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Author Topic: Why Does Live Sound Suck?  (Read 46439 times)

Dick Rees

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Re: Why Does Live Sound Suck?
« Reply #180 on: April 15, 2008, 06:19:32 pm »

Along the lines of good sound going unnoticed while bad sound generates complaints:

I was doing an outdoor gig on a beautiful, sunny fall day.  Band on stage is from West Africa and just cooking.  The owner of a local sound company boogies on by, looks at me and says, "I've been to a lot of festivals and I've worked a lot of festivals and it's never THIS good."  Does that translate into further employment or referrals?  Guess again.

Another time I'm doing a fairly well-known fifty-ish folkie taking care to really tune the system to the room, use a power amp with no fan (hate that whirring noise behind sensitive folk songs) and just generally make the sound natural and even for every seat.  She OK's everything at sound check then at the performance wants the guitar turned down in the monitors.  I had to tell her that the monitors had never been on, were there in case she needed them and that she was just hearing the guitar in the room....she'd never heard herself play before unscreened by monitors.  Sound level in the house was 83 dBA slow in the front row.  Sound in the house was some of the best I've ever done but she wanted the below average sound she'd always gotten.

Damned if you do, damned if you don't.
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Toby Mills

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Re: Why Does Live Sound Suck?
« Reply #181 on: April 15, 2008, 06:58:20 pm »

A few of the better artists I have worked with take the time after getting their monitors right to wander out into the audience area with their mic during sound check.

I think this shows they care and I think its very good to listen to any comments or requests they make.
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Mike {AB} Butler

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Re: Why Does Live Sound Suck?
« Reply #182 on: April 16, 2008, 08:33:37 am »

Dick Rees wrote on Tue, 15 April 2008 18:19

Along the lines of good sound going unnoticed while bad sound generates complaints:

I was doing an outdoor gig on a beautiful, sunny fall day.  Band on stage is from West Africa and just cooking.  The owner of a local sound company boogies on by, looks at me and says, "I've been to a lot of festivals and I've worked a lot of festivals and it's never THIS good."  Does that translate into further employment or referrals?  Guess again.


Hey, I don't know, I'll take a compliment.. even a backhanded one.  Very Happy
The dark side of the biz I discovered when working for a large company was that the competition for the "big" shows was enormous. It was such that even though we all worked for the same company (of course, everyone had to make the company look good), but fellow workers were definitely not into handing out compliments.. because you might just get promoted to "their" show. So, coworkers and colleagues from My experience weren't too encouraging or helpful. It was the customers that always let us know if they liked or didn't like.. and most of them were just happy if it didn't feed back, get too loud, and of course, any musicality shown in mixing was either noticed.. or not.
As far as referrals.. as I said, if everyone else wants your seat, Dick, why would they go to put you in the seat by paying you a compliment?
FWIW,
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Mike Babcock

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Re: Why Does Live Sound Suck?
« Reply #183 on: April 16, 2008, 04:03:13 pm »

Jon Waller wrote on Tue, 15 April 2008 17:37

  My guess is that Mike heard Phil Collins on an earlier tour, and that FOH guy moved to a different line of work (house sound guy, etc.), or was committed to a different tour, so Phil, or his TM, hired a different FOH guy, who many be younger and of the 'subwoofers on steroids' mentality.


I don't know why I'm replying to this because this thread is already too long and has been talked about for years if anyone ever tried the search function...

But this attitude from Jon confuses me. From the not enough info from Earl, Jon has put the blame directly on the band's engineer and it very well may have been many different things that caused the bad experience that Earl had. Anything from horrible venue acoustics, bad PA deployment, maybe even a blown horn that Earl's seat happened to fall in, to Earl's seat directly in a standing wave, to the possibility of a bad mix engineer or him having a very bad day. There are many possible reasons as to why Earl left with a bad taste in his mouth. Let's not be so quick to blame the band engineer until the facts are in, perhaps Earl had the onset of a cold or something and wasn't hearing properly that day. Maybe Earl was a guest backstage and he was just hearing the back of the PA. I don't know and that's my point, don't blame an individual unless you know the facts.
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Jason Tubbs

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Re: Why Does Live Sound Suck?
« Reply #184 on: April 16, 2008, 04:20:06 pm »

Mike Babcock wrote on Wed, 16 April 2008 16:03

...it very well may have been many different things that caused the bad experience...


At the risk of simply adding more noise and for what it's worth, I totally agree with Mike here.  At the "A" level, the best sounding show I've ever heard was Radiohead at MSG in 2001.  One of the worst sounding shows was also Radiohead, at the Theater at MSG a few years later.  I thought this rather odd -  same band, same engineer, top-shelf PA...could the room be this bad?  Then the people sitting next to me got up and left, so I moved over to get a better sightline and the sound just BLOSSOMED.  I must have been sitting in one heck of an antinode.

jt


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Noel Bennett

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Re: Why Does Live Sound Suck?
« Reply #185 on: April 17, 2008, 12:00:05 am »

Mike {AB} Butler wrote on Sat, 12 April 2008 05:52

Lee Brenkman wrote on Fri, 11 April 2008 14:52


Possibly "Grampa's complaint about live sound these days #1"

The mind set that the kick drum is the single most important instrument in EVERY form of music.

How many posts on these forums are devoted to questions about a "killer" kick sound as opposed to those asking how to get a good and INTELLIGIBLE vocal sound?


Wait, Wait, I know the answer to this!! Because the vocals always feedback and the kick never does, right??  Twisted Evil

I always seem to get a reaction when I turn UP the bass player to get a fuller sound - usually someone complains it's too loud.. but never seems to happen when I turn up the kick. Sheesh..  Mad

Dont you know that the bass is just a kick drum enhancer
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Noel Bennett

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Re: Why Does Live Sound Suck?
« Reply #186 on: April 17, 2008, 12:20:50 am »

John Martin wrote on Wed, 16 April 2008 02:31

Hi lee,

Grace Slick? my all time fav!
Very Happy

I never understand why these (the crap sounding ones) acts don't have their manager or some rep out front during the show to at least make sure the sound is acceptable, maybe they are just there to collect the cheque. One guy who impressed me immensely was the guitarist Steve Hackett, during the sound check he appeared to be involved with every aspect of the live sound and on both occasions I've seen him (with band) the sound was truly stunning. Cool if only there were more like him!

John  


How often have you done a show and had the artists rep at foh telling you what to do .I get it quite a lot at the venue I work in and more than half the time they wouldnt know how to mix a cake let alone a show. These are the people who report back to the artist............ just because you can keep the books and make telephone calls does not necessarily qualify you to tell me how to mix. I personally have had one TM/PM or artists boyfriend (I am not sure of his role he flashed his laminate and started barking instructions after the show started)tell the artist that the sound sucked and they shouldnt have to pay me, fortunately for me and my job security as this went to my management both reviewers praised the sound in their respective publications(one mainstream paper and one street magazine)I am glad I chose to ignore his drivel and used my experience.
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Kevin Maxwell AKA TheMAXX

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Re: Why Does Live Sound Suck?
« Reply #187 on: April 17, 2008, 01:20:23 am »

Noel Bennett wrote on Thu, 17 April 2008 00:20

How often have you done a show and had the artists rep at foh telling you what to do .I get it quite a lot at the venue I work in and more than half the time they wouldnt know how to mix a cake let alone a show. These are the people who report back to the artist............ just because you can keep the books and make telephone calls does not necessarily qualify you to tell me how to mix. I personally have had one TM/PM or artists boyfriend (I am not sure of his role he flashed his laminate and started barking instructions after the show started)tell the artist that the sound sucked and they shouldnt have to pay me, fortunately for me and my job security as this went to my management both reviewers praised the sound in their respective publications(one mainstream paper and one street magazine)I am glad I chose to ignore his drivel and used my experience.


My vagueness about the artists is intentional and I will not even in a PM reveal the names.

I did a show with an artist and his backing band (you would probably know the name if I were stupid enough to post it publicly) that I had worked with very successfully a few times before. During sound check he tells me to listen to his assistant, as this person knows what they want it to sound like. I did what the assistant said to do and the assistant was happy, I didn’t like the way it sounded after the changes that I had to make. The artist comes off the stage and into the house and listens and has me change things to how I though it should be and how it was in the first place.

In the same venue I did a group that I was told were very famous in their own country (India). It was not a style of music I was familiar with and the manager sat behind me telling me what to do. I didn’t like the way it sounded and I could tell even from the reactions of the audience that he was wrong. I almost got up and said either you do it or me. I was asked at a later date to work for the same group and I refused the job.

I saw a show last year that the only complaint about the sound that I had (main singer and his instrument) was explained to me that the main artist has a little mixer at his feet and he messes up that part of the show all by himself. The BE has no control over that part in the house and I have heard that other BE’s have been fired trying to get this guy to do it right. So the BE does the best he can and keeps his mouth shut and keeps his job.

I also know of a member of a group that micro manages the BE and the rest of the group just lets him do it. He manages to make any sound system they use sound very inferior to what it started as. As I was typing this part I realized how little I could say without giving hints that some people would be able to use and figure this one out.
I have more but that’s all for now. I need some sleep.
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Kevin Maxwell
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ProSoundWeb Community

Re: Why Does Live Sound Suck?
« Reply #187 on: April 17, 2008, 01:20:23 am »


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