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Author Topic: Gain staging for live sound  (Read 2058 times)

Offline alifocan

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Gain staging for live sound
« on: June 02, 2015, 06:19:58 pm »
Hi guys,

Here's the thing. I see some sound guys who like to keep their gain levels on their channels way up, and keep their levels low. Whereas, I like to do it the other way: Keep the gain levels lower, and push the fader up.

I'm used to working on very small stages with lots of mics and monitors on them, and like to keep it that way so that I don't also deal with musicians getting too close to their mics (I do jazz, mostly). What do you guys think?

The other day this band brought their own sound guy. I found everything very 'bright' and 'shrill'. I didn't say because he was their guy but anyways. Would love to hear your thoughts.



Offline Fletcher

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Re: Gain staging for live sound
« Reply #1 on: June 03, 2015, 01:00:58 am »
A) You're doing it correctly... you have more "pull" on the faders [and better headroom down the channel] by keeping your faders at unity and trimming the input level to achieve the convenience of having more fader range.

B) Its YOUR bar -- if some dude with a band comes in and makes the sound "bright" and "shrill" it could chase customers [like me] away... which means the bar sells less beer, which doesn't bode well for the bar's reputation, customer base, your gig.

When you're the house guy at a bar your FIRST obligation is to the bar.  Not the artist, not the "visiting engineer" -- your primary objective is to make the "artist" a positive for the barroom, not a negative.  Every band that goes on that deck is a reflection of your skill and that bar... if someone sounds like shit, its on your head as the patrons of the bar will often take pause before returning to said bar because the audio sucked balls.

Understand your masters, make no apologies for protecting their interests.  Its why you were hired in the first place -- to manage the system and make the venue look good at any and every turn.

CN Fletcher

mwagener wrote on Sat, 11 September 2004 14:33
We are selling emotions, there are no emotions in a grid

"Recording engineers are an arrogant bunch
If you've spent most of your life with a few thousand dollars worth of musicians in the studio, making a decision every second and a half... and you and  they are going to have to live with it for the rest of your lives, you'll get pretty arrogant too.  It takes a certain amount of balls to do that... something around three"
Malcolm Chisholm

Offline alifocan

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Re: Gain staging for live sound
« Reply #2 on: June 03, 2015, 09:44:44 am »
Thanks for all the input!

I actually opened the subject to the management, but even they didn't want to deal with them as there were only two tables reserved for the night. I think it was their last gig at the venue.