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Flash@TMB

Soundchecks

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OK troublemakers and stirrers - here's your big chance. Oh... and should anyone sensible cough up anything valid then we're prepared to listen and learn.

The reasons that we no longer soundcheck are as follows... wait actually we do soundcheck a little but here goes:

1) Commercial. Sounchecking is not customer friendly. The figures tell us that soundchecking costs approx 200 in lost trade. Over the course of a year that comes to 10K. Of course now that we have a band on a Friday then conceivably it would cost double that. Pretty expensive! So we figured that it would make more sense to take that money and spend it on upgrading our equipment in order to minimise the time spent sound checking.

2) Back when we did attempt to hold soundchecks the bands almost never turned up for them so Mark and myself wasted a lot of our time waiting for people to show up.

3) Let's consider the anatomy of a soundcheck. Some people appear under the impression that it's some sort of magick ritual to invoke the God of Good Gig. In reality there's some reasoning behind it.

The Room

------------

If a gig were being held in a new or unfamilair room, then it would be necessary to 'ring out' the room. I'll refrain from going into the technicalities. We last rung out the room 9 months ago. The room has not changed since then. There is not need to go through this procedure prior to every gig.

The Rig

---------

PA systems are more concerned with dynamic range than musical fidelity. They tend not to be tonally perfect, do not usually produce a flat frequency response, and do not accurately reproduce the sound of the performers. When combined with any shortcomings in the room this can create numerous and significant problems. Usually equalisation must be applied accross the rig to attempt to flatten the rig/room spectrum. Addition compensation is typically applied to each channel to try and make what comes out the PA sound as faithful to the source as possible.

BUT... The Moorings rig is of exceptional quality. It produces a totally flat frequency response. It is high fidelity and accurately reproduces the sound of the performers. We deliberately invested in this rig for those reasons. There is no need to apply any EQ to the rig or the individual channels.

Microphone Response and Bleed

-------------------------------------

We have invested in high quality 'tour spec' mics with very good response. However mic response is not perfect, we are limited for space, and things are pretty close together. This results in some degree of bleed where a mic picks up an instrument or sound that's unsuited to it's response. A good example of this is where the very different mics intended for the kick drum, and floor tom pick up both each others instrument and the bass guitar. In order to get around this we apply frequency filters to each channel to reduce the level of bleed.

All our filters are applied and we have tested and refined them extensively. The only thing that may screw things up a little is where the kick drum and floor tom are sunstituted rendering the filters less effective, and resulting in a muddier bottom end. It's not always possible to sort this out to perfection in the available time frame.

Monitors and Feedback

--------------------------

Because the front of house speakers produce a flat frequency response it is extremely difficult to get those to produce any feedback. For this reason we are completely comfortable with performers leaving the stage and performing from the dancefloor.

High powered speakers utilise compression drivers to produce the higher frequencies, these squirt compressed air through a tube to produce the hiss and squeal sounds. It is very hard to control a compression driver and none are perfectly accurate. There are also some sensitivity issues. Our front of house speakers are as near as dammit perfect throughout 95% of their operating range - well within the range that we drive them. Also to make things easier the compression drivers are located high up, above the performers mic and therefore less suseptible to feedback.

Monitors have a tougher job though because they are located in extremely close proximity to the mics. Getting the monitors loud enough to overcome a drumkit, and two 4x12 cabs requires substantial power, and thus neccessitates compression drivers. This is the main cause of feedback on stage. Our current monitor system suffers from this to some extent and we are forced to run it pretty close to the feedback threshold in order to generate sufficient volume.

BUT within a few scant weeks there will be brough to market a speaker capable with high power handling capabilites that does not utilise a compression driver. This is by the same manufacturer as our front of house system. We have pre-ordered a set to replace all our existing stage monitors and this should totally eliminate the potential for feedback on stage.

Summary

-----------

So with the room sorted, the PA accurately reproducing the sound and little or no requirement for any EQ, good microphones with filters all configured to eliminate bleed, and monitors that don't feedback (soon)... what exactly is there to check? It will sound exactly as the band sounds.

OK currently we are still awaiting the new monitors, but we have a VERY good idea of where the envelope is on the existing ones. This is the only place we EVER encounter any problems, and that usually only if we have more than 2 vocal mics and some very quiet singers.

ANSWER: Level Check

-------------------------

It is still necessary to check the volume and signal level from each instrument. This check becomes null and void if the equipment setting are altered or itleaves the stage prior the performance. For this reason we perform a level check immediately prior to the performance. This ensures that all stage volumes are within tolerance, and that our faders are correctly set for the start of the performance.

OK - Do your worst LOL!

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I agree to a certain extent, but you can't seriously expect every band to be able to produce a sound that 'agrees' with your set-up. You can throw all the money in the world at a p.a and set-up but with little interaction/time with the bands you will never achieve a good sound in there. I wasn't impressed the last couple of times i was in there to be brutally honest, the sound in drakes and kef is much better.

Playing in a band myself, its nice to get a comfortable feel for the dynamics of the venue during a soundcheck and you can't do that at a level check in front of a crowd it's ridiculous.

Just my thoughts

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I agree to a certain extent' date=' but you can't seriously expect every band to be able to produce a sound that 'agrees' with your set-up.[/quote']

The setup is absolutely neutral. That means what goes in is what comes out. If someone wants a particular sound then they set it at source and that is EXACTLY what will come out front. What part of this are you struggling with?

You can throw all the money in the world at a p.a and set-up but with little interaction/time with the bands you will never achieve a good sound in there. I wasn't impressed the last couple of times i was in there to be brutally honest' date=' the sound in drakes and kef is much better.[/quote']

Well that's exactly what I expect from you. This isn't exactly the first time you've had a go at me about something. I'm glad you prefer the sound elsewhere, and I sincerely hope that you exercise your right to vote with your feet because to be brutally honest... no best not go there. And since you (hopefully) won't be attending in future then none of this should concern you anymore. So leave our forum the fuck alone. And if you're merely choosing to exercise your democratic right of free speech... then come and see me and I'll give you 20p so you can phone someone who gives a fuck.

Playing in a band myself' date=' its nice to get a comfortable feel for the dynamics of the venue during a soundcheck and you can't do that at a level check in front of a crowd it's ridiculous.[/quote']

Let's face it you're not really cut out to play The Moorings are you? Best look for gigs elsewhere. Kef might be a good place to start.

I deserve a scene point for that reply :)

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Right on bro', give yourself a pat on the back. Woo hoo. U asked for feedback dude, you fucking got it- nice to see that someone who owns a venue will toss his toys out of his pram everytime he hears something he doesn't like.

I'm sorry if you disagree with my opinion and i didn't say you'd lost my custom completely i would definately still go and see bands in your venue if i liked the bands that were on.

Oh and i suppose 'cause i disagreed with you you'll have a similar attitude to my band, well fair enough. I don't have a problem with you so i really don't care.

Anyways if you think alienating people from your venue is a good way forward then go for it, i sincerely wish you all the best. but if a fairly popular touring band decided to play your venue would you really deny them a soundcheck because your equipment is 'oh so good'?

Take it easy

Phil

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Guest Zeenat Aman

I kind of like playing without a soundcheck, it adds an even greater level of intensity to you're playing and onstage listening and also reveals a lot of things about how you are as a band, especially the listening to one another part.

:)

I've yet to experience the new moorings, but one day!

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The setup is absolutely neutral. That means what goes in is what comes out. If someone wants a particular sound then they set it at source and that is EXACTLY what will come out front. What part of this are you struggling with?

Right, ok. i'd love to try this out sometime as i've never played through a system like this, but i'll believe it when i use it. it sounds great in principal, but who knows. I'm not sruggling with any concept here dude.

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Whilst i agree with a certain amount of what you say Flash and I think that the Moorings has the best sound bar none in Aberdeen, I think the one thing your overlooking, I understand your reasons for not having a soundcheck, but quite often having a soundcheck will put the performers at ease. It's good for a performer to get the feel for the kit they're using especially if it's not their kit, it's good for a frontperson to get the feel of the stage to see what kind of limited space they have. I can understand the issues but is there n way you can compromise tbat maybe the bands can come in much earlier to soundcheck if they feel that passionately about one, sometime in the afternoon when there's limited trade. Ifd a soundcheck was just about sound I'd agree with you, but the soundcheck is also about putting the bands etc at ease, letting them see what the kit can do, if you're taking in bigger touring bands who haven't seen the capabilities of the rig then they will want to soundcheck, how many other venues the size of the moorings have a rig like that ? It doesn't matter where I've been, whatever venues I've always liked a soundcheck just to put Jo at ease that the sound is good and tget a feel for the venue, a good soundcheck shouldnt take long anyway, where's the harm in a compromise, if it matters that much can you get people to come in and check earlier, not at a peak time ?

Cheers

Stuart

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BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH but if a fairly popular touring band decided to play your venue would you really deny them a soundcheck because your equipment is 'oh so good'?

Take it easy

Phil

Touring bands are used to playing some right shit holes. To date every touring band has been an absolute joy to work with and all have been quite happy to proceed with just the level check. They are usually glad of the time to unwind after their journey, and tend not to relish the prospect of a length soundcheck.

Several have commented that they are relieved to find a stage, a working PA, an in-house engineer, and a decent house drumkit. Some have even expressed shock and delight that we've helped them lift their gear onto the stage, that we've provided spare strings free of charge (let alone the loan of a guitar while we resplace the bust string for them mid-gig), that we've carried spare drumsticks also FOC, that there's been replacement fuses, cables, leads, cheap drink and sometimes free drink, plus the occasional round of pizzas...

Oh yeah those touring bands really hate having to play The Moorings!

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Personally I don't really like sound checks, they're so depressing and you always sound/play shit during them...we I do. My case and point here is the last addicted to chaos gig at the moorings with Atom and the Gu we played so badly during sound check that Im sure we drove several people from the bar and filled Flash with terror but when we actually played it was rockin'. I guess this reply doesn't really go in to the purpose behind sound checks but if your using the same venue, same pa, same everything only with different people, a few different effects/sounds surely it can take a max of 60 seconds to fix levels. Everyone bitches way too much about this. In my opinion and experience The Moorings is the most hassle free place to play and the sound is always amazing and thats thanks to Flash and the time and money he's spent getting everything sorted.

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Whilst i agree with a certain amount of what you say Flash and I think that the Moorings has the best sound bar none in Aberdeen' date=' I think the one thing your overlooking, I understand your reasons for not having a soundcheck, but quite often having a soundcheck will put the performers at ease. It's good for a performer to get the feel for the kit they're using especially if it's not their kit, it's good for a frontperson to get the feel of the stage to see what kind of limited space they have. I can understand the issues but is there n way you can compromise tbat maybe the bands can come in much earlier to soundcheck if they feel that passionately about one, sometime in the afternoon when there's limited trade. Ifd a soundcheck was just about sound I'd agree with you, but the soundcheck is also about putting the bands etc at ease, letting them see what the kit can do, if you're taking in bigger touring bands who haven't seen the capabilities of the rig then they will want to soundcheck, how many other venues the size of the moorings have a rig like that ? It doesn't matter where I've been, whatever venues I've always liked a soundcheck just to put Jo at ease that the sound is good and tget a feel for the venue, a good soundcheck shouldnt take long anyway, where's the harm in a compromise, if it matters that much can you get people to come in and check earlier, not at a peak time ?

Cheers

Stuart[/quote']

OK those are valid points. Unfortunately we are restricted due to noise emission regulations, and that's another very real reason why we've decided to limit soundchecks. There's only certain time periods when we can make loud noise.

For local bands that have played multiple times familiarity isn't really an issue.

Touring bands get a mini-tour of the bar and stage, and we introduce them to Mark, play them some of our recordings etc. If after that they still want a soundcheck then we provide one... provided they've not shown up with 5mins to spare as is usually the case. To date none of the touring bands have elected to soundcheck.

You will recall though that when Emma and Jo played we did acutally embark on a soundcheck, and that this was our decision.

The touring bands usually feel a lot more confident once they hear the support.

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OK those are valid points. Unfortunately we are restricted due to noise emission regulations' date=' and that's another very real reason why we've decided to limit soundchecks. There's only certain time periods when we can make loud noise.

For local bands that have played multiple times familiarity isn't really an issue.

Touring bands get a mini-tour of the bar and stage, and we introduce them to Mark, play them some of our recordings etc. If after that they still want a soundcheck then we provide one... provided they've not shown up with 5mins to spare as is usually the case. To date none of the touring bands have elected to soundcheck.

You will recall though that when Emma and Jo played we did acutally embark on a soundcheck, and that this was our decision.

The touring bands usually feel a lot more confident once they hear the support.[/quote']

Oh, so Jester says pretty much the same as me and gets a civil response, awesome.

:down:

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Personally I don't really like sound checks' date=' they're so depressing and you always sound/play shit during them...we I do. My case and point here is the last addicted to chaos gig at the moorings with Atom and the Gu we played so badly during sound check that Im sure we drove several people from the bar and filled Flash with terror but when we actually played it was rockin'. I guess this reply doesn't really go in to the purpose behind sound checks but if your using the same venue, same pa, same everything only with different people, a few different effects/sounds surely it can take a max of 60 seconds to fix levels. Everyone bitches way too much about this. In my opinion and experience The Moorings is the most hassle free place to play and the sound is always amazing and thats thanks to Flash and the time and money he's spent getting everything sorted.[/quote']

Yeah OMG you really did have a terrible soundcheck. I was totally amazed when you came on for the gig because you really gave the other bands a run for their money. One of the greatest recoveries I've witnessed. That took guts!

In your case the soundcheck must have added to your nerves LOL. But in the end it all well great. And those people that left the bar... their loss! (there was only a couple of hundred of them anyway LOL).

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You will recall though that when Emma and Jo played we did acutally embark on a soundcheck' date=' and that this was our decision.

[/quote']

Indeed I do and it made for a damn fine gig, with an awesome recording, I do agree with much of what you're saying I can just see that bands like to have a soundcheck for reasons other than sound soemtimes.

Cheers

Stuart

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...

Local band + Souncheck = Rehearsal (more often than not) Line check should in fact be enough... Go to T in the Park and listen to every band soundcheck?! Don't think so...

By the way Drake's was blessed with a perfect room for any sound and a good sound was usually down to the band knowing what they 'should' sound like, it helps. Most touring acts couln't be arsed with an lengthy soundcheck unless the set-up was complex. Even then it was an extended line check... '1234 fraaang crash wallop fiidang' plink "Fine guys! Now lets go eat, we've been in a bus for 8 hours".

Jim

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Yeah OMG you really did have a terrible soundcheck. I was totally amazed when you came on for the gig because you really gave the other bands a run for their money. One of the greatest recoveries I've witnessed. That took guts!

In your case the soundcheck must have added to your nerves LOL. But in the end it all well great. And those people that left the bar... their loss! (there was only a couple of hundred of them anyway LOL).

And with any luck well be able to keep up with the bigger boys when we play with the Gu again next saturday. :rockon:

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i dunno really. I rekcon if a band really wants one, they should have the choice to. but if they do opt for it, they should eb repsonsible and all turn up on time, with their gear ready (not everything set up, i mean, workign and stringed guitars) and then do it as quickly as possible.

I'm not usually all that fussed. but it DOES put me a bit more at ease.

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Guest stuartmaxwell

hmm sounds like a decent move, IF....you do have that system down to a T.

it also puts the onus on the bands to get their sound sorted out. i have been rather guilty in the past of plugging in, turning up and playing. but i have spent a lot of time and money on my rig and set up and i would be pretty confident about taking your approach.

plus, when bands run late (like always) you are not still soundchecking at 8.30pm.

:D

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Local band + Souncheck = Rehearsal (more often than not) Line check should in fact be enough... Go to T in the Park and listen to every band soundcheck?! Don't think so...

By the way Drake's was blessed with a perfect room for any sound and a good sound was usually down to the band knowing what they 'should' sound like' date=' it helps. Most touring acts couln't be arsed with an lengthy soundcheck unless the set-up was complex. Even then it was an extended line check... '1234 fraaang crash wallop fiidang' plink "Fine guys! Now lets go eat, we've been in a bus for 8 hours".

Jim[/quote']

oh

there it is

the shot that wins the match

KAPPOW!

:gringo:

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The main reason for soundcheck is to make sure all the lines are working ok, and get a rough balance of sound on a PA rig you have just set-up in a room the engineer doesnt usually know.

I have been all round Europe doing this with many different bands, and yes a soundcheck is a must do thing. Not only to Eq the Rig for the room, see what it will sound like when the band plays and set-up the monitors.

In the Moorings the PA Has been set-up, I know what it will sound like and the Monitors are roughly right for most bands and very easy to alter if needed.

The PA WILL reproduce the sound set on the amp, and a well rehearsed band will know the sound they want. So all that is left to do is get the levels correct on stage and the FOH will do the rest.

There is really no reason to do a full soundcheck in a venue with an Installed PA and Digital desk. The settings are usually very close from one band to another.

Please come and talk to Me or Flash (we dont bite) if you want to talk about it more.

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I agree to a certain extent' date=' but you can't seriously expect every band to be able to produce a sound that 'agrees' with your set-up. You can throw all the money in the world at a p.a and set-up but with little interaction/time with the bands you will never achieve a good sound in there. I wasn't impressed the last couple of times i was in there to be brutally honest, the sound in drakes and kef is much better.

Playing in a band myself, its nice to get a comfortable feel for the dynamics of the venue during a soundcheck and you can't do that at a level check in front of a crowd it's ridiculous.

Just my thoughts[/quote']

i disagree with this, the moorings in my opinion is the best sounding place in aberdeen, when we played we got no sound check, we did volume levels and then went straight in and funnily anough to our shock it all work great.

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As far as we has seen or experienced, the Moorings has the most looked after, efficient set up in Aberdeen. No where else locally respects their venue and the people in it as much as Flash and his team do. Seriously, even the set-up at Fury's in Glasgow (which is supposed to be one of the greatest live sound venues in the country) stands in the shadow of them. The whole deal with cutting out soundchecks seems fair on most levels and we agree with what your doing in the majority. IDENTITY like to soundcheck like any other band, but its not always necessary. Anyhoo if bands are putting in real effort they'd have their own sound sorted out before the gig and be organised without the need of a thorough soundcheck. Am I wrong? We trust the staff to do their job and they do it well all the time! I've no problem with leaving it all in their hands. They're capable.

See you on the 5th Flash

Alex

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HAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!! *wipes tear from eye*

I love the forums!!!!!!!!!!!!

Not as much as i love the moorings though! :nono:

Though i would say sound checking does put me at ease, especially with me using the line 6 pod. But to be honest, everything seems to work out fine when i play moorings without a soundcheck. :band:

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Guest stuartmaxwell
As far as we has seen or experienced' date=' the Moorings has the most looked after, efficient set up in Aberdeen. No where else locally respects their venue and the people in it as much as Flash and his team do. Seriously, even the set-up at Fury's in Glasgow (which is supposed to be one of the greatest live sound venues in the country) stands in the shadow of them. The whole deal with cutting out soundchecks seems fair on most levels and we agree with what your doing in the majority. IDENTITY like to soundcheck like any other band, but its not always necessary. Anyhoo if bands are putting in real effort they'd have their own sound sorted out before the gig and be organised without the need of a thorough soundcheck. Am I wrong? We trust the staff to do their job and they do it well all the time! I've no problem with leaving it all in their hands. They're capable.

See you on the 5th Flash

Alex[/quote']

fury murrays???are you having a laugh??? you are honestly having a joke here arent you, its a fucking hell hole, with pay2play shite, rubbish p.a and the like as they take the money for themselves and not for improving their venue.

hence why shite bands play there and good bands dont...

playing glasgow, play somewhere with morals, 13note is a good start

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we played furys not knowin anything bout the place we got there to be stood in some hole with a shit sound guy and pa but we did play to a couple hundred people it was an experience none the less but we basically went in blind and put on a damn good show leavin the place in shock

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