Episode 032: Buried Alive (on Stage)

Bass is tricky for on-stage sound. How do you avoid getting lost in the mix?

Let’s define it… What does it feel like to be lost in the mix?

  • Dave:
    • It feels like waking up in the middle of the night to make a PB&J sandwich but you forget to turn on the light switch
    • Just enough information feeding back to get through, but it may not be the best PB&J anyone’s ever had
  • Paul:
    • To me, this is some mix of volume and tone
    • It can be loud but if the tone is bad, still lost… same way, if tone is great but everything’s too loud, lost!

So how do we solve it?

  • Crank it
    • How does your volume compare to the rest of the band?
    • Compare bass to kick in terms of volume
  • Angle it
    • Where is your amp pointing on stage horizontally?
    • What about vertically? How does your amp target your ears while you’re playing?
  • Kick the low end
    • Assuming the music allows (genre, feel)
    • Who holds the low end information in the band on stage?
    • Keyboards vs. bass, that relationship is important, people and instruments
  • Boost the mids
    • Sometimes a boomy stage means lows just rumble/rattle with no definition
    • Some mids may get you the definition of the note
    • Careful of low mids 150-250Hz range… can end up muddy, high mids maybe?
  • Tell the others to dial it back (who’s playing in what range?)
    • Who’s sticking out?
    • Are they having problems hearing? Can that be fixed?
    • Use monitors to your advantage
  • Trust the sound guy and deal with your monitor
    • If the amp is your monitor, careful to make sure it’s going direct post EQ
    • Don’t be afraid to ask if they can throw you in the monitor

Photo by Riccardo Fissore on Unsplash

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