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Well!!! Before I get up to play I show everybody how I take my hearing aids out. I cannot play with them in. They distort. Even before I got the el cheapo (free) Government Issue Jobies I found playing with hearing aids in caused me to play with much more bass. Hearing aids boost the high end (for me).

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Jeff, another thing to consider is that. In many retirement/nursing home situations you will be “invading” meaning performing, in their living space. You’ll want to be quick in setting up and getting out.
This afternoon I have a 3:00 and 5:00 performances at 2 buildings within a retirement center. The first location they usually are doing an organized event such as bingo or P.T. You need to be invisible when setting up. The 2nd. they are gathered and waiting for me, again a need for a quick set up. Minimum equipment is a must.

Last edited by jazzsax; 10/26/19 03:39 PM.
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Makes sense JazzSax. I'm starting to have an appreciation for the setup and take down sides of performing. Like you, at least in my mind, where ever I play will be small, like your so called "parlor" venues. No time for elabrate setups.

You've even got me thinking about my current keyboard set up. I use 3 external hard synths, my actual keyboard, a midi interface, an audio interface, the computer, monitor plus these speakers I'm thinking about. Just the thought of dealing with all of that, the transporting, the wiring setup, the take-down. I may not be cut out for all of this!

I hate to go all MP3's but it would certainly simplify things but at what point do you cross over from being a "live" player to a "karaoke" player? At what point do you cross over from entertaining yourself to entertaining others?

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Originally Posted By: MountainSide
<...snip...>
I hate to go all MP3's but it would certainly simplify things but at what point do you cross over from being a "live" player to a "karaoke" player? At what point do you cross over from entertaining yourself to entertaining others?

Jeff

IMO you become a karaoke player when you do not make your own backing tracks yourself.

I've been doing live over my own backing tracks since 1985, and nobody seems to care. I could probably buy karaoke tracks and they still wouldn't care, but I care so I make them all myself.

I play drums, bass, wind synth, guitar, flute, sax and keys so I can make them myself. And when I do, they are in my key, in my arrangement, and since I did them myself I know every chord and every substitution.

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If you're a keys player what's wrong with solo piano and you singing? Frankly, in a parlor setting with 10 people I think any kind of backing tracks is ridiculous. I don't even sing and I've done solo piano gigs like that. It's fine and old folks love cocktail piano standards.

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Bob, my screen name is “jazzsax” for a reason. How many sax players do you know doing solo gigs?
I do vocals and sax parts along with each of my backing tracks, which are all BIAB. You mention that old folks love cocktail piano standards, they also love the sounds of a dinner house quartet.

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Haha, sorry I forgot to quote Mountainside, he referred to his keyboard setup. Ive done many duo's with a sax player. I'll modify my reply with this: I would still keep it minimal like backing track keys (AP, EP or organ as appropriate) or guitar. There are some good RT's for those but I would not use drums or bass for these types of gigs.

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We play for the over 55 market a lot. It's a big, dependable market here in South Florida and has been so since I started playing pro.

A lot of changes have come down through the years, the music has migrated as we play the same market and the years pass (when we started it was pre-rock Big Band Jazz).

Also technology has changed. We now compete with people who buy karaoke tracks and sing along to them. If we went out with minimalist backing tracks, we would not be able to compete.

I do my own tracks, sometimes with the help of BiaB and sometimes from scratch. I could save a lot of work and buy karaoke tracks like many of my competitors, but by making my own using MIDI and synths I can (1) change the key to whatever works best for our vocals (2) extend the arrangement so a 2 minute song can last 4 minutes if it's a dance number (3) leave a place for me to improvise a sax, wind synth, guitar or flute solo (4) by making my own tracks I know the chords, substitutions and everything else about them.

More details about how I do it are here: http://www.nortonmusic.com/backing_tracks.html - Feel free to use what you like and ignore what you don't.

Cocktail piano is for all practical purposes dead around here. There are a couple who play sonic wallpaper in restaurants but that's about it. The minimalist folks go out with a flat-top guitar and start with Jimmy Buffet type songs. Of course your area might have different tastes.

Check out your competition before you make any final decisions. You have to aim to be better than the rest.


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A lot of posts back, MrGeeze mentioned considering buying the QSC 10 speaker. I converted several years ago from a power amp and non-powered speakers to several QSC powered speakers and a mixer. I bought two 8" and one 12". But even a single 8" puts out a great sound and adequate bass for a small room. The QSC line is light and extremely reliable with great undistorted sound.

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Originally Posted By: Notes Norton
We now compete with people who buy karaoke tracks and sing along to them. If we went out with minimalist backing tracks, we would not be able to compete.


I agree completely but my reply was specific to a small 10 person gig in a "parlor" in a nursing home. Also, it depends who the keyboard player is. I can play literally anything from Real Book standards to straight ahead jazz to strong, funky left hand bass so even playing solo my set list includes some Jeff Lorber, Herbie, Chick, Benoit. I just did a very uptempo funky version of Take Five last week. Still, I doubt I would be doing any of that with 10 old folks like 75+ taking their hearing aids out because I might get too loud. It's like any gig you and I have done for 40 years. Read the crowd. A retirement community still has a large percentage of 70-80 year olds so it just depends who's in front of you.

You're correct that the majority of retirees now are 55-65 and that's definitely 70's era classic rock territory. No Sinatra or 60's folk songs other than a little variety or to honor a request.

Bob


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Thanks for responding Matt, I've had such good luck with Yamaha equipment but I'll give the QSC's a look.

Jeff


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Interesting and educational thread. Can I ask in relation to BIAB? Assuming I decide to move everything to mono, which seems to be the smart thing to do, is there any point in altering the panning in BIAB? Should it all be just panned to the middle. Also, if you have the bass and drums panned left and the rest right to enable you to easily control the mix, do you lose a lot of power by then panning them both to the middle? I have a Fender Passport system and for small gigs a Mackie Freeplay live.


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Originally Posted By: jazzmammal
<...snip...> It's like any gig you and I have done for 40 years. Read the crowd. <...>

Exactly! But it's remarkable that so many musicians don't know that.

Originally Posted By: lambada
Interesting and educational thread. Can I ask in relation to BIAB? Assuming I decide to move everything to mono, which seems to be the smart thing to do, is there any point in altering the panning in BIAB? <...snip...>

Run BiaB in mono for all the same reasons.

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Hi Notes

So, do I still pan tracks in BIAB? Also, how do I run BIAB in Mono? (Maybe I'm being super dumb here!) I've always just switched it on! laugh grin


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Originally Posted By: lambada
Hi Notes

So, do I still pan tracks in BIAB? Also, how do I run BIAB in Mono? (Maybe I'm being super dumb here!) I've always just switched it on! laugh grin


First Way:

Options > GM Settings, etc. > Set Panning To Mono.

Second Way:

Right click on "Master" radio button > Set Mix to Flat, Dry & Center

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Clipboard01.jpg (161.49 KB, 96 downloads)
Options > GM Settings, etc. > Set Panning To Mono
Clipboard02.jpg (145.02 KB, 90 downloads)
Right click on "Master" Select Set Mix to Flat, Dry & Center
Last edited by Jim Fogle; 10/30/19 03:32 PM. Reason: Added 2nd Way

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Thanks Jim. Never noticed that menu option.


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Glad to help out. Notice the two options differ slightly.

The first option just moves the mixer pan sliders. As you can see in the screen shot there is another selection that will restore the default panning positions should you change your mind.

The second option moves all the mixer reverb sliders to zero, sets each mixer tone control slider to flat or neutral position and centers all mixer pan sliders. This is useful when you want to export wave files of all the tracks; for instance for processing in a DAW.


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I would pan the bass and drums to one side and everything else to the other for reasons explained earlier. I doesn't hurt anything and you don't lose any power. It may sound great as it is but having that panning done at least gives you the option to EQ the bass (and kick drum) if you need it.

Bob


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I actually pan drums and bass hard left, everything else hard right, and then when I route both channels to my PA mixer, I pan both center.

This gives me the ability to pump up or tame down the bass and drums while still having a mono mix to the room.

When doing 'dinner sets' or 'sonic wallpaper' I tweak the left channel down a bit (bass/drums) and for dance sets I tweak it up a bit.

This works well for me.

I run 2 mics, 2 guitars (via amp sims), 4 computer sound modules, and my backing tracks into a mixer - everything is panned center.

If one speaker needs to be louder or softer than the other, I adjust this with the master L & R faders (post mix - in mono).

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Ok, got it. What a great resource you all are. My biggest drama is keeping all the backing tracks at a similar volume. I normalise everything, but it's still problematic. Especially switching from rock type BB backing tracks to jazz or folk. Add to that issues with mixing when I'm streaming and mixing when live and it can be frustrating and less than optimal. Panning drums and bass left and the rest right and then outputting in mono should ease up some of the inconsistencies at least. Thanks everyone.


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