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Author Topic: Amplification (well-trodden ground I know, but...)  (Read 1397 times)

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Strigulino

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Amplification (well-trodden ground I know, but...)
« on: April 16, 2012, 06:26:31 PM »

Just got back from an annual event where they have a talent/gong show.  We've finally plucked up the courage to take part in next year's and have pretty much decided what we're going to do, which gives me a whole year to practice the tune.

I don't want to have to get microphones just for one night.  So the question was - imagine a pretty big room - capacity in the hundreds.  Proper PA and so on.  Party atmosphere so gets pretty noisy.  Just me playing and me and the man singing.  Will be be okay with two normal mics on stands, one at the bass end and one treble, as long as I don't move around too much, or should I use proper melodeon mics?  If so, can someone lend me some for the first weekend in April 2013?  :)
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The Strig

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Rob2Hook

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Re: Amplification (well-trodden ground I know, but...)
« Reply #1 on: April 16, 2012, 06:39:36 PM »

You should be fine with a couple of stand mics.  Best to keep about 18 inches from them so that the sound desk can control the volume without too much variation as you move.  If you're standing, try to resisit the temptation to dance too much!  If you're sitting, the mics should work pretty well even if you wriggle a lot.  Don't let them palm you off with only one mic as the bass will hardly be heard and it'll sound a bit thin against a singer.

Rob.
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Anahata

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Re: Amplification (well-trodden ground I know, but...)
« Reply #2 on: April 17, 2012, 08:53:12 AM »

What Rob said and what I always ask for when Mary and I do festival performances. You should get better sound with proper mics on stands - close mics are for loud dance bands where there's lots of noise going on.

Also if the stage has foldback monitors on it, don't be frightened to ask for what you want in them, because the soundman has no idea what's coming out of them. We usually use very little foldback or even have it turned off but it depends on the room.
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Chris Brimley

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Re: Amplification (well-trodden ground I know, but...)
« Reply #3 on: April 17, 2012, 11:21:42 AM »

Quote
Also if the stage has foldback monitors on it, don't be frightened to ask for what you want in them, because the soundman has no idea what's coming out of them.

Great advice!  It seems to be a very common experience for musicians to complain about 'the sound' after a gig, and for the sound engineer to reply 'Well, if only you'd told me, I could have altered it!'  When you go on stage, I always think the most important thing to do is to give yourself time to get settled in, listen closely to what you and the other band members sound like, and if you don't like what you hear, quietly tell the sound man, and only start until you're happy.  Sound engineers really like musicians who recognise their skills as being an essential part of the overall performance.

I went to a large festival in Brittany last summer which had a succession of large and tricky bands to amplify, and was highly impressed by the sound engineering - there was one guy on the desk taking instructions, and another on stage who stood behind each musician in turn while they were settling in, and attentively asked them how they felt, relaying information to the sound desk.  The result was quick turnround, a brilliant sound in a big and highly amplified environment, with no feedback problems, and happy musicians who felt really cared for.  Simple and obvious customer care, really!  I've tried using the same technique, and can vouch for its effectiveness, and I now try to add something else if the situation allows it - another unobtrusive check after the first number (or if a musician changes instruments) from the side or front of stage, catching each musician's eye and seeking any further comments. 
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Strigulino

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Re: Amplification (well-trodden ground I know, but...)
« Reply #4 on: April 17, 2012, 11:38:08 AM »

Heh, I have a bit of a background in comedy at the Edinburgh Fringe so I have been that techie on occasion.  So I shall certainly see if I can get the soundcheck to my satisfaction, although as we are but one turn in a smorgasbord of short spots I don't hold too much hope of getting M&Ms with the brown ones taken out.  As long as they can hear me over the backing track I don't mind.

Don't ask; it's a secret.  Next year we'll post the video.  :)
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The Strig

"World-famous poker player. Give her a good poker and she'll play any tune you like." - The Goon Show
Pets:  Two cats, one husband, a D/G Hohner Morgane, a C/F Liliput, a dark and mysterious anglo concertina, a Streb, a Giordy...
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