Grateful Dead Music Forum

A place to talk about the music of the Grateful Dead 

 #159791  by mikelawson
 Sun Jan 14, 2018 9:37 pm
Honestly, I start everything flat and go from there. It would not occur to me to start with a frowny face or other setting. I start flat, and tune the room from there. I haven't been a live sound engineer for many years now, though I still have the occasional misfortune to have to run our own for certain kinds of gigs (thank god for iPad mixing and personal monitor mixes via iOS). I was trained to start flat. The books I published (but did not write) teach this technique as well. At the end of the day, though, whatever works. As Joe Meek said, "If it sounds right, it is right."
 #159802  by gratefulfork
 Mon Jan 15, 2018 9:43 am
I also do FOH in a number of different settings and have never ended up (from starting flat) with a reverse smile in my eqs. in sometimes cut a little in the higher frequencies -(5-7k) if things sound harsh but that’s a big if. and in terms of sub frequencies, that’s the point of separate subs right? i always just use the level of the subs to control that.
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 #159803  by zambiland
 Mon Jan 15, 2018 10:14 am
Searing75 wrote:
Sun Jan 14, 2018 9:31 pm
I’m curios as to how many who have disagreed with my upside down smile eq have run sound? Not trying to suggest anything here, just wondering. I have run sound for a handful of bands for a long time, and every room I have ever done always had the upside down smile going on. Now, I am speaking of the master eq. The overall eq for the whole pa. The extreme lows are cut as well as the extreme highs. I know other engineers who also run their PAs by this rule. I have never, in 25 years experiences a different eq pattern. Yes, some tweaking here and there occurred at different bands, but the upside down smile was always a constant. We are talking about frequencies that are below and above a humans ability to hear! Cut them out! Avoid sub sonic, and sibilant madness!
Well, when you say upside down smile, merely dumping sub and super-sonic frequencies is not what comes to mind. Certainly I will use a high pass filter on just about every channel and sometimes the main L/R. Definitely on the monitor channels.

I will also note that sibilance doesn't come from the very highest frequencies, but the lower high frequencies, usually around 4khz or so. Dumping those frequencies results in a dull sound, with little clarity. If something sounds sibilant, it's not beyond the reach of human hearing.

So, maybe we don't disagree as much as I thought, but it might be useful to spend some time learning the generally accepted terms used in sound reinforcement. If you were at a gig and told the engineer to give the PA an upside down smile or a frown curve, you would end up with something that really doesn't sound very good.
 #159808  by gratefulredhead
 Mon Jan 15, 2018 12:57 pm
I do sound all the time, I have a Sound craft analog signature 22 board. I put high pass filters on all the channels except bass guitar. My EQ starts flat and ends up with slight cuts in the high end if the room is super reflective or if there is feedback. I boost the upper mids on the vocals a touch so they'll cut, and keep the highs in for sparkle. My master EQ remains pretty flat, and most adjustments are done per channel.
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 #159818  by strumminsix
 Mon Jan 15, 2018 10:09 pm
"I’m curios as to how many who have disagreed with my upside down smile eq have run sound?"

I think I'd have sever ear fatigue by the end of the first set. By that logic you've dumped your lowest end and highest end and bad everything a midrange instrument.

Some of my general thoughts:
Drums: need tightening on the top end and kick needs some support around 2.5k
Bass: similar to drums. need to support their low end and punch frequency
Keys: high pass at 100 and adjust depending on how useful their left hand is
Guitars: high pass at 100, tune by guitarists, pan the mix
Vocals: high pass at 100, find the supporting frequencies in low mids and presence.

I steer clear of global EQ's unless the system is setup for the band and just needs tuning for the room.
 #159819  by zambiland
 Mon Jan 15, 2018 10:53 pm
strumminsix wrote:
Mon Jan 15, 2018 10:09 pm

Keys: high pass at 100 and adjust depending on how useful their left hand is
That's why you have a bass player. High pass at 250! Or just tie his left hand to the chair.

Healy high passed the kick drums at up to well over 100hz. Sort of weird, but I guess it worked.
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 #159825  by strumminsix
 Tue Jan 16, 2018 8:22 pm
zambiland wrote:
Mon Jan 15, 2018 10:53 pm
strumminsix wrote:
Mon Jan 15, 2018 10:09 pm

Keys: high pass at 100 and adjust depending on how useful their left hand is
That's why you have a bass player. High pass at 250! Or just tie his left hand to the chair.

Healy high passed the kick drums at up to well over 100hz. Sort of weird, but I guess it worked.
I wish I had better mixers with variable high pass :( most of mine are 100 or nothing.

Most keyboard players I've mixed or played with used their left hand to accompany the real hero being their right hand. 2 exceptions. One almost never their left arm and it always sounded empty. Another played every song always like he was the lone musician in the band covering all parts. LOL!
 #160404  by Jimv
 Mon Feb 19, 2018 6:50 pm
For what its worth... I mixed FOH for NW World Reggae fest for 8 years, Blacksheep fest, countless reggar, funk,warehouse raves, street allyways, small rooms in Portland area. Stepped out when I became a father and have been working on my guitar for last 7 years or so. Im not a great engineer, and worked with guys that had way more experience than me, but I ended up mixing FOH all the time, probable do to my ears not being blown out yet. I dont understand the equip. but do know how to run it - theres the resume and disclaimer all in one!
The only smily faces I want to see are the ones dancing around the board. Brad S. posted some of Healy's tips and I have to say I learned the hard way over years the same thing. EQ MINIMALLY. (Healy's name is know around reggae soundboards too.) What he said....
My .02..... Everything else comes first, before mains eq. On big systems, amps and stacks can be worked for balance. I have a small system built like a big one, and use an active crossover at the board to balance mains. I have a custom built CD I use for this of high quality recordings of a variety of music. Run through the board flat. .... on small systems, often we are locked into whatever speakers/amps the house uses. Start flat. IMHO, a lot of bad sound comes from shitty speakers. Dont dispare, thats what we have to work with. Dont push the gains, shitty sound is distorted sound. Everything else comes first before eqing mains. Everything mentioned above. Its all listed in the previous posts. My pet peeve is mic placement. Bleeding mics are just throwing mud everywhere uncontolably. Listen through headphones to every channel. Find the offenders and remidy. Bottom end is a big sorce of mud often. In reggae music compression is used heavily around the drums. It helps keep things from getting muddy down there. I compress nothing for my own stuff as Healy said, but mention it for thought. Mic placement, and a well tuned drum kit are what really do the trick. Get the ring out of those toms, w/o eq. 57's everywhere except the kick, get the best you can here! Condensers can be used overhead/highhat, but are not really my personal preference. I always feel I can do what needs to be done w 57s (except kick)We have also placed mics outside the kick drum, but only after a good one inside the drum. A more dynamic kick can be achieved this way (two mics) with more controle. Experiment! I agree w what Brad wrote about getting the kick out of the lowest end somewhat, but like some heartbeat down there to dance to. Just not too much! It is mud and distortion we are trying to avoid way before eqing. There is much discussion in jerrytone about maintaining clear upper end. Use the same thinking in lower end, tons of mud here usually. Cleaning all that up leaves room for Phil to be much more dynamic. Every tiny ingredient improved before eqing.
Vocals... the human voice is the most dynamic instument on stage by far. Good mics. The dead NAILED this. My favorite is the senh. I have used them but dont own any. I use sure beta 58's. I simply cant stand sm58s. If you dont like the sound of your voice through a mic, it probably isnt your voice, dont try to fix it w eq. (sounds good in the shower, right?) jerry sounded crystal clear and dynamic even when he was wrecking his vocal chords. First thing I usually notice is gains pushed too hard on mics. Distortion! .. then the bleeding....... Get right up on that mic! From FOH, make them if ness. Back off the gain on the offenders, dont give it to em, theyll get up on it for sure when they cant hear themselves. Eq here only if you must on the channel. REDUCTION ONLY. If the frequency is there and cant be heard, reduce around it first, dont boost! Eqing up is a crime where I come from. It simply adds distortion. If the frequency(s) are not there, boosting only gives a distorted representation. It happens, yes, but NOMW. Listen for what is too loud, not what is too soft. I do not like to use filters. It happens, yes, but I dont use em. All those frequencies are part of it, be it subtle or not. Maybe a mic specialized for the job instead...
Painting with sound... try to isolate and clean up all ingredients. MIC PLACEMENT, MIC PLACEMENT, MIC PLACEMENT! Eqing is dulling out the colors, through elimination or distortion (eqing up). Dont give up on those nightmare small rooms/stages, get creative, clean it all up before anything changes from flat. Healy or Brad mentioned adjust the fader first, I agree, but usually adjust the gain first. I run it cool to warm on the board pres, depends what you got, but Im gonna run it cooler than the last guy every time. Just sounds better to me. If the sweet spot is big, im on the lower part of it. If tiny, I adjust down tiny. Distortion happens way before we hear it, but it adds uo quick. Isolate channels and listen well w headphones. Use the faders. Reduce, dont boost! Play w main amps if possible. Move speakers if possible. Walk around the room or field. Listen for what there is too much of. Eliminate mud=clarity.
After all that, main eq is adjusted mostly to eliminate ring or random weirdness, but still, those main eqs look almost flat 99 % of the time. Not gonna see big curves so much here. Offenders reduced with a quick sweep around it back up to flat. As minimal as possible. All that being said, if forced to use shitty house speakers, im the first guy to run over and cut back those upper mids/miduppers, you know the ones. I think that makes more of a smirk than a frowny face.
Ive gotten so frickin much info off this board concerning guitar. I am very grateful yall are here. If you can use this, Im happy. If not, pass it on, Im happy to add to the mix anyway.
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 #160426  by Jimv
 Wed Feb 21, 2018 2:52 pm
A note on filters... Don't want to contradict or lead anyone astray, I said I don't use filters. A decent board with sweepable eq's per channel is a great way to isolate and cut unwanted.. I don't think I understand Healy's "sweepable filters". On a really good board, I ran a midas 38 channel, hp filters can come in handy IF there is much to remove unwanted. On cheaper boards, I like to sweep to what I want removed and reduce/cut this way. Any other thoughts, opinions on this? How did Healy's sweepable filters work? Sweep to the selected frquency and filter there to infinity? Fliter a range of frequencies from here to there?
 #160429  by zambiland
 Wed Feb 21, 2018 4:40 pm
To understand what Healy was doing, try to find a manual or schematic for a Gamble EX56. My understanding is that they had sweepable high pass filters. I'm not sure how the EQ works on them, but that's what you'd need to look into to find out what he did.

Also, look into the Meyer CP10 EQ's for what he used for house EQ.

All of this is in the later years, of course.
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