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minifhncc



Joined: 15/01/08
Posts: 12
Bass guitar
      #567573 - 15/01/08 05:35 AM
Hello,

At our church we have the Yamaha ProMix 01 Digital Mixer.

We are constantly faced with the problem with the bassist wanting his bass guitar volume really loud.

All the other instruments in the church (keyboard and guitar) hardly ever go past the 0-3dB mark on mixer, however the bass guitar channel constantly clips above the 12dB mark, so we end up reducing the gain, and then he put his volume up, so we are always competing with him. The worship leader's vocals don't even go beyond the 6dB mark on the meter.

Initially, all the faders for the instruments are set at the same level as each other, however we do make adjustments during when the worship band is playing.

Sometimes I just fell that the bass guitar is too loud, despite it clipping constantly (which then I must reduce the gain, to stop distorted sound), and I do reduce the volume. Am I being too unreasonable in doing this? Why does the bassist want his guitar so loud? How loud should the bass be usually?

If you can assist me, it'd be greatfully appreciated.

Edited by minifhncc (15/01/08 05:39 AM)


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IvanSC



Joined: 08/03/05
Posts: 7799
Loc: UK France & USA depending on t...
Re: Bass guitar new [Re: minifhncc]
      #567579 - 15/01/08 08:01 AM
Sounds like your bass player was a guitarist in a previous life.
Have you discussed this problem with him/her directly?
The selfish behaviour of one individual in an ensemble is affecting the quality of sound for everyone, including the audience.
Ideally, if you are the confrontational sort, you need to explain that he needs to consider the other players and learn to play at a volume consistent with the rest.

On another tack, if I understand this correctly, do you have everyone hooked up through the desk without backline amps? If so, the problem is almost certainly caused by a lack of bass in the onstage monitoring system that he is hearing (or rather not hearing) his bass through.

As far as how loud the bass should be, loudest shoul dbe vocals. Everything else should sit under that and be pretty much equally audible.
You can achieve better separation of the instruments by shaping each ones basic tone with the eq on your desk, assuming it is up to it.

--------------------
Me? But I`m such a loveable old bugger!


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Sheriton



Joined: 27/01/03
Posts: 1555
Loc: Leicester, UK
Re: Bass guitar new [Re: minifhncc]
      #567598 - 15/01/08 09:27 AM
Quote minifhncc:

How loud should the bass be usually?





Although it obviously depends on the type of music, for me, bass is a supporting instrument - it should be more noticeable by its absence than by its presence. If a quiet word doesn't do the trick, try gaffa tape around his fingers...

PS. I play bass, so this isn't just the opinion of an awkward sound engineer!

--------------------
There's nothing we can't face... Except for bunnies


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minifhncc



Joined: 15/01/08
Posts: 12
Re: Bass guitar new [Re: IvanSC]
      #567681 - 15/01/08 12:25 PM
Hi,

First of all, thank you for your replies

Yes we do have amps/monitors that are cabled through DI boxes for the bass, keyboard and guitar.

For a while though, our bassist didn't use a monitor amp because he reckoned it sounded like crap, until our worship leader (who has majored in sound engineering) said that the bass was too loud and forced him to use it.

We also use AUX for the monitor of the vocals.

I don't really understand what you mean by "shaping each ones basic tone", do you mean the use of the equalizer? If so then we do use that but it's still a learning in process for me on the frequencies and such.

Thanks


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seablade



Joined: 21/11/04
Posts: 4016
Re: Bass guitar new [Re: minifhncc]
      #567686 - 15/01/08 12:32 PM
Do you have any monitoring set up for the bassist?

If not, get his amp as close to him as possible, up right next to his ear if you need to.

If you are clipping the channel, you need to bring your gain down. If he says he can't hear himself and that is why he is turning up, then address your monitoring. If he is turning up because he thinks he needs to be louder, then he needs a lesson in whose ears can hear the mix, and whose cannot, tactfully of course.

I would be a bit more specific in tact, but I am still half asleep. Out of curiosity, how large is the space you are playing in, and is it small enough to just remove him completely from the sound system and let his amp carry his volume?

Seablade


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minifhncc



Joined: 15/01/08
Posts: 12
Re: Bass guitar new [Re: seablade]
      #567694 - 15/01/08 12:39 PM
For the bass, we do have a monitor amp setup.

As for the space, our church is can seat around about 100-120 people, the stage area is about 8 x 4 metres.

I'm not sure if his amp would be able to power the whole congregation. I don't think it would be able to, to be honest.

And yes, I will try putting the amp up on something right next to his ear and see what happens.

Thanks for the tips guys.


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seablade



Joined: 21/11/04
Posts: 4016
Re: Bass guitar new [Re: minifhncc]
      #567790 - 15/01/08 03:22 PM
If you have monitoring set up, can you turn it up without destroying your mix because of onstage volumes? Still get it close to his ear no matter what.

However with such a small venue, as long as he has a decent bass amp, I would bet it can go by itself and doesn't need to be through the system. Note that this does NOT give a free license for him to do whatever he wants, he needs to balance acoustically with the mix so he needs to listen when you tell him he needs to turn down.

Seablade


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The muso



Joined: 11/12/07
Posts: 131
Loc: Scotland
Re: Bass guitar new [Re: seablade]
      #567835 - 15/01/08 04:35 PM
Would it be un-christian of me to suggest just sacking the bass player and getting one who wasn't such a *****?


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seablade



Joined: 21/11/04
Posts: 4016
Re: Bass guitar new [Re: The muso]
      #567844 - 15/01/08 04:59 PM
Quote The muso:

Would it be un-christian of me to suggest just sacking the bass player and getting one who wasn't such a *****?




Good question. Depends on the requirements and purpose of the band I suppose. For many places over here, the band is an expression of worship on the part of the members. So in that case yes it would be. However in some places the band is intended first to lead the worship of the congregation, and in such a case it might not be(I say might because the two are not mutually exclusive obviously).

In any case I tend to believe the presence or lack of pay for the position to be a good indicator;) Maybe not always accurate, but a good indicator.

Seablade


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Nathan



Joined: 13/09/04
Posts: 1893
Loc: lincolnshire government experi...
Re: Bass guitar new [Re: seablade]
      #567952 - 15/01/08 09:40 PM
ok, this post is going to be quite long and pernickety (sp?), but there could be could be communication, logistical AND sound issues involved here, in as yet unknown combinations. lets clear the ambiguity away . here is a reasonably comprehensive list of bass/bass guitar/bass guitarist issues and possible solutions.


i'm not really following how you've got your bassist set up here...

from what i've read, he's got a backline amp and cab (or a combo), you're DI-ing him into your PA system, and he has a monitor wedge; is that correct?

is your bassist's monitor exclusive to him? is it on it's own mix, or is this shared with other performers' monitor wedges? is it level controlled/ mixed by him, or thru the FOH desk?

is your problem that he is:
-turning up his bass guitar, and thus his backline level, the DI feed, the desk level and monitor level... causing there too be too much bass gtr level on stage?

-turining up his bass amp/combo, -and the DI is downstream of this, causing stage level and desk level, etc, to be too much?

-are the desk settings generally "set and left" for a service, or is there someone on the controls to counteract any signal increases?


live problems of this nature can get somewhat ambiguous due to the different ways of DI-ing a bass gtr, whether bass gtr backline is used and varied, whether "bass" refers to the bass gtr, or the overall bass content of the onstage sound, etc... (why we call bass drums "kicks"). is this overall bass/bass gtr level or particular ranges of notes? -does he play some parts to much louder than others (dynamics) -or are certain notes (frequencies) to loud? -do you have problem bass freq resonances with his backline or with the room/ performance area?

why does the bass guitarist turn up his instrument/amp? can he not hear the pitch and timbre over the other instruments or does he just like it loud/powerful? (ask him, constructively).

is he not able to hear it over the other instruments in his wedge? is this because he shares a mix with other performers? is his wedge generally not loud enough or is too bass(freq)-light?

is this because he has a bad or non-ideal bass guitar sound? (or a combination of the two?)

is there any definition in his sound? if you boost midrange EQ by 6dB while he's playing and sweep the freq up past 1k, 2k, 3k -does the effect of the EQ cease at these frequencies as you sweep? -some pickups and/or string combinations die above 1k and i have often had bass gtr stage and monitor level problems in this case because the sound, although loud, becomes quickly masked and lost on stage because the harmonics above these frequencies are needed to give the bass gtr sound definition, and to separate the individual notes played thru the onstage sound. this may also be due to a muddy backline amp EQ setting, a poor backline cab or inappropriate driver. -check the HF driver (if present) and also the HF driver in the bassist's monitor.

------------------------------------------------------------

depending on your bass guitarists answers, his sound and your current setup and signal connections, you can work your way step-by-step through the following suggestions until you have a working solution:

-DIing the bass gtr between the instrument and his amp, and taping his backline settings to stop him altering its contribution to the problem.

-positioning this so it is close to him, pointing at his ears and not at the audience, other performers or any other reverberant space.

-giving him his own wedge, his own mix, or upgrading this wedge and its amp, and positioning it so it is closer to his ears and away from audience, other performers, etc.

-controlling the dynamics or his playing with a compressor and/or limiter (at backline amp and/or desk channel)

-shaping his sound with EQ (desk channel or graphic EQ for mon and PA, and/or at backline, etc).

-replacing his strings, pickups or entire, bass guitar, backline amp/cab/combo to improve the sound timbre in general or its definition to get audibility and "cut" without excess volume.

-acoustically treating the performance space so that low-freq resonances are reduced.

-replacing the performer with someone more reasonable, considerate, musically able, professional.

--------------------
planet nine
lincoln, uk.


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minifhncc



Joined: 15/01/08
Posts: 12
Re: Bass guitar new [Re: Nathan]
      #567990 - 15/01/08 11:08 PM
First of all, the issue of sacking/dismissing one from a team or organisation is a very sensitive issue and I do not promote towards ANYONE it at all. Therefore, I don't have any interests or desires in sacking the bassist. Although the bassist may have an attitude problem, he still isn't violating any major policy of the worship team. Most importantly, in Christianity we are to love one another, meaning that even considering of sacking the bassist is out of the question. Sure, it might solve the problem but it isn't really practical in sacking everyone that has an issue with one another.

Now to the questions...

Quote Nathan:


from what i've read, he's got a backline amp and cab (or a combo), you're DI-ing him into your PA system, and he has a monitor wedge; is that correct?



He has his own amp (guitar amp, not a monitor wedge), and using a DI box, it is cabled to the mixer, and cabled to the amp using the LINK port of the DI box.

Quote:

is your bassist's monitor exclusive to him? is it on it's own mix, or is this shared with other performers' monitor wedges? is it level controlled/ mixed by him, or thru the FOH desk?



It's exclusive to him, and he can do whatever he likes with it.

Quote:

is your problem that he is:
-turning up his bass guitar, and thus his backline level, the DI feed, the desk level and monitor level... causing there too be too much bass gtr level on stage?

-turining up his bass amp/combo, -and the DI is downstream of this, causing stage level and desk level, etc, to be too much?



The problem is that he is turning up his bass guitar, and causing his channel on the mixer to clip constantly or go much higher than the other channels on the mixer. When I turn his gain down, he turns his bass guitar even more, and he ends up getting very annoyed, we have this ongoing conflict. I believe the volume of his own amp on stage isn't an issue at this time.

Quote:

-are the desk settings generally "set and left" for a service, or is there someone on the controls to counteract any signal increases?



There is someone there to control the mixer if any signal increases, or if anything needs adjusting.


Quote:

live problems of this nature can get somewhat ambiguous due to the different ways of DI-ing a bass gtr, whether bass gtr backline is used and varied, whether "bass" refers to the bass gtr, or the overall bass content of the onstage sound, etc... (why we call bass drums "kicks").



I am referring to the bass guitar, not the bass drum.

Quote:

is this overall bass/bass gtr level or particular ranges of notes? -does he play some parts to much louder than others (dynamics) -or are certain notes (frequencies) to loud? -do you have problem bass freq resonances with his backline or with the room/ performance area?



His overall bass guitar level is high, but on top of that he at times put the volume up more at his own discretion.

Quote:

why does the bass guitarist turn up his instrument/amp? can he not hear the pitch and timbre over the other instruments or does he just like it loud/powerful? (ask him, constructively).



I don't know, I'll ask him this week.

Quote:

is he not able to hear it over the other instruments in his wedge? is this because he shares a mix with other performers? is his wedge generally not loud enough or is too bass(freq)-light?



It is not because he shares a mix with other performers, he has his own amp.

Quote:

is this because he has a bad or non-ideal bass guitar sound? (or a combination of the two?)



I am not sure if this the case, but when he had his old amp apparently it wasn't a good amp, so it made a bad sound, but it seems he is happy with his current amp.

Quote:

is there any definition in his sound? if you boost midrange EQ by 6dB while he's playing and sweep the freq up past 1k, 2k, 3k -does the effect of the EQ cease at these frequencies as you sweep? -some pickups and/or string combinations die above 1k and i have often had bass gtr stage and monitor level problems in this case because the sound, although loud, becomes quickly masked and lost on stage because the harmonics above these frequencies are needed to give the bass gtr sound definition, and to separate the individual notes played thru the onstage sound. this may also be due to a muddy backline amp EQ setting, a poor backline cab or inappropriate driver. -check the HF driver (if present) and also the HF driver in the bassist's monitor.



I think the bassist adjusts the EQ for his own amp. Sorry for my ignorance, but what is a HF driver?

Thanks for all your help so far I really do appreciate it.


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Sheriton



Joined: 27/01/03
Posts: 1555
Loc: Leicester, UK
Re: Bass guitar new [Re: minifhncc]
      #567997 - 15/01/08 11:31 PM
Quote minifhncc:

When I turn his gain down, he turns his bass guitar even more, and he ends up getting very annoyed, we have this ongoing conflict.




I'll pick up on this point. When you turn down the gain on the desk channel, you not only decrease the level of the bass over the main PA, it also turns down the volume of bass in his monitor. He loses the ability to hear himself as well as previously, so turns up to get his monitor back to where it was before.

The solution to this depends a little on your set up. Ideally, set the desk gain to as low a level as it's ever needed to be to avoid clipping. Turn up the aux send for his monitor mix enough to give him enough volume with some headroom to spare. If he turns up his bass, it shouldn't clip the desk but you can still drop the fader to reduce the level of bass in the PA without affecting his monitor.

--------------------
There's nothing we can't face... Except for bunnies


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minifhncc



Joined: 15/01/08
Posts: 12
Re: Bass guitar new [Re: Sheriton]
      #568010 - 16/01/08 12:05 AM
No that shouldn't be the case, as we do use a DI box and use the LINK port to connect bass to the AMP, even when the mixer is off the amps still work.

Maybe it's the fact that the amp isn't turned up enough?


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seablade



Joined: 21/11/04
Posts: 4016
Re: Bass guitar new [Re: minifhncc]
      #568011 - 16/01/08 12:08 AM
Quote minifhncc:

First of all, the issue of sacking/dismissing one from a team or organisation is a very sensitive issue and I do not promote towards ANYONE it at all. Therefore, I don't have any interests or desires in sacking the bassist. Although the bassist may have an attitude problem, he still isn't violating any major policy of the worship team. Most importantly, in Christianity we are to love one another, meaning that even considering of sacking the bassist is out of the question. Sure, it might solve the problem but it isn't really practical in sacking everyone that has an issue with one another.




Heh I think you took that a bit more seriously than it was intended. There is an entire ethical/morale/theological debate that could be had there, but doesn't belong here, leave it at those of us that posted along that line of thought were being quite non-serious.

In the meantime I am not awake enough right now to make it through Nathan's post so I am going to assume he covered most of it that I can't string into coherent sentences for the time being;)

Seablade


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-=@(*_*)@=-
member


Joined: 18/03/03
Posts: 471
Loc: Earth / Solar System
Re: Bass guitar new [Re: minifhncc]
      #568018 - 16/01/08 12:16 AM
I don't think it's been mentioned, I read quickly - stick a compressor (DBX 160 is a good option) and a Limiter before hitting the desk.

That's it.

If this doesn't work - ask him to give me a call. I work for Jesus too.

--------------------
-- Fingering the G_string. I play (B)ass Fu(n)k & MIX for the *STARS* http://www.ssradiouk.com/


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seablade



Joined: 21/11/04
Posts: 4016
Re: Bass guitar new [Re: minifhncc]
      #568020 - 16/01/08 12:18 AM
Quote minifhncc:


Quote:

why does the bass guitarist turn up his instrument/amp? can he not hear the pitch and timbre over the other instruments or does he just like it loud/powerful? (ask him, constructively).



I don't know, I'll ask him this week.





Ok Nathan's questionarre-esque post definitly got some things cleared up. The first thing before you can do anything constructive is get an answer to this. Without an answer to this nothing good will happen.

If you are fighting a battle without knowing why, it is no wonder everyone is getting frustrated. Communication is the key to any succesful relationship between engineer and band, that is why in recent threads we repeatedly stated that tact is one of the most important talents of an engineer.

Seablade


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Nathan



Joined: 13/09/04
Posts: 1893
Loc: lincolnshire government experi...
Re: Bass guitar new [Re: minifhncc]
      #568050 - 16/01/08 03:24 AM
i'm not sure i reached you on all points. sheriton was talking about you pulling the sound console gain down to avoid clipping and it subsequently affecting the bass guitarist's monitor feed...

-does he have backline (bass amp) AND his own monitor wedge (with his own mix in it)?

-as you've not mentioned a separate monitor console or any other feeds to this monitor wedge, i'm assuming it takes it's signal from a FOH console auxiliary output. you pull down the bass guitar channel gain (on this FOH console), you will be also attenuating his monitor signal (unless you play clever live gain balance: ch gain down 2dB, aux gain up 2dB, ch gain down 2dB, etc... -don't laugh, we do it.)

sheriton was just saying that he was turning up to increase backline AND monitor, and you were prob turning his monitor back down again at the desk, hence unhappy mr bass gtr! you'll have to get him to point at his wedge and motion "up" if he needs more level, not override the soundcheck gain settings by turning up his bass gtr by gross amounts.

reading your replies, i'm also assuming bass gtr->DI box in, DI box link->bass gtr amp input jack. this would mean that he's turning up at his bass gtr volume knob or any downstream foot pedal, yes? you'll have to agree a max number on his volum knob that he must not exceed else he's spoiling the performance.

at soundcheck, get him to play the loudest bit he does, and set the channel gain so it hits about 0dB on the PFL (solo) (rel to 0 or +4dBu, or -18dB FSD if digital) -this should give you around 18 to 20 dBs of headroom, a doubling of power six times!

if he turns up so that he's clipping the desk after that, then he's not playing his loudest bit in soundcheck, he's not listening to you at all, or you're not soundchecking in any meaninigful way whatsoever...

--------------------
planet nine
lincoln, uk.


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seablade



Joined: 21/11/04
Posts: 4016
Re: Bass guitar new [Re: Nathan]
      #568051 - 16/01/08 03:37 AM
Quote Nathan:

i'm not sure i reached you on all points. sheriton was talking about you pulling the sound console gain down to avoid clipping and it subsequently affecting the bass guitarist's monitor feed...

-does he have backline (bass amp) AND his own monitor wedge (with his own mix in it)?





Not the OP, however from what I gathered in his responses, he does not have his own wedge, only his amp.

Quote:


reading your replies, i'm also assuming bass gtr->DI box in, DI box link->bass gtr amp input jack. this would mean that he's turning up at his bass gtr volume knob or any downstream foot pedal, yes?




Again from what I gathered from the last post, this would also be a yes, he is turning down via knob on the guitar, affecting both amp and signal to desk. Likely the cause of the problem, I suspect he isn't hearing himself well if this is the case.

Again the rest of it Nathan covered pretty well.

Seablade


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Nathan



Joined: 13/09/04
Posts: 1893
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Re: Bass guitar new [Re: Nathan]
      #568055 - 16/01/08 03:52 AM
right, it may be down to FOH gain structure.

Promix 01, digital desk. channel gain is knob at the top; channel level is on the slider (channel gain is upstream of the aux outs, so attenuating it will bring your monitor sends down by the same).

when you souncheck each instrument and the bargraphs are bouncing as you PFL (solo) the channel, what dB value are you aiming at it to peak at?

-you should be aiming at around -18dB (as in 18 deciBels below the channel clip point, or -18dB FSD {Full-Scale, Digital})

if you're soundchecking at channel levels much above this, then you're short-changing yourself on headroom.

analogue desks make this easy, because your aiming point is 0dB and the channel clips at +18dB (equates to +4dBu and +22dBu clip, tho consoles vary) and usu if you stay in the green lights at soundcheck, you've got headroom to squander at showtime.

i find many people who've not been trained on analogue desks first soundcheck at higher levels on digital ones and then run out of headroom. "live" is dynamic, it's the nature of the job; you can pull 6dB of that dynamic out with compression on a bass gtr without destroying too much of its sound, but the top gain control must be set with this headroom to spare so that you can deal with unplanned levels without accidents, crises or upsetting the bass player by attenuating his monitor

i hope this helps you out...

==========================================================

ps yes i knew you were not talking about the bass drum, i was trying to illustrate the ambiguous nature of the word "bass" when used in sound engineering. remember, it's an adjective and shouldn't be used as a noun (it's bass gtr, bass frequencies, bass control, bass drum...)

--------------------
planet nine
lincoln, uk.


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Nathan



Joined: 13/09/04
Posts: 1893
Loc: lincolnshire government experi...
Re: Bass guitar new [Re: Nathan]
      #568058 - 16/01/08 04:01 AM
Actually, after taking a peek at the manual for this desk, i find that its meters are numbered as per an analogue console (ie 0dB is optimum metering point, +18dB is clip).

ignore the manual saying you should PFL as high as possible and aim for 0 to +6dB (its an old 16-bit desk) -this will still give you 12dBs of headroom to deal with your bass gtr levels.

sorry to ask basic Qs, but you know the difference between input metering (PFL, solo) and output metering? not sure of your knowledge level here...

--------------------
planet nine
lincoln, uk.


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minifhncc



Joined: 15/01/08
Posts: 12
Re: Bass guitar new [Re: Nathan]
      #568179 - 16/01/08 12:52 PM
Yes, we actually do soundchecks, and we aim to peak it around 3dB.

I think you may be right in the bassist not doing the soundcheck properly, as once when I wasn't doing the check (someone else was) they put the gain up quite high, unpadded (we normally pad the instruments by 20dB). Can't remember what it was very high, so obviously the bassist did turn his volume down to the bare minimum so that he could get as much gain as possible. We ended up reducing the gain by more than half to stop it from clipping.

Yes, the setup is "bass gtr->DI box in, DI box link->bass gtr amp input jack". I don't know if we can agree to have a max. number of turns, as that isn't really my call on how to instruct to play an instrument. I do and will have the power to turn him down at the mixer, this should be enough as the actual bass amp probably wont be loud enough to overpower the PA.

And yes, I do know what input/output metering is.

Thanks for all your help.


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Sheriton



Joined: 27/01/03
Posts: 1555
Loc: Leicester, UK
Re: Bass guitar new [Re: -=@(*_*)@=-]
      #568184 - 16/01/08 01:04 PM
Quote -=@(*_*)@=-:

I don't think it's been mentioned, I read quickly - stick a compressor (DBX 160 is a good option) and a Limiter before hitting the desk.

That's it.





That isn't actually it - the signal is at mic level before it hits the desk so that compressor really wouldn't help.

It sounds like you've got one of those players who turns his volume right down during soundcheck so he can then turn it back up again during the gig. The channel gain needs to be set so that with his volume right up and him pummelling the strings, no clipping occurs. Can he be persuaded to soundcheck like this?
Lines like "I'm getting a really low level from you; whereabouts is your volume pot set?" can sometimes help open an appropriate conversation here.

I've encountered DJs using the same tactic - if they're feeding in to a PA that isn't babysat, messiness can ensue. (Inserted limiters can help of course...)

--------------------
There's nothing we can't face... Except for bunnies


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mpostor
member


Joined: 04/09/03
Posts: 443
Loc: S.W. London
Re: Bass guitar new [Re: Sheriton]
      #568211 - 16/01/08 02:00 PM
I've worked with a bassist like that.

He would soundcheck at half volume on his guitar and then proceed to crank it up during the gig until all you could hear on stage was bass guitar.

As above, he claimed to not be able to hear himself.

Numerous chats with him by other band members and management about him doing this failed to do anything about it.

In the end we sacked him and got in someone with a better attitude, and the problem went away. OK, so it was a working covers band and there was money involved.

If that is not an option, then you need to do something to combat the level changes.

You could try giving him a new bass to play. One that has the volume pot disconnected or glued at a specific level.

You could bring along a 'friend' who can also play bass guitar and would love to play <insert song here> with the band and could he use your rig? Then during soundcheck, have him play the song with the volume in the right place and get the levels from there. Not really practical to do more than a few weeks running. Or get a dep for an entire performance. When your guy comes back, the rest of the band can comment on how the other guy sounded so much better because he didn't keep turning up.

You could put a compressor or limiter in the chain and squeeze the level (Behringer Shark, anyone?), or you could do this:

At your next performance, make a note of the gain setting on the bass guitar channel after the last song (presumably after you've had to turn it down due to him turning it up).
At the next soundcheck have him play, but do not adjust the gain on that channel.
If he complains that he can't hear himself, tell him that the desk is set to maximum and that he hasn't turned himself up properly. Keep asking him for 'more volume' until he is back up to the level he was at the last time.
Watch out here, because if he starts quiet and sets his wedge up loud, it will keep getting louder. He could end up damaging it. Mind you, if it's his wedge you could always use the 'told you so' line when he moans that he keeps blowing his woofer!

Asides from that, you could suggest IEMs (use a Rolls PM351 or similar).
I'll go out on a limb here...
From the description of your bassist here, I think the he would be the sort of person that will reluctantly agree to it. You will go through the effort of getting the equipment and setting it up for him. He will then put them on and play for about a minute before removing them and declaring that they are crap and going back to the creeping volume.

At the end of the day you can either live with it or you can't. You can either put up with him or you can't.

You can only do so much with the equipment. Beyond that, something has to give.

You could always try telling him that if he can't control his levels properly, you won't put him into the mixer. You shouldn't have to risk damaging the pre-amps every time he plays.

HTH.

Stu.


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Nathan



Joined: 13/09/04
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Re: Bass guitar new [Re: minifhncc]
      #568220 - 16/01/08 02:11 PM
i hope i'm treading carefully enough here, minifhncc, as i don't know the personalities or any of the socio-politics of your church group. If i was the sound engineer here i would be working with your bassist to sort this by asking him the play at realistic volumes during soundcheck (ie the bass guitar and amp set at the levels he intended to play the performance at, as loud as he thinks he needs). I would be asking him not to exceed those levels after soundcheck was complete, and if he had to later during performance, i would want him to be teling me if he had, and why he had to afterwards -if he has a problem you need to know what it is.

i'm a pretty diplomatic chap who does this for a living, i know how to get the best out of a set of performers in any given space with the sound system i'm given. my ultimate goal here would be to produce a sound here that the minister and everyone in the congregation would be happy with. my secondary goal would be to make sure all the performers were as happy as i could make them by making a "stage" mix as ideal as i could so they could hear everything they needed at the levels they needed to perform their best.

your bassist either has a problem hearing himself, is not confident that everyone else can hear him (quite common, because maybe he can't hear the PA system, being on stage {this is normal}) or has some other problem that i, not being there to talk to him, know nothing about. this results in him turning up during the performance, even tho he was happy, or gave the impression of being happy with his own levels during soundcheck.

one important factor may be that depending on the layout of your church and its stage, etc, the level and timbre of the PA that the performers can hear reduces when the church is full of congregation compared to an empty room at souncheck. this can cause some musicians to think that their level in the PA has been altered and they may adjust their stage level to counteract this. stage sound should be the minimum require for all performers to hear what they need to perform, but some performers want or need to hear more than this and might not have the confidence and trust that what is going out on the PA is good if they cannot hear the same balance on stage. sound engineering is as much about people and people skills as it is about the technical side of the equipment.

i have re-read your posts here several times minihfncc, and i'm still unsure as to whether your bass guitarist has a monitor wedge in front of him as well as a backline amp behind him. but if he's only got backline and the problem is that he can't hear himself well enough during performance, then you might want to get him to move his backline amp closer to his ears -get it off the floor and point it directly at him. if it's too loud for him then, you can turn it down. if other musicians were relying on hearing it (and they don't have on-stage monitor wedges that you could feed bass gtr thru) then you need to find a compromise physical postion and a sound level some where in-between. the backline amp is ONLY there for the bassist and other musicians to work from, unless your church PA is not cabable of transmitting it, and its level and position is a key factor in helping or hindering you balance the needs of your musicians against the sound you are trying to create for the church as a whole.

i apologise if this is not helping, if this is telling you things you already know or is even leaving you behind, but as sound engineers we do things a certain way because we know the problems and means of solving them, but i'm not sure here whether you are experienced enough to have set things up as we would, and as we are not there to see, whether there is something we don't know about and you don't know to tell us about. It's hard thru a text medium and results in long texts and very specific and curiously-worded questions.

i don't know how serious a problem this is to you and the people at your church. the "replace the bass guitarist" item was place last on the list as the final resort if you have someone who is either unreasonable or unable to work with you and the others at a compromise level so that all are happy. we were not suggesting you dismiss someone unless it turned out to be wholly a personal issue with someone unreasonable who would not work with you, AND it was a big problem. personally i would tend to walk away myself to make a point, if this extreme situation was the case.

live sound is always a compromise and you will have to find how to make the decisions to keep the people happy that matter here.

i hope you find a workable solution, please ask any more questions if things are not clear, and do search the live forum as many things relevant to you are often repeatedly asked and answered.

--------------------
planet nine
lincoln, uk.


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Nathan



Joined: 13/09/04
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Re: Bass guitar new [Re: Nathan]
      #568227 - 16/01/08 02:15 PM
mposter: he has dynamics built into the channels of the desk he uses, he has a digital Yamaha ProMix 01...

--------------------
planet nine
lincoln, uk.


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mpostor
member


Joined: 04/09/03
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Re: Bass guitar new [Re: Nathan]
      #568254 - 16/01/08 03:12 PM
True, but if the signal coming in has already overloaded the desks pre-amp, the dynamics further down the line won't be much help.

As said above, you could try putting his bass speaker close to his head (or pointing at it).

Whenever I have a band member inform me that they can't hear the PA, I give them the response that they aren't supposed to be able to hear it. If they were, the speakers would be pointing at them...!

Sometimes you get someone who isn't satisfied whatever you do for them. Being freelance, I don't come across those people very often, but they're out there. The OP has it worse; he has to work with the guy every week!

You could try to reason with him by saying that everyone else seems happy enough with their levels, why isn't he?, but he could always answer "yeah, but no-one else plays bass, do they?".

It's a tough one.

I suspect a combination of technology and psychology will sort it, but ultimately it rests on how long you can put up with it.

Stu.


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The muso



Joined: 11/12/07
Posts: 131
Loc: Scotland
Re: Bass guitar new [Re: mpostor]
      #568268 - 16/01/08 03:38 PM
First thing I'd do (apart from tempting a lighting bolt and sacking the bass player )is go and listen at his end, on stage.
Can you hear the 'bass' where he is playing?
It could be that his bass sound is travelling 'past' him, so he doesn't hear it and maybe adjusting the tone on stage is all that's required.
Lower frequencies have longer wavelengths, so simply whacking up 800hz or so might just give him enough of a 'honk' to distinguish/identify his own instrument from everything else.
He may have someone else on stage that his ears are picking up more than himself.
Is there a snare drum or guitar right in his ear?

If not, I'd be crucifying his volume pot flat out, glueing IEM's into his lugholes or getting another bass player.

At the end of the day, the responsibility for FOH lies with the guy behind the desk.
If someone or something is compromising the end result, it's part of the FOH teams responsibility to sort it out.

My question is really "Is this guy being awkward, or is there a problem we can identify to sort it out?"

Also and sorry if I've overlooked this but....
Is the Bass DI pre or post backline?

Edited by The muso (16/01/08 03:42 PM)


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Sheriton



Joined: 27/01/03
Posts: 1555
Loc: Leicester, UK
Re: Bass guitar new [Re: The muso]
      #568298 - 16/01/08 04:27 PM
Quote The muso:


Also and sorry if I've overlooked this but....
Is the Bass DI pre or post backline?



Quote Minifnhcc:


Yes, the setup is "bass gtr->DI box in, DI box link->bass gtr amp input jack".




Bear in mind when dealing with monitors, musicians don't always say things in a way that really relates to what the problem is. "I can't hear enough of myself" often actually means "everyone else is too loud in my monitor". The solutions to those two statements are completely different.
As Nathan suggested, get up on stage and have a listen from his perspective; its the only way you can get an insight in to what things are like up there for him. (Of course, you might find that his bass is deafening and he's just an egomaniac who likes to be louder than everyone else...)
It's sometimes very hard for musicians to have complete faith in the engineer which is why this creeping levels thing is so common. I've been guilty of it in the past (although in that instance the person at the desk had never even touched one before ) so I can see it from his perspective too.

--------------------
There's nothing we can't face... Except for bunnies


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The muso



Joined: 11/12/07
Posts: 131
Loc: Scotland
Re: Bass guitar new [Re: Sheriton]
      #568312 - 16/01/08 04:56 PM
Quote Sheriton:

Quote The muso:


Also and sorry if I've overlooked this but....
Is the Bass DI pre or post backline?



Quote Minifnhcc:


Yes, the setup is "bass gtr->DI box in, DI box link->bass gtr amp input jack".




Well the answer is simple then;

Quote:

I do and will have the power to turn him down at the mixer, this should be enough as the actual bass amp probably wont be loud enough to overpower the PA.



As already suggested, a compressor/limiter inline/prior to/inserted before the input stage of the Yam desk will solve the problem.
He won't be able to 'clip' the board and you will be able to control the level no matter what happens.

I still think you should rub his strings with chilli oil and put a dollop of shrimp paste behind his scratch plate mind you.


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The muso



Joined: 11/12/07
Posts: 131
Loc: Scotland
Re: Bass guitar new [Re: Sheriton]
      #568314 - 16/01/08 04:59 PM
Quote Sheriton:



"I can't hear enough of myself" often actually means "everyone else is too loud in my monitor". The solutions to those two statements are completely different.



Eh?
Come again?


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-=@(*_*)@=-
member


Joined: 18/03/03
Posts: 471
Loc: Earth / Solar System
Re: Bass guitar new [Re: minifhncc]
      #568336 - 16/01/08 06:08 PM
Let me re-phrase this and insist again.

- Do condition your signal before it hits the desk, especially if it's a digital desk.

- Do NOT use the dynamic section on the 01 for the bass channel.

Do use an analog compressor and limiter before you hit the 01.

Do listen to people like 'me' who:
1) had a Yamaha 01 V
2) who play the bass
3) who track/record the bass
4) who don't [ ****** ] around with a built dynamic section on an 01 - sacrilege !
5) I shall say it again:

The bass guitar is the toughest one to control/manage/get right.
Don't use joker's tools please.

Do not listen to people who are reading too many books and waste their life on forums.

If you want good bass out of an 01v (without pre-conditioning), you cannot be taken seriously I am afraid to say - as harsh as it sound.

The BASS, for God's sake! If you cannot control/condition it before it hits the desk, especially in a Church, with huge celling and associated acoustics discrepancies.

Ok, I had enough

I am sure there are some flute players here who can help you out !

Oh, I forgot to say, you can rescue/fix a bass signal with the right tools.

Now, let me ask this before I go:

1 Does you bass goes through a compressor/limiter?
2 Which one(s)?

--------------------
-- Fingering the G_string. I play (B)ass Fu(n)k & MIX for the *STARS* http://www.ssradiouk.com/


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seablade



Joined: 21/11/04
Posts: 4016
Re: Bass guitar new [Re: -=@(*_*)@=-]
      #568363 - 16/01/08 07:01 PM
Do, read the thread and realise at least which console is being used before knocking it. Not that it would matter in this case as I believe the O1V probably had a better processing than the Promix. Also it is a likely guess extra equipment is not much of an option, considering they are still running on a Promix(Coming up on 15 years old now isn't it?)

I kinda have to laugh at the last post, I think it was supposed to be a jab at people in this thread, several of whom have been engineers for a while, play music instruments(Including bass) and have dealt with similar situations.

That being said, once again I will re-iterate, and Nathan has brought it up, as has Sheriton and half a dozen other people. Find out exactly WHY it is happening. Throwing tools at it that won't fix the problem because you don't know what the problem is will not help you. Either ask the player, or if that won't help try to find out yourself(aka listen)

Seablade


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seablade



Joined: 21/11/04
Posts: 4016
Re: Bass guitar new [Re: The muso]
      #568364 - 16/01/08 07:03 PM
Quote The muso:

Quote Sheriton:



"I can't hear enough of myself" often actually means "everyone else is too loud in my monitor". The solutions to those two statements are completely different.



Eh?
Come again?




Meaning, you can have a monitor up quite loud to hear it, but if the mix is not right in it, many musicians will constantly ask for 'more of me' in the monitor, not realizing the right answer might be to bring back everyone else, thus lowering overall stage volumes (Good thing) and allowing the performer to hear what they need easier.

Slightly odd way of saying it but yea;)

Seablade


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minifhncc



Joined: 15/01/08
Posts: 12
Re: Bass guitar new [Re: seablade]
      #568498 - 17/01/08 12:23 AM
The bass isn't going through any compressor/limiter at the moment, but I think I will just use the Limiter in the mixer to combat this issue.

Thanks for all your help I really appreciate it.


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-=@(*_*)@=-
member


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Re: Bass guitar new [Re: minifhncc]
      #568502 - 17/01/08 01:17 AM
Quote minifhncc:

The bass isn't going through any compressor/limiter at the moment, but I think I will just use the Limiter in the mixer to combat this issue.

Thanks for all your help I really appreciate it.




Better than nothing, but bear in mind that you will get a far better + controllable signal if you patch an analog compressor and limiter before hitting the desk. The bass is 'this' one instrument that requires special treatment, and digital limiters on the old Yamaha desks are not that great, 01v or Promix, no even worth comparing. When it comes to bass guitar - go analog processing, trust me on that. I played bass for over 20 years and used many tools. If you need to hear more bass just get a bigger amp, but if I understand this is not your problem, it looks to me like you want to tame the bass, and that's the tools you need. Most people have problems with bass, most of the time the solution is the answer I gave.

Yes, you are going to make the channels clip [ ****** ] ing easily on an 01V, promix, or most entry level - especially digital desk.

Condition your signal as I said, then let me know, my number is in my profile. I don't return call, so you will have to catch me at the right time, but I don't charge for helping.

Start to 'squash' him first, and let go gradually until he starts to behave - the bassist that is. I wish I could squash laughers at the back of this thread in a similar way !

--------------------
-- Fingering the G_string. I play (B)ass Fu(n)k & MIX for the *STARS* http://www.ssradiouk.com/


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-=@(*_*)@=-
member


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Re: Bass guitar new [Re: Sheriton]
      #568505 - 17/01/08 01:23 AM
Quote Sheriton:

Quote -=@(*_*)@=-:

I don't think it's been mentioned, I read quickly - stick a compressor (DBX 160 is a good option) and a Limiter before hitting the desk.

That's it.





That isn't actually it...




Yes, that IS it, me say.

Because if this is not it, it's like you saying; 'I, is not sexy' !

--------------------
-- Fingering the G_string. I play (B)ass Fu(n)k & MIX for the *STARS* http://www.ssradiouk.com/


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-=@(*_*)@=-
member


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Re: Bass guitar new [Re: seablade]
      #568507 - 17/01/08 01:25 AM
Quote seablade:

Do, read the thread and realise at least which console is being used before knocking it. Not that it would matter in this case as I believe the O1V probably had a better processing than the Promix. Also it is a likely guess extra equipment is not much of an option, considering they are still running on a Promix(Coming up on 15 years old now isn't it?)

I kinda have to laugh at the last post, I think it was supposed to be a jab at people in this thread, several of whom have been engineers for a while, play music instruments(Including bass) and have dealt with similar situations.

That being said, once again I will re-iterate, and Nathan has brought it up, as has Sheriton and half a dozen other people. Find out exactly WHY it is happening. Throwing tools at it that won't fix the problem because you don't know what the problem is will not help you. Either ask the player, or if that won't help try to find out yourself(aka listen)

Seablade




Poor soul, the sea and/or a blade is definitely the only option left for you my friend !

--------------------
-- Fingering the G_string. I play (B)ass Fu(n)k & MIX for the *STARS* http://www.ssradiouk.com/


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seablade



Joined: 21/11/04
Posts: 4016
Re: Bass guitar new [Re: -=@(*_*)@=-]
      #568509 - 17/01/08 01:39 AM
Heh already been to the sea, enjoy it actually.

A blade... hmm somehow I am not holding my breath;)

Its to bad I make my living by sound or else I might believe you. Course making my living by the sea is only so bad, but not that great since the golden age of sail left..

Seablade

Come to think of it I could make extremely good money as a pilot captain, anyways back on topic.


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Nathan



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Re: Bass guitar new [Re: seablade]
      #568517 - 17/01/08 02:51 AM
i feel the desk dynamic processing will be adequate here.

not sure of the signal level that's hitting the console inputs and i don't know what DI he's using or if it's padded, so i'd be wary of recommending analogue compressors upstream of the inputs. there are no inserts on the ProMix inputs either, so a channel strip with compression or a compressor designed as an instrument effect would prob be needed.

--------------------
planet nine
lincoln, uk.


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LawrenceH
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Re: Bass guitar new [Re: Nathan]
      #568707 - 17/01/08 03:39 PM
This thread has got confusing, here's a recap as I understand it:
-There is a bass amp on stage for monitoring purposes, and a DI feed to the PA
-The bassist at some point through the gig turns up the level pre-DI so that it then clips the mixer inputs, hence the desk's dynamic processing won't work
- The bassist wants a louder overall volume than the sound engineer feels is appropriate
- We are all assuming it is the mixer inputs that are clipping, not something earlier in the chain. Active basses can clip themselves when driven too hard, as will bass amp inputs.

There are two problems here. The first and most significant is the disagreement between the bassist and the sound engineer. What we don't know is why there is disagreement - as mentioned, it is possible that from the position he plays in it is not possible to hear the bass adequately especially in comparison to other musicians (notably if playing right next to the drummer). The solution here would be a really long lead during soundcheck so he can go out and hear for himself that the levels are correct FoH, and therefore he should arrange his amp so that it fires directly at his ears so he can hear himself adequately and trust the sound eng to deal with FoH volume. Issues of trust seems very Christianly appropriate. Of course if his amp is simply inadequate at producing the bottom-end volume he needs then this will need to be addressed with a better bass amp or he has to adjust his ears so he accepts and can play within the technical limitations.
The other possibility is that he is an idiot who doesn't understand the role of his instrument, in which case more stealthy means must be employed.

The second consequent problem is the level change. Solutions will not be perfect as the bassist will still have issues with his sound if he is relying on a significant amount of FoH. How the DI is set up seems significant here. If the DI is via a box straight off the bass, then he should not significantly alter the volume (or any active tone controls) on the bass to control his levels, he should do this from the amp. If the DI is from an output on the amp the amp then he should only adjust master volume on the amp, not gain, or you should consider using a separate DI so he can fiddle with the amp without affecting your feed.

Other options open to you if the bassist is uncooperative include, since you know he runs at approx 12dB over, simply turn the gain down so he hits -12dB in soundcheck and compensate by running the fader higher to start with. You can then turn this down as he creeps up, with lots of headroom before clipping. Alternatively, an analogue limiter in the signal chain BEFORE the desk input would prevent volume increases, as mentioned, but with caution as Nathan says depending again on the DI set-up.


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