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.