What do you guys do when you walk into a bad sounding venue for a gig?

Posted on

Administrator Since: Apr 03, 2002

I am curious...this last weekend I had a gig at a cute little diner on the main drag of town. Couldn't ask for a better location...here was the problem...the room wasn't built for bands, all reflective surfaces, a lot of glass (not uncommon), and small with little options for a dance floor or anything.

We were not turned up loud, but it sounded like it...we got done, people had fun, it turned out OK, he wants us back, yada yada yada...but I don't want to unless he fixes some stuff...the staff said it was too loud to communicate with each other, but it wasn't, per normal venue standards.

Has anyone dealt with that before, and are there any little tricks or anything to help remedy it?

[ Back to Top ]

Since: Dec 04, 2007

Jul 28, 2016 10:41 pm

Hmmm, if they don't take up too much room, how about constructing a couple portable gobos? Set them up in corners, since those are usually the worst problems of any room, maybe put another one behind the drummer.

As for the staff communications problem, they'll just have to get used to it. There's only so much you can do with making temporary changes. Maybe EQ out some of the lower frequencies so staff voices aren't quite as drowned out?

Also, what are the ceilings around the main area where staff are serving like? If they are a typical hard flat surface, I'd advise having the owner install some acoustic panels, and suspend them about 6 inches below the ceiling.

I don't have a lot of experience with venue acoustics, but those seem like quick fixes, and being temporary solutions, not too hard to set up and break down.

I'm guessing you're just using the amps, or your own PA, and not playing through in-house PA system?

I might see myself in a similar situation in the future if this thing I'm doing with Tom goes somewhere, and the singer we're meeting with tomorrow evening is on board with it all. (still have to find a bass player and drummer, but all in good time, still writing stuff for a set). Our plan is to get 8 or 9 songs finished, polished, and then maybe open for the other band he's in. He knows the owners at Grape St. in Manayunk, so good chance to kick things off there.

Since: Apr 03, 2002

Jul 29, 2016 01:21 pm

Portable go-bo's is a decent idea, might have to think about that, thanks!

Since: Dec 04, 2007

Aug 03, 2016 11:33 pm

Also, I get e-mails from Carvin every so often since I bought that amp a couple years ago. Sometimes they offer some tips alongside pushing a particular product. This one in particular seems to cater to your situation with that venue.

I know they're pushing at least a product or two, but maybe it will offer some ideas.


Since: Apr 03, 2002

Aug 04, 2016 07:07 am

I used to get those emails too, I unsubscribed after they pushed so hard, I think I only started getting them after signing up for some giveaway on Facebook or something...

That being said, that is a decent read, especially regarding the bass.

Played an outdoor gig a couple days ago, man, when the weather and wind works with you, outdoor is so awesome...when it doesn't...it's the WORST! Fortunately, that night it all worked with us, except the heat, had to retune every few tunes.

Since: Aug 17, 2004

Dec 25, 2017 08:25 am

Are you bringing your own PA?

Turn down. Tell your drummer to play quieter, tape his cymbals if need be.

Drum rug, or more rugs to dampen stage.

IEM solutions will help your clarity on stage (less monitors blaring on stage, more clarity in your personal mix. Once you hear yourself better you'll probably play quieter).

Bring more people to the gig.

EQ the PA better.

I imagine some dynamic EQ or multiband compression would really sweeten things in the harsh frequencies.

Your best bet is to turn down though. Downloading a free dB meter app and getting a reading during soundcheck will help you figure out what volume to play at on different stages. I doubt many venue owners will be willing to try to fix the acoustics of their venue when an aesthetically pleasing solution will cost them a pretty penny.

Since: Apr 14, 2020

Apr 27, 2020 05:40 am

Hmmm, if they don't take up too much room, how about constructing a couple portable gobos? Set them up in corners, since those are usually the worst problems of any room, maybe put another one behind the drummer.

I regularly play in venues with this problem. What's a gobo?

Since: Apr 03, 2002

Apr 27, 2020 06:00 am

"Gobo" = "Go Between"

I've built 4 to use in my basement, they have since gone by the wayside, but all practical purposes, it's a large board (mine were 4x4) about 4-6 inched thick and filled with sound absorbing material (I used home insulation) and cover it with something soft like canvas or other material...then you have one absorbing side and the back is a reflecting side so you can place to the needs.

Since: Apr 03, 2002

Apr 28, 2020 09:17 pm


Related Forum Topics:

If you would like to participate in the forum discussions, feel free to register for your free membership.