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Thread: Live Sound Setups....

  1. #1
    Senior Member
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    Live Sound Setups....

    We tend to focus on guitars and amps here, and I was curious what any other of you gigging guys use out there for the rest of the band setup. To get the ball rolling, I'll go first...

    But a couple of things up front.... First, we play maybe 15 to 20 times a year and don't want any more than that. Upgrading venues, sure....but more than twice a month is a non-starter, so it seems silly to invest too much into equipment. Second, 9 out of 10 places we play are roudhouse type of bars. 50 to 100 seats with a dance floor. Some of them are mainly bars, and some of them focus on food as much as the bar part... but in either case, volume control is a must. About half of these types of places have a house PA, but they're junk and we always bring our own. The other 1 out of 10 places we play is an A-list club, big stage, big house PA, serious house lighting, dedicated sound guy, etc... (we're usually filling in for a name act that had to cancel last minute at the big places...we don't draw enough for them usually.) For that sort of place, we don't bring our own PA. And finally, our vocals are better than our musicianship, so we want that part to shine.

    So, the setup is an older Mackie 16 channel mixer with two aux channels for monitors. It has one built in effects chain and an external stereo effects out/in. We run QSC KW153s as mains with QSC KW181 subs. Both are powered, so no power amp needed. We run three QSC K10s as monitors - also powered. Monitors run vocals only, and the lead singer gets his own channel and the drummer and I get an equal mix of all three vocal mics on ours. For the drums, the kick, snare and toms are mic'd, but we don't put too much into the mix...just enough to bring it forward. The bassists amp has a direct out which is run through the PA. We run delay and a compressor on the vocals externally and a touch of reverb depending on the venue internal to the mixer. The main mix goes through a graphic eq.

    I know that if you want to keep volume under control you're supposed to mic the guitar amps and also run them into the monitors so that the FOH mix can be kept right while keeping the guitarists from spiraling out of control. Early on, we tried that but came to the conclusion that for the types of places we play, it just doesn't work well. We ended up ditching the mics and using amp placement and some iterated experience to set the guitars in the mix while keeping us happy. Seems to work.... Stage volume is probably louder than it'd otherwise be, but not out of control, and I actually like it that way. And besides, it allows the amps to get cooking a little more.

    The only thing that changes things up is on the occasions when we play with a keyboard. That goes through the monitors along with the vocals, which mucks things up a little, but nothing unmanageable.

    I'm interested in what the rest of you guys are doing for live sound...

  2. #2
    Defender of the Universe HANGAR18's Avatar
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    Just to break up the sound of the crickets chirping... how well do you hear the other guitar players if they aren't running through the momitors? Oh look... a squirell!
    MEGADETH - METALLICA - JUDAS PRIEST - IRON MAIDEN - SLAYER - BLACK LABEL SOCIETY - TED NUGENT - AC/DC - TWISTED SISTER - KISS - CHEAP TRICK - ZZ TOP

  3. #3
    Opaque John Beef's Avatar
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    We basically go with whatever the club has. Even if it's not all that great, we use it and do our best with it. Unfortunately we're realizing that we're just too darn loud.

    The Bovine Fury <-- stream and download our album "Eleven by Twelve" for free.
    05 Custom 22 with DGT pickups ~ 07 Mira with old birds ~ 08 SE Baritone Fralin/Suhr pickups ~ 03 SE Santana

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