Tips please....outdoor sound

Discussion in 'Amp Input - Normal or Bright' started by GuitLoop, Sep 13, 2020.

  1. GuitLoop

    GuitLoop Strat-Talker

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    Ok...I'm totally satisfied with the sound of my amps indoors...but outdoors...many times I'm frustrated trying to get a nice EQ. Any tips from those that play outdoors frequently?

    I have a DRRI and a Mustang III both of which I've used at outdoor gigs. I actually prefer the Mustang outdoors because of its more consistent gain at various volume levels. But I tend to struggle with EQ outdoors regardless of amp.
     
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  2. Stratoskater

    Stratoskater Fuzz Meister General

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    Outdoor shows are tough to get good sound unless they are designed for shows like an ampitheater or similar. If it’s just a park or backyard then acoustics are odd and can change easily. A good EQ pedal is a big help.
     
  3. lbpesq

    lbpesq Strat-Talker

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    Are you putting your guitar through the PA, either with the amp miked or through a DI, or are you relying solely on your amp for your sound?

    Bill, tgo
     
  4. GuitLoop

    GuitLoop Strat-Talker

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    Usually my amp is unmiced
     
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  5. lbpesq

    lbpesq Strat-Talker

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    First, if possible, everything should be mic’d and run through the PA, both FOH and the monitors. Then you can have your guitar turned up in your monitor so you can hear yourself better.

    If you can’t run the instruments through the PA, you should get your amp off the ground. Get an amp stand or a chair to raise it up so the speaker is closer to ear level. Alternatively, at least slant the amp back (use the side legs on a Fender) so the speaker is pointed at your ear level.

    Remember that the difference between what you are hearing and what the audience is hearing is only exacerbated outdoors. You might want to get a long cord or a cordless system to step out front at sound check and get an idea of the Front of House sound.

    Bill, tgo
     
    Last edited: Sep 14, 2020
  6. fezz parka

    fezz parka fezz parka

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    Outdoors? Use the biggest amp you've got to get the stage volume you need. Outdoor gigs I'd use a tweed Bassman and a Super Reverb. Tilted back and pointed at my head. When you have no walls to bounce off of, wattage is your friend.
     
  7. nickmsmith

    nickmsmith Dr. Stratster

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    Balance is really hard if the sound is coming from a variety of sources. IMO, if there is a PA for vocals, you should run a mic for the amp too. That way it is coming out of the same speaker, and more controllable.
    The sound man can worry about EQ, then.

    when it’s not mic’d, what sounds great in one area, can sound horrible 10 feet in another direction. I’m not saying it can’t work, just saying it’s much harder to wrangle that way.

    I usually run my Katana amp straight into the board, but alternatively, I’d run a mic.
    For vocals, I use a cheap Digital reference mic, DRV100. It was maybe 40 bucks. It’s tough as nails, sounds good, and it would work for vocals or guitar amp. Have gotten years of flawless operation from them. So even buying a mic and cable wouldn’t be an expensive venture.
     
    Last edited: Sep 13, 2020
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  8. rocknrollrich

    rocknrollrich Senior Stratmaster

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    Bass frequencies tend to dissipate more quickly. You may want to up the bass a little bit, and up the volume, without becoming shrill.

    In a band setting, outdoor gigs give you better separation between instruments (In my experience).
    I actually prefer it.
     
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  9. Believer7713

    Believer7713 The Pink Bunnyman Frankenstein Silver Member

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    Get one of these...

    Seriously. Crank it. As @fezz parka said, wattage is your friend...along with extra volume and headroom.
     
  10. Seamus OReally

    Seamus OReally Buried alive in the blues Gold Supporting Member

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    Another vote for wattage. The only time my Ampeg VT-22 really sounded good was outdoors, where I could wind it out.
     
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  11. the dark sailor

    the dark sailor Senior Stratmaster

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    Great. Now I have to get that Bassman I’ve always wanted. Reading this statement just pulled me over the edge. Thanks.:confused:
     
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  12. chicago slim

    chicago slim Senior Stratmaster

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    Outdoor shows usually provide Mic'ed Twin Reverbs. I would Line Out, Mic or bi-amp, at a minimum.
     
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  13. MGW-AB

    MGW-AB Strat-Talker

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    Regardless of which of your amps you decide to use, if you're not going to mic the amp at least try to get an extension cabinet. Both of your amps will be insufficient on their own. As others have already said, with no walls to reflect against, your sound will just dissipate and your tone will be anemic. You need some reinforcement.
     
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  14. dirocyn

    dirocyn Senior Stratmaster

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    Outdoors and only vocals through the PA,. Wattage is your friend. But there are limits, one is how hard the drummer can pound skins, another is the bass amp.

    A 300w bass amp (4 speakers) can balance a drum kit. A 40w guitar amp can do the same. Part of the difference is that big spaces eat bass, and it doesn't really bounce back where you can hear it.

    What you hear on stage is not what the audience hears. The sound blowing past your ankles is not the same as up at your head. Getting your cab up off the floor is a good start.

    It is a common error to increase treble to "cut through the mix", if you hurt people's ears they will leave. It's a really good idea to get out in front for sound check, but it's not the same without the audience, either. At the very least get someone you trust out where the audience will be, to tell you what it sounds like.

    If you go above those volumes, you need to run everything through the PA. If you need to mic up the drum kit, you need to reinforce the guitar and bass too.
     
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  15. GuitLoop

    GuitLoop Strat-Talker

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    Thanks everyone for the replies! So what I was hearing outdoors is my sound was thin and trebley. And that matches with what everyone is saying about what happens with the bass frequencies dispersing outdoors.

    So for the mustang I'm thinking it might be a good idea to get an EQ pedal so I can quickly adjust EQ on all patches at once. The mustang's ability to have patches to quickly change tone is great but not so great if they all need to be separately adjusted at a gig.
     
  16. Miotch

    Miotch Senior Stratmaster

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    More treble than you think you'll need. It will sound too tinny to you because you are near the amps, but the treble fades off far more quickly than the bass as sound projects into the audience. It's a case where your do not want you amp to sound like normal, because what the audience hears is far different. The only outdoor shows I played was always through a SR on one side and a 45-watt Mesa 4x10 amp on the other. I learned about the treble by going out into the audience using my wireless rig. Whenever I had it sounding great on stage, it was dull and muddy out in the audience.
     
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  17. Triple Jim

    Triple Jim Guy Who Likes to Play Guitar Silver Member

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    I think one problem is that speaker cabinets are fairly directional, and indoors sound tends to bounce around a lot. But outdoors it doesn't, so if you're directly in front of a speaker it'll sound bright and loud, but if you're somewhat off axis it'll lose a lot of the brightness and volume. Multiple speakers aiming in a spread of directions would help. Going through the PA would help for the same reason.

    The big outdoor events I've been to have stacks of speakers arranged so they cover the whole audience as much as possible. And because of the bass dissipation mentioned above, they also had walls of bass PA cabinets.
     
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  18. Agtronic

    Agtronic Strat-O-Master

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    The natural reverb you get from being in a room is the main factor at play. We get used to that nice rounded bass response coming off the walls, especially the corners. Outdoors you completely lose that warmth, and the amp sounds cold and shrill. It's the same effect you get when you listen to a dry mic feed coming from a microphone that's right in the grill.

    I don't have a ton of experience with playing outdoors, but I've done some reading on the subject and it seems that most folks agree that many of us have a tendency to want to add more bass to the amp to satisfy that desire to make it sound like it does inside. The problem is that can muddy up the balance of the band, and you may find yourself interfering with the bass player's sound. A better approach is to add more mids, or reduce treble and bass and raise the volume. It may sound different on the stage, but it should create a more balanced sound in the context of the band, and ultimately, people will hear what you're doing more clearly.
     
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  19. dirocyn

    dirocyn Senior Stratmaster

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    Notice how some of the advice is opposite some of the other advice. This is not just a matter of different taste, live sound is situational. The real answer is "it depends."

    Soft surfaces like crowds of humans, grass, mud, trees--soak up treble like nobody's business. Hard surfaces like pavement and buildings reflect treble and mids.

    Big spaces mean the bass disappears. Trust me, it's not gone--they're hearing it a mile away. But it's not coming back to your ears--and if it does, it's coming back late and off-time and just makes it harder to hear what you're doing.

    The Fletcher-Munson curve plays a part too. Think about the "loudness" button on a stereo--it gives you a little more treble and a lot more bass so that low volume playback sounds more like high volume playback. But the inverse is true too--when you set your amp at bedroom volume you probably give it a little more bass and treble than you will want at higher volume.

    Since there are a whole lot of variables that effect things in different ways and are subject to change--the best practice is to have everything running through Front of House, put the sound guy's ears close to where the crowd is, and let him adjust things as needed. The trouble there is, the band can't hear what's happening in Front of House and often don't trust the sound guy (who doesn't know their music or what they're supposed to sound like and often doesn't care) and the compounding problem is a lot of sound guys have hearing loss.

    [​IMG]
     
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  20. fezz parka

    fezz parka fezz parka

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    Mine is a 5e6a. Different from the 5f6a.

    Outdoor gigs: FOH is different from stage volume and what the player wants/needs to hear.

    What the people hear out front is not what you hear on the stage.
     
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