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 Forum index » Clavia Nord Modular » Nord Modular G2 Discussion
G2 sounds - great in the studio, not so great live
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King Rat



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PostPosted: Sat Mar 12, 2005 1:02 pm    Post subject: G2 sounds - great in the studio, not so great live Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

This picks up on another thread where G2ian and I briefly discussed the massive differency between what you hear through cans in the comfort of your home when programming the G2, and what you get blasted at the audience through a PA.
Be interesting to hear what people think works/doesn't work in a live situation given the characteristics of PA sound.
For starters, I find (in the context of a rock band):
- you lose the bottom end and high freq can become ear-splittingly loud
- rhythmic patches, esp with lots of high freq sound, that sound fluid at home can just sound really messy and brittle
- in general, getting the correct relative volume levels between different patches (assuming the sound engineer has the G2 set at the correct overall level) is a difficult task, and not one that you can achieve at home; you have to be playing with the rest of the band at gig volume to see what cuts through the mix
Any sound engineering tips gratefully accepted.
Angus
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 12, 2005 1:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Seems like if your band plays loud, you are in trouble.
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Kassen
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 12, 2005 2:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

This is a problem of playing on large p.a.´s, not one of the G2. One part of it is that you´ll simply need to get some experience programing sounds for large soundsystems, that´s not easy but it can be learned. I think the first thing to do is to include a compressor in every patch or use a external one and get every sound at the same relative loudness. You can do this now, at home this weekend. The result of this will be cutting through sensitive songs in a rude way and too low for patches that have to compete with electric guitars but it´ll be predictable and probably bettter then what´s happening now.

Now do a gig, get a decent engineer and have him note down what sounds he fades up and which ones down. Make those settings a part of your patches. Repeat. You could do this in your practice space if you can have a decent engineer nearby. DONT do it yourself from behind the keyboard, have somebody listen at the other side of the p.a.. Make seperate settings for yourself to feed your monitor if you feel that´s nesicary. If your practice room has unusual characteristics then you could even have seperate volume settings to use there.

Once again; this is not a G2 problem, it´s the G2 that enables you to deal with it.

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PostPosted: Sat Mar 12, 2005 2:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

very good, kas, now let´s try it again in a friendly tone.

sorry.

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PostPosted: Sat Mar 12, 2005 2:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

:-)

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PostPosted: Sat Mar 12, 2005 3:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Kassen is right. This has absolutely nothing to do with the G2, apart from the sounds you have tuned at home won´t cut it on stage. The main problem is however the gain structure. If the PA had been truly great and the engineer had done the job like it shoul have been done, you would have had enough available gain overhead to fry the guitarist and blow the drummer out of the water.

You can never get enough analogue compressors. In the old days you would have these all over the place in order to control the gainstructure and also fatten up the patches.

Do you practice with a huge PA? If not, that is what you should start to do.

The current trend of letting the drums dominate is a bit stupid. Too many engineers let the drums get too loud and too boomy. What you need on stage is a good percussive sound. Great hits you if see what I mean.

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PostPosted: Sat Mar 12, 2005 3:53 pm    Post subject: Re: G2 sounds - great in the studio, not so great live Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

King Rat wrote:
This picks up on another thread where G2ian and I briefly discussed the massive differency between what you hear through cans in the comfort of your home when programming the G2, and what you get blasted at the audience through a PA.
Be interesting to hear what people think works/doesn't work in a live situation given the characteristics of PA sound.

Any sound engineering tips gratefully accepted.
Angus


I spent quite a few years playing synths live in the LA rock clubs, and I'm familiar with this issue. I was usually in bands with a ton of PA gear and a large backline setup. My on-stage synth rig was a 2000+ watt stereo tri-amped setup.

Often, we would write & rehearse songs at a reasonable level, and the guitarist & I would spend lots of time creating new patches & presets for each song. Then, before a gig, we would have to practice a few more times at higher club-like levels & re-tweak our settings so all the patches & guitar amp settings would balance properly in a loud live situation. Otherwise, guitar leads would take the top of your head off, synth leads would shatter glass, and nice big synth pads would get lost beneath the guitar power chords.

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PostPosted: Sat Mar 12, 2005 4:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

elektro80 wrote:

Do you practice with a huge PA? If not, that is what you should start to do.


I disagree. With a well tuned stage setup the p.a. should hardly affect the band´s perception of themselves. The band, after all is behind the p.a.. Another problem is that "huge pa´s" tend to be expensive and ruin your hearing and relations to your neighbours. Much better would be to set the relative levels once with the help of a expert, then leave them be.

Part of the problem is that you can´t hear what you are doing while on stage. One way of solving this that´s suitable for experts and daredevils with small setups is to play from the middle of the floor, standing opposite to the soundsystem.

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PostPosted: Sat Mar 12, 2005 4:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Kassen wrote:
elektro80 wrote:

Do you practice with a huge PA? If not, that is what you should start to do.


I disagree.


YMMV

At least that worked fine for me though. When you have like memory slots/presets on synths this might change the rules.. but way back when you had to tweak/patch your cat2, Odyssey, Minimoog, formant, Oscar and the lot live it helps a damn lot to understand how this sounds at realistic levels and with that extra room boom from the PA. You gotta play with earplugs anyway. However, not all has a huge huge cellar with PA at hand.

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PostPosted: Sat Mar 12, 2005 5:24 pm    Post subject: Re: G2 sounds - great in the studio, not so great live Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

davep wrote:
Often, we would write & rehearse songs at a reasonable level, and the guitarist & I would spend lots of time creating new patches & presets for each song. Then, before a gig, we would have to practice a few more times at higher club-like levels & re-tweak our settings so all the patches & guitar amp settings would balance properly in a loud live situation. Otherwise, guitar leads would take the top of your head off, synth leads would shatter glass, and nice big synth pads would get lost beneath the guitar power chords.


Good advice.


Kassen mentions the problems of actually hearing what you do onstage. He is right about that one too. That is not an unusual problem at all. Decent stage monitoring is a must, but many venues are pretty strange soundwise so perfect monitoring is something you won´t experience often.

It is damned hard to actually understand levels when the general volume is way up there, and it takes some practice to get it at least almost right.

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PostPosted: Sat Mar 12, 2005 5:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Well, I´m with you on the principle that people need to get aquinted with realistic volumes and that at least soundchecking at realistic volumes is needed (something I find is too often not done) but to benefit from practicing with a p.a. you need to have at least one extra person present to stand on the other side of the pa and judge levels. Every session.

You can wonder how much fun that is.

Pa´s also need a engineer with some experience to run them. everyboudy can set up some monitors on stands but once you start getting into the realms of 3K Watt and above you can´t just have mere mortals near them or stuff will go wrong. It´s also a rare practice space that can take that. I know of one occasion where a real pa was put on a practice basement and multiple toilet seats on the ground floor broke because of resonances......

Since the band will be on the back side of the pa and not realy receive any benefit from it I don´t think the cons outweigh the pro´s except on rare occasions.

Clearly you yourself know what you are doing but I don´t think I would recomend that random people start practicing with huge pa´s.

I fully and loudly agree that the main problem with live sound is a lack of understanding of propper gainstructure, followed by a lack of experience with what volume does to sound, I just don´t think having large pa´s at every practice session is worth the costs or problems.

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PostPosted: Sat Mar 12, 2005 5:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

I strongly have to disagree with the initial thread post.

I'm currently playing a tour right now, on which I'm using only the G2X and an extra MIDI keyboard. Nothing else. It can handle everything my two hands are able to play during a song.

The G2 not only sounds great live, it also sounds very, very versatile. There's some amazing organ and wurlitzer emulations, and there's all the electronic stuff too. See -It's all in the patching. If you understand sound and its properties, you can do virtually (no pun intended) everything you want.

I hated the G2 sound for a long time, I even sold mine. I got them back for good (upgrading to the X in the process) and decided to dig deeper. Looking back, I estimate that it takes a minimum of 6 months of persistent study to get the results you want. But once you get the drift, there's no limit.

Of course, in a live situation, the monitoring and engineer situation is paramount. We have a fantastic engineer on our tour, and I'm playing with Shure E5 in-ear monitors. It's almost like playing with a play-along CD Smile...

I wouldn't even say it's about levels and gain structures. I think it's more about musical issues -about trying to find the sounds and timbres that make sense together musically in a song. It's like being a producer while being a performer. Well, that's at least the way I feel about it.
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 12, 2005 6:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Yes Of course kassen, I won´t be forcing pepole at gunpoint to aquire huge PAs.. I don´t have a gun either.. I should at least look into that gun problem first.. Very Happy

Anyway, I think we have delivered a few interesting views on the subject. All this is supposed to be hard. I can only hope this makes sense to Angus. At least he has already been there and knows what doesn´t work.. but it really takes time, opportunity and some clever help to get it right.

And yes.. Kassen is damned right about huge PAs being nasty beasts. If you don´t have a an experienced engineer around who knows his stuff, but you do have a venue with a 3K+ monster.. then walk away.. don´t try to even fire it up on your own. handling that kind of gear without the proper knowledge is like handling nuclear waste with a pitchfork.

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PostPosted: Sat Mar 12, 2005 6:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

shoshin wrote:
Of course, in a live situation, the monitoring and engineer situation is paramount. We have a fantastic engineer on our tour, and I'm playing with Shure E5 in-ear monitors. It's almost like playing with a play-along CD Smile...


I hope you are aware that you are damned lucky! Very Happy

shoshin wrote:
I wouldn't even say it's about levels and gain structures. I think it's more about musical issues -about trying to find the sounds and timbres that make sense together musically in a song. It's like being a producer while being a performer. Well, that's at least the way I feel about it.


My take on this used to be to actually take the song from the score and diretly to a PA and get it decent there first. Only then could the actual implementation of my ideas be turned into sensible patches. I have pretty much developed at least 60 % of my material with the help of a PA. In essence I agree with you. Not all ideas that sound cool at home will actually work well at high volumes. But then again, I think this primarily is about levels and gain structure. Angus kinda explains this himself too.

I also agree with you that the G2 itself is not the problem. But then again.. I think this primarily is about etc. etc. etc.
Very Happy [/quote]

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PostPosted: Sat Mar 12, 2005 8:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Hmmm...
I guess it all comes down to experience. The sort of venues we play have sound engineers who a) obviously don't know our music and are therefore limited in their ability adjust the mix on the fly, and b) probably don't care too much so long as it's loud. Generally the on-stage sound is terrible and bear little relation to what the audience is getting through the PA. I learned to give up trying to hear on stage what I was doing on guitar, keyboards or vocals a long time ago, and just hope the the front of house sound was half decent. Most engineers at these venues will run everything through some pretty heavy compression anyway, so maybe these issues are more noticeable in rehearsal room through a basic PA with no compressors.
Undoubtedly, if you know what you're doing (which I clearly don't), you can get pretty much any sound you want out of the G2 within reason. Shoshin is definitely right in saying that what works is determined primarily by issues of musicality and tonality. My point was that I come up with so many ideas that sound great at home, but dreadful when I get to rehearsal. And probably only trial and error at gig volumes as Davep points out will solve these issues.
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 13, 2005 5:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

One simple thing that tends to help a lot is trying to establish a personal relation to the local engineer. Shake hands, make small talk and whenever possible *make it clear that you understand some of his concerns*. No need to share tech tips in detail, just demonstrate that you have some knowledge and some interest and make sure to tell him you feel various parts of live engineering are realy hard indeed and require lots of knowledge and skill. It helps if you realy believe those things. Keep the occasional eye contact during the gig.

This is quite possibly the best single thing you can do for your live sound. There are many bad engineers around but also a lot of decent ones that simply stoped caring since very few people actualy apreceate what they are doing. *cough* dj´s *cough*.

I also noticed on reading back your original post that many of the phenomena you point out are related to the high end of the spectrum. Well, the high end of the G2 is no great love of mine, to say the least, and I would not be surprised if the venues you are dealing with use a multiband compressor where the G2 would end up dominating the upper-most band. This would drag the problematic high end (imho) up and out of ballance with the rest of the sound. This is hard to fix with normal eq. EQ-ing before a multiband compressor is a tricky thing but what you could try is splitting your sounds that are especially bothered in multiple bands, then noise gating the highest one heavily. If there´s no sound there the compressor over the main mix won´t have anything to pull out of ballance.

I keep my opinion that you need to have a good talk with a experienced engineer, preferably one who also programs synths, and take him along to one of your performances, for all i care with a notebook in his breast pocket. Troubleshooting this from this distance is very hard, especially when only talking to you who is at the wrong side of the p.a. durning the gig. If I were you I´d simply considder investing a little in this. trip + beers + a few bucks is not a lot to pay to get your sound sorted or at least know where to start working.

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PostPosted: Sun Mar 13, 2005 7:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Agreed.
Of course, once we get signed and we have our own team of dedicated sound engineers, I can let them worry about it while I practice smashing up hotel rooms.
Anybody out there poured lighter fuel on their G2 in the denouement of a monster gig yet? I imagine the plastic keys would burn quite nicely.
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 13, 2005 8:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Smashing up & burning ?

Now that we all so cosily sit together shivering for the words of terror our leaders so kindly whisper into our ears I had expected musicians to become servants rather than artists.

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PostPosted: Sun Mar 13, 2005 9:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Didn´t you see the notice? This is the "entartete kunst" section, isn´t it?

Wink

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PostPosted: Sun Mar 13, 2005 5:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

"Entartete kunst"...
Had to Google that one!
Thought it might have been some Teutonic insult Very Happy
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 13, 2005 5:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

It is a pretty well known concept over here. One might say that the opposite would be art that has only one purpose and that is to communicate the will, the values and the destiny of the state and leadership. Wink

In the post-fascist world, volk and state have both been replaced by the "will of the enterprise".

I wonder where that leaves Britney Spears? Shocked

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PostPosted: Mon Mar 14, 2005 12:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

King Rat wrote:
"Entartete kunst"...
Had to Google that one!
Thought it might have been some Teutonic insult Very Happy

me too:
Quote:
"Entartete Kunst" means Degenerate Art, and the Nazis vowed to stamp it out. But the Degenerate Art lasted and the Third Reich didn't. There's a lesson there.

hopefully Exclamation

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PostPosted: Mon Mar 14, 2005 7:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Well, the essence of fascist art dogma isn´t new and we are still seeing pretty much the same thing all over the world. Discussing wether or not a piece of art is good or bad is something else though, but whenever we see a will to label some expressions as unwanted and conflicting with the state ideology we are seeing trouble ahead.

Entartete kunst has become a popular term to describe diverse art that does not conform to being a servant of the rulers. I am sorry you guys had to google this one, but I guess you found some interesting facts.


Very Happy



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is at an end. ... What you are seeing here are the crippled products
of madness, impertinence, and lack of talent. ... I would need
several freight trains to clear our galleries of this rubbish. ...
This will happen soon"

Adolf Ziegler,1937
President of the Reich Culture Chamber



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PostPosted: Mon Mar 14, 2005 7:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Shocked

OT mode=OFF

sorry guys..

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