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Hillman1312

Creating presets for live use at "gig volume"

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I have read several times in this forum that it is preferred to dial in presets intended for live use at "gig level" rather than "bedroom levels". I understood in the meantime this has to do with the Fletcher Munson effect, which actually I have experienced myself let's say "the hard way".

 

So I get the basic concept, but this actually brings another question to mind as to  what "gig level" actually means. For obvious reasons I cannot crank up my powered speaker (Alto TS 308) at levels that I would use live. It would be very painful and cause further damage to my ears and I'm pretty sure my family and neighbours will not have much appreciation for it either :-)

 

Any thoughts? How do you approach this?

 

Thanks and Merry Christmas !

 

 

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Gig levels is a relative term, but generally anything around 85 to 100 db is sufficient.  I think of gig levels as stage volume levels rather than FOH levels coming our of the PA which hopefully are MUCH different levels for you.

The settings I use with my DXR12 set to unity or mid-point on the gain knob and my Helix big knob volume at about 1 o'clock is probably around 90 db which doesn't seem to bother any of my neighbors.  Many of them have commented they enjoy listening to me practice.  But then I don't normally practice at night or early in the morning either.

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I guess everyone is different here. My neighbors definitely don’t like listening to me practice, and I take full responsibility for that. 

 

Ideally I’d like to prepare patches alone in our band rehearsal space at high volume. However, having a job and a family, I never get there early enough so that I can spend some quality time tweaking my patches. Thus I have learned to anticipate (to some extent) how my bedroom-prepared patches will sound at high volume, and I only need to do relatively few tweaks at high volume. Most of the time it works, sometimes it doesn’t. It’s frustrating because I get to check my tones only once a week. In the grand scheme of life this does look like a minor problem...

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3 hours ago, Hillman1312 said:

For obvious reasons I cannot crank up my powered speaker (Alto TS 308) at levels that I would use live. It would be very painful and cause further damage to my ears and I'm pretty sure my family and neighbours will not have much appreciation for it either :-)

 

Even though I am fortunate in this regard.... I know your problem is very real! 

 

3 hours ago, Hillman1312 said:

Any thoughts? How do you approach this?

 

SHORT APPROACH

Simplified/generalized... Fletcher Munson will trick you into adding too much bass/treble to your tone to make it sound bigger at low volume. On a gig that sound becomes boomy, thin, shrill - and often can't be heard in a mix regardless of how much you turn up. Quick Fix: Turn down the bass/treble a little... and add a little mids. 

This may effect the depth of some effects... so they may need a small tweak or two as well.  

 

LONG APPROACH (this helps you fully understand what is going on by actually experiencing it)

 

80 - 85db is minimum to reducing/removing Fletcher Munson. Gig volume for me is around 90db - 95db. If that is not possible at home... then be prepared to tweak your tones at rehearsal. Sometimes a small tweak or two is needed on the gig to get a new tone right, but I like to keep that to a minimum whenever possible. 

 

Once your tone is working at gig level.... use it to your advantage at home.

 

Take that tone home and listen to it at the level you are allowed to play at home. This will be hard at first...

  1. Listen to that tone at the lower volume of home, and take notes of how it sounds
  2. Get your ears used to that sound... and use it as a reference for all other sounds moving forward. 
    PREPARE YOURSELF
  3. More than likely... it will sound a little lifeless/dull - that's OK! Dont' change it!
  4. More than likely... you will have the urge to turn up the bass/treble/presence. That is a normal response, but don't change it! 

Over time you will get "pretty good" at dialing in tones at lower volumes. The trick is having a good reference tone that you trust.

 

HINT: When you create a tone at home... make a copy of it. Later when you have the finished "Live tone" from a rehearsal or gig, you can compare that to the original you came up with and learn to recognize the common errors so you don't make those mistakes the next time.

 

 

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my advice - 

settle on one tone at a time and learn to adjust parameters in time.  The helix can be adjusted on the fly using the expression pedal.  Do this at rehearsal.  

complete one tone, move on to the next.   Also schedule it with your mates to do tone checking for 15 min before rehearsal.   It's a good habit imo.  

85 db is not as loud as you'd think.   That's a pretty standard volume for mix engineers as well.  Even if you hit the tone's for ten min.  Force yourself to make quick decisions, those first thoughts are probably the right ones.  stick to ten min, the deadline will force you to make decisions.  

good luck. 

 

 

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my experience and situation is actually a bit backwards.  I have a pair of Shure headphones which were as 'flat' as I could afford.  Not much, they were around $60, which for me is expensive.  However, they are a bit boomy and that helps me dial in things for the FOH.  If nothing else I tend to compensate too much and make my tones a touch thin or too bright. 

 

Once I have a frame of reference in my head of how my headphones match up against our FOH sound, then its easier to be 'close' and adjust on the fly a bit.  I make sure my headphones have just enough clarity in the high end, and sound a little thick/muddy on the low end.  Then, when I save my preset, I save it with the 'cursor' on either the Preamp Block or the PEQ Block (post IR/Cab block) so that on the fly I can reach down and grab some Bass/Mid/Treb/Presence whatever I need without having to try and use the joystick.  A quick turn, save, enter...and i'm back to playing, can be done pretty quickly.  the hard part is reaching down there.

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Thank you all for the suggestions. I'll experiment with the different suggestions. One observation I recently made is that to my ears there is quite a noticeable and clear transition where the FM effect kicks in. Indeed as mentioned the volume where that happens is high, but not so high that it is not bearable for at least a short amount of time. I'm making notes indeed of what I'm doing indeed.

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Stay late after practice so you can use the rehearsal room. I wouldn't trust software to estimate FM adjustments, because the adjustments will be based on the hardware you're using and the tones/EQ shape you're going for.

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I don't know if this will help but I came across some relatively cheap headphones ($75) that were "bad" enough that anything I create using them fits in an FOH situation. Just have to tweak slightly for the room. Try any headphones you have laying around and compare that. It works for me but essentially, I got lucky.

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On 12/24/2019 at 6:27 PM, DunedinDragon said:

Gig levels is a relative term, but generally anything around 85 to 100 db is sufficient.  I think of gig levels as stage volume levels rather than FOH levels coming our of the PA which hopefully are MUCH different levels for you.

The settings I use with my DXR12 set to unity or mid-point on the gain knob and my Helix big knob volume at about 1 o'clock is probably around 90 db which doesn't seem to bother any of my neighbors.  Many of them have commented they enjoy listening to me practice.  But then I don't normally practice at night or early in the morning either.

 

This is a polite way of telling you they can hear you practice-which they would prefer not to do.

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