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Viewing topic "Volume Fluctuation Argument"

     
Posted on: July 06, 2019 @ 08:49 AM
chensa
Total Posts:  83
Joined  08-04-2004
status: Experienced

I’m hoping someone can settle an argument for me.

I play in a band in various venues.  Sometimes we use our PA, sometimes we use the venues.  My keyboards are MONO to a DI box, and THRU from the DI to my mixer so that I can listen to my keys via in-ear monitors.

I’ve been told that my keyboards are never adjusted properly for volume.  Details:  I understand that some patches might cut through more than others, and I have adjusted those particular ones.  That’s not the issue.

I’m told that for example my “Jump” program, is not loud enough.  Then on another date and gig, it’s TOO loud, then another it’s just right.  I’ve not changed anything, the patch is the same as it has always been.  I’m being told that I must have an “intermittent” electronic issue.  I say NEY NEY.  The volume is still the same in my ears and at home.  They’re not saying that it stops playing, just that the volume drastically decreases on any given day.  I don’t believe that there’s anything wrong with my keys, but it is due to either the mixer (QSC 16), the PA, or the room.

Am I wrong??

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Posted on: July 06, 2019 @ 12:49 PM
philwoodmusic
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Total Posts:  1011
Joined  07-01-2013
status: Guru

Hi chensa,

I can’t rule out anything you’ve already said and much of it is unlikely, but I can’t come and listen either.  Rooms can certainly have a crazy effect on how things sound, but it won’t be to just the keyboards.  Bands have to adapt to each new venue and room size though.

If it’s just you using in ear monitors, it could be that you can’t hear everybody else well enough to balance up to them, but hard to say without more info.

I do have a much more controversial idea for you, and it’s one that can cause arguments and cause people to leave the band.

One thing you didn’t mention is the rest of your band and how disciplined they are in terms of their own level, and their awareness of where they fit in the overall balance.  Even if you’ve got engineers, monitors and whatnot, any good band still needs to get a good live balance first, before all of that.

In my experience, bandmates who have poor to no volume discipline, especially drummers on real drum sets, but not limited to just drummers, can totally suck the life out of the music, and it is commonly the keys and vocals that suffer the most and end up sounding how you’ve described because of that (or how your band mates have described).

Some people play at a volume where they can only hear themselves and not enough of everybody else, even with monitors.  It gets very insular, and they should be playing for each other and allowing room for each other. They may also be standing too near to their amps.

It only takes the rest of the band to play a tiny bit louder collectively to cause this problem, and sure enough, it sounds like you’ve been turned down to them.

It’s a tricky one to diagnose in terms of spotting the actual problem, the culprits and keeping everybody happy.

I mean, how do you find out if somebody is playing at a volume where they can only really hear themselves and not enough of you or anybody else?  Nobody will admit to it, and very few will understand it and act upon it.

It’s not a perfect rule, but a good general rule is that if somebody can’t hear everybody else clearly, they’re probably playing too loud, or standing too near their amp.

And of course, it works both ways with playing too quiet as well. (and standing too far away from amps)

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Posted on: July 06, 2019 @ 05:58 PM
chensa
Total Posts:  83
Joined  08-04-2004
status: Experienced

Thanks!

Some of what you suggest could be the problem.  Especially since we don’t have a regular person to mix the sound other than us...on stage.  This could be a huge part of the problem.  All of us, except the guitarist uses ear monitors so we all have our own mix coming from our individual ear monitors.  The guitarist has two monitors directly in front of him and runs directly to the PA...so no amp there.  The Bassist is the only amp on stage.

They are well experienced and disciplined.  However, most of the time a “sound check” is not something that we can do.

I think it all boils down to the mix NOT my programs randomly changing volumes from one day to the next.  That was what my question boiled down to. 

But I do appreciate your thoughts.

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Posted on: July 07, 2019 @ 01:52 PM
philwoodmusic
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Total Posts:  1011
Joined  07-01-2013
status: Guru

I’m assuming there’s no evidence that this problem is also outside of the bands monitor mix?

If you really had problems with your keys playing random volumes, somebody would have heard the same thing coming through the front of house by now wouldn’t they?

Having no engineers to balance your monitor and FOH mixes in a variety of different sounding rooms, coupled with no sound check, is probably a good recipe for something to sound off.

Just out of interest, why can’t you do a sound check most of the time?

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Posted on: July 07, 2019 @ 02:50 PM
chensa
Total Posts:  83
Joined  08-04-2004
status: Experienced

His wife sometimes tells me she can’t hear my keys, or they’re too loud....again, I think it’s the mix etc. because it’s consistent throughout the night meaning their either too loud or too soft.

Occasionally we have sound check, but we don’t usually because it’s a bar and they don’t like us to do one.  But the main reason is that the band either waits too long to have one or just doesn’t want to.  Don’t get me started on THAT....

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