Stage Volume versus House Volume

banditj13

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So... I am in charge of the media ministry at my church - which includes the sound system

A quick overview - we have a mackie 32 channel board - don't remember the name- but it has its age - something like sx32.4

we have 4 150w self amped mons on stage, with the front floor mons powering 2 rear non-powered mons.

For the house speakers, we have a 900 watt amp, and split that across 3 speakers (mono)


Worship service on sundays consists of live drums (not electronic), bass - on it's own amp - not hooked to the sound system
Live electric guitar - not hooked to the sound system
mic'ed piano
keyboard plugged into the sound system
1 or 2 acoustics plugged into sound system
2 female vocallists


The band has a hard time hearing the mons, and keeps wanting them louder.
at some point, I can almost have more volume on stage than in house...
I tend to think the drums are overpowering the small stage we have...

What can I do to balance things out and/or quite the drums without loosing the "heart felt" rythm from the drummer?


BTW: I have my ideas... but want to see some other suggestions on this...
 

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Do you have a drum shield? http://www.drumone.com/drumshields.php
That would be the first thing to do and will help a lot. You might also want to consider switching the band over to in ear monitors. If they are not moving around a lot you can get a decent wired system for fairly cheap. You might also want to try micing the instruments and getting their onstage levels down so you can bring them out more in the house.
 

avkid

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Best case:
All in ear monitors
everything "direct"
drums shielded
no amps on stage
 

Mirrai

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May 26, 2007
One of the first things I always attempted to do is to make the guitarist to do is to turn down their amps to as low as they can and then mic the amp with a SM57. You get a ton more control of the sound by doing that. I would also say that getting a drum shield is another very very important step in gaining good amounts of control over the sound levels. I have a similar problem we have bands with drums in are club. We can almost never get a good clean sound due to the drum kit.
 

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Best case:
All in ear monitors
everything "direct"
drums shielded
no amps on stage
I'll argue the amps on stage thing. Very very few guitarist will let you direct in them. Most use their amp to add that extra bit of sound that they feel they need. Use an SM57 to mic up the amp, leave the amp onstage but at a lower volume. When I used to play bass the sound I got out of my amp mic'd was a ton better then the direct out. A guitar sound goes much further then just the instrument, its the instrument, pedals, effects, and finally the amp to make the final sound.
 

PhantomD

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Mar 3, 2006
Location
Brisbane, Australia
Best case:
All in ear monitors
everything "direct"
drums shielded
no amps on stage
And then a tonne of FX so that it doesn't sound THAT clean!!

Rule of thumb...you shouldn't be able to hear the monitors over the main speakers, although the people on stage should.
 

banditj13

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somewhere in time
I won't go as far as no amps on stage - but what about a direct line out from the amps - this usually disables the amps on board speaker, and forces sound through main mix - yet still gives the guitarists an amp/fx, and their own sound (I am an amatuer guitarist, so I am familiar with the need for controls on stage).

So far - the same ideas I had are re-occuring - we are planning on a drum shield at the beginning of the new year (new budget)

Do any of you mic the drums once you have them behind a shield?


The 2 big ticket items I want to do are the drum shield and getting all on stage presence ran through the main mix, no "live sound."

The in ear monitoring would be great, but the band is not to happy about that idea... that will be a fight to the finish, one way or another - I just figure I can get things normalized and balanced on stage, and then see what they think of the on stage monitoring first
 

museav

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I'll argue the amps on stage thing. Very very few guitarist will let you direct in them. Most use their amp to add that extra bit of sound that they feel they need. Use an SM57 to mic up the amp, leave the amp onstage but at a lower volume. When I used to play bass the sound I got out of my amp mic'd was a ton better then the direct out. A guitar sound goes much further then just the instrument, its the instrument, pedals, effects, and finally the amp to make the final sound.
At the very least, get the amps pointed at the musician's ears. An amp pointed at their knees means they have to turn it up louder. An amp aimed out towards the audience means much of the sound goes to the audience. Locate and aim any stage amps so that their sound goes where it is needed and not where it isn't.

You also mentioned that the bass and guitar are not even in the system, you are relying on their stage amps for everything. You just set a pretty high stage level with that decision and the stage will inherently be louder than any place in the house.

I agree with the drum shield suggestion, something like this, http://www.clearsonic.com/IsoPacs.htm, or this, http://www.perdueacoustics.com/drum_booth_kit.html. You could also look at having them use sticks like these, http://www.promark-stix.com/products/view.cfm?product_id=82cf1ae8-4240-4337-8ac0-434755fab7b2.
 

banditj13

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somewhere in time
This was a situation that I inhereted... so I am looking to correct issues such as not having the guitars fed into the system...
We might have problems with the bass being fed in, as the system right now has no low end at all - cheap crappy speakers!


If we were to go the route of in-ear monitoring ... wired and wireless, what would you guys use?
 

avkid

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banditj13

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Nov 17, 2007
Location
somewhere in time
So, with most of the wireless monitors, I would have one wearable, and one transmitter per monitor/channel, correct?

We have 6 persons on stage at any one time that would need monitors.


Also, how do you guys handle splitting between in ear and floors. I would want to keep at least one floor mon for the preacher, or any other special presentations....
 

miriam

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One of the first things I always attempted to do is to make the guitarist to do is to turn down their amps to as low as they can and then mic the amp with a SM57.
Does amp here mean amplifier? I thought those did not give out their own sound like monitors do? Or am I thinking about something else?
 

avkid

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cutlunch

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Location
Auckland, New Zealand
Does amp here mean amplifier? I thought those did not give out their own sound like monitors do? Or am I thinking about something else?
It can get confusing. We do tend tend to toss the words around loosely. Yes amp stands for amplifier. In this case because we are talking about a guitarist then we are using amp to mean a guitar amplifier which usually has a speaker built into the same case as the amplifier.
Heres a guitar amp:
http://www.behringer.com/GMX210/index.cfm?lang=eng
But you are also correct, amplifiers unless they are a special type eg guitar amplifier are normally separate from the speakers and are connected to the speakers by cable they are normally known as unpowered or passive.
Heres some passive speakers:
http://www.behringer.com/B1520-PRO/index.cfm?lang=eng
http://www.mackie.com/products/c300z/
But you can get some speakers used for PA work that have a amplifier built into them so you don't have to have a seperate amplifier. Those are often referred to as powered speakers or active speakers as opposed to the other type which may be called passive speakers.
Heres some powerd / active speakers:
http://www.behringer.com/B1520DSP/index.cfm?lang=eng
http://www.mackie.com/products/srm450/
Notice here how the two Mackie speakers look the same. Without looking at the back, from a distance you mightn't know which one is powered and which one is passive.
I hope this helps.