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Basic Learning

Discussion in 'Sound, Music, and Intercom' started by ehjay, Oct 14, 2003.

  1. ehjay

    ehjay Member

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    Location:
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    I've learned a lot about sound in just the past couple months, which seems to happen when people fling the responsiblites for it all onto you, however i can't help but feeling completely overwhelmed. Our school's musical looms ever closer and i've nowhere near enough experience with Sound to consider myself the optimum choice for what i'm going to end up running.

    Anyhow, i've spent the last month or so reading and looking through as much as i can, and reading up on my board, etc. And to be honest, I've learned a lot and figured out a lot more.. however with no one to show me the ropes (our last sound guy got kicked out for attitude, etc) anyhow. yeah. i've overwhelmed.

    so i turn to you guys.. suggestions? ;)

    btw, it doesn't help that our sound system looks like a little boom-box compared to some of the setups i've seen posted up here.
     
  2. cruiser

    cruiser Active Member

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    Location:
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    Depending on how much budget you have. For school musicals I will generally get 5-8 body mics, and if more are needed just draw up a mic change sheet. But I will generally only give the mics to the main lead singers.
    I will also usually put 1 or 2 handheld wireless mics into it just incase they are needed, and our SM usually will make announcements before the show using them

    As for the orchestra, again depending on your budget..

    Low Budget: Get a few dynamic microphones and put them over and around the orchestra.... for a fair to mid sized orchestra 4 should be enough. Run the keyboard through a DI. If the guitarist/bass players have their own amps, simply mic them,if not just DI them aswell.

    It always sounds good to have the drum kit running through your FOH. So put 2 overheads on the drum kit and one inside the kick drum. if you had a large budget id suggest getting a drum mic kit.

    I put 3 foldback wedges on stage and 2 for theorchestra, on stage you run NO microphones through, simply a piano or keyboard so as the actors are able to keep time with the music. you can run mics through your foldback but it is NOT advisable. For the foldback in the orchestra, i will run microphones but only of the leads and not much of it.
    So already you need about 20channels.... and a desk that has at least 4 Aux Sends.

    You are then able to put processing equipment on, eg. Eq's and Effect Units. thats bascially all you would need to get a good sounding concert.

    This is my own preferred rig for doing musicals... peoples may vary.... but thats just a guide!!
     
  3. wolf825

    wolf825 Senior Team Emeritus Premium Member

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    Location:
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    Hiya,
    First things first--a piece of advice about confidence--don't be afraid or worry about making mistakes or messing up things with the sound--if you worry about something so much you will subliminally find a way to make something happen, and that can throw your confidence. Feeling overwhelmed happens when you try and think of things as hills around you and stacks of information you surround your brain with..instead of filing them away and taking a second to pause, and take things one thing at a time. That is how you have to approach sound--one thing at a time, and then move to your next thing. I get quite a few folks who have never done sound before--and they stand before a 48channel console with over 500 knobs and buttons and they freak out..they get stiff and act like they are drowning and are afraid. They feel overwhelmed and they haven't even DONE anything yet....after a bit of time of showing them the console, explaning things, and all the knobs, by making them focus on ONE channel strip, suddenly the size of the console and the overwhelming feeling shrinks and things start to make sense.. This is the way you have to view things when approaching a sound show...doesn't matter if you have 56 mic inputs and 12 mixes going to different areas--you take things one thing at a time and suddenly you find yourself in control of something you earlier felt overwhelmed by. BE confident in your approach and know that you will learn a LOT as you have so far and you will get better. Understand--no one will DIE if you screw up or if you make a mistake. Its sound--its very very safe. ;) So don't sweat or dread the job cause, or make yourself feel overwhelmed by all the knowledge you have taken in--let it sink in and look at the console or the mic's and tell yourself--I know what this does, I know what that does, I took care of learning this and that..hey this isn't that bad.
    If you are concerned you will mess up--fact of life is everyone, even the big time rock and roll guys make mistakes and the best thing you can do is learn from any mistake you make and move on and NOT let it mess up your concentration. Don't psyche yourself out man... If however you do feel you are in over your head and simply honestly you feel wholeheartedly that you cannot handle what you are being asked to do and do not WANT to do this--then step forward now and tell your director you cannot do this and someone else may be beter suited for it. Theater and sound and tech work in school should be FUN first and a learning experience always...and if you find no fun or learning of this and only worry and just do NOT want to try to do this--its not going to be a good experience and you should not put yourself thru it. Its no shame to not be able to do something you have never done before and to be leery of trying it...but if you are up to the challenge and willing to try and learn, I know I will gladly offer you any information and suggestions and tips/tricks and help if I can. I don't think its anything you cannot handle if you take it one thing at a time and not let it psyche you out...its sound for a school show--not sound for the president.

    Ok, that said--post what you have to work with (gear--from stage to monitors to consoles to EQ's and mic's), what you are being asked to do--i.e. body mics, orchestra, CD or playback/sound cues to tracks, and the show--is it a musical or drama etc. Also--post any and I mean ANY questions or concerns you have about anything sound-related and I will gladly try to help you out if you want, on everything from mic or sound set up to how to mix, organize mic's or mic changes between a large cast, and balance music, actors, FX and EQ and key points you want to make sure you cover or have to. In the past 18+ years I've done too many shows to count anymore...and I'm pretty good at explaining things in good detail. Cruiser's post is right on the money for basic set ups and ways to approach when it comes to orchestra's and stage and micing etc...definitely take his words as gospel and a very good starting base. Keep it SIMPLE and you will be fine. There are also others who I'm sure will gladly help ya out too..so you're not alone...we're behind ya.

    I'll be here if I can help ya...post your info and I'll be glad to assist with some suggestions and techniques.

    wolf
     
  4. soundman

    soundman Well-Known Member

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    Location:
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    if it is for a high school show and I think it is I wouldnt mic the pit, we tried it once but the low end was lacking due to the lack of subs in our system besides there is no need to blast it I assume the house is less tham 300 so a little amplifacation might be all that is needed no need to make it louder if it sounds nice coming from the pit.

    Sorry about the horrible post I jsut got done working
     
  5. cruiser

    cruiser Active Member

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    dis regard what i said.... australians are weird :p we do our school shows in an 800 seat theatre with peanut gallery haha.. full pit etc... we dont really have any small theatres around here, even our school hall seats about 600...
     
  6. soundman

    soundman Well-Known Member

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    I would like to ahve the budget of a 600 seat theater ::eyes gleam:: Ous was supposed to be big enough for the whole school and have a pool but the tightwads down at cityhalll voted it down. our school was built in 1999 and is allmost filled, the lunch room is packed and thats with most of the uperclassmen leaving classs have 20 to 28 kids in them so if i get my degree I might be able to come back and teach in the new one or the newly expanded one.

    Mike

    Off to bed
     
  7. cruiser

    cruiser Active Member

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    Location:
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    Hmm... 600 seams to be the average theatre size out here. Our town theatre is the 800 seater one and the schools does 600. Although it isnt a proper "theatre" as such. It is used for assemblys, fashion parades, special dinners, fancy balls. We have just recently upgraded our lighting rig to 4 onstage winch-ups and 3 offstage, we also have about 25feet of trussing which we will often put across the back of the hall or up the side of the stage for more lighting. We have 5 dimmer racks, and a jands event 48plus. and a full rig of lights! they come in extremly handy... haha
     
  8. fishyswishy

    fishyswishy Member

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    there are def days where i wish that we had a semi portable system for riging and sound for things outside of our auditorium. we have thought about having rock concerts in our gym but cant cause there is no way we can get lights and sound over to it. Our theatre is exactly 586 seats. it seems that most auditoriums in schools tend to get left out of the budget. ours has not had a full revamp thru 2 full school renovations
     

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