Professional Sound - Indepth

Turn That Amp UP! by Gordie Johnson

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I hear a lot of guitar players pluggin’ into a lot of devices to try and find their sound. There seems to be a trend now in our industry where the soundman is the ruler. Guitar players have to turn down their amps, drummers play behind plexiglass shields, and guys use in-ear monitors so that the sound can be controlled. I’m sorry, but that is fucking boring if you ask me.

I don’t know one artist that sounds better for doing things this way. If I want to hear that kind of audio, I’ll go see Phantom at the Winter Garden Theatre, or I’ll go see Cats or something. It is such a Broadway theatre approach. Rock ’n’ roll has got nothing to do with that. Plug into an amp and turn that shit up.

Soundmen, you can do this. You can make the club sound awesome with a loud-ass band playing on stage. After all, that’s your job. Soundmen have done it for decades. If you want to get a gig in a studio, get a job as a studio engineer. Live engineers have to deal with high SPLs. I just don’t think all of the technology they throw at live audio makes it sound better. Some things are advanced: digital desks make festival stages way better than they ever were and wireless technology has made things easy for big festivals, but I really don’t know any rock ’n’ roll band worth the time and effort that plays according to the soundman’s rules.

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About Andrew King
Andrew King is the Editor-in-Chief at Professional Sound. He is also a co-host of Canadian Musician Radio and NWC Webinars’ series of free music and entertainment industry webinars.
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