Some questions about local live performances

Jul 11, 2018
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0
1
New Orleans, La.
#1
I would like to open this can of worms with a simple question about the sound reinforcement techniques that I have noted in this area over the last decade;
What happened to good, clean listenable volumes at live, outdoor venues? It seems that every outdoor performance I go to these days just doesn't have the sound I expect when compared to what I used to hear back in the seventies and eighties. Now, I know there have been a lot of changes in the way equipment and processing has changed but I would think it would have made live performance even better, not worse. Most system architecture has not really changed that much, so I am at a loss to figure out why the music sounds so bad. The number one problem I have noticed is the lower end. It is mixed so bad most of the time, it usually sounds like mud and covers up most of the mid-range instruments so that they can't even be heard. Any comments and suggestions would be appreciated.
 
Apr 18, 2011
75
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6
Montreal
#3
4 suggestion off the top of my head....
Leave 1/2 the subs at the shop.
LISTEN to a song or 3 from the group the band is covering.
Leave your 20 year old alcohol soaked ears at home.
Have a huge music collection for reference on what a song SHOULD sound like.
Chris.
 
#4
I feel that there is more emphasis on the low end of sound production these days....just my opinion. "You gotta feel the music...but really....? When I go to major concerts (last one was Bruno Mars in the TD garden, Boston) I try to get seats that are close to the FOH station. My thought process is that the dude mixing the show probably gets it right for his location...

My observation is that the "production end" (lights, things that move ie; risers, lifts, etc.) of band shows has gotten to the point where they get in the way of the show....just my opinion.

One of the best concerts I ever attended was "Huey Lewis and the News" back in the 90's at a shed in Mansfield, MA. That band rocked the place for two hours...no pyro, dancers, etc., just music.
 

Tim McCulloch

Graduate Student
Jan 11, 2011
2,888
24
38
Wichita KS USA
#6
I would like to open this can of worms with a simple question about the sound reinforcement techniques that I have noted in this area over the last decade;
What happened to good, clean listenable volumes at live, outdoor venues? It seems that every outdoor performance I go to these days just doesn't have the sound I expect when compared to what I used to hear back in the seventies and eighties. Now, I know there have been a lot of changes in the way equipment and processing has changed but I would think it would have made live performance even better, not worse. Most system architecture has not really changed that much, so I am at a loss to figure out why the music sounds so bad. The number one problem I have noticed is the lower end. It is mixed so bad most of the time, it usually sounds like mud and covers up most of the mid-range instruments so that they can't even be heard. Any comments and suggestions would be appreciated.

Too much live music sounds badly mixed because the person mixing it has no fucking clue about how the music is really supposed to sound and even if he/she did, the mixerperson lacks the technical chops to deliver an appropriate mix.
 
#7
Too much live music sounds badly mixed because the person mixing it has no fucking clue about how the music is really supposed to sound and even if he/she did, the mixerperson lacks the technical chops to deliver an appropriate mix.



And to add to what Tim said....today if you have credit card you can buy a good sounding out of the box sound system and call yourself a sound company/mixperson, unfortunately all too many times the person with the credit card is who Tim just described.

Getting low end bump, mud and rumble is easy, a well balanced mix above 100hz not so easy.
 
Last edited:
Feb 6, 2011
307
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#8
The last 2 groups I worked with one just this past Sunday and one yesterday, the bass players in both bands wouldn’t turn down enough (we asked them nice) so I could put them in our sound system. As a result there was uneven coverage and I couldn’t control the tonality at all of what the audience was hearing of the bass guitar. So sometimes it is completely out of the hands of the person mixing. It wasn’t as bad as it could have been but it wasn’t as good as I could have made it if they had let me.
 
#9
It can be a struggle for the soundman if the band doesn't co-operate. But there are also those sound guys that believe the kick drum should be the lead instrument. In my opinion,if you can't hear the vocal, your mix sucks. I build my mixes around the vocals and fill everything else around them. The low end is there, but it's there to support everything else in the mix.
 
#10
The last 2 groups I worked with one just this past Sunday and one yesterday, the bass players in both bands wouldn’t turn down enough (we asked them nice) so I could put them in our sound system. As a result there was uneven coverage and I couldn’t control the tonality at all of what the audience was hearing of the bass guitar. So sometimes it is completely out of the hands of the person mixing. It wasn’t as bad as it could have been but it wasn’t as good as I could have made it if they had let me.
Very true and even more so in small indoor venues or when the event / performance would benefit from overall lower volume.
Same thing can be said for the loud drum kit.
 
#11
It can be a struggle for the soundman if the band doesn't co-operate. But there are also those sound guys that believe the kick drum should be the lead instrument. In my opinion,if you can't hear the vocal, your mix sucks. I build my mixes around the vocals and fill everything else around them. The low end is there, but it's there to support everything else in the mix.
+1
 
Feb 4, 2014
385
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#12
Local live shows tend to be a bit more up close and personal proximity to the crowd. What I hear happen so many times is the soundman tries to overcome the stage wash with level. I turn off the house and listen to the stage, and I reduce that range from the house. You don't want to add to it until everything else matched up. I think the overuse of subs in larger shows cause the mix to suffer more than in a small show.
 
Likes: Randy Gartner
Jul 30, 2012
388
5
18
Tampere Finland
#13
Hello

I noticed many times, that if you add just a little of this and that to what´s coming off stage on a small venue, you get clarity. I have demonstrated this to people. Turn the pa off and - surprise - the overall spl drops maybe 3dB - and all clarity is gone.

I still put mics on everything even if I might not need them. It is just so much more elegant to turn channel down than go on the stage in the middle of performance to add mic. Besides - i don´t have to explain the musicians why I do not mike this or that.