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Playing @ the Moorings and the issue that occurs within


Gozu
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Right first up this is NOT a criticism of the moorings, the guys there, the gigs there or the way they do things. The reason i'm posting it here rather than the fudgenet or moorings areas is i'd like to hear from others who've played there and how they'd make it work for them.

We ([ ]) have our 4th time playing there coming up and although we always have an awesome night and people seem to enjoy us, We ALWAYS have issues with the sound there. Whenever i played with Deathwatch we sounded great because i think of the way they lean towards guitar-based bands but being just bass and drums the onstage sound tends to get a bit lost. On one occasion completely shutting off.... If i was allowed to bring down and use my own amp (600w Trace into Barefaced 2X12) we'd have no issues because i wouldn't be afraid to crank it and know exactly how to set it But there is no real wiggle room there due to the pretty complex way they have things set up.

Volume, especially onstage, i find is massively important to the feel/enjoyment of a gig, which translates ( i think) to the audience....

SO as to not make this a rant (which i really don't want it to be) does anyone have any advice/tips on how to maximize our sound/volume at the Moorings? Do you think they'd let me bring my amp and mic/DI it?

This next one is with a band who i love and really want to be the best we've ever done.

Cheers Gents/Gentesses

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Ok . Having done your sound there a couple of times i'll comment. From a front of the house perspective your bass effects tend to be mismatched in level and also far too toppy when you kick in the distortion boxes so when im mixing you i always have to cut the treble and compress quite heavily, if you could spend some time matching your sound changes for level that would be good. . from a monitors perspective i guess you just have to ask for more or turn up the amp, theres only two of you after all. I cant speak for Flash as to the bass amp issue. Its a good bass amp and its matched to the cabinet. . taking your own and hooking it up leaves up worrying about your volume spikes popping the cab leaving us fucked. Try recording your pedal changes and see what you have to do in software to get them to sit evenly. . and then tweak until you dont have to do anything to get them to sit. This will also even out the sound through the monitors. Your loudspeaker that u use for the trippy announcements is another matter. . . pointing it at the snare mike is prob not the best idea. . it wont get through the gate unless it has new batteries ;)

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The megaphone is a whole other disagreement for me an chris between the two of us, but aside from that, THANKYOU! i didn't really know how to get ahold of you so this is the best thing that could have happened... i'll take all that on board and have a play about

regarding the use of my own amp i wouldn't want to use the moorings cab either, i'd just be afraid of popping it as you say. My cab is Barefaced super 12 http://barefacedbass.com/index.php?page=super-twelve which is crazy efficient. but i know the moorings policy on cabs. thats why i didn't ask them, they're busy people and didn't want to waste anybodies time.

Bust seriously thanks man. thats exactly the advice i needed.

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For what it's worth, I can't see any good coming from this criticism which you say isn't a criticism.

It really wasn't a criticism, I have been to and played awesome sounding gigs at the moorings the only time i've ever had issues with it was the [ ] gigs its a great venue, easily the best in aberdeen, especially for performers, i just wanted peoples opinions on what I could do to improve my performance.

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Hi There,

Whilst I can't provide any input on remapping your sound, I can offer a detailed explanation of why things are the way they are.

Bars and clubs are operating under incredibly tough conditions right now, and venues have it even worse. To the best of my knowledge there are only a handful of independent (non-chain) places left operating in the city centre... just walk through town and check out all the boarded up pubs. The reasons for this date back to when the breweries were broken up for price fixing in the early nineties, and all the problems afflicting the industry, including binge drinking, stem from that ill thought out piece of legislation. Given that it's hard enough to make money selling booze, in order to provide live music that music must at least cover it's own costs - it doesn't. There's a balancing act between admission price and number of attendees, and we have that sussed... unfortunately to cover costs we'd need the same number of attendees each paying £2 more at the door, which just isn't going to happen.

We're lucky though, because we only really absorb the direct costs of the performance, the time that the musicians spend performing. If we had people swapping drum kits, cabs, and bass heads, then sound checking, our costs would increase dramatically. Not only would we be required to double up on the amount of engineer time, but we'd also lose our afternoon trade because really, nobody wants to sit through that. Instead we've been smart on several levels, we've invested heavily in building a plug in & play venue, and we've selected our equipment to provide a robust a reliable sound, with minimal effort, which most people appear to enjoy. As a result we almost never experience feedback through our monitors, and hardly ever fail to deliver ample vocal through them. The extra outlay up front is more than offset by the time we save each week not alienating our customers by exposing them to feedback drenched sound checks for hours at a time. Remember we're primarily a bar, and that's what pays the bills.

There's one aspect of getting sound to work that many musicians fail to take into consideration, particularly with regard to speaker cabinets. Different cabinets produce different throws, and (generally) larger speakers produce longer throws. You can observe this with your laptop vs your HiFi. You can turn your laptop up, so that it's tiny internal speakers are producing a certain volume at a range of two feet, chances are you'd struggle to hear it from 10 feet away, and no chance you'd hear it from another room. Not the case with the larger HiFi speakers which throw the sound much further. That's because they're moving more air. In the venue we can exploit this to drive music at quiet jukebox levels throughout the entire room (we only really need the sound reinforcement when it's busy). This effect is most noticable with bass. If you stand right in front of our bass bins, or even stick your head in them, you'll struggle to hear any bass. That's because they use double 18" speakers. Those speakers can throw the bass to the far end of the room, but the wave takes some distance to develop, so you don't really hear it close up. The bass amp on stage is the actual source of the bass heard by people standing in the first few rows. For the sound to work, we need a bass speaker on stage that can develop bass in under 6 feet, and also for that sound to tail off as the bass bins at the front of house start to build, otherwise we'd end up with a bass heavy zone. The best fit for this job is a 4x10" cab with a horn. One option we have long considered is to use an 8x10" on stage. A couple of times people have brought these along, and by all accounts they work even better, so perhaps we'll get around to doing that at some point.

The reason we went for an Ampeg head is simply because it's designed to work with 10" speakers and, being a high quality piece of kit, in most instances it's presence placates the bass player. However Ampegs aren't so good at handling bass effects pedals. If we were to get into swapping bass amps, then we'd have to swap bass cabs, then we'd get sucked into swapping guitar cabs, which would then open the door to just swapping everything. It's a vicious spiral. We'd be better off demolishing the stage altogether, and doubling the size of the dance floor, then we could service the masses playing RATM on a loop for 6 hours at a time and make a whole lot more money, but we're not about that. Seriously though, it's just that live music is only viable for us within the current parameters.

Part of the attraction of The Moorings is that it's such a cushy gig. You're getting paid for about 1/3rd of the work you'd normally endure. Playing at The Moorings means, stepping out of the shower, getting dressed, picking up your instrument, walking on-stage, plugging it in, and hey presto we have lift off. Afterwards you put it back in it's case, walk offstage and hit the discounted drinks with not a care in the world. Ninety nine times out of a hundred it works really well.

What about the times it doesn't? We'll there are some setups that simply aren't compatible with our MO. If we bent the rules in those instances then we'd be back to the doomsday/RATM scenario. Instead we feel it's better to discourage those who don't fit the plug in & play template, and just accept that some gigs are bettered suited to other venues. Recently we had a band who wanted to take an electronic drum kit on stage. We've done those in the past and they are a pain in the ass because it means packing up the house kit and shifting it off the stage. You may argue that's no big deal, but we're working to a strict 60 minute setup and performance window, and every second counts. The band might be perfectly good, and we have nothing (else) against the electronic kits, but it's just not a good fit for us, so we cancelled. That band has a choice of plenty of other venues to play. It's nothing personal. The furthest we'll push the envelope is to accommodate a left handed drummer... you know unless it has ginger hair or something [JOKE].

So to summarise, you're correct. We're setup to deal with fairly standard fare, and if you fall outside of that category, then it may be harder, or perhaps even impossible to get a working sound in the time frame allotted. In your instance, it's not a million miles from working, and if you could tame your effects slightly, and we were to mount an 8x10" then it would probably work just fine. No promises on the 8x10" but you never know...

Walk in the Light

Flash

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Seriously man Thanks for the reply. I really do think the Moorings has THE best deal for bands in Aberdeen. The whole reason for this thread was so that we (although mostly I) could do things so as to Match the standard set forth by other bands that play there. We LOVE playing the moorings and just want our performance to reflect that. The as you say 'plug and play' set up you have is a pretty damn smart one, especially so you don't have to faff with sound checks etc.

Really though our gig isnt till the 19th of march. I just thought I'd get some advice in far advance so I could start fiddling with time to spare. The effects thing is a fairly major part of our sound as its the whole 'playing on the edge of chaos' that defines us. Its also worth mentioning that i can set up my amp, cab, bass, and effects board in the time it takes most guitarists to do their hair (jk) (although not really jk). I'm gonna go back to the drawing board on a couple of points thOugh and see if I can get more inline to match the recommendations. I'll probably give you (flash) and andy a shout at the start of mary to make sure everything's cool.

Cheers again gents. I really hope no one took any offence from any of this...

Al

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Oh and I really really really want to thank flash and the gents from fudge fOr continuing to put us on despite being outside of the 'RATM dancing GnR loving close minded but money spending public. We are not an act to pull in punters andit still amazes us anytime someone wants us to Play. Never mind pay us. So seriously thanks guys. I may be slightly over sentimental due to how utterly hammered i currently am but it still is a massive boost to get to play the moorings and actually have people stick around. Right. Coffee

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