One thing that's always bugged me about my bands is the difference in level between soundcheck and show. I build my mix based on what I get at soundcheck and then at show, the band plays at a different level/dynamic and I'm scrambling to readjust everything. I usually just pull back my gain pots a couple of clicks but it's just a pain in the rear. Does anybody else have this problem? What do you do to compensate or say to the band?
and Jordan Wolf says:
Well, it depends on the maturity level of the band and its members. If you're working with high schoolers, I doubt you'll have much luck (I haven't).
I always ask (and sometimes tell) them to play just like they are going to during the show. Normally, getting the group to do a few songs before the crowd gets there lets you get a feel for the mix. Plus, if they're going to play loudly, it'll be more likely to happen at that time.
It's a crap shoot, unfortunately. You get what you get...talent, no talent...show volume, no volume... It's combat audio at its best.
I bet sometimes it's the band, more times than not it's "audience absorption factor". Other factors; temperature (especially outdoors), but indoor conditions change alot too. (loading dock doors, AC, AV,etc) It's the nature of the beast and as mentioned - "if it was automatic, you'd be out of a job". You adjust your mix between venues right? Try doing your soundcheck closer to "doors", that should minimize adjustments and verify if it is the band & not the venue. If I read it correctly - the Air Force band is alot of inputs - so I feel your frustrations. Thank god it's not the London Philharmonic, you'd be on suicide watch.