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running FOH _and_ the flypack rig
Old 30th April 2003
Gear Maniac
🎧 15 years
running FOH _and_ the flypack rig

I know some of you guys out there find youself if this predicament every now and then. Perhaps you have a crew to work with you, or perhaps you are flying solo - yet your job is to make the room sound good, and also get some usable tracks down to tape.

I found myself is this place last week, being let into the club at 6:30PM with doors opening at 8:00. The venue is a 125 capacity venue, with a small stage of about 10'x8'x12'. The stage at this venue could use alittle help especially in it's rear corners, which help you understand how a person came up with the idea for a corner-fill.

So the predicament is a small stage, with wedges that are never quite that tamed, and you want to roll tape.

With about an hour for total setup time to allow for a half hour soundcheck, I ended up clamping a pair of Schoeps in ORTF above the stage to get the drums and feel of the venue (this is a jazz type gig, yet very rock oriented at times). The Recording rig was a blend of a few mics for ambiance and crowd, as well as just tapped direct outs of the house's wackie. The number one priority here was to get the room sounding good, which took up most of my time - leaving me with about 10 minutes to try to get things to sound "right" on cans.

In the end, this particular gig was alot of work that ended up in a product that requires far too much "fix" in the mix stage.

How many of you are worrying about getting the room feeling right before doors open, and are also trying to get a recording down to tape? I presume most people doing this are running consoles which give you the luxury of a decent sounding pre-everything direct out, straight to your MDM or hard disk recorder of choice, yet how about someone that's sweating their ass off trying to make it all happen for the sake of making a great recording?

ps - I must take this time to again mention my praises for the shure sm-7, which has faithfully provided me minimum amounts of bleed on small stages and has made amps consistantly work.
Old 1st May 2003
Super Moderator
Remoteness's Avatar
🎧 15 years
Wow, a lot a words Jay. Let me go thru this and come up with some answers for you...

With a crew or when flying solo, you must follow a regimen. Having a plan of attack before you set foot in the space is key. Developing a system to the madness is what you need to do to effectively do your job.

Good mic placement and proper listening environment is everything. Without that you're nowhere.

Things can happen when you're on location or trying to get to a location. A few weeks ago we ended up many hours late to a gig in Boston, because of the huge snow storm the New England area had. Normally, we like to show up about four hours before sound check. On this date, we showed up an hour before doors! Believe it or not, everything went great. While in route I called the PM of the club, the client and sound people, telling them our problem. We worked out a plan of attack and made it so. When we got there, we jumped into action and got it up and running, with time to get some dinner. The show went off without a hitch and everyone was happy with our results. Just the other day (on Easter Sunday), on another Boston run, we had a tire blow out on the Triboro Bridge, which put us 3 hour behind schedule. We should up an hour before sound check and made it happen 110%. with a good system and workable planning, anything can be accomplished. Again, the band and client were very happy with the final product.

Hey, an hour and a half before doors is not too bad my friend. I'll take that any day if my plan of attack is in place.

Since, you were there to record and do FOH, I would have got the recording set right first, then go for the sound of the room. But that's just me. The show was only for that one day, the recording will be forever. Which one did you want to work on first???

IMO, once you got your sound on tape (or other recordable media) you can then go for the room sound. You have until the last tune to get the sound right. But you don't have forever to make your recording sound right. DO YOU?

Yes, you may have pissed off the 125 people in the club if you didn't get your sounds up fast enough, but that's the price you have to pay to get a proper recording that can last forever.

All the best gear in the world may not have helped you in this situation. Remember, it's not about the GEAR, it's about the EAR. And how you plan your attack.
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