 Posts
Bootman said:
Give me the same level of fold back as the singer, set the eq flat and almost no reverb.
I will take care of the rest!!
My "gigging experience" involves playing my horns for myself, family and friends. I don't expect to ever step on a stage, attach a mic to my horn, and play for an audience. If I do, however, I'll have a real good idea of where the mic(s) should be placed, how to reduce the pops and clanging from the horn, and what to tell the sound guy - all because of what I've read here in the SOTW forums.

Information found elsewhere in the forums helped me decide to use a Morgan mouthpiece, Alexander reeds, Charlie A's gig dust, and key clamps on a soprano repaired by Steve Goodson. And I spend some of my practice time doing mouthpiece exercises.

I know this is off topic, but Bootman's comment reminded me of how much good information is available here in the forums, on the SOTW web site, and on the web sites of many of the frequent contributors to the forum. Reading threads that talk about gigging experiences gives me information that I wouldn't pick up anyplace else (I took private lessons from 6th grade through my second year in college, and a lot of this stuff was never mentioned).

Actually, I think the "lessons" I've learned in this gigging thread are well worth the cost of a private lesson. Someone want to tell me what the going price of a lesson is so I can get an idea how much to donate to Harri and the SOTW forum in exchange for the great gigging "lessons" you guys are providing?

Rob
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
13 Posts
Keeping sound levels down on stage is key to a good front of house sound.

Various performers are notorious for having everything too loud on stage; it gives them an adrenalin kick to turn their amps up to "11". Guitarists are the worst offenders. Drummers present a different problem.

Even in rock music a 100watt Marshall stack at "11" is too loud for most 500 seater gigs.
By this, I mean if the balance is dictated by bringing every other performer up in level to get a good balance with the guitarist, then the resulting mix will kick off harsh responses and standing waves in the venue, making a good front of house sound impossible.
Ohh, you thought it was the sound guys fault didn't you. Well it is more fundamental than that.
Every (and I do mean every) performer on stage should ask themselves why they are appearing tonight. Are they here to do the best show possible, or are they on an ego trip and damn the consequences.

The usual method of sounchecking is (in my opinion) at fault also.
Usually we start the soundcheck with the drum kit. Then variuosly add bass instruments and keyboards to the mix. Followed by other instruments and finally vocals. By doing this, we end up trying to beat the drums (no pun intended!), ending up with a mix that is too loud for the venue and pushing even large PA systems beyond their best operating range when trying to get decent vocal and solo levels. Also vast levels are now crowding around the stage and no one can hear themselves think, let alone share a vibe between band members. The resulting gig is a poor experience for both you and the audience.
This scenario happens so often I could cry..... and of course, everyone blames the sound guy. :(

It has been my long experience that trusting a knowledgeable sound guy pays dividends for everyone (even the audience...oops we had forgotten about them for a while) :shock:

Try your sounchecks this way.... it may help.
Get a general mix going in the old fashioned way as mentioned above.
Then.... :D pull all the faders on the front of house board to zero.
Play something including vocals and solos and let the front of house mixer set a good level for these. Then, add in the other performers; always having in mind that they should sit well with the vocal levels already set.
There will be problems of course, new ways of thinking may require a major change of mindset for some unwilling souls (this advice may run counter to their lifetimes experience). You may for example discover that the drums are still too loud.. some damping may help, although the real solution is a different drum setup that produces less volume whilst still projecting good tone.
That guitarist (remember him) will no longer be operating his rig at "11", he too, now needs a smaller amp (killer tone available at a lower level). He will howl at this suggestion but all is not lost.
Get good on stage monitoring gear. No I take that back... Get the best.
He can then be as loud as he wants (within reason) in his own monitoring.
This approach generally lowers the general "on stage" sound level, reducing spill into other microphones and allowing a generally more satisfying performing environment.
Suddenly the front of house mix snaps into focus (also partly due to the reduced spill levels into the microphones on stage), a great mix at a level suitable to the venue is now possible to the delight of everyone. :p

Less really is .............. more :D
And so ends my diatribe.......try it out. (After all, what have you got to loose?).
After an initial shakedown period you will really get a better audience reaction; and a better performing experience. :wink:
 

·
SOTW Columnist, Distinguished SOTW Member
Joined
·
23,768 Posts
Great stuff, ey up. By the way, not to dis drummers (since I consider the drummer the most important member of the band), but I've found that a drummer who plays too loud is quite often the real problem when it comes to volume. If the guitarist is too loud, that's pretty obvious and you can tell him/her to turn down. When the drummer plays too loud, everyone else has to turn up the volume and gets totally out of hand. Give me a drummer who understands and uses dynamics effectively, please!!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
271 Posts
ey up, Thank you for that post! If you don't mind, I would like to save your post and give it to...well...a lot of people! I think most soundmen would learn from it and appreciate it.

I was invited to play last night at a pretty lame ching ching mostly blues jam session. It was too loud out front and even worse on stage. I tried telling the soundman/guitarist I was playing with that it was painful and he just said no it's not? I guess sometimes it's just not even worth it to get my blood pressure up like that... Maybe earplugs are in order.

Like sessionsax, I just bought a powered monitor and a small mixer. No efx yet. The speaker is a JBL EON15 G2 (400 watts baby!) I too am sick of not being able to hear myself- if I get a monitor at all.

I see that if I crank my rig it just compounds the problem but some (most) of these rock heads are impossible to reason with. So in that case it shall be:
If you can't join 'em, beat 'em!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
13 Posts
Thanks for the replies people. I hope my views are usefull. :D

Now ..... you have to become a diplomat, some of those other performers and even some of those sound guys may seem to be speaking another language; and everyone has a fragile ego.

If you can manage these negotiations succesfully, and with few tantrums and tears, there may well be a career for you attached to the "White House"!

The subject of Sound Reinforcement is enormous, and many people that end up involved in it start with little or no real knowledge.
They do their very best and learn by experience and hopefully from generous mentors, jealously guarding their skills and always trying for a better gig.
Sadly, unless they are very lucky and get advice from the true greats in this area their methods may well be without foundation in truth.
But, because they are often criticized for poor results, they often find blaming equipment, venues and performers for poor results.

It takes some strength of character to be a succesful sound guy.
Namely because you have to ask the band to trust you .... and be deserving of that trust. This can only come with experience.

A good sound guy should be regarded and valued as another band member. Its a team effort guys, everyone has to understand their own role in the performance .... and appreciate everyone elses.

Best of luck :lol:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
13 Posts
Given the importance of "Front of House" sound and Sound reinforcement in general, it is amazing to me how little literature is aimed in this direction.

One book you might like to read is "the live sound manual",
Published in 2002 by Backbeat Books.
www.backbeatbooks.com
ISBN 0-87930-699-8

I have no connection with these people, I just thought that the book was a good effort and worth sharing.
It's well worth your time to read it be you a musician or sound guy (or both).
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
764 Posts
I've found that a drummer who plays too loud is quite often the real problem when it comes to volume.
AMEN!

Again, not to dis the drummers (my best friend is one), but that is so true, especially in the rock band I play with now (I hope they're not reading this! :wink: ).

My (least) favorite thing is when we get to a gig, they size the place up and say, this room is small enough that we don't need to mic the horns (so far, this is awesome!)... and then proceed to put three mics on the kit, plus overheads, all for a drummer who plays waaaay too loud anyway!! :evil:
 

·
Distinguished Member, Forum Contributor 2015-2016
Joined
·
2,726 Posts
1 small powered mixer $200.00 ,1 used quadraverb $100.00,one shure 57,$80.00 ,hotspot 10 pound(200 watt) monitor with stand $150.00 hearing yourself at the perfect volume,eq level *with the desired effects on your sound)for every gig dialed in perfectly by yourself...... priceless.
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member and Great Bloke.
Joined
·
2,968 Posts
I prefer playing acoustic gigs without PA or a small vocal PA if it is necessary. These always require every band member to listen and balance amongst themselves. Loud Drummers and Guitarists who continue to play overly loud are actually being rude to the rest of the band members. Good musicians listen and play with the other band members, not play over the top of them.

Ey Up is correct in his assessments of live gigging situations. A good monitor mix and low stage volume will go a long way to making for a better performance. Sound guys are often blamed for sound problems when it is really up to the players on the stage to control their own stage volumes.
 
1 - 20 of 31 Posts
Top