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Article- sounding off on bad sound

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Anonymous
April 12, 2005 8:11:31 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

Yeah there's a lot of that going around. I'm not sure if it's worse
than it used to be or not, but the sound was just atrocious when I saw
Bob Dylan at the Paramount theater in Seattle last month. This was
the last night of a three-night stand so I figured they had plenty of
time to get it dialed in, but it was abysmal. The drum kit didn't
even seem to be in the PA for the entire set. I could only pick out
the drums acoustically when he played something really loud. It was
inexcusable and I was pissed off after having paid $67 for the ticket.
(Dylan's performance was pretty terrible too, but that's a separate
rant.)

On opening act Merle Haggard's set, the sound was fine. They were
playing more quietly than Dylan's band which probably helped, but
everything was clearly in the system and properly mixed.

Al

On Tue, 12 Apr 2005 16:11:30 GMT, Mark Richardson
<lobsterman@nc.rr.com> wrote:

>Saw this while In San Diego over the weekend:
>
>http://www.signonsandiego.com/news/features/20050410-99...
Anonymous
April 12, 2005 8:11:31 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

Jay Kadis wrote:
> In article <ando51d8fok5lmsmlrrcucpjf0notqt1ar@4ax.com>,
> playon <playonAT@comcast.net> wrote:
>
> > Yeah there's a lot of that going around. I'm not sure if it's
worse
> > than it used to be or not, but the sound was just atrocious when I
saw
> > Bob Dylan at the Paramount theater in Seattle last month. This was
> > the last night of a three-night stand so I figured they had plenty
of
> > time to get it dialed in, but it was abysmal. The drum kit didn't
> > even seem to be in the PA for the entire set. I could only pick
out
> > the drums acoustically when he played something really loud. It
was
> > inexcusable and I was pissed off after having paid $67 for the
ticket.
> > (Dylan's performance was pretty terrible too, but that's a separate
> > rant.)
> >
> > On opening act Merle Haggard's set, the sound was fine. They were
> > playing more quietly than Dylan's band which probably helped, but
> > everything was clearly in the system and properly mixed.
> >
> > Al
> >
> > On Tue, 12 Apr 2005 16:11:30 GMT, Mark Richardson
> > <lobsterman@nc.rr.com> wrote:
> >
> > >Saw this while In San Diego over the weekend:
> > >
> >
>http://www.signonsandiego.com/news/features/20050410-99...
> >
>
> It seems to me that volume is preferred over clarity in most of the
shows I've
> attended. Maybe it's the curse of the recording engineer, but I
would like to
> hear high-fidelity sound when I go to a concert. I will no longer
pay to see a
> show I need earplugs to attend. It's supposed to be MUSIC. If I
want loud,
> I'll go to an airshow.
>
I recently walked out of a show here in Albuquerque for the same
reason. Sounded like complete amatuers were running sound. Wireless mic
not turned on for announcer (I mean someone had to come from back stage
and turn on his mic). Instruments appearing and disappearing in the
mix. Too much reverb on the flamenco guitar. Missed cues. Pre-recorded
section just stopping mid-scene. I couldn't believe it! But the
overriding reason I left was that it was just too loud and sounded bad
to boot.

One of the musicians is a friend of mine so I asked him if he noticed
it and he said "Oh yes, it was terrible".

I really think a lot of it comes down to A) lack of experience, B)
focusing on the "wrong" things and C) lack of understanding by
musicians/producers/promoters or whomever as to the importance of good
sound and what is required to get it. And clearly it's not just the
gear...

Karl Winkler
Lectrosonics, Inc.
http://www.lectrosonics.com
Related resources
Anonymous
April 12, 2005 8:11:31 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

Mark Richardson wrote:
> Saw this while In San Diego over the weekend:
>
>
http://www.signonsandiego.com/news/features/20050410-99...

Just a further indication of the loss of quality in our Society.
Quantity (Bass, Volume, FX etc....) trmups Quality every time.... Not
sure some sound people even know or care about quality anymore. And if
so they're not good enough to give it.
Anonymous
April 12, 2005 8:11:32 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

In article <ando51d8fok5lmsmlrrcucpjf0notqt1ar@4ax.com>,
playon <playonAT@comcast.net> wrote:

> Yeah there's a lot of that going around. I'm not sure if it's worse
> than it used to be or not, but the sound was just atrocious when I saw
> Bob Dylan at the Paramount theater in Seattle last month. This was
> the last night of a three-night stand so I figured they had plenty of
> time to get it dialed in, but it was abysmal. The drum kit didn't
> even seem to be in the PA for the entire set. I could only pick out
> the drums acoustically when he played something really loud. It was
> inexcusable and I was pissed off after having paid $67 for the ticket.
> (Dylan's performance was pretty terrible too, but that's a separate
> rant.)
>
> On opening act Merle Haggard's set, the sound was fine. They were
> playing more quietly than Dylan's band which probably helped, but
> everything was clearly in the system and properly mixed.
>
> Al
>
> On Tue, 12 Apr 2005 16:11:30 GMT, Mark Richardson
> <lobsterman@nc.rr.com> wrote:
>
> >Saw this while In San Diego over the weekend:
> >
> >http://www.signonsandiego.com/news/features/20050410-99...
>

It seems to me that volume is preferred over clarity in most of the shows I've
attended. Maybe it's the curse of the recording engineer, but I would like to
hear high-fidelity sound when I go to a concert. I will no longer pay to see a
show I need earplugs to attend. It's supposed to be MUSIC. If I want loud,
I'll go to an airshow.

-Jay
--
x------- Jay Kadis ------- x---- Jay's Attic Studio ------x
x Lecturer, Audio Engineer x Dexter Records x
x CCRMA, Stanford University x http://www.offbeats.com/ x
x---------- http://ccrma.stanford.edu/~jay/ ------------x
April 12, 2005 10:04:14 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

J_West wrote:
> Mark Richardson wrote:
> > Saw this while In San Diego over the weekend:
> >
> >
>
http://www.signonsandiego.com/news/features/20050410-99...
>
> Just a further indication of the loss of quality in our Society.
> Quantity (Bass, Volume, FX etc....) trmups Quality every time.... Not
> sure some sound people even know or care about quality anymore. And
if
> so they're not good enough to give it.

truth be told, I can't judge the quality of most shows I go to becasue
I usually wear ear plugs because they are so f.... loud.

Mark
Anonymous
April 13, 2005 1:02:07 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

J_West wrote:
> Mark Richardson wrote:
> > Saw this while In San Diego over the weekend:
> >
> >
>
http://www.signonsandiego.com/news/features/20050410-99...
>
> Just a further indication of the loss of quality in our Society.
> Quantity (Bass, Volume, FX etc....) trmups Quality every time.... Not
> sure some sound people even know or care about quality anymore. And
if
> so they're not good enough to give it.

I am convinced that many don't know how to do it..I talk to a whole
bunch of local and traveling mixers and most are lost. Our local
"premier showcase club" has a guy mixing who admits to having less than
9 months total experience..which show the owners/promoters...don't care
or know either.
Anonymous
April 13, 2005 2:13:08 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

On 4/12/05 5:16 PM, in article jay-A4B706.14164512042005@news.stanford.edu,
"Jay Kadis" <jay@ccrma.stanford.edu> wrote:

> It seems to me that volume is preferred over clarity in most of the shows I've
> attended. Maybe it's the curse of the recording engineer, but I would like to
> hear high-fidelity sound when I go to a concert. I will no longer pay to see
> a
> show I need earplugs to attend. It's supposed to be MUSIC. If I want loud,
> I'll go to an airshow.

Sometimes the mixer is serving two masters, the aesthetic one and the
producer.
Anonymous
April 13, 2005 8:24:57 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

Karl Winkler wrote:

> < ....snip.. >
>
> I really think a lot of it comes down to A) lack of experience, B)
> focusing on the "wrong" things and C) lack of understanding by
> musicians/producers/promoters or whomever as to the importance of good
> sound and what is required to get it. And clearly it's not just the
> gear...
>
> Karl Winkler

For my little venue I learned that when people want it louder
what they really need is more clarity. I added some zone
speakers and now everyone is happy at much lower SPLs.
[ as always: YMMV ]

Pump up the volume and you still have the same signal to
noise ratio... !


Later...

Ron Capik
--
Anonymous
April 13, 2005 11:18:54 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

Ron Capik wrote:
> Karl Winkler wrote:
>
> > < ....snip.. >
> >
> > I really think a lot of it comes down to A) lack of experience, B)
> > focusing on the "wrong" things and C) lack of understanding by
> > musicians/producers/promoters or whomever as to the importance of
good
> > sound and what is required to get it. And clearly it's not just the
> > gear...
> >
> > Karl Winkler
>
> For my little venue I learned that when people want it louder
> what they really need is more clarity. I added some zone
> speakers and now everyone is happy at much lower SPLs.
> [ as always: YMMV ]
>
> Pump up the volume and you still have the same signal to
> noise ratio... !
>
Excellent points. The "language" between musicians, producers and
engineers can often cause problems. Just as you indicate - "louder"
really means that they want to be able to hear better.

Along with the same s/n ratio with more volume, you also have more
distortion (generally). And this is where a lot of problems start, IMO.

A few years back I saw a demo of the servo subwoofer systems. The point
these guys made was that club-goers don't necessarily want more
*midrange* volume, but more bass. This way they could feel the music
and have a *vibe* but still be able to talk to each other. I was
convinced!

A colleague of mine and a trombone player (tromboner?) suggested once
that what was needed in reinforcement was highs (to compensate for
losses in air and absorbtion, and lows, to compensate for the natrual
rolloff in our hearing system, but very little mids, since this would
come off the stage already. I experimented with this idea (with a jazz
band) along with delaying the mains back to the drums, and I must say
it seemed to work quite well at helping the PA "dissapear" in terms of
a subjective experience.

Karl Winkler
Lectrosonics, Inc.
http://www.lectrosonics.com
Anonymous
April 13, 2005 11:27:46 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

i spose its more small-scale, but im sure it probably applies to bigger
gigs too. whenever my band used to play we always had the engineer
adjust things to account for bodies in the venue - they seem to do
weird things to the sound which when soundchecking is always empty.

im no expert, but i know this point gets overlooked on smaller gigs.
maybe the roadies should bring in thousands of sacks of dirt and line
them all up first?

cheers

Luke
Anonymous
April 13, 2005 12:24:34 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

> thousands of sacks of dirt

can I get this as a pdf????

went with mother and stepdad to a Steve Lawrence & Eydie Gorme concert
at low levels everything was okay, when they belted one out..... ouch
had to stuff ears with toliet paper.

dale
Anonymous
April 13, 2005 4:39:27 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

The sub frequency thing is the way of the future..IMO. I can demonstrte
easily how people are fooled by 'apparent" loudness of midrange when
there is little or no low frequency content. I have set up systems and
adjusted them and when the low end is "balanced"..meaning even and low
enough..that the required levels of other instruments in the mix
actually goes down! Vocals can be quieter if there is enough sub
energy. This was the point made by Barry Bozeman years ago when on tour
with Servo BT7's and Contrabases and tiny mid/hi speakers.

I strive to have the system disappear..often this is a factor of sight
lines with on stage instruments as well.
Anonymous
April 14, 2005 5:47:27 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

Ron Capik <r.capik@worldnet.att.net> wrote in
news:425C9ED5.5EEAACAB@worldnet.att.net:

> For my little venue I learned that when people want it louder
> what they really need is more clarity. I added some zone
> speakers and now everyone is happy at much lower SPLs.
> [ as always: YMMV ]

Complement: My mother will often say sounds are "too loud" when they are
distorted, even at quiet levels.
Anonymous
April 14, 2005 1:01:09 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

I agree. John Halliburton and Mike and the others at Servo-Drive know what
works at clubs, but their other products are just as prominently addressing
intelligibility in large systems with their designs. Now I just tried out
the TrikTraps and they are not really for SR as much as monitoring, although
they will do double duty as small SR systems. The surprising thing is just
how clear, tight and precise they were, even at distances one wouldn't
normally put them to use in. I didn't drive them harder, just moved back.
Little Feat sounded like Little Feat. In comparison to some Altec they were
heads and shoulders above the Karlson/Altec horn setup but they didn't quite
cover the entire bandwidth as loudly. The addition of a couple of the servo
subs would have been nice to try, but the shipping cost, moving to our
outdoor location for testing, and return shipping was more than I wanted to
take on right then.

Still, it's the concept I'm agreeing with. I see no reason to have pure
volume if it's not doing the job correctly. I'd rather hear an intelligible
vocal at lesser dBs than having some idea that a singer is singing at
greater dBs. Just watched an older Saturday Night Live with Henry Rollins
the other night and couldn't even hear him.

However, some of the problem can certainly be attributed to bands who don't
allow SR guys to do their jobs, which is to apply sound reinforcement
technologies correctly. If you've got 130 dB coming off the stage then
there's not really much a FOH guy can do, nor a TV mixing engineer as
mentioned above. Supposedly the ONE good thing a modeling amplifier could
do would be able to give these players the sound of their full tilt
Marshalls without the fricking volume. Then a good SR team could actually
present decent quality concert sound.

--


Roger W. Norman
SirMusic Studio
http://blogs.salon.com/0004478/
"Karl Winkler" <karlwinkler66@yahoo.com> wrote in message
news:1113401934.360111.267790@o13g2000cwo.googlegroups.com...
>
> Ron Capik wrote:
> > Karl Winkler wrote:
> >
> > > < ....snip.. >
> > >
> > > I really think a lot of it comes down to A) lack of experience, B)
> > > focusing on the "wrong" things and C) lack of understanding by
> > > musicians/producers/promoters or whomever as to the importance of
> good
> > > sound and what is required to get it. And clearly it's not just the
> > > gear...
> > >
> > > Karl Winkler
> >
> > For my little venue I learned that when people want it louder
> > what they really need is more clarity. I added some zone
> > speakers and now everyone is happy at much lower SPLs.
> > [ as always: YMMV ]
> >
> > Pump up the volume and you still have the same signal to
> > noise ratio... !
> >
> Excellent points. The "language" between musicians, producers and
> engineers can often cause problems. Just as you indicate - "louder"
> really means that they want to be able to hear better.
>
> Along with the same s/n ratio with more volume, you also have more
> distortion (generally). And this is where a lot of problems start, IMO.
>
> A few years back I saw a demo of the servo subwoofer systems. The point
> these guys made was that club-goers don't necessarily want more
> *midrange* volume, but more bass. This way they could feel the music
> and have a *vibe* but still be able to talk to each other. I was
> convinced!
>
> A colleague of mine and a trombone player (tromboner?) suggested once
> that what was needed in reinforcement was highs (to compensate for
> losses in air and absorbtion, and lows, to compensate for the natrual
> rolloff in our hearing system, but very little mids, since this would
> come off the stage already. I experimented with this idea (with a jazz
> band) along with delaying the mains back to the drums, and I must say
> it seemed to work quite well at helping the PA "dissapear" in terms of
> a subjective experience.
>
> Karl Winkler
> Lectrosonics, Inc.
> http://www.lectrosonics.com
>
Anonymous
April 14, 2005 1:08:24 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

Experience tells one that people absorb sound, but on the other end, a room
becomes more noisy when people are there. You have antsy people moving,
coughs, talking, whatever, so any SR person worth their salt will know and
adjust accordingly. Inexperienced people seem to have a tendency to set the
sound for the empty room and simply bring up the volume for the full room.
The resulting sound is muddled because the true adjustment isn't necessarily
volume.

--


Roger W. Norman
SirMusic Studio
http://blogs.salon.com/0004478/
"LuKeNuKuM" <lukenukum@gmail.com> wrote in message
news:1113402466.497157.224340@l41g2000cwc.googlegroups.com...
> i spose its more small-scale, but im sure it probably applies to bigger
> gigs too. whenever my band used to play we always had the engineer
> adjust things to account for bodies in the venue - they seem to do
> weird things to the sound which when soundchecking is always empty.
>
> im no expert, but i know this point gets overlooked on smaller gigs.
> maybe the roadies should bring in thousands of sacks of dirt and line
> them all up first?
>
> cheers
>
> Luke
>
Anonymous
April 15, 2005 5:28:38 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

thats what i think i was aiming for Roger :) 

LuKe

ps: surreal PDFs available on request ;-P
Anonymous
April 17, 2005 10:22:00 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

I have heard many occasions where the opening act sounds
incredibly better than the headliner. Opening act comes out and
sounds dynamic and crisp, headliner comes out and wants to squeeze
every bit of sound out of the system to the redline. Everything is so
compressed that it is a vitual puree of smashed sound.

Performers don't know the difference, they sound great to themselves on
the monitors.
Anonymous
April 19, 2005 12:54:51 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

Roger W. Norman wrote:
> I think good proof of this is that I haven't seen Letterman selling any
> compilation CDs from the show in the last couple of years.
>

Proof of what?


Bob
--

"Things should be described as simply as possible, but no
simpler."

A. Einstein
!