I have a new pet peeve: well-intentioned (presumably) sound operators that EQ for gain-before-feedback rather than sound quality.
In the last few weeks I’ve had some experiences where audio quality was a real issue, and no one seemed to know how to fix it.
In all of these cases, the EQ (both on the channel strip and the master EQ) had been jacked all over the place in an attempt of keep a microphone from feeding back.
1) In general, if you have to EQ radically to get enough gain, something is very wrong - generally it’s due to a poorly designed loudspeaker system or the wrong loudspeakers.
2) More gain does not necessarily mean that the sound will be perceived as louder - and it surely will not sound better.
3) Besides the main loudspeakers and their placement, gain-before-feedback can also be influenced/determined by a number of other factors - including additional open microphones and additional sends (stage monitors).
Here are a couple of situations I recently experienced:
Problem: The musicians are all complaining that the monitors are loud - the stage volume is loud - but they can’t hear themselves.
Solution: Flatten out all of the monitor EQs and start from scratch.
What had happened is that a well-intentioned contractor was called in to help with monitor issues. He proceeded to set up the microphones that the praise team uses and then turned up the monitors until there was feedback. He would then notch an “offending frequency” - repeating this cycle again and again.
The 31-band EQs on the monitors ranged from what looked like a smile curve (missing a few teeth) to a frown (with a drop lip in the center) to a hair lip - and a few things in between that I can’t describe. I’m not one who says that the shape of an EQ has to look pretty, but it does give a pretty good indication of what the monitors will sound like.