Jump to content
ncockerill

Last minute live advice

Recommended Posts

An early adopter of the Helix – I’ve got this thing dialed in just the way I like it.  Running about 6 or 7 presets on any given night for my cover band shows.  I run the Helix direct to FoH and use IEM – no live amps or live monitors on stage at all.  Super comfortable with this setup and no reason to change.  It sounds great.

 

Except…..

 

We’ve been invited to join five other bands for a festival next weekend, and each band must follow a similar stage plan in order to accommodate the 15-minute band turnaround.  Long story short, I need to run a live amp onstage that will be mic’ed.  

 

Looking for advice here.  I figure I’ve got two options.  I have an older Roland KC-100 keyboard amp.  I suppose I could just run XLR out of the Helix into that, and mic the cab.  It’s only a one hour set, and it would probably sound ……(just) ok.    Maybe some quick Global EQ tweaks or let the sound guy EQ a bit at the board.

I also have a Bogner Alchemist handy, which is a pretty sweet sounding amp, but I haven’t played it for several years, and never tried my Helix with it in any fashion.  Seems like that option could be a bit of science project to get right in a short timeframe, with first real attempt in front of hundreds of people.  Yikes.

 

Given I don’t have a lot of time between now and then (tight timeline and other gigs to play) --- any advice on the quickest/easiest way to preserve the sound I love from the Helix without re-inventing all my patches.  Go with the Roland for an hour and put my faith in the sound guy?  Create a single FX-only patch in the Helix and run into the Bogner?  

 

Thoughts?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I would let the sound guy do his job giving you the monitor mix with whatever monitors you're stuck with...but for getting to the board, I would just unplug the mic that would be used for the amp and plug it into the Helix, going direct to the board.

  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I would let the sound guy do his job giving you the monitor mix with whatever monitors you're stuck with...but for getting to the board, I would just unplug the mic that would be used for the amp and plug it into the Helix, going direct to the board.

I would figure out a way to use your IEMs with your own mixer, because once you're used to IEMs playing without them sucks donkey balls. And I totally agree that you should just take the XLR off the cab mic and plug it in to the Helix. If the sound guy can't deal with that, he's not a real sound guy.

  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I would definitely bring the Roland or Bogner just to have a little more control over my stage sound and in case the sound man insists on micing your amp. I would experiment with both amps before the festival, the Bogner and the Roland, to see which gets you the sound you prefer; you may not have the option of going direct to the PA. Seeing as you have been running your Helix direct through your own system the Roland will definitely be more neutral and not color the sound of your models as much. If the soundman allows it you can run your Helix direct at the festival but be prepared to have to mic your amp if he insists on it.  If you do end up being able to run the Helix direct to PA the Roland will probably be a better choice for a stage monitor sound that is closer to what is being delivered to the FOH (a monitor mix from the board as ellendr mentioned would also give you a close approximation of the FOH sound).  If you decide to go with the Bogner I would not bother with a 4CM hookup if you already have all of your presets dialed in previously for going direct. If you go 4CM you will have to modify your presets and you will add cabling complexity you are not used to dealing with. Lastly, I think gunpointmetal's suggestion as a method for retaining your IEMs might be worth pursuing. Just make sure you bring an amp because the soundman may not be flexible on amp micing vs. direct.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for the great responses folks.  I am definitely going to bring the Roland, and quite possibly the Bogner.  We are the first band playing, so we'll actually be the only band that gets a half decent sound check.  I plan to get there very early, help the sound guy load in, befriend him.  Then see if that softens him up to try a few options, time permitting.  Worst case scenario is that I mic the Roland, and it probably sounds decent enough for an hour set.  I guess I'm just spoiled with the Helix, direct to FoH and IEM.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Last thought --- what if I picked up an Alto TS210 before the festival?  Assume even less coloration to the original Helix tones than the Roland KC?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I agree with the majority here.  As a soundman myself there is no reason on God's green earth he shouldn't be fine with you simply taking the XLR cable from the mic that would normally mic a cabinet and plug it into the Helix.  I suspect the organizers who put out the directions didn't know to ask that question so it's not included as an option.  However, there's still time left to contact the organizers and make sure that will be fine.  Just make sure you have good levels on your XLR out and all should work as planned.

 

The other situation of on-stage monitoring could be something you need to be prepared to have a good standing plan for because not all sound people will be agreeable to dealing with someones in-ear monitor system, so that's likely something you may run into int he future.  If I were in that situation I might take along the Roland and keep it hidden as a backup if the soundman can't give you a monitor feed you can live with.  Hopefully it's a big enough event that there will be both front and side monitors so you can get your monitor feed as a separate mix from the vocals.  I would assume this can all be worked out at soundcheck time (they are having a separate soundcheck with all the bands before the performance, right??).

 

Honestly, given the questions I would have just from the info you've given me here, I'd have a bunch of questions I'd want to settle with the sound crew before you show up to the event.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Last thought --- what if I picked up an Alto TS210 before the festival?  Assume even less coloration to the original Helix tones than the Roland KC?

Absolutely would be the best option.  It's also something that you could use in the future if you run into a sound crew that doesn't want to deal with your in-ear monitor system.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Last thought --- what if I picked up an Alto TS210 before the festival? Assume even less coloration to the original Helix tones than the Roland KC?

The Alto is a proven quantity and used by many for the Helix. It would definitely give you the closest sound to FOH for a stage monitor, would probably sound better than the Roland, and is a great alternative for monitoring when designing presets. Not absolutely necessary though as the Roland keyboard amps can do surprisingly good double duty as relatively neutral monitors if you don't want to spring for a new powered speaker you may not use frequently enough.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Again -- thanks to all that responded.  Hands down the best product forum I've ever been on.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Maybe I did not understand well the question. But the op says that the amp will be mic'ed, and I don't think that using a frfr amp with a woofer and a separate tweeter is a good solution in this case. How can you mic this kind of cabinet?!? If the soundguy wants to use a mic I think you need a typical guitar amp/cabinet and maybe you'll have to turn off the cab sim of Helix.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

One more option, take the stage monitor offered by the sound provider and turn it around and place it behind you to act as a stage amp. This will blend better with the other stage amps at the front of the stage, and will have no effect on FOH sound. To compensate for lack of IEM,s I'd use professional ear plugs to protect your ears and keep the stage volume at a level you are use to and won't be overly loud and confusing.

 

My band has a mix of IEM for me (guitar), keys and bass. But we also have acoustic drums (loud!) and the other guitar player uses a traditional stage amp and vocal monitor. So its a hybrid presentation. What we did to work around this is take the add a bass amp for stage fill, and I turn my monitor cabinet around and put it behind me as a stage fill/backing amp. I would prefer to eliminate the stage amps altogether, but everyone has to agree with that and be willing to use the IEMs. That can be a lot to ask, especially of front men in close club situations where they need to interact with the audience.

 

But even if we could eliminate all the stage amps, we'd still have the drums to deal with. Then you end up having to use floor monitors pointing out to provide a stage presence for people close to the band - the dancers.

 

Life is full of compromises.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Maybe I did not understand well the question. But the op says that the amp will be mic'ed, and I don't think that using a frfr amp with a woofer and a separate tweeter is a good solution in this case. How can you mic this kind of cabinet?!? If the soundguy wants to use a mic I think you need a typical guitar amp/cabinet and maybe you'll have to turn off the cab sim of Helix.

 

Good point and worth considering! Keyboard amps can make mic'ing trickier although there are certainly methods for mic'ing keyboard amps as well as the several makes of FRFR and PA cabs that have multiple speakers/horns.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Last thought --- what if I picked up an Alto TS210 before the festival?  Assume even less coloration to the original Helix tones than the Roland KC?

That would be my suggestion. I would use the Alto TS210 mic'ed as a last resort though. You can take the XLR out of the mic that they will be mic'ing you with and go directly into the Helix with it. Set you XLR out to mic level, and he should be golden. 

 

You can use the Alto at home too. I have a couple of JBL Eon 610s that I use at home, and direct out/IEMs at church. Setting up my tones on the JBLs translates over very well to PA since they are powered PA speakers themselves. Powered PA speakers usually don't differ in tone coloration as much as other types of amplification/speaker systems. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The Alto is a perfectly reasonable and low cost FRFR option for stage monitoring. I use something similar at home, lots of users. But like others have said, mic'ing it or a keyboard amp with separate woof and tweet is unlikely to go well.

 

Your FOH tones will be much better going direct, which shouldn't be a problem for the sound person if they're even slightly on the ball, or even just open to suggestion.

 

However, there's been at least one other instance discussed here where neither of those were the case. An "experienced" guy, set in his ways, just wouldn't do it. I hope you don't hit that scenario, but if you anticipate the possibility, don't let it throw you, bring some sort of viable rig, and make the best of it, you'll be fine.

 

Good luck, and let us know how it goes!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Don't forget to bring a long xlr cable, so you don't move the stage cable. There's may be fixed and not able to move up to your Helix. (Assuming floor model)

 

Place your monitor (Roland, etc) where your amp should go.

 

My worry is that since you're first, the sound man will be using your sound check as a basis for the rest of the bands. It may mess up the quick check for the second band.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

And don't forget to make sure phantom power is turned off...

 

I have had my L2t miked up before, and my FBT MaxX before that (and that really does look like a plastic PA speaker with very obvious horn). It just isn't worth an argument for a short set when the PA guy is more concerned about why he can't get a signal from the main vocal mic or where that low level feedback is coming from. Ask once about direct and if they say no then just let them do what they want.

 

Unless you are the headline act of course.

 

Last time my L2t was miked was using Helix and as we came off I was complimented on the great guitar sound, so it can't all be bad. The reason that time was "so that we get the same thing that you are hearing"... by sticking a mic somewhere between a woofer +  tweeter when you can't see where the speakers actually are??? 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The more you accommodate the sound man, the more he becomes your friend and ally...

 

If it were me, and I had a real amp available, I'd use a real amp and disable the sims in Helix this time only. Your tone won't be perfect. Who cares if they enjoy the music.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

As others have noted, you want the sound guy to be yer buddy so do what you can to accommodate him - hey, at least you've got advance warning.

 

Having said that - as an FOH guy for many - many - years, if someone shows up at, say, a festival gig w/lots of bands and says "Do you mind if I just go direct?" I'd jump on that in a heartbeat.  GIve me more control, eliminate tons of sound off the stage...?  Hells yeah - plug'er in, pal...

  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Maybe I did not understand well the question. But the op says that the amp will be mic'ed, and I don't think that using a frfr amp with a woofer and a separate tweeter is a good solution in this case. How can you mic this kind of cabinet?!? If the soundguy wants to use a mic I think you need a typical guitar amp/cabinet and maybe you'll have to turn off the cab sim of Helix.

 

Alto FRFRs have a direct output in the back; you can use XLR or quarter inch with it. I'd assume the FOH has tweeters and the sound coming out of it would be fairly similiar to what's coming out of the Alto powered speaker.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

As others have noted, you want the sound guy to be yer buddy so do what you can to accommodate him - hey, at least you've got advance warning.

 

Having said that - as an FOH guy for many - many - years, if someone shows up at, say, a festival gig w/lots of bands and says "Do you mind if I just go direct?" I'd jump on that in a heartbeat.  GIve me more control, eliminate tons of sound off the stage...?  Hells yeah - plug'er in, pal...

It's too bad so many of the other sound guys with "many-many-years" of experience don't feel that way.

"Hurguhdur, you wanna go direct? What? You a keyboard player now? You wanna be a bassist? Why don't you just mic up that PA speaker back there? Hurguhdur."

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It's too bad so many of the other sound guys with "many-many-years" of experience don't feel that way.

"Hurguhdur, you wanna go direct? What? You a keyboard player now? You wanna be a bassist? Why don't you just mic up that PA speaker back there? Hurguhdur."

The advent of quality modeling, V drums, and such put the possibility of near-studio-quality live mixing within reach.  When you don't have to cope with all the complexities of a sound source in a space - frequency pile-ons, cancellations/reinforcements, low/lo-mid mud, and all that - you can spend a lot less time "correcting" and a lot more creating a good mix.

 

I occasionally still do FOH at festivals and such, in the course of a day I've gone from a band with a wall of full stacks, bitching about the monitors ("hurguhdur", indeed), to a "silent stage" group totally DI'd - and they sounded amazing.  And I'm not a "silent" guy myself, I run my Helix FRFR - but I run the cabs like floor monitors, firing back up at me.  Minimizes direct sound off stage and gives our FOH tech a fighting chance.  He loves Helix....

  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The advent of quality modeling, V drums, and such put the possibility of near-studio-quality live mixing within reach.  When you don't have to cope with all the complexities of a sound source in a space - frequency pile-ons, cancellations/reinforcements, low/lo-mid mud, and all that - you can spend a lot less time "correcting" and a lot more creating a good mix.

 

I occasionally still do FOH at festivals and such, in the course of a day I've gone from a band with a wall of full stacks, bitching about the monitors ("hurguhdur", indeed), to a "silent stage" group totally DI'd - and they sounded amazing.  And I'm not a "silent" guy myself, I run my Helix FRFR - but I run the cabs like floor monitors, firing back up at me.  Minimizes direct sound off stage and gives our FOH tech a fighting chance.  He loves Helix....

 

I think of lot of people underestimate the power of speaking the language of live sound men.  I never have a problem getting what I need from the sound people because I can explain what I'm doing in detail and how it gets handled on their end in their language.  Also, there's a distinct advantage you have by being able to call them on their BS.   B)

  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Sometimes calling them out helps, sometimes not...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Sometimes calling them out helps, sometimes not...

My experience is usually if you have to call the sound guy out on some BS, he's already to stubborn/uneducated/belligerent to be dealt with anyways.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You never know what will happen until you get there.  Schrodenger's Cat and what not.....

 

Sometimes I use 4CM with 5150 III and 2x12 cab and I also go direct, sometimes using a FRFR for just my Helix and another as a monitor, sometimes no FRFR for the Helix.  I have prepared to make all of it work.  The best thing you can do is be prepared.  I would not recommend buying something just for this gig, though.  Rent something you can keep for a week before and experiment.  You can copy your set list and switch to only using pre-amps and no cab sims or IRs into the FX return of a real amp.  That will probably be the easiest way for you get make it work if you are really worried.

 

I have showed up to gigs where they expected me to have an amp and I just had the Helix and an FRFR... used a direct box.  The sound guy did not blink an eye.  He said he preferred mic'ing a cab because he's old school but that it really didn't matter.  I did have to switch over my output from instrument to line level because he said the signal was not hot enough.  Point is, I had a FRFR as my amp and because I had the direct box and I was cool about it the soundman was cool too.

 

Know your equipment, be prepared, be cool and flexible.  If you can do those things you probably won't have any issues.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have used an HD500's two XLR to FOH with master volume set at 2 O-clock.

Left 1/4" to a separate volume pedal and from it to an Alto TS212 for monitoring my guitar.

FHO MONITOR (mainly vocals) XLR to the second input of my Alto.

I could adjust my guitar volume independently from what the FOH received.

 

It worked a treat!

 

Should be the same for the Helix.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I am in an all original band.  Every show we do has th 15 minute change over.  Usually when I get to a new venue I wil find the sound guy and (if he's not busy or stressed) I will talk to him about going direct.  99% of the time i get this question:

 

"OH, you're using a Kemper?"

 

My response is, "Yeah, something like that."

 

From then on the sound guy totally understands and when I am setting up, he just gives me the XLR off the guitar mic.  I plug it in, and we're set to go.  I have yet, after a year, to run into a problem.  No soun guy has complained or given me a hard time about going direct.

 

Regarding monitors....while I do bring my own, which I keep back with my rack like it's a guitar cab, I have NEVER had an issue with the house monitors at any venue.  I wouldn't sweat the IEM's unless you have the ENTIRE system with you and you are headlining.  The wedges should be fine and you'll be able to hear yourself without an issue sonce you don't have a great, competing stage volume blasting from a 4x12 cab.

 

Not sure if the gig has passed, if so hope it went well.  If not, good luck!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Last thought --- what if I picked up an Alto TS210 before the festival?  Assume even less coloration to the original Helix tones than the Roland KC?

 

I use in-ear monitors with Helix going straight to the board for one band and an Alto TS212 for other bands that I have to bring my own amplification for. The in-ear monitors are good ones (Shure SE535), but I had to make a separate setlist for the Alto using hi and low cuts on the cabs; the EQ from one to the other are different. 

 

Two things you should know about the Altos:

1: They need to be mounted on a pole or amp stand because of floor coupling.

2: You can take a direct out from the Alto to the mixing board.

 

Good luck!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I find stage monitors and drums are way too loud for my ears to manage. I have a lot of tinnitus, and a lot of hearing loss around 4K - probably like most guitar players. I can't tolerate a stage monitor in front of me, even with 15dB cut ear plugs. IEMs (Goralla Ears) are a must. I do still use a couple of EON610s for backline to give the guitar something the hear and to provide some stage fill for the audience and a couple of band members who haven't yet gone IEM. This seems to work pretty well, but is certainly a somewhat complex compromise.

 

Without the IEMs I'd probably have to stop playing live.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


×
×
  • Create New...