who's in charge of sound

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This topic contains 25 replies, has 7 voices, and was last updated by Profile photo of gilly gilly 5 years, 7 months ago.

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  • #51223
    Profile photo of gilly
    gilly
    Participant

    Hi guys
    Just a general question re sound responsibility that id appreciate some other sound trch take on.
    A well known visiting Worship band from the states are doing a euro tour which involves our church in Ireland and i was asked by our pastor to do sound for it tomoro morn and evening concert as i am in charge of sound at our church. I set it all up beforehand and did some preliminary EQ setting adjustments on all the mics and drums to notch out the ringing feedback frequencies on our Qu-24. The band then arrived earlier for sound check and i did the basic levels in FoH and then adjusted all the mixes on their monitors to their taste. All fine so far. Then their tech guy (who usually mixes for them in their home church but on this tour is playing keys with them) asked if he could adjust some EQ settings and i let him but he then started tweaking all the channels EQ settings after i had taken time to adjust them all beforehand to EQ out the feedback frequencies etc. But if he’s playing keys then he cant be on sound too. Just that if im mixing then i set up the levels and EQ as i judge it. Everyone has their own idea of what sounds good. But EQ is not only a matter of tone taste, it affects feedback as well and as i said i had spent a bit of time earlier EQing the mics for feedback and then he went and adjusted them all…I didn’t want to cause a scene so i said nothing there and then but im a bit upset about it to be honest. Tomoro morning they are leading worship at the service and tomoro evening the concert. My dilemma if the tech guy starts wanting to tweak settings and EQ again tomoro during practice, do i let him or do i tell him, nicely but firmly, that if im on sound then i do the mixing. What would u sound guys do in my situation. The guy seems a nice guy but he’s half my age and ive many years experience doing sound in our church and nobodys ever complained with the sound of my mix….well at least nit to my face ☺
    Sorry for the long speel….but it was important to give the full scenario.

    #51224
    Profile photo of GCumbee
    GCumbee
    Participant

    Just my opinion but after having been through this same situation for 40+ years I can say this. I try to work with musicians or tech guys as much as I can. I want them to be happy and leave happy. That said in this type of case I would probably let him do his thing then after they start playing if there is something just not working tweak it to where it does work. If he says something later just tell him it didn’t sound right. He is not in a position to change it. Many times I have had band mixers come in and start EQing things without even listening. Just their stock settings. If they are mixing then there is not much you can do. If they are not such as this case then you have the right to change it. Just remember. They will be gone. You have to live with this venue. If your superiors complain tell them what happened.

    It’s not worth creating a storm unless really bad then you step in and tell him.

    I could fill a book with my dealings with production people. Mainly with major stars. It can be awful or great.

    Good luck!!!

    #51225
    Profile photo of Andreas
    Andreas
    Moderator

    If he’s busy playing keyboards you’re free to revert to your settings live. If the audience was happy with the sound, he’ll probably tell you that it was a good idea to use “his” settings. You just smile. If the sound finally was a desaster, you’re free to tell him that using your settings would have been better. win/win on your side… 😉
    Seriously, I doubt it does make sense to start an argument with such people who insist to know everything better. Maybe he has good reasons for special EQ settings (i.e. know problem frequencies with their instruments you’re not aware of).
    On the other hand, I’m not sure if it is a good idea to generally handle feedback on the channel EQs. Critical feedback frequencies are often caused by room resonances which are somewhat global an can better be handled with the EQs on the output side (Mix/Mtx/LR).

    #51226
    Profile photo of gilly
    gilly
    Participant

    Thanks for your feedback G. Good advice

    #51227
    Profile photo of GCumbee
    GCumbee
    Participant

    Andreas. I agree in part. My problems have always been I have to pick a particular mic to do room feedback work. Then do other mics at the channel level. One room setting usually doesn’t work for all types of mics.

    #51228
    Profile photo of gilly
    gilly
    Participant

    My issue isn’t with thinking i know it all, as i certainly dont, it’s more the fact he interfered with my mix. Would he, or any of you guys, like if someone did that to you. I wouldn’t have minded if he had asked if he could make suggestions rather than just tweaked here and tweaked there…aaaghhh!!

    #51230
    Profile photo of gilly
    gilly
    Participant

    Andreas we did do some freq ringing on the main FoH speakers and the monitors months aago. But today when i sang into one of the SM58 mics and did a freqency sweep (using iPad) with narrow Q and high dB i came accross at least 2 frequencies that whistled and i notched them down to around -3dB. But repeating the same on the other two SM58A mics gave feedback at different frequencies. Now what im concerned about with their tech guy adjusting the EQ on these mics is that say i leave as is and then i get asked to up the master FOH volume, that i could run into feedback issues with those frequencies raised up again….then who’d be blamed…
    Maybe im getting too sensitive in my old age !!

    #51231
    Profile photo of DoctorG
    DoctorG
    Participant

    Previous responses have been right-on. I’ll just add my two cents…

    Techs and musicians have a different focus. Musicians focus primarily on how the band, and themselves in particular, sound, and they may be looking for specific sound parameters. The tech is focused on this, too, but he’s also more concerned with things like feedback and mic “noise” – handling thumps and proximity effect, e.g. So the channel EQ the tech uses will likely be somewhat different from what the musician might use. After all, you may not have heard how the musician sounds, particularly vocalists, who has his/her own preference as to how his/her instrument (vocal or otherwise) should sound.

    In addition, a vocalist often uses a preferred mic and is used to having the EQ set in a particular way, either from live performance or studio work. This has to be given some consideration. Take the advice given by others here – use output PEQ (and GEQ, secondarily, if needed) to EQ the room/speaker interaction. Then set channel EQ initially based on your experience with the mics in use or other factors.

    One more factor is that some techs either have hearing issues or lack of music exposure that can limit their perception. You know the situation in your case, but don’t divorce yourself from your own perception limitations. It’s also equally possible that the performer, because of years of exposure to very loud music, has some hearing issues. It’s impossible to evaluate that issue. Give them what they want in their monitors, while minimizing the level as much as possible, while you focus on the FOH sound.

    With professional performers, you must give them their due. Many times, they have very strong personal preferences, and this should be respected. However, as has been said, if during the performance you hear something profoundly wrong, such as feedback, you must take proper action.

    Don’t get “bent out of shape” when performers, or anyone else for that matter, make “suggestions.” The audience paid to hear them, not you. We all have our opinions and preferences. If you want people to respect yours, you must respect theirs. A disagreement usually isn’t personal, just a conflict in experience and preferences. When in doubt, honor theirs.

    But let there be no feedback!

    #51232
    Profile photo of gilly
    gilly
    Participant

    Andreas we did do some freq ringing on the main FoH speakers and the monitors. But when i sang into one of the SM58 mics and did a freqency sweep (using iPad) with narrow Q and high dB i came acrross at least 2 frequencies that whistled and i notched them down to around -3dB. But repeating the same on the other two SM58A mics gave feedback at different frequencies. Now what im concerned about with there tech guy adjusting the EQ on these mics is that say i leave as is and then i get asked to up the master FOH volume, that i could run into feedback issues with those frequencies raised up again….
    Maybe im getting too sensitive in my old age !!

    #51233
    Profile photo of gilly
    gilly
    Participant

    Ok Doc some fair points. But i am also a musician, i lead worship on guitar and so i know what it’s like on the other side and wanting a certain sound from my guitar and mic,im very fussy. But i did give each and every band member what they wanted in their monitors. But my opinion is that who is operating sound is the guy who gets to adjust FoH levels and EQ. I don’t think it should matter if a band are ‘professional’, why should that matter. Its worship not a performance. If they wanted a particular sound and EQ on their instruments and mics then they should bring their own mics and their own sound tech and let him/her mix the way they like it. But they asked us to do the sound and provide all the equipment and mics etc (bar their own guitars), so then i think they should respect and trust me to do my job. Respect works both ways. Am i wrong?
    And by the way their tech / keys player didn’t suggest settings he just asked if he could adjust the EQ himself, which i thought quite cheeky.

    #51234
    Profile photo of Andreas
    Andreas
    Moderator

    Totally agree that individual mics may have additional individual critical (higher pitched) frequencies depending on their particular location relative to speakers. Fixing these issues with narrow channel PEQ require the mics to remain at fixed locations, right?
    Saying that, since we do not have separate channel EQ for FOH and mixes, correcting higher pitched feedback issues between monitors and mics change sound in FOH.
    That’s why I prefer running monitors pre-EQ and fix feedback and build per-musician sound within the mix PEQ. So I can adjust channel PEQ live without running into monitoring feedback. For some reason this works well for me, even if it may not be common practice. 😉

    #51235
    Profile photo of gilly
    gilly
    Participant

    Andreas my feedback fixing wasn’t with the monitors,it was on FoH

    #51236
    Profile photo of Andreas
    Andreas
    Moderator

    Regarding your situation I think you’re totally right. Of course the musicians should get the sound they need on stage to feel right, but FOH sound is yours. When I do sound for other bands I greately accept suggestions and hints to special situations, but nobody should come too close to my faders and knobs… 😉

    #51237
    Profile photo of Andreas
    Andreas
    Moderator

    Hmm, “whistling” (=higher pitched?) feedback from FOH into mics? Sounds like a serious problem with either the room or FOH speakers (spilling too much energy towards “stage”), assuming decent voice volume near the microphone.

    #51239
    Profile photo of Chris93
    Chris93
    Participant

    The band get the final say on how their music is presented, your job is to facilitate that. If there’s a technical issue with something then let them know “if this EQ cut is removed I won’t be able to get it as loud without feedback” or whatever, and let them decide what they want to do.

    If I was being asked to mix in a way I really wasn’t happy with I’d turn the desk over to their guy and let him do whatever he wants (barring risk of system damage), his decisions, his responsibility. I’d still be on hand to answer questions about operating the desk.

    Chris

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