Anyhoo, I sent this message to the band, trying to be as diplomatic as possible:
We are preparing for a rather important gig, opening up for Cornmeal. He sent this reply:When we are on stage being mixed by an engineer, we as a band relinquish the responsibility for the overall mix and the sound to the engineer. This is great because we can focus our attention on playing our instruments, which is what we are there for. The engineer is always in a better position to judge what sounds good and set levels than we are on stage. Under this scenario it is absolutely imperative that once we as players have a level through our equipment, that we do not under any circumstances change the level going to the board. If we have preamps, we should set them and forget them. If we are playing into an instrument mic, we should strive to always be the same distance and position in relation to the mic when the level was set. Otherwise, the sound engineer is dealing with a shifting, unpredictable situation in which good sound is impossible to attain.
To which I replied:The stomp box is not that complicated to adjust and once it's set it should be good for just about any gig. The mike that is matched with it (didn't use at Copper) is fixed on the banjo and is basically a minitaure 58 on a goose neck. By using it I have control over two volume levels (back up and lead) with my foot. It's much better sound than the piezo pick up and gives me a small amount of control. I just have to figure out how much boost to use, probably 20%. Once that is calibrated, I shouldn't have to change any of the adjustments and it then makes things easier for the sound guy. I hope this makes sense. It doesn't have to be done before this gig but whenever we have the time.
So, I have two questions. 1. do you agree with what I've said here and why or why not? 2. how should I handle this if he insists on hitting that thing on stage?I realize how attractive it appears to have some assemblage of control over your own volume on stage. But, raising and lowering your volume is the engineer's job. He'll be in a much better position to judge where it should be. Let him do it, and free your mind to light up the audience with your awesome banjo playing.
It is actually very important that you do not raise and lower your volume on stage, because as I've said before, it messes up the over-all mix and makes it impossible for the sound engineer to fine tune our sound. This guy is good... very good, and he'll give you a bump on solos, but in proportions that make sense to the over-all mix. You can't possibly "calibrate" your pre-amp properly to do this. It takes a set of human ears. Your pre-amp is not worthless if you don't use that function of it. It is integral to your sound. And, that function would certainly be useful if we did not have an engineer mixing us.
If the reason you want to do this is because you are afraid of not being able to hear yourself well enough, simply ask for more banjo (or over-all volume) through your monitor.