NQC 08: More on The Sound

Reader HPA writes:

After reading some other blogs it seams that even the lay person can look around and figure out simple reasons for bad sound.  I would be interested if anyone could send me pics of audio set up to evaluate.  Being a former sound man for a SG group, I used to plead with the powers that be to try a different company and start set up on Friday to appropriately tune and have time to bring in reinforcements if needed.  I also suggested they hire a professional mobile studio truck to do the mix down.  Speaking from experience, mixing live for radio or TV is very difficult.  I attempted it various times doing TBN dates and was always very frustrated.  They guys that can do it though are very good at it, but you have to pay them and let them bring their truck.  There are several contacts of mine that don’t understand what the problem is.  They themselves have supplied production in that very venue with astonishing results.  NQC better step up.  There is no excuse in this day of digital consoles saving settings, why the live mix should suffer.  Another issue at least when I was there, was that the group engineer(if they had one) was not allowed to engineer the mix.  They could bark orders but not touch.  I did sneak in there one year and sweet talked a buddy into letting me mix the vocals and the band sub mix, which turned out to be the best night for the guys in terms of response and table  traffic.  Not bragging just stating the difference.  I had to sheild my fingers from the “producer” as he looked over to make sure I was just “sitting.”

Another thing.  If a person has never sang on well mixed in ears than they don’t know how beneficial they are.  But it has to be done right.

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Comments

  1. Bill S. wrote:

    Part of the problem with NQC (live audio in the room, not air mix) is that the rental company (which is highly capable and does many secular and christian high profile events per year) does not mix for the event. They only provide a system and the NQC picks the engineers. The guys who are mixing front of house may be highly capable of tweaking out to oblivion their 16 channel Allen & Heath on the road with their big time southern gospel group, but at NQC they are all of a sudden thrown in front of a $70,000 console instead of the $1000 one they bought at Guitar Center a couple years ago. They don’t understand things like fully sweepable parametric eq’s, attack, release, and decay settings down to the millisecond for compressors and limiters, and more importantly the vast difference in mixing through their two Mackie Powered mains on the road and mixing through a Meyer system with dozen’s of $6000.00 boxes in it.
    Great sound systems allow a talented engineer to make it sound great. For a less qualified engineer they will probably make it sound much worse than if they had just brought in their Mackies.

  2. HP wrote:

    Whoa there!
    There are a lot of highly capable engineers in the industry. And most of they ones that I can think of that when I was there, were in the “three man rotation” had their own set of Meyer cabinets worth no more less than $3500 a pop. The most popular consoles in SG right now, with bigger group is, O1V, Midas Venice and A&H MixWizard. All of these are as good as it gets in small format consoles. All have parametric EQ’s and the O1V has sweeps. The channel strip at NQC is not that different to operate than any of these. Whatever system an engineer uses, $45 speakers or $10000 speakers, a good mix is a good mix. Correct frequency balance aside, the actual mix should not suffer. My experience has been(13 years of it), the better the equipment I use, the easier to mix, progressively. The same holds true for how the equipment is set up and tuned.

    NQC is probably the only event in the world where that many different voices rotate through a stage in 4 or 5 hours.

  3. HP wrote:

    I have to add that most Production Company engineers don’t have a clue how to mix a quartet. They usually end up mixing it like a lead vocal with three BGV’s the entire time. Nothing against their ability, they just don’t listen to it so they’re not sure what to do with it. I could name 4-5 engineers that should be behind the board at NQC at some point during the week and on the Production advisory committee, if there is one(there should be). But I’m still in favor of letting the group engineer at least mix the vocals. Their funeral!

  4. buttercup wrote:

    All this tech talk makes my head hurt!

  5. John M wrote:

    I have always said that you can have a $20, 000 sound system, but if you have a $2 sound tech, you sound like you have a $2 sound system.

    I know, amongst great quotes of the world, this one does not rank all that high, but it is, however, oh, so true.

  6. JustaFan wrote:

    They should get Ben Harris to consult on the sound. He is the most knowledgable in SG currently. I have never heard better sound than what he provides

  7. quartet-man wrote:

    I thought of Ben, and I think he has run sound at at least one NQC.

  8. Trent wrote:

    After NQC, I’d really like to hear Clark Beasley or someone like Scott Fowler (board member) weigh in on how the NQC leadership views the sound….do they see it as an issue or are they happy with it? Obviously, the fans aren’t happy with the current way sound is handled…..What steps are the NQC powers going to take to make the sound acceptable at NQC in the future?

    In watching the groups tonight, I noticed that Ernie Haase took his ear monitor out and put it back in at least three times. He appeared to be frustrated with what he was hearing on stage. Also, I noted that Fowler was putting in and taking out his ear piece. We’ve heard from the fans….now from the artists’ perspective, it would be interesting to know what is the sound like while performing.

  9. Bud wrote:

    Everybody needs to lighten up and get a life. Oops, wrong comment thread.

  10. HP wrote:

    That would be a good thing to know Trent. I think, at least in the past, there are too many politics behind the connections to who is in charge of hiring the production company and the actual company, etc, etc.
    More people to contact the board(via their booth or website) and express their opinion.
    However they may not make any changes until people start leaving and asking for their money back.
    Maybe they should try to hire Gather’s crew for the week, after all they usually play there every year on the homecoming tour and they do large SG production all year long.

  11. Ben Harris wrote:

    Just to clarify a point, I have never mixed sound for NQC. I have mixed sound for GOGR a few years in a row, but not NQC. Thanks to the person who suggested my imput, but believe me, I have no ambitions to be thrown into that briar patch.

  12. Ben Harris wrote:

    That should be INPUT…can’t type

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