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on the fly communication to the team about volume issues

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  • on the fly communication to the team about volume issues

    Hi there-Every now and then we have some volume issues that none of us on the platform are easily aware of. What might sound good to us can often be too loud to the congregation. I know that the primary person responsible for on the fly adjustments is our sound operator, but I'm wondering if any of you has a system in place to be able to tell individual members up front to sing softer/play softer/turn themselves down, etc. I was considering figuring out a way to rig up some kind of light signal, but think that's probably a little too hi-tech and silly. Do most of you just use some kind of hand signals, or some kind of communication that can happen directly between the sound guy and individual band members? Curious to know your thoughts-

    Thanks!

    Harry

  • #2
    The best way to do on-the-fly volume adjustments is to not have to do them in my experience. If you have a rehearsal prior to service you should be able to set volume levels appropriately through your normal sound checks prior to and during rehearsal. But that assumes you really are doing a formal sound check in which you gain stage each instrument and voice individually, then doing it by ear as a group once you start rehearsing. If you do that correctly ahead of time you should be in good shape and any minor adjustments during the service can be handled by your sound personnel.
    The Posse Band live performance tracks can be heard by CLICKING HERE

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    • #3
      I'm definitely in agreement with DunedInDragon on this one - this is the kind of stuff that needs to be worked out in soundcheck/rehearsal. Ideally, each band member would be sending a consistent level that is never too loud for the room on it's own. Then, turn the reigns over to the sound tech and trust them to do their job. We play music, they mix it well.
      Eric Frisch
      www.ericfrisch.com

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      • #4
        I wonder if there is a better way- you really don't want the unpolished appearance of people twiddling with their amps during the middle of a worship set.

        As far as singing, why should the sound tech have to tell people to sing softer- is there a reason that using the mixing board fader to pull them back a bit isn't working? Are they overpowering the PA with their voice? Not being sarcastic, just confused...

        One thing possible for training for the singers- when they start singing loud and hot, they need to back off the mic a bit. Look at the pros- when they are singing hard, they pull the mic away from their mouth. It takes practice to do that. It also might be an issue of them not hearing themselves in the monitor. That takes practice too. It's tough for singers because everyone wants to be the loudest one.

        Instruments can be a tricky thing. The biggest thing you can do to help is get any amps pointed away from the sanctuary that you can. As a bass and guitar player, I can say this will take some effort to make look and sound right. What I found works pretty well is to point amps sideways across the stage. This can help a lot with a guitar amp, because they are so directional. The main issue with guitar amps is most of them are pointing at the guitar player's feet, but from the stage, they are pointed at the people's face. It doesn't sound loud to the guitarist, but the people in the first 10 rows are having a face-melting moment. If the guitar amp either gets pointed across the stage (and miked so you have some level of control over it in the sanctuary) or set up like a monitor where its' pointing at the guitarists' face, that will go a long ways. Also, what my guitar playing friends do is find the medium-level amp settings and mark them with a piece of tape to remind them where they are in case things get changed.

        For myself, I have a Digitech multi-effects pedal with a line out to the board and a 1/4" line out to a powered floor wedge so I can control what I hear and the sound tech can control what's in the sanctuary. Personally, I like it a lot. It's clean, it's simple, it gives the sound crew the control they need, and it's a win-win.

        Bass amp is a little trickier because bass is not as unidirectional, but setting the bass amp up like a monitor so your bass player has it pointing at them with a line out to the mixer that you can control will be the best approach. Most bass amps made in the last 10 years or so usually have a built in XLR line out- take advantage of it.

        Acoustic drums, outside a full-on cage, there isn't a lot you can do except train people on the stage to not make a volume war out of it.

        Hope this gives you some good ponters
        If we want to go places we haven't been, we will have to do things we haven't done.

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        • #5
          The points MikeOnBass makes are very valid. But it seems to me that what you might need most in this case is to get some fundamentals worked out between the musicians and the sound crew. Unfortunately the original poster really hasn't given us enough information about their setup to really even provide much help. For example, are your instruments and voices both going through the PA? Are you using acoustic or electronic drums...or even using drums at all? What instruments and how many vocalists are we talking here? With more information we might be able to pass on some specific tricks of the trade to help you get your volume levels under control.
          The Posse Band live performance tracks can be heard by CLICKING HERE

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