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JOHNSTOWN'S SHOOTERS NIGHTCLUB NEEDS SOUND OVERHAUL!
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thedoctor
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 Post Posted: Monday Aug 04, 2003 
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In my 15 years playing both locally and nationally (give or take a few years for burned-out time off) I was unpleasantly surprised when I visited the new Shooter's Nightclub in the suburbs of Johnstown. As I walked threw the door the band Retroactive was on brake. I was pleasantly surprised by the house PA and light show in the club. A set-up I have not seen since the late 80's early 90's in clubs in the Greensburg/Pittsburgh area. It is one of those set-ups that give local bands the opportunity to feel like a nationally touring band. The place was very crowded and everyone seemed to be having a good time. A few minutes after I arrived Retroactive took the stage for their second set. That is when everything changed for the worst. I have seen Retro at other venues and I know how they are supposed to sound. This was the most harsh, ear-splitting, annoying till I had to leave sound I have heard in a long time. I know it wasn't the band and checking out the top of the line gear it was not that either. I guess what I want to say is where did they get this house soundman! I lasted one set and had to leave. My ears were ringing for an hour afterwards. Thinking back on that painful night, I caught the band in their second set so I can't imagine what the first set sounded like! As a musician the term is constantly used..."a soundman can make or break a band...and this guy did just that. I felt bad for the guys from Retroactive that night. Everytime the singer would walk towards the front of the stage there would be a loud wooping feed-back that would vibrate the place. The sound was all mid and everytime the drummer would hit his snare my left eye would twitch from the pain! I could go on and on but I'll stop. My suggestion is to look for a new soundman! Granted, for you who know the place it is a large open room with a lot of metal and concrete and can be a soundman nightmare. But everytime I've been to clubs that resemble this place good sound can still happen if the guy behind the board knows whats going on...something for the owner to think about! PLEASE! Oh the pain.......................!
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Craven Sound
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 Post Posted: Friday Aug 08, 2003 
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IMO, there are very few places that I would trust the house sound guy. I've known Zilly at City Limits for years, and is probably THE most competent house guy in the area. For reasons mentioned above, I feel that it is the band's responsibility to provide a person that not only knows all of the techincal stuff behind the system, but also knows what the music is supposed to sound like. I've found that most bands are reluctant to pay a sound person and that puzzles me. They are so worried about making a buck, but bitch about how bad they sounded. Since the sound guy can "make or break" the musicians, why not treat him as one?
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songsmith
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 Post Posted: Friday Aug 08, 2003 
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Hear,Hear! I work with Zilly at the dayjob, and he's technically very knowledgeable, as well as having a good ear. He does installs, too. Maybe we could have him install a good system in that J-town club Very Happy .--->JMS
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onetooloud
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 Post Posted: Tuesday Aug 12, 2003 
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I've not yet heard the quality or lack of sound quality at this place, yet! I'm going to wait and see what happens! I have however heard the rumors. I have heard the room, let me say, no effects please.
I will however give the engineer credit for taking on this new and unproven venue. I personally know that sound was on the shoping list there for quite some time with no takers! Several qualified soundpersons/companys where approached most passed.
I feel most people can remember a less than perfect show of their own!

Just thinking too loud, Ray
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redawg
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 Post Posted: Tuesday Aug 12, 2003 
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That shit is so untrue, we do not always sound like shit. We are not way too loud and distorted all night.
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thedoctor
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 Post Posted: Tuesday Aug 12, 2003 
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There are so many technical reasons involved with the whole set-up in a club that size that a sound tech must put thought and voice concerns on before getting behind the board. First off why aren't the bass bins on the floor (I understand there is no room) so why didn't they put them under the stage. It kind of defeats the purpose of bottom end when the bass bins are four feet off the ground. Thats where I noticed the big problem. He was driving the system so hard to get any kind of thump that he was killing the people in the crowd. My initial comments in my original post was when I looked up at the soundman he was not trying to correct it at all. If you have ever been to the Graffiti (before it closed) in Pittsburgh it was like being there and sitting in the balcony. For you who have never been there the bass bins were under the stage which is a great idea except for the fact they had the high cabinets hung from the ceiling so in the balcony all you heard was high end...and it was very painful to listen to a band from up there. My whole point is planning a speaker set-up in a room that large with metal and concrete is just as important running the mix. I'm far from being a sound expert but from my experiences if the cabinet placement could not be change then drop the volume to a respectable level and drive the bottom end heavier. The overall sound quality may have suffered but it wouldn't feel as painful on the ears. I know nothing will change until the neighbors quite down but homework was not done when the PA was set-up.

Just some thoughts to think about...
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HurricaneBob
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 Post Posted: Tuesday Aug 12, 2003 
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Cheers for Zilly! Also Brian Mconnell rocks, hear his setup this thursday at the wingoff with the Canes! Freelance audio (shameless plug for Brian)
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onetooloud
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 Post Posted: Wednesday Aug 13, 2003 
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I agree cab placement could be better. I had looked at this place for an inhouse in early winter and figured 1st thing low boxes under the stage. Fly the tops. Would not have been the problem like at the graffiti. Flying the tops might also cut down on delay decay problem ( I think thats what I want to call it ?) in a room like that. Many problems do need addressed.
I do know the management was not looking to cut corners on sound!!
If the techs not doing his job, I'm sure the monkey is on his back.
I'm just greatfull for the investment in live music.
Hopefully they will work out the sound issues.
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onetooloud
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 Post Posted: Wednesday Aug 13, 2003 
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Hey doc when are you online would love to chat about all this I,m on most of the day
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retroactive
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 Post Posted: Wednesday Aug 13, 2003 
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I understand from Mike, the soundguy in question, that they plan to drop the low end on the floor and to fly the tops eventually. Remember they just opened a few weeks ago and I'm sure management is up to its ears in things to do and debt right now. I thought the sound guy did pretty well considering the room. It is a nightmare setup with all the painted concrete and flat walls and steel etc. There are things he might be able to improve but nothing's going to prevent the sound from bouncing around in there without some dampening. To Mike's credit also, he's great to work with, professional, he has top notch equipment, and he's considerate of a band's needs. Let's give him a few weeks of tweaking behind the board and hope ownership lets him do what he has planned.
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songsmith
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 Post Posted: Wednesday Aug 13, 2003 
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As a sound guy myself, that sounds like a good idea. Believe me, it ain't all sh*ts and giggles doing sound. Most of the time I love it, but sometimes...sometimes it really sucks. Maybe, with a little time he could get the PA in shape. I know of a really good website for guys in his position.

www.prosoundweb.com


There's a live audio board on there that some of the top sound guys on the planet post on. Here's the deal though, ALWAYS check their board archive before asking a question on the board. These guys are the real deal, and some of them are kinda pissy. Like a lot of really brilliant guys.
Anyway, it's a great site, and their fun page is one of my favorites. check it out.------>JMS
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Craven Sound
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 Post Posted: Thursday Aug 14, 2003 
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My favorite is when some drunk guy or even better, the club owner comes up and tells you that he can't hear the guitar or when the drummer says "can you turn up the kick drum?" Why does everyone insist on having the kick drum in your face? I was at Arts Fest this summer listening to a blue grass band on the Allen Street stage. I could hear the kick drum from across Beaver, WTF??? I guess some soundguys can't even mix Kool-aid, let alone a drumset.
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dayzichick
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 Post Posted: Thursday Aug 14, 2003 
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Amen brother. Even though I am nowhere near a sound technician, even I can't stand it when someone who knows nothing about nothing comes up and tries to tell our sound guy to turn the guitar up cause they can't hear it, or whatever. Do you hear a blaring kick drum on any song played on the radio? Nope, that's why it's called a mix. My theory on that is if a guitar player is in the audience, he wants to hear guitar, if a drummer is in the audience, he wants to hear the drums etc. So some people focus on different instruments based on what they like or play or want to hear to dance to, instead of the sound as a whole. And everyone's ears are different too.

As far as Shooters, I did hear that you don't have much of a sound check time because they have to wait until Value City closes, that could be a factor. I haven't had the pleasure yet of hearing a live band in there.
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Punkinhead
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 Post Posted: Thursday Aug 14, 2003 
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I too have heard about some of the problems Shooters is having. I've talked with some of the people who have been asked to help I guess from what they were saying and these people know their shit. So it's my bet that eventually Shooters will work it out...their next step they need to take is to book Choking Faith Twisted Evil Very Happy Twisted Evil .......couldn't resist the open opportunity for shameless self promotion...
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HurricaneBob
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 Post Posted: Friday Aug 15, 2003 
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More cowbell..... Wink
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tonefight
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 Post Posted: Friday Aug 15, 2003 
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First of all, I feel Retro is a very good band and has it together very well but I'm sure their crowds all the proof needed.

On the sound issue I've noticed also the low end is really pushed anymore and most of the equipment out there isn't enough to push it so we hear a mess of low end and very little of anything else. I myself am far from a sound man and I really wouldn't want to be with all the abuse they take.The 2 cleanest sounds I've heard recently were bands running their own sound with smaller/midsize equipment. They just simply mixed it like you would hear it on the CD and didn't push the low end too far.And ya know what? I could actually hear the guitar and vocals for a change!!!! I've been watching alot of guitar playes move there fingers lately but you can never hear it and if I was a singer putting my heart into and all anyone out front could hear was BOOM BOOM BOOM (not even a good one) I would be ticked!

But I know opinions are like A**holes, we all got a different one and they all stink.
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Ron
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 Post Posted: Friday Aug 15, 2003 
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Hmmm... if cabinet placement is affecting the sound of the bass bins, then the lower crossover point is probably too high. A lot of guys seem to want to run the lower point up above 200Hz. This tends to make the sound from the bass cabinets more directional, and muddies up the lower mids.
Subs on the floor will get you a little more efficiency, but should not affect the quality of the sound. Sound waves < 100Hz are pretty much omnidirectional, and basically just pressurize the room.

Sounds to me like the system may be underpowered for the room, and a decent volume level can't be reached without pushing the system's limits. It also could be a system design flaw. I've seen systems that have 1000+ watts on the subs, and a little 150W amp on the highs. The problem with a setup like that is headroom. Sure there is lots of headroom on the subs, but distortion in the low end is not noticible to the human ear. Distortion on the highs is instantly perceivable, like fingernails on the ol' chalkboard.

It seems like sound system design and operation is becoming a lost art. I'm sure that Shooters will eventually get the sound worked out, but more than likely it's going to cost them some $$$.

I'm also moving this subject to the Tech Sector.
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redawg
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 Post Posted: Tuesday Aug 19, 2003 
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After so many years of not being able to afford a real drum set, I'm pleased to announce that Obsession Guitars came to my rescue. I just purchased a Premier Artist Birch 5 piece kit. Gorgeous lacquer blue finish. I will be using this real drum kit along with my V-drums.
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bassist_25
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 Post Posted: Tuesday Aug 19, 2003 
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Ron wrote:


Sounds to me like the system may be underpowered for the room, and a decent volume level can't be reached without pushing the system's limits. It also could be a system design flaw. I've seen systems that have 1000+ watts on the subs, and a little 150W amp on the highs. The problem with a setup like that is headroom. Sure there is lots of headroom on the subs, but distortion in the low end is not noticible to the human ear. Distortion on the highs is instantly perceivable, like fingernails on the ol' chalkboard.



True, but lower frequencies require more headroom to be produced clearly. Still for a PA, 1000 watts for the lows vs. 150 for the highs is quite a little one sided. As you said, the clipping's going to be more noticible on the high end. The old rule I've always heard when matching guitar amps with bass amps is the bass amp should have at least 4x the wattage of the guitar amp. (which I always thought was kind of a BS rule. Just because a guitarist has a 100 watt amp, doesn't mean they are pushing it to it's full potential. I've heard bands in which the guitarist had 250 a watt amp and the bassist sounded fine with a 100 watt combo)

One mistake I see a lot of people make is they think that the key to being heard is volume. Cutting through a mix is more about frequencies. If you have an amp/pa/whatever with boosted lows and scooped mids and highs, turning the volume up isn't going to help you get heard. Chances are, you're just creating a big wall of mud. Band members have to be very conscious about each other's sonic space.
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facingwest
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 Post Posted: Tuesday Aug 19, 2003 
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I believe their PA has 14,000 watts running through it. Mike is one of the best soundmen we've had the pleasure of working with. He's very serious about what he does (very professional and does things by the book), yet at the same time has a great sense of humor to joke with everyone. With every soundman working with a band, it takes some time getting used to who all does what and where. I'm sure with a little time, he'll have that PA and the room balanced, and that system will SMOKE!!
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redawg
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 Post Posted: Wednesday Aug 20, 2003 
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hey snubbedatpub, go fuck yourself already. Stop acting like a child and start using this forum for what it was meant to be used for. This is not a band bashing forum.
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Craven Sound
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 Post Posted: Thursday Aug 21, 2003 
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Don't forget that driver size, number of drivers, and box design has a lot to do with crossover point. If you are using a horn-loaded 12" mid box, then I probably would not crossover too low. Right now the band I'm working with is using a dual flush-mount 15" & 2" horn as a top box, and dual 15" reverse mount scoops. Running it bi-amped, I set the point at 150hz and let the internal crossover in the top box do the rest. I'm pretty pleased with it, although a 1200W Carver PM1.5 on the subs is sometimes not enough.
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Ron
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 Post Posted: Thursday Aug 21, 2003 
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Goodbye Snubbed. Too bad you had to be banned, but threatening posts and PMs are grounds for immediate dismissal. Very stupid. Especially when they are sent from your place of employment. Got that IP and timestamp, along with the same from a home machine.
Can you say abuse@charter.net?
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tonefight
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 Post Posted: Thursday Aug 21, 2003 
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Finally....... Now can you just post his name so everyone knows?
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redawg
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 Post Posted: Friday Aug 22, 2003 
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I've been running sound at the Castle Pub for a few months now. I have the crossover set at 90Hz. Setting it any higher does muddy up the low mids. I'd like to see Shooters put the subs on the floor and fly the tops in pointed towards the dance floor. I think if you point the speakers at a crowd of people instead of shooting the sound straight towards a wall, that would help the situation. I love the monitors in that place. The drum monitors are 3,200 watts and he runs the entire drum kit through them. Do you guys think it would also help if he used more noise gates? I think it would help take care of the low end feedback problems. I think their sound guy is cool as hell. I know he'll get it goin' on.
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