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Author Topic: Exit the soundman, enter the zendrummer....  (Read 2019 times)

peabody58

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Exit the soundman, enter the zendrummer....
« on: November 26, 2011, 08:03:35 AM »

Hello all, thought I'd share my band's sound system story, enjoy.

Our band has been struggling with stage and FOH sound for the last 2 years. We are your average garage band (5 members) that play out ~ 2 times a month.  Classic/southern rock, blues, country.  Our sound system has been a rag tag set of misc heavy old pieces with the heart being an older Mackie 1604-VLZ mixer board.  We brought on a sound man 6 months ago with the hopes that he would figure everything out and we could focus on our music.  We'll this dude turned out to be tone deaf, incompetent, never read any of the manuals.  Every gig/rehearsal was a setup nightmare as he never labeled anything, and he would tweak everything a million time a night.

Fortunately he saw the writing on the wall and resigned the day before we were going to fire him a few weeks ago.  We only kept him this long as he was a friend of our former bass player.  I stepped up and spent considerable time analyzing our equipment, color coding signal block diagrams, setting up the mixer properly, labeling everything, etc, etc.  The band was amazed by the progress in sound quality and control, but several issues still remained.  The equipment was heavy, bulky, old and some of it in disrepair, and the mixer pots were dirty creating unpredictable dead spots.  Although the band was happier with the results, my impression was less than glowing, and at 54 yo, I just want to plug and play without all the drama, frustration and heavy lifting.  Life is short, play well while you still can is my philosophy.  So I took my personal band proceeds from the last year and bought a new sound system for the band.  It's only money right!

Here's were it gets fun.  Our goal - Easy, light, no more trailer, good sound, US built when possible.  I've always been impressed by Peavey products, and with a local dealer in the area, I was able to get great support and prices.

Here's our new set-up:

10x4 Roadie Pullover Rack Case (new from eBay) holding:
- Furman Power Conditioner
- Peavey XR1212 Powered Mixer (powers floor monitors)
- BBE 462 for FOH (previously had)
- Peavey IPR 1600 Amp for the FOH speakers
- (2) Speakon 30' Cables for FOH speakers

Speakers:
- Peavey SP5 Speaker Pair [FOH]  I can upgrade these to SP2's within a year and get full $$ credit.
- (3) Passive 12" Monitors (Crate/Panasonic)[previously had]
- (1) Peavey Active 12" Floor Monitor [previously had]  May not need as I'm looking at using ear buds.
- (2) JBL EON G2 15" Active Speakers [previously had]; we'll use these for larger venues to expand the sound to the rear of the room.

Out first rehearsal with the new system went well with one issue of concern. Amp 1 had no low end, lousy tone, and everything had to be cranked up twice as much on Amp 1 vs. Amp 2.  Took the board back to the dealer.  Turns out the Feedback Ferret for Amp 1 had locked in all of it's filters.  This was the one thing I didn't turn off when we we're trying to figure out the issue.  Lesson Learned - always have the Feedback Ferret off when initially setting levels.

We are so happy with the simplified compact light setup of our system.  We cut our sound weight by close to 400 lbs, and our sound size by 70%; while improving our quality, low end and capabilities several times over.  Setup/tear down is now 5 -10 min vs. 30 - 45 min.  Really looking forward to cranking up the SP5's at our first gig next week.

As the band's drummer/zendrummer, I never had to worry about the sound system before, but now I'm the man who control the 'suck' button.  We're still working out the optimal EQ/EFX settings while still controlling feedback, but that will come with a few gigs under our belt.

Thanks for reading, I'll post some pics later.
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Re: Exit the soundman, enter the zendrummer....
« Reply #1 on: November 26, 2011, 08:27:25 AM »

I like those IPR amps, too.
That's some Area 51 technology if you ask me.
Oh YEAH!
It's a big step to also wear the "if we suck- blame me" drummer/soundman hat.
(I've been sitting under that one for many, many years with my band!)
The upside is that you can now fix the problem when YOU hear it.
No more sandbagging the drums in the mix by a disinterested third party with a volume knob.
Rock that crowd with what's needed- vocal clarity and drum thump make the difference in a good mix and a bad one. (not volume!)
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randtor

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Re: Exit the soundman, enter the zendrummer....
« Reply #2 on: November 27, 2011, 11:41:05 AM »

Hear Hear!!
 ;D
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peabody58

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Re: Exit the soundman, enter the zendrummer....
« Reply #3 on: January 06, 2012, 09:41:44 AM »

Well with several successful gigs under our belt, everyone is very happy with our new sound system....  except me.

I'm just not feeling the low end thump in the FOH that I envision this system should be able to provide.  Being stuck behind the trap set for most of the night doesn't afford me the opportunity to fine adjust the input EQ's.  When I'm out front with the Zendrum, there are some TD-10 patches which cut through the mix and you can feel the bass, others not so well.  Plus the bass player switches between a bass guitar and a stand-up bass, and the settings are not identical.

So torn between saving for a Zendrum Drive, or getting more low end...  I went for the instant gratification route.

Scored a like new JBL EON 518S Subwoofer for 1/2 retail.  Gotta love starving young musicians!

With the new sub, hopefully all of our sound optimization concerns will be behind us.  Plus, the EON sub will work great with my JBL EON G2's for those occasions I need to use something different.

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Re: Exit the soundman, enter the zendrummer....
« Reply #4 on: January 06, 2012, 10:16:05 AM »

I think you'll be happy you added the sub.
You'll feel it more than hear it from behind.
My opinion- Drums take horsepower. More is always better.
It's not about loud, it's about tone.
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David Haney
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Re: Exit the soundman, enter the zendrummer....
« Reply #5 on: January 06, 2012, 10:24:34 AM »

BTW- the only solution to levelling your kits is to sit in audience position when you edit your TD through THAT PA.
If that means you set it all up somewhere before the next gig, you owe it to yourself to take control from the TD mix. Leave the TD faders alone and change the instrument levels internally and step between the kits you use to listen for symetry of Kicks, etc. A pain, but a necessary evil now that you have full range boxes out front.
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David Haney
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Re: Exit the soundman, enter the zendrummer....
« Reply #6 on: January 06, 2012, 11:47:45 AM »

I use the same sub -- killer and lightweight.  Together with two 515s I have more sound than I usually need.  The nice thing about the 515s is that that you can have them flat, with a low-pass filter (overlaps the hi-pass one on the sub) or boosted.  This allows me to tweak the bass response for the room.
Those 515s can hold their own too when that bass boost is engaged.  For smaller gigs I can leave the sub at home.
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