Take Your Mixes To The Next Level

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

3 Ways To Overcome Loud Stage Volume

loud music image
Anyone who's ever mixed a live show has been presented with the situation where the guitar or bass player is playing too loud for the room. Here's an excerpt from my PreSonus StudioLive Mixer Handbook that outlines 3 ways to help get that excessive stage volume under control, or at least mix around it so everything sounds balanced.

"Many guitar players can only get their sound when they crank their amp up to a level that might be too loud for the room and the mix. There are several ways around this:

1. Ask the player to angle his amp either towards the side of the stage, or even turn it around to face the rear of the stage. If the player is getting some of his guitar in the monitors or in-ears, this new placement might not be a problem as the sound of the instrument won’t change, only his stage volume. You might have to turn up the guitar in the monitors more than normal (or the guitar player might have to do it himself if he does his own mix like you’ve seen in the previous chapter), but it should solve the issue.

2. Kindly ask the player to turn down. Some players take such a request as a personal affront, so you have to make it clear that this isn’t an attack on the quality of his sound or his playing, you’re only trying to balance the mix better. If a player is afraid that his rig will no longer project to the back of the room, assure him that helping him sound great is what you’re there for, and you’ll make sure that everyone will hear him even better than before. Even with that tact, some players (especially those with a lot of pedals or modeling amps) will find it easier to comply if asked nicely, while others never will.

3. Mix Up To The Stage Volume. One way around a bass player, drummer or guitar player who’s stage volume is very loud is to mix up to that level on stage. That means that you’ll increase the level of everything in the mix until the loudest thing on stage seems in balance with the rest of the instruments. The problem is that the mix may now be too loud for the audience, who’ll probably ask you to turn it down, but at least it will be balanced at the higher volume level. This is usually less of a problem in a large venue."


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