Using a sound man vs. doing your own: question for musicians---

Robin Banks rbanks@CIACCESS.COM
Sat Jun 13 06:10:14 EDT 1998

I've found that in the past, we've played a handful of big rock bars that brought
us in on a Sunday night as a special Blues night and had problems with soundmen
that mixed us way too hot.

It's hard to explain to a guy that's used to mixing rock bands how to mix a Blues
act. Not too many effects on the vocal... (just a little reverb) I want people to
hear what I sound like... not a mushy, spacy sound that does not resemble me.

And they don't get Mark's clean and clear strat through a black faced Super sound.
They're so used to distortion and effects pedals that they can't comprehend that
clean sound.

And I hate it when they make the drums sound like freakin'  Led Zepplin! Gimme a

We don't play those places too often any more.


Sydney Ellis wrote:

> I always have my own soundman and the same one even when the venue, festival,
> hall, church or even small club provides one. This gives me  many advantages.
> First it keeps the house soundman away from the board and keeps him from
> messing with the mix. It has been my observation that most soundmen are not
> content to just mix it and leave it except for slight adjustments. They are
> prone towards, among other things, increasing volumn on instruments when they
> solo rather than letting the musicians dictate his own volumn based on what he
> wants the solo to sound like.
> Secondly, the provided soundman does not know what the band or more
> importantly in my case, what my  voice sounds like and EQ European style means
> the tonal mix of my voice is mixed as though I were singing in a European
> language which has different tonal composition than American English. It is a
> subtle difference but signifcant.
> Thirdly, having your own soundman who knows the show and knows what you are
> after simply makes for a more professional show.
> Lastly, my band is acoustic. Piano, bass, drums, tenor sax and me. Most sound
> engineers know how to mix rock-n-roll and only rock-n-roll with electric
> guitars, and electric this and that. And that is real close to what many
> Chicago style blues bands sound like where the focus is the guitar or harp or
> keys and someone just covering on vocals. My show is built around vocals and
> that is a completely diferent mix and EQ (we always bi-pass the graphic EQ,
> having it on takes out too much of the natural warmth out of the acoustic
> sound). My soundman also handles what we want and don't want for lighting and
> he also keeps TV camera crews and stage smoke off the stage. So he has become
> a production manager also.
> Most importantly, having your own soundman allows you to not have to deal with
> it. He, your soundman, instructs the venue personnel on what you need and
> where the grand piano goes and, and, and. Let me go put my makeup on I got a
> concert to do.
> All of the above is in my humble opinion and what works for us.
> Sydney

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