Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Gain Before Feedback

As a gigging musician we all should know this electronic concept. All amplification systems have Maximum gain before feedback. It means that there is a limit to how far an amplification system can be cranked up before this thing we call feedback burn our ears. Bands, Roadies, and Managers, often almost immediately commands a sound engineer to turn the mixer faders up whenever they think they are not hearing the vocals enough. They go on saying like “put more volume on the mic I cant hear the vocals” and ignoring the the soundtech when he says it's on the max already. For experienced players they ask often like this “can we put some more volume on the mics?” What we don't realize especially that if your like the third band already, maximum gain before feedback settings are already on since the first band. Ever wonder why the sound engineer is not giving your request?... It is because he has nothing more to give... the next thing you'll get is feedback. If the singer is complaining that all he can hear are the guitars, maybe just maybe they are a bit too loud (duh!) so if my calculation is correct then if we turn down the guitars we could hear the vocals more. elementary science tells us that matter can't occupy the same space at the same time, That simple? as simple as it is... Yes that simple.

Case study

Roadie- hey dude the guitars are not on the house
Tech- are you kidding me? Its in the walls, the ceiling, the restroom, and the parking lot. The only thing that's not on the house are the drinks you'll have to pay.

What the tech is saying is that the guitar amps are too loud its all over the place that even if it was already muted from the house PA they are still ringing the whole joint.

Roadie- Cant hear the vocals turn the mic up
Tech- Is he singing I thought he was just lipsyncing. I'm in full throttle and hes not even exciting my compressors. Maybe he should consider singing on an acoustic band instead of metal.

There are just some singers who cant put out enough air to move and excite the mics enough to cut through a dense mix pushing the volume wont help, again the next thing you'll get is feedback.

In Conclusion Everyone on Earth knows that in a musical piece the vocals should be on top of the mix, don't you think the soundtech don't know that? Of course he does maybe the band should know that too and be vigilant with their stage sound especially if they cant afford to hire their own soundguy (by that I mean someone who knows how to run, tweak, and troubleshoot a system and not just a loyal fan that tags along). The sad reality is that most roadies that bands hire don't even know how to turn on an amp and I'm not joking I see them every night at gigs and they call them techs. Get a roadie that knows your music and some basic electronics.

Lets give them sound Engineers a break

No comments: