Live Music Questions

scgstuff

DJ Extraordinaire
I know live music is much different then DJing, but have been asked to provide audio equipment and support for a friend that is filming a music video and wants to create a live show as part of the video. Never done a live event. Should I consider it just to learn? And what would I need to know? Thinking 2 18" subs with 12" tops for main, 2 12" monitors for the stage, I have 8 Shure SM57 mics, so those I would think should work. I told him if he needs wireless mics, he is renting those. Direct boxs for the instrument input, I would assume. I have a 12 channel and an 8 channel mixer. Is there any issue with feeding the 8 channel into the 12 if more channels were needed? Also thinking I would probably need to rent a snake if using the traditional FOH setup. Sounds interesting just to learn in a no stress environment and make a few bucks while helping a friend.
 
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adj2ent

DJ Extraordinaire
Oct 20, 2006
964
59
Long Island NY
I have been in the business for a long time and live sound is so totally different than DJing on so many levels I wouldn’t know where to start. Just micing the drums requires the right knowledge and equipment. I stick to doing PA work like graduations & business events just requiring mics and even that was a big learning experience. I sure am one more knowledgeable will address this.
But are they actually going to use the PA or is it just going to be props?
 
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steve149

Veni, Vidi, Lusi
Sep 26, 2011
31,587
Prospect, CT
The sound "output" part isn't really much different, it's the input side that is where the action is. The speaker sizes listed above is fine (depending on the coverage area).

I would avoid 1 mixer into another if possible as it makes handling aux feeds difficult (stage monitors) .. the one exception might be having all drum mics on one mixer and fed as a group into another (still, a larger mixer is better). If I'm micing a drum (minimally), you need 3-4 mics (kick, snare, toms and overhead for cymbals). Drummer might want a sub for themselves. SM57s are fine for micing guitar cabs .. less popular for vocal mics (especially on females).

I have multiple snakes I used to use. A lot depends on where you set up. Today, you might get away with mutiple Cat5 to breakout boxes instead (can get 4 channels per box) .. or .. move to a digital mixer (like a Behringer X-Air) and keep it on stage as the "snake" head and mix via a PC or tablet.
 

scgstuff

DJ Extraordinaire
SM57s are fine for micing guitar cabs .. less popular for vocal mics (especially on females).
So, you mic the actual speaker cabinet? I assumed there would be an output from the cab post processing and just pass that line level into the mixer. If I remember correctly when stage managing, they usually have the musicians use their amps for a personal monitor and then take the output from the amp into the board. I know they have the drums mic'd separate (and usually behind a shield so the board controls the volume of the drummer. Otherwise, it seems a very energetic drummer can overpower the amplified sound in the theatre.)
 
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steve149

Veni, Vidi, Lusi
Sep 26, 2011
31,587
Prospect, CT
So, you mic the actual speaker cabinet? I assumed there would be an output from the cab post processing and just pass that line level into the mixer. If I remember correctly when stage managing, they usually have the musicians use their amps for a personal monitor and then take the output from the amp into the board. I know they have the drums mic'd separate (and usually behind a shield so the board controls the volume of the drummer. Otherwise, it seems a very energetic drummer can overpower the amplified sound in the theatre.)
You typically mic the cab so you get the "tone" the guitarist is looking for. There are some that will make do with using a D/I off the cab and might be OK if you have a guitar simulator as an effect, but if they aren't singers, they use the cabinet as their monitors if you aren't using in ears or don't have individual floor monitors for everyone.

The biggest issues I had with bands was the drummer over-sticking so you couldn't turn down the mics enough to lower their volume and guitarists/bassists that run their cabs so loud it also drowns out everyone else. I had one band I ran sound for that even with NO mics on the drums or guitars, you still couldn't hear anything else.
 

rickryan.com

DJ Extraordinaire
Dec 9, 2009
11,504
54
Hendersonville, TN
www.RickRyan.com
So, you mic the actual speaker cabinet?
Seriously, (and I mean no offense here) you don't know what you're about to get yourself into. Don't do it.

Most sound companies that did our road shows usually just hung an SM57 over the guitarists' cabinets. You can take a direct line on bass and maybe acoustic but for electric, you have to mic the cabinet. For kit, you'll usually have a mic inside the kick (compressed), mic on the snare, hihat, each tom-tom, then a pair of overheads, over the cymbals. Fiddle can usually be done with a stand but some guys run direct. Sax would be done with a 57. For monitors (a lot of bands want in-ears these days), you'll need at least 3 different monitor mixes. Lead vocal separate, drummer separate, then the rest of the band. A lot of sound companies run a separate monitor board at the side of the stage while FOH is setup towards the back of the audience in the center. Keep in mind also that live band gigs are often outside so you've got to be prepared with tarps to cover in case of rain.

It's just not worth it.
 
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djcrazychris

DJ Extraordinaire
Jun 12, 2018
1,957
45
Would definitely be a great learning experience...and a nice arsenal to have under your belt... but would most likely require a board rental and a half dozen more mics. i worked at a rock club for a spell and they had a board the size of a coffee table and 2 milk crates full of 58's... we called it the bag of hammers...lol.... and for some big touring bands like Clutch that was barely enough

cc
 
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steve149

Veni, Vidi, Lusi
Sep 26, 2011
31,587
Prospect, CT
As for boards, I used to use a 16 channel Soundcraft FX16. I also had an Allen&Heath GL2400 24 channel and a Presonus 16.4.2 digital board ... both were sonically better but the Soundcraft was used most of the time as it had enough mic inputs for most bands I did, it was small enough to fit on the table (A&H was large) and it had onboard effects so I didn't always have to patch in a Lexicon or similar reverb unit.

Last time I did a band was Christmas 2017 timeframe, I used a smaller Allen & Heath ZED12FX. I had to use a Rane mic mixer to get the drums in, but it worked. I have the small A&H but haven't done live sound (other than speaking events) since.
 
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scgstuff

DJ Extraordinaire
Would definitely be a great learning experience...and a nice arsenal to have under your belt... but would most likely require a board rental and a half dozen more mics. i worked at a rock club for a spell and they had a board the size of a coffee table and 2 milk crates full of 58's... we called it the bag of hammers...lol.... and for some big touring bands like Clutch that was barely enough

cc
Yeah, I have been trying to learn some online and it seems digital mixers are preferred because of effects and eq, etc. I guess the entry level is the Behringer X-32. And, I ain't getting that just to play around with ($$$), so would certainly be a rental mixer. And, that means even more learning for the digital board. This sounds fun, but way over my head. But, would love to be able to say I can do it. I do know that one of the festivals we did, they had a sound guy set everything up and we just had to plug our board into the snake because we DJd the dance party the first night and they had live bands the second day. Maybe I can get his contact info.....hmmm.....
 

steve149

Veni, Vidi, Lusi
Sep 26, 2011
31,587
Prospect, CT
If I was doing it today, I'd start with the Midas MR18 digital mixer. Less than $600, tablet/laptop controllable, 16 mic channels, effects on every channel (4 selectable), EQ out the wazoo. Set it on the stage, no snake needed, 6 aux outputs for monitors. Same basic guts as the X32 but with better mic preamps.

1549919176461.png
 

Ausumm

Day Late and a Dollar Short
Oct 21, 2008
9,934
55
Bethlehem PA
www.mikefoxx.com
We live sound all the time.

YES! Rent a snake.
I would imagine you don't have enough XLR cables for everything.

As others have stated.....the sure 57 is a great mic for instruments, but not vocals.
For guitar amps, aim in into the speaker cone near the edge.
Close-miking-with-SM57-600x450.jpg

Same for the bass amp, unless it has it's own direct box built in.
If it has an XLR output, use that, directly into the snake.

Keyboards usually have a 1/4" out.
Use a 1/4 to 1/4 cable, from the keyboard to a direct box, then an XLR from the direct box to the snake.

As for drums, it depends on the room.
If it's a small room, you can probably get away with a mic on the snare and kick.
They are the two loudest drums, but they sound better if you use some processing. (EQ, echo, delay, compression)
If you don't know how to mic the drums...watch this video.

View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DlQhU4fTJ3A


Vocals are the most important item.
(depending on who you ask)
You'll find that the singers are more worried about how they sound in their monitor
than they are about how it sounds in the house....so be prepared to tweak the monitors a lot.
Best case scenario is a separate monitor mix for each player...
but I would bet you don;t have the equipment to do it.
Also you should not put drums in the monitors.
Fastest way to kill your speakers.

As for boards. Start with an analog mixer.
Having the basic skills down, makes using a digital board SO much easier.
Digital is much better in every way...but you gotta know what you need to do...
before you can figure out how to do it on a digital board.

Mixing live music is totally different animal than DJing.
Don't bite off more than you can chew.
 

steve149

Veni, Vidi, Lusi
Sep 26, 2011
31,587
Prospect, CT
If you want to play around with the digital world, I bought a Behringer XAir XR12 for $250 .. less channels (and only 4 mic) but sounds ok and has all the same features of the bigger units.


1549919326737.png
 

adj2ent

DJ Extraordinaire
Oct 20, 2006
964
59
Long Island NY
If they’re filming a music video usually the audio is pre-recorded and Synced so they can do multiple camera shots & takes using the same track. If they are filming the live concert the first time to capture the audio then that falls under recording and you better know how to mic everything and create a good mix. Then you’ll have to do the PA function as well as make sure the monitors don’t screwup the mix. And then actually all of this should be recorded multi-track and mixed down at a later date. I am not sure from what you wrote exactly what they’re doing. If you're just helping out a friend because he doesn’t have the resources, then do what can. But personally, if he is expecting everything done correctly like a professional Experience sound guy would do I wouldn’t touch this job with a ten-foot pole. And I’ve had some training in live sound.
 
Feb 12, 2016
61
Kennewick WA
If a portion of the song that will become the music video is being visual recorded to simulate a live concert, then assuming the band has already been in the recording studio to create the master, all you need to do is supply the speakers and mics as props.

Get a video crew to record the bands "live performance" as they sing along to the studio recording.

On the other hand, if indeed you are supplying the means to provide the audio for their mastered video, Step out of this situation. You're not prepared.
 
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Proformance

DJ Extraordinaire
Nov 6, 2006
3,252
There's not enough information to determine what it is you need to be able to do. It also appears you don't have enough knowledge of live sound to even know what questions to ask. We can't tell you how to address a back line you have no information about.

I'm guessing that this is an amateur band, the performance rather small, and the stakes really low? In that regard you may be fine using what you have. You likely won't even need to mic the drums, or a pair of overhead mics would be enough. Mic the amps or add a DI for guitars, stands for horns, DI for keyboards.

Stacking mixers is a bad idea for this application and will make finding/managing feedback difficult. I also don't see any processing or how you intend to manage the mic gains, reverb, and more. If you need more than the 12 channels you have - just pass on the job. The musicians will be asking you to do things you don't understand, and for gear you don't have. If this isn't juts entry level stuff for the band then you are going to have a bad experience.