Quickest Sound Check ever

Discussion in 'The Backstage' started by Gain Man, Oct 26, 2020.

  1. Gain Man

    Gain Man Active Member

    Jan 13, 2009
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    North Bavaria, Germany
    You've probably all seen this:
    The drum set is built up, the backline is ready and the sound man has just set up all the microphones. Now it is time for the sound check and it's the drummer's turn to begin. "Bass drum please!"

    You hear "fap fap fap fap BOOM BOOM BOOM (some low end feedback) BOOM BOOM...." while you are standing at the bar or next to the mixing console, trying to get the idea, what things will sound like two hours from now. After a while things continue with the snare drum, until 5 or 10 minutes later they will have finished with the drum sound.

    A few years back we had a gig in a fairly large venue and was expecting my usual déja-vu, but things went completely the other way.

    The sound guy twiddled a few knobs on his mixing console and said to the drummer: "Play your entire kit, including toms and cymbals!"
    So he did, and believe it or not, the sound was spot on after 10 seconds.

    My bandmates and I exchanged some puzzled facial expressions, until I asked the sound man, how the hell he did that.

    His answer was quite simple and made me think:
    "I have been doing this stuff for over 40 years now. Every drum set is more or less the same, the mikes are the same, I place them pretty much the same way and use the same mixing console every time. Unsurprisingly I end up with roughly the same settings every time, so I just start from there and do a little tweaking."

    The end result was, he really knew what he was doing.
    But this made me wonder, why do we keep getting the same déja-vu during sound checks with other sound guys?

    Don't get me wrong, I am not saying, other sound guys don't know what they are doing, because most of them do.

    Sure, every venue is different and yes, vocalists are different and bass and guitar amps can sound wildly different, not to mention the different volume levels.
    But if you mike a drum set, wouldn't the gain settings and EQ be roughly the same every time? Why do most other sound guys always appear to be starting from scratch, only to pretty much end up with the same settings they have been using for the last few years, anyway?

    And no, I am not bitching. I just thought I would like to share this anecdote and have a casual discussion about the art and craft of making a sound check. Or if you have other weird sound check stories, tell them here.
  2. AlvisX

    AlvisX Well-Known Member Gold Supporting Member

    May 31, 2011
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    I-55 Corridor
    I really do not believe in fckn around during soundchecks . The less fckn around , the more likely you are to get a chance to actually work on a song ,eat , relax after an 8hr drive
    And sometimes Its best not to give a strange front of house person, too much

    I like to knock it out and be done . My solo gig soundchecks are even shorter
  3. junk notes

    junk notes Well-Known Member

    Dec 10, 2018
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    perpetual house arrest
    You are correct in thinking that in this experience, takes experience.
  4. lespaul339

    lespaul339 Well-Known Member

    Dec 28, 2010
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    I hear ya.
    The singer and other guitar player in my old band used to fuck around so much during sound checks that we'd never have time to grab a bite to eat before the gig. Used to piss me off to no other. His famous last words were "There will be time to eat" and then there would never be time. And then by the time we got outta there after tearing down and loading up the trailer everywhere would be closed except gas stations. I get cranky if I don't get to eat. I started leaving after I sound checked so I could eat.
  5. joe_cpwe

    joe_cpwe Well-Known Member

    May 29, 2020
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    I think what you're saying is that it's GREAT to have a pro sound engineer and to that I wholeheartedly agree.
    Mitchell Pearrow and Trelwheen like this.
  6. saxon68

    saxon68 Well-Known Member

    Mar 15, 2013
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    I send a feed from my Kemper and it’s always going to be the same. I’m confident in what he’s getting, and we usually use the same guys from show to show so I know they know what they’re doing.
    Mitchell Pearrow likes this.
  7. Trelwheen

    Trelwheen Certified B.S. Launcher Double Platinum Supporting Member

    Nov 18, 2017
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    We had a sound guy who travelled with us. Sound checks were one, two, three, done.

    I miss that guy. I wish I had him waiting for me every evening in the studio.
    Mitchell Pearrow and saxon68 like this.

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