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First gig advice needed!

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First gig advice needed!

Postby vorbis » Fri Feb 25, 2011 5:59 pm

Hi all!
I've been booked to play my first show. I'm a solo, laptop-based Industrial/EBM/Goth type dude.

I would really appreciate some advice in my live setup, namely what to offer the FOH engineer.

I'll be using a Macbook running Ableton with a Saffire Pro 24 interface, this gives me the option of up to 8 balanced outputs to offer.

My plan is to offer stems of Kick, Perc, Bass, Lead, etc for FOH to mix themselves along with a vocal mic and a mic'd guitar amp.
Should these stems all be mono?

Do I need anything else after the interface? (DI?)

And what kind of cabling should I bring along?
Balanced TRS Jack to XLR or Jack to Jack? Mono Jack to Jack, Jack to XLR? Very confused here!


Is this even the right thing to be offering? Or should I just have a stereo pair from the Macbook and mix the best I can myself?

I hope I've not been to confusing, I've got myself tied in knots trying to work this out!
I'm used to just jumping on stage and grabbing a microphone! haha.

Thanks in advance for your advice
Simon
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Re: First gig advice needed!

Postby lightman » Fri Feb 25, 2011 7:38 pm

-Running from an external sound card is always going to be better than using the built-in one..even if your just running a single stereo or mono feed.

-Sending stems will allow the engineer to mix to the room and give you less to worry about while you are performing; but also you'll have to trust them to get the balance right for your style.

-Where are you getting the 8 outputs from? I can only see 8; the headphone out is just copied from one of these.

-You can run straight from the outputs with a Balanced Jack - XLR adapter BUT there is always the risk that the desk could be sending phantom power so it might be a good idea use DIs anyway.

-Venues usually will provide DI boxes anyway but its unusual for a small venue to have 8. If you are gigging a lot it might be an idea to get a rack DI such as this and put it in a small rack with the interface: http://www.thomann.de/gb/millenium_adi6_di-box.htm

-You'll also need to think about monitoring; are you going to use headphones? if so you might want to keep a pair of the outputs free for the headphone mix/soloing.
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Re: First gig advice needed!

Postby vorbis » Fri Feb 25, 2011 8:08 pm

Apologies, I meant there are 6 line outputs (there's spdif out in addition)
I believe the headphone out can be routed by the Saffire's mixer software?

Thank you for your help!
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Re: First gig advice needed!

Postby TSH-Tim » Fri Feb 25, 2011 9:55 pm

Good luck mate and take lots and lots of spare cable
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Re: First gig advice needed!

Postby Mike Stranks » Fri Feb 25, 2011 10:00 pm

Yup! I'm with lightman.

Any chance you could speak to/email the FoH person a couple of days beforehand? Personally, I'd rather know what to expect (and plan to cater for it) beforehand rather than be faced with something slightly different to the run-of-the-mill on the day.

If you can't make contact then make their life (and thus yours!) as straightforward and stress-free as possible. So, as lightman says:

mono sends
mono outputs on mic-level XLRs (via DIs if necessary)(I've used the Millennium one referred to... perfectly OK, but ART also do a good one - a bit more expensive. Not used one myself, but I've heard indifferent reports of the Behringer rack-DIs) Don't worry about cables - the venue should have plenty of mic leads.

Be like a boy scout... be prepared; and you'll have a great time.

All the best for the gig!
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Re: First gig advice needed!

Postby grab » Fri Feb 25, 2011 11:19 pm

+1 on DIs. Also your own jack cables to connect your kit up, but don't bother with mic cables. Generally if you consider the changeover of responsibility to happen at the XLR cable, you're about right. (Behringer 8-way DI is another adequate and inexpensive option.)

Kick and bass would usually be mono anyway. For lead and perc, might as well give them stereo if you've got it, so the option's there.

The main thing after that though is letting the FOH guy know how you want it to sound. He may well want to tame dissonances and feedback-like squawks and have the vocals up-front and clear - if you particularly want lots of clashing noise and the vocals telephone-ised, you'll need to tell him. Or whether the guitar should be in front of or behind the electronic elements. And whether you want vocals with lots of reverb/a little bit of delay/absolutely dry.

It would be lovely if you could mix it to a 2-track feed yourself, but with the vagaries of stage monitoring that almost certainly ain't happening - not if you want the best sound anyway.
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Re: First gig advice needed!

Postby vorbis » Sat Feb 26, 2011 5:04 pm

Cheers guys!
Thanks so much for replying. You've really helped me out! Feel a lot more confident now. I just want to concentrate on the performance and get all the technical side out of the way now.

Thanks again!
Simon
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Re: First gig advice needed!

Postby Folderol » Wed Mar 02, 2011 3:59 pm

Good luck. Have a good time and let us know how it goes.
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Re: First gig advice needed!

Postby AlecSp » Tue Mar 08, 2011 12:34 am

While, in theory, giving out many stems may give the soundman the ultimate opportunity to mix you, it's probably overcomplicating things.

All the "singer & laptop" outfits I've ever seen, have only ever had a single (maybe stereo) output from the laptop. After all, you should know how the mix should go, and it's just up to the soundman to EQ things.

Also, if this is your first gig, and someone else is doing sound, my guess is that you're either in a support slot, or in a quick change multi-act set up. In either case, setup and soundcheck time is going to be limited - you and the venue staff will curse an 8-line setup, and you're *much* less likely to get a good sound. But give them line & mic and you'll all end up smiling quicker!

I speak from experience as a regular gig-goer, and resident engineer in a 300 capacity venue.
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Re: First gig advice needed!

Postby vorbis » Fri Mar 11, 2011 10:58 am

Alec Spence wrote:While, in theory, giving out many stems may give the soundman the ultimate opportunity to mix you, it's probably overcomplicating things.

All the "singer & laptop" outfits I've ever seen, have only ever had a single (maybe stereo) output from the laptop. After all, you should know how the mix should go, and it's just up to the soundman to EQ things.

Also, if this is your first gig, and someone else is doing sound, my guess is that you're either in a support slot, or in a quick change multi-act set up. In either case, setup and soundcheck time is going to be limited - you and the venue staff will curse an 8-line setup, and you're *much* less likely to get a good sound. But give them line & mic and you'll all end up smiling quicker!

I speak from experience as a regular gig-goer, and resident engineer in a 300 capacity venue.

You're quite correct in your assumptions.

I do have the option of being quite flexible and can offer stems or a stereo pair. I can mix things on the fly if necessary too.
I'll be speaking to the blokey who's running the board in plenty of time and shall find out what the preference is.

Thanks for your response!
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