Fixing Feedback and Stage Sound with Audio Engineer Andy Dolph – GigGab 104

Long-time audio engineer, Andy Dolph, joins Paul and Dave this week to share some tips and tricks for making your band sound its best – and avoid sounding its worst – on GigGab this week. Hear Andy’s microphone recommendations, tips for solving feedback in both the monitors and the mains, mixing advice, and why you should be using a high pass filter on everything. You never thought you wanted to learn about the inverse-square law before, but after listening to today’s show you’ll be glad you did!

Chapters/Timestamps:

  • 00:00:00 GigGab 104 – Monday, February 27, 2017
  • 00:01:39 Theater sound vs. Rock-and-roll Sound
  • 00:07:09 Advice for musicians to make FOH (and on-stage!) sound its best
  • 00:09:09 Nothing but vocals in the monitors
  • 00:13:47 A case study on a band
  • 00:18:05 Which microphone to use?
  • 00:22:32 Inverse Square Law
  • 00:26:07 When a kick drum can be a problem?
  • 00:29:53 The High Pass Filter can be your friend
  • 00:36:00 Buy the biggest mixer you can afford (and carry)
    • Listening to the room
    • Fitting instruments into the mix
    • In-ear tips
  • 00:37:34 Tuning the PA.
  • 00:45:24 Speaker Height and Angle
  • 00:49:30 Compaq Big Band

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5 comments

  1. John says:

    Thanks Andy. Please have him back. How about DMX for the beginner.

  2. Kevin Tisdall says:

    Lots of good discussion here. I would have replaced the md421 in the kick with nearly any other mic. I’ve had them and a 58 sounds better on kick and there are better cheaper mics for kick (Beta 52? PG52?). If you have $400+ the EV RE20 is about perfect. As discussed, multiple mics can work great with the known complications.

    Another possibility especially with digital boards is to apply a gate to the kick. I have two bands with kick drums with no holes. I can make those thump just fine with some gating.

    The High Pass Filter / roll off vocals/guitars/high brass below ~130hz is first thing to do. If you run aux-fed-subs you can keep everything out of the subs except kick, bass and low keys (and maybe baritone and trombone if there are brass players) by only sending those to the sub. Then nothing else can feed back into the subs.

    Great series. Thanks.

    –Kevin

  3. Kevin Tisdall says:

    Note on speakers next to each other: Beware of comb filtering. If two 90degx40deg speakers are next to each other there will be addition and cancellation of frequencies where their patterns cross. An array is purpose-built to have patterns that avoid this.

    Thanks again.

    –Kevin

  4. Andy Dolph says:

    Kevin has a number of good points… It had never occurred to me to try a 421 on kick, but I’m not surprised by what you’ve found… Yes – gating drum mics in general can be a big help, but it’s a bit fiddly until you get comfortable doing it… In fact on a lot of pop albums and live shows, it’s impossible to get the drum sound they get without heavily gating the drums. (individually)

    Subs fed from an aux is one of my favorite tricks, particularly in a system with powerful subs – don’t send them anything that doesn’t need to go there – and then you can dial in the amount you want – that’s typically how I do subs in corporate events and most live theater situations.

    Kevin is right on about comb filtering when you put speakers close together – there are some tricks to it, but the long and the short of it is that how much of a problem you have depends on the speakers you are using, and exactly how they are positioned next to each other. basically what you want to do is aim them by listening so that you line up the 6 db down point of the left speaker with the 6 db down point of the right speaker – that will help keep things even and minimise comb filtering – that said – don’t use 2 mains if one will do it – the 2nd box only ads 3db of volume (not normally noticeable) so only use a 2nd box if you need it for coverage…

    Also – some of the modern speaker designs are MUCH Better behaved in terms of blending then many of the old standards – The QSC K12 is quite forgiving in that respect… so as always, listen and let your ears decide

  5. Andy Dolph says:

    John, talking about lighting was on our list and we just didn’t get there. What do you want to know about DMX specifically…