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A's might as well have been E's

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  • A's might as well have been E's

    A lot of people have commented that once you start amplifying acoustic drums they aren't all that different from e-drums. Here was a recent experience of mine that I thought I would share:

    Last week I had a gig subbing for the regular drummer in a country-rock band. We played at an outdoor festival. I brought by 5 piece Gretsch set. As we were soundchecking the sound guy literally ran up to the stage and whispered to me "Man those are the best sounding drums anyone has brought to this gig! Thanks."

    When we got done playing our big rocker, "Goodbye Earl," some guy walked past the side of the stage and yelled, "What kind of drums are those? They sound great!" By this point I was feeling pretty smug.

    We were scheduled to play two sets and there was another band sandwiched between our sets. Since the drummer in the other band was an old jazz guy, not likely to damage anything, I let him use my drums.

    I listened to the drums from out front while they played. What a shock!! I could hardly recognize them. The floor tom sounded like my floor tom for a fraction of a second but then was overpowered by some unnaturally long, electronic-sounding sustain. I like drums that ring but this sounded totally processed--not acoustic at all. The mix was odd. The bass drum was as loud as the lead vocals in the mix (this might have sounded OK on our set but it sounded horrible on the jazz standards that the other band was playing). My cymbals sounded fine but again the mix was weird--light taps on the bass drum were thunderous, crashes on the cymbals were barely audible.

    Obviously the drums sounded great to the sound guy and to the audience member who commented on them but to my ear they sounded so processed that all the subtlety was lost. They could have been anything.

    At this point I will no longer delude myself into thinking that my A's inherently sound better out front than my E's...
    Check out my music: http://www.myspace.com/kellypaletta

  • #2
    Amen to that brother
    Ted H.

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    • #3
      Re: A's might as well have been E's

      Originally posted by klp
      Obviously the drums sounded great to the sound guy and to the audience member who commented on them but to my ear they sounded so processed that all the subtlety was lost. They could have been anything.

      BUT this can be true for any e-drums set as well. Just depends on how drunk the sound engineer and jazz minded audience is
      Robert

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      • #4
        Kelly, just another example of how the sound guy can make or break you in an amplified situation, and that you sound only as good as he/she is letting you.

        The advantage to the A-Drums, in live situations, is that you and your band will hear your drums, regardless of how bad the sound guy butchers your monitor mix. As a very famous drummer once said, "With electronic drums, you hit them and hope that something happens. With my acoustic drums, you hit them and they speak. Every time."

        One advantage of the E-Drums, though, is that there is a consistency in what you are sending to the sound board that doesn't change with tuning, humidity, temperature, mic placement, feedback, mic stands getting knocked around, and those many other things inherent to working with acoustic instruments.

        You still, however, submit your talent, performance, and beautiful-sounding instruments to the whim of some guy (many times with questionable qualifications) toking out between sets & swilling beers while pushing sliders and twisting knobs. That's live music for you. There's alot to be said for having your own sound guy!!!

        In computer programming, the old axiom is GIGO, or "Garbage In, Garbage Out," meaning that the final result is only as good as what source data you put into it. Unfortunately. we musicians often end up with MINO, or "Music In, Noise Out." One of the reasons I'm going back to playing A-Drums live & using the E's for silent practice & the occasional recording. I may end up buying in to some Ddrum triggers for live sound reinforcement, tho...

        You need a drum tech, Kelly, to sound check you while you look over the sound guy's shoulder & offer constructive criticism. That'll make you really popular with the engineers!!

        -Danny
        -Danny

        Build a man a fire, and he'll be warm for a day. Set a man on fire, and he'll be warm for the rest of his life.

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        • #5
          Never trust an audience!

          After putting up the gears after our last gig we concluded that
          both the 18" sub basses was blown (NO sound at all).

          Since the audience thought that the sound was superb on that
          gig you start to wonder.(3 night duration)

          I doubt that both of the speakers went dead during the transport
          back from the gig.

          And the way it sounded without them gives the linear conclusion of (Superb - ((the alcohol * time)*(200-IQ slope)))=C-RAP

          // Daniel
          Check my VSTi project! http://hem.bredband.net/b125831

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          • #6
            Ahhh.....soundmen.

            Dan's Music Site; melodic, ethereal rock and more! Please have a listen :^)

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            • #7
              Right on, Danno! Friends of mine and I have been joking about the (Gary Larson-coined) "suck knob" for years, now...

              Typical reference:

              "Damn, man, that mix sounds like a$$... somebody go tell the sound guy to turn down the suck knob!!!"

              -Danny
              -Danny

              Build a man a fire, and he'll be warm for a day. Set a man on fire, and he'll be warm for the rest of his life.

              Comment


              • #8
                What's sad is I used to be a soundman.....

                What's unique is that I was actually good at it
                Last edited by Dan the Speakerman; 06-27-02, 02:07 AM.
                Dan's Music Site; melodic, ethereal rock and more! Please have a listen :^)

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                • #9
                  ...and in just such a situation, a guitar or bass player with a wireless can be a valuable tool during soundcheck!

                  -Danny

                  Build a man a fire, and he'll be warm for a day. Set a man on fire, and he'll be warm for the rest of his life.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by c. jude
                    I prefer someone to beat the drums with a similar attack to mine.
                    "Similar attack" is the tricky part though isn't it? I hear a lot of difference in my drums when I play them (even the tap tap tapping for soundcheck) and when someone else plays them. That's one reason why I am still not certain that my drums sounded the same way during our set that they did when the other guy was playing them. Still I guess something is better than nothing.
                    Check out my music: http://www.myspace.com/kellypaletta

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