Thursday, November 17, 2011

Note To Soundmen

I play with a multi-effects processor, into a D/I box. I generate no sound except what the guitar does acoustically and what you let get through the PA system.

During soundcheck in venues where there is no monitor mix, when we're asking for more or less sound, I will ask for enough volume that I can hear myself. I am sensitive to the idea that others don't want me to completely overpower what they're doing, and that, in a guitar/keys/vox setup, the singer wants to take most of the queues from  the keys.

This means, at the end of sound check, I am literally running at the lowest volume I can effectively hear myself at. If you decide to lower my headroom, there might be a place I can push myself, but you are giving me a choice between not being heard and sounding like a garbage disposal.

I do not want to be a prima donna.

I do not want to be silent.

I do not want to sound like a garbage disposal.

If given a choice between silence and garbage disposal, I will pack up my gear mid-song next time. Just watch me.


Pribek said...

It's a constant dilemma it seems.
One possible fun solution: actually sample your actual garbage disposal and midi it up through one of your gizmo banks. Hit it when you have the dough-head sound guy messing with you.
rave on...

Dave Jacoby said...

That is an idea.

Normally, where I play there's some sort of headphone monitoring, and as long as I can hear myself and what I'm playing along with, I know I'm doing the best I can do and what the soundman does with it is not my problem. I of course want my playing to hit the ears of the audience and make them happy, but I've decided I cannot let myself care about that.

It's when they hinder the ability to hear myself, to keep me from doing my best, that's when I get upset. And I've slept on it and I'm still upset.

Pribek said...

yeah well, if you have a sound guy it is inherently his duty to worry about sound out front. You shouldn't have to give it a thought.
If you can't hear yourself properly, you can't attain the proper feel and you end up digging in too much, playing too hard.
If you have made the guy aware of it and it's still not happening...not much you can do.

Dave Jacoby said...

We're not talking "digging in". We're talking wanting to have Chet Atkins cleans and having to dial in Kerry King grind just so I can hear myself a little. But yeah.

Patrick got me to consider getting small computer speakers, so I have something to fall back on when I have nothing.

Dimaension X said...

I don't think I have EVER had the opportunity to work with a soundman that ACTUALLY knows how to set up a good monitor mix. I've always had to put my tiny combo on a tilted stand, pointed directly at my head, and crank it beyond a comfortable level, just to hear myself over the drums, which always seem to be the only thing in the monitors (huh? why would they put the loudest thing in these tiny clubs through the PA?). It would be great to have a soundguy who knows what he's doing, but I don't think they really exist.