Setting Up: Using Conventional and Radical Setups to Solve Problems

Getting the best sound on stage in a variety of situations.

Setting Up

Rockin' Your Stage Sound by Rob GaineyIn chapter 1, we looked at individual instruments and how to get each one to sound its best. The trick now is to get all of your instruments to sound good together as a band. Since there are so many instrument combinations to consider, we’ll have to look at a few different approaches to setting them up. In this chapter you’ll learn different ways to make your equipment more effective without actually having to use more equipment. For those who prefer more equipment, there are a few techniques for that as well. In fact, you should often examine both the simple and the advanced methods for handling most situations you encounter so you can figure out what’s best for you. You’ll also find several different ways to adjust your setups, but feel free to combine these approaches to get what you need. This chapter contains both unconventional setups and some unusual approaches to conventional ones, but the real point here is to “think outside the box.”

The logic here is simple, but the applications aren’t: You need to be able to hear yourself properly and you need to be heard properly. You have already worked on your individual sound and made it as good as it can be, now you have to blend your great tone with the rest of the band’s great tones. The first thing to consider is that if you can’t hear yourself properly, you can’t play properly. The second thing to consider is that if you can’t be heard properly onstage, it will be difficult for everyone else to play in time with you. There are a lot of cues to the feel and dynamics that come from your playing; without these, something will always be amiss in your show. The solution will come from a proper balance onstage, where everyone can hear both themselves and each other as they need to. The key to this solution is using Location, Focus, and Balance to make adjustments that will allow you to hear yourself better without simply using sheer volume. Having your equipment set up in the right location is absolutely essential! It must also be focused in the right direction to make the best use of the level. These two aspects are often the root of the problem for most bands. It is these two first principles that determine the proper balance. These three elements are combined to form a zone. You will see how these three principles work together as you go through this chapter.

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