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 Forum index » Reviews, Editorials and Commentary » Commentary and Editorials
House producers v.s. the house´s engineer.
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Kassen
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PostPosted: Sun May 08, 2005 10:37 am    Post subject: House producers v.s. the house´s engineer. Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

I posted the following to the blog I share with some friends. Perhaps it fits here too.
-----------------


Master Sami and me went to play in Utrecht. Came in late with The Mad Arrab after suffering Utrecht traffic for a hour.

We got a big desk; a nice Allen&Heath, my brand of choice for live sound. So; we unpack the insantity; the laptop, MIDI controlers, the Nord Modular, my custom theremin controler and the usuall battery of analogue effects. The local technicians help out pluging it all in, wondering why I want to put some of the effects on top of the mixer instead of with the rest. It´s still ok.

So; we have it all up and running and I´m setting levels. Having done that I go past all of the channels that are not from the laptop and I switch on all the lowcuts there, going "lowcut", "lowcut", "lowcut","lowcut"....

The Place´s chief tech. asks me in a kind, curious tone; "What does lowcut do?". I think "Oh, shit." but politely explain it inserts a highpass filter around 75 to 100 Hz, that most of the beats and bass are from the laptop and that we need the headroom. It also gets rid of many of the inacuracies of the old analogue stuff and prevents dc offset from slipping into the feedback loops on the delays which clogs them.

He nods, smiling and says "ok". He was making sure I knew what it did and wasn´t trying to enhance the bass.

It´s sad that the field is in a state where I´m not surprised at engineers that don´t know what "lowcut" does, it´s sad that the good ones like him have grown to distrust people my age.

We got along very well after that......


----------------------------
For context;
Sami (front) and Kas. (dubbing it up) on a lovely A&H earlier in brussles.

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elektro80
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PostPosted: Sun May 08, 2005 12:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

It is not really surprising that the main tech dude doesn´t know his stuff. Where should he have learned this? But now I guess he knows some about this obscure lowcut thingie. Very Happy
I have seen FOH engineers make cute patterns with the phase switches.. just so they look nice.. and making a mess of EQs, and.. suddenly in the middle of a set discover the rack of compressors and go " Hey.. I can test this stuff NOW". Shocked

And.. remember when venues started to have racks of reverbs and digital delays.. OMG..

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Kassen
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PostPosted: Sun May 08, 2005 1:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

He knew his stuff, no doubt about it. he ran a tight, good sounding system. He was trying to correct me in a realy politcal, non-competitive way, it´s just that I wasn´t wrong as he thought I was. As soon as this was cleared up we were level; I actually put my head under the stage a few times to look at the leds of the crossover so I could stay in controll of my precious gainstructure instead of getting limited the hard way.

I´ve seen bad things so that made me distrustfull here. I´ve had occasions where I realy wanted to take over. Actually, I did at times. Worse yet, on one truely messed up night the whole engineer was missing and I had to improvise along to even get the Zombie Nation set to run in a acceptable way. (Zombie Nation is european top40 electro stuff, realy straightforward and crowdpleasing but nice fellows, for context).

Truth be told; I think all engineers curse at musicians when nobody is listening and I think all mastering people curse the engineers. It´s worth poking your snout in all fields, even if it´s just to be able to talk with all the people you deal with. Nothing gets you a better sound then explaining to the venue´s engineer you too mangaged a sound system or two in the past and that you care.

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morbius



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PostPosted: Tue Feb 14, 2006 8:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Yep... I can't believe how many unqualified people are out there, and 'how the hell did they get those jobs?'.

Did any of you attend the first "MoogFest" at BB King's in NYC, May 18th, 2004? If you did, then you know where I'm going. The three house 'sound-dudes' had no clue. The talent was pissed (including Keith Emerson & Rick Wakeman)... the people on stage couldn't hear the stage mix... the 'sound-dudes' kept turning up the house gain instead of the stage mix gain. Everyone in the audience was in pain. I took pix of the three stooges in the event I went deaf and needed to identify them in a lawsuit.

Posted Image, might have been reduced in size. Click Image to view fullscreen.

I was with a buddy of mine who was an expert at sound reinforcement. He saw several others there who he knew, and were the same, or at least engineers, like myself, and everyone wanted to wack 'em over the head, and take over. It was almost as if... no matter what, the answer was 'crank it up, dude'. Sh!tty sound can screw-the-pooch and totally ruin an otherwise great show.[/img]

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paul e.



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PostPosted: Tue Feb 14, 2006 8:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

i think he was testing your knowledge as a way to ascertain if he could just let you do your thing with no extra supervision..

sounds guys get nervous about on-stage submixes due to sudden anomalies or super-hot signals thrusting out from an on-stage mixer, if it is not being operated by someone with experience

he knows what lo cut does...he was making sure you did

he was satisfied with your answer and relaxed

there is usually some tension and thus misunderstandings between performers and sound guys can easily arise...

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PostPosted: Wed Feb 15, 2006 6:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

At this point, I rarely go to one of the big concerts - like at a stadium or something - because sound is almost always bad. That's one of the big draws of the Metropolitian Opera in New York - beautiful music with no sound reinforcement.
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Kassen
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 16, 2006 2:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

paul e. wrote:

he was satisfied with your answer and relaxed

there is usually some tension and thus misunderstandings between performers and sound guys can easily arise...


Absolutely and completely correct.

I ahve no idea why many artists feel the need to be aloof to soundguys. That doesn't work at all. What works much, much better is making some smalltalk and showing some concern and apreceation for the local system and acoustics.

Rob has been mentioning how important it is to know how the ear and particularly the hearing psychology works. I think it's equally important to have some knowledge of sound systems. Even if you never actually have to set one up and manage it it's very worthwhile to take their workings into account and establish a good raport with the local engineer.

Of cource the reverse also holds true; when engineering it's also important to have good comunication with the performers or there will be trouble.

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Roland Kuit



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PostPosted: Sat Mar 04, 2006 5:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

I did many concerts(on big stages to). I notished that most of the sound engenirs are deaf. Peeps in my ears and it was very difficult to make good settings at my ARP 2600(at that time:)) Nowadays i play with ear protectors and thank god for having NM's and a G2.
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