Sound Bytes: Running Sound from Stage - Basics for The Small Venue
Friday, October 5, 2012 - Often times bands make it difficult on themselves when playing small venues. They are so used to running eveything through the P.A. that it becomes difficult to get the right mix and avoid feedback. Well guess what......you don't need to mic everything!!! Nor should you! The biggest cause of mudiness and feedback is sound waves circling back through the stage microphones. A small room makes that worse as the sound bounces off walls and the ceiling and creates not just stage volume, but now room volume as well, and its all getting back through the microphones.
At the small venue, its best to only mic the vocals. Keyboards and guitars can be fed back to the monitors for your bandmates, but since its monitor only, use the direct out on the back of your amplifier (this eliminates the number of microphones on the stage). Some bands like to mic the kick drum no matter what. Ok....you can leave a little kick drum in the mix but be sure about two things.....one, that the volume is kept down, and two, that your speakers can handle it!!! There is no reason to bring the subs if you are only micing vocals. Therefore, you better have some 15 inchs speakers that have a lower end frequency response level that starts around 50hz to 60hz. Most the punch from a bass drum occurs in the 80hz to 100hz range!! If your speakers start around 80hz, you're probably not doing much but harming your speakers.
Depending on the size of the room, you may be able to eliminate a monitor or two as well. We usually only use two monitors at smaller venues whereas mid to large venues we use 3 or 4 monitors. Also, do your best to keep good space between speakers and microphones. This isn't alway easy at small venues, but two microphones too close to each other cause more problems than two speakers too close together (which shouldn't happen either).
Next Friday we will cover the full band set up (large venue) and sound check. Have a great weekend and hope to see you at Papa's Social Club, Saturday, October 13th where Matt does a phenomenal job running sound!!! No running sound from stage so we can just play and have fun!!!
Opinions, questions and comments are always welcome!!! We'd love to hear and learn from you!!!