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mileskb

For that have dealt with "those" sound guys...

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This might be a little off-topic, but it seems every couple of weeks we read a horror story about some sound guy that doesn't know which end is up, or they have an attitude that makes you wonder why they chose mixing live sound for a profession in the first place.   For a variety of reasons, I wanted to share the blog of a "real" sound guy.   I'm proud to call Steve "Woody" La Cerra a friend.  I've known him for many years and I've learned so much from his articles, occasional conversations, and watching him perform in the heat of battle.  One of the nicest guys in the business too.  If you want to read about how a "real" sound guy handles all of life's little curveballs, his blogs are a fun read, and I generally learn something new every time I read one.   The next time you run up against a barely tenable situation with one of "those" other sound guys..... (the ones NOT like Steve)  know with confidence that not all soundman (or women) are the same.  

 

https://www.mixonline.com/author/steve-la-cerra

 

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I am always surprised to read the on going horror stories of bad sound techs. In my 35 years of playing I have certainly encountered many grumpy ones, and some that simply didn't have the skills to be in the business... but that is actually quite rare! In my experience the vast majority of sound techs are more than competent and easy to work with. 

 

I am not suggesting the bad experiences are not real... I'm just saying I am fortunate enough to get to work with quality level techs almost all of the time - and it is something I try not to take for granted. 

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Most of the “bad sound” experiences I have are from venues where they pay the person almost nothing, like $20 plus food, to do sound.  That’s where I deal with the uneducated or depressed sound guys.  Venues get what you pay for. 

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I’ve only had one experience with a bad sound person and it was at a community theater. Not sure if he was paid or not but attitude for days when I mentioned in-ears. He didn’t like them because he couldn’t hear them and be able to tell whe the sound was coming from.  Utter BS and I called him on it. I said, are you the one on stage struggling to hear yourself sing?  No reply. I told him his preferences are secondary compared to the needs of the performers. His boss was there, heard it and agreed. 

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4 hours ago, hideout said:

I’ve only had one experience with a bad sound person and it was at a community theater. Not sure if he was paid or not but attitude for days when I mentioned in-ears. He didn’t like them because he couldn’t hear them and be able to tell whe the sound was coming from.  Utter BS and I called him on it. I said, are you the one on stage struggling to hear yourself sing?  No reply. I told him his preferences are secondary compared to the needs of the performers. His boss was there, heard it and agreed. 

 

Sure it won't be an exact representation for the soundman because he doesn't have them in his ears, and stating the obvious but this is why running sound requires a pair of headphones and knowledge of the solo function on the mixer. Rudimentary stuff. He should be able to get a pretty good idea what he is sending from the board that way and the musician can help tell him/her what they need to fine tune their monitor mix. I can see where catching feedback issues in the monitors in a timely fashion can be a little trickier if there are no stage monitors for the soundman. Just keep an eye out for the pained look on the face of the player with the IEMs.

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7 hours ago, hideout said:

I’ve only had one experience with a bad sound person and it was at a community theater. Not sure if he was paid or not but attitude for days when I mentioned in-ears. He didn’t like them because he couldn’t hear them and be able to tell whe the sound was coming from.  Utter BS and I called him on it. I said, are you the one on stage struggling to hear yourself sing?  No reply. I told him his preferences are secondary compared to the needs of the performers. His boss was there, heard it and agreed. 


I'm glad you called him out.  There is only ONE acceptable reaction when I or any decent sound guy hears the words In Ear Monitors.....  HAPPY DANCE !!!!!!!!   Nothing on stage to feed back !!!!  (or minimal fills)  Woo Hooo!!!!   I can concentrate on mixing !!!!!   Weeeeeeeeeeeeeee   

Sorry but I was guilty of it myself....  standing in front of my guitar speakers blaring at my back, complaining to the monitor station "I can't hear my vocals"...   DUH!!!!    And then came in-ear monitors....  life was good for everyone.

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48 minutes ago, mileskb said:


I'm glad you called him out.  There is only ONE acceptable reaction when I or any decent sound guy hears the words In Ear Monitors.....  HAPPY DANCE !!!!!!!!   Nothing on stage to feed back !!!!  (or minimal fills)  Woo Hooo!!!!   I can concentrate on mixing !!!!!   Weeeeeeeeeeeeeee   

Sorry but I was guilty of it myself....  standing in front of my guitar speakers blaring at my back, complaining to the monitor station "I can't hear my vocals"...   DUH!!!!    And then came in-ear monitors....  life was good for everyone.

 

Good point if everyone is using IEMs, no feedback.

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The absolute worst soundguys are in churches. I've honestly NEVER had good sound when playing in church. Most of them are comprised of people that volunteer because nobody else wants to do it and they have no idea what they are doing. When you tell them you're not being heard in the mix they just turn you up. Then somebody else can't be heard because you're so loud and they turn them up and then you have really loud mud. They know absolutely nothing about eq or compression or high pass filters or where each instrument lies in the sound spectrum.  It's very frustrating.

I admit I can't run sound either even though I know a thing or two about it.....but I wouldn't even dream of volunteering to run sound and I've been around music my entire life.

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