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Arrggh! Another crappy mix at a high$$$ concert

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  • Arrggh! Another crappy mix at a high$$$ concert

    Hi...a refugee from Music Biz and Backstage w/ the Band here. Thought I would come over here and ask why I'm hearing so many bad FOH mixes lately. When I go to a club and hear the kick way out front, I just chalk it up to a rookie sound man who's more impressed with his rig's ability to get a decent kick sound and wants the world to know. Never mind that it's way out of proportion.
    But Sat. night I went to hear John Mayer in an ampitheatre. I've heard several other acts there w/ the same system and know the gear to be top-flight. Also, the opening act (Train) sounded great.
    So, Mayer comes out and the mix was all kick and snare. You couldn't hear the keyboards at all thanks to the snare competing with lead vox and guitar. The bass was lost amidst the uber-compressed thump of the kick, and that was the way it was from first song to last.
    I would like to say this is an isolated incident, but it's a trend.
    Why?
    www.WheresEddie.com

  • #2
    I've often wondered this myself...

    Basically, I've stopped going to concerts in any venue that could be considered an 'arena' because the poor sound makes it a waste of time.

    Had free tickets to a Pearl Jam concert recently, and as I expected, it sounded like a boomy mess.

    I can only imagine how challenging it is to get good sound in those larger venues, but as long as the masses are willing to pay big bucks for crap sound, this trend will continue.
    <div class="signaturecontainer"><img src="http://img3.harmony-central.com/acapella/ubb/wave.gif" border="0" alt="" title="wave" class="inlineimg" /></div>

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    • #3
      Hi...a refugee from Music Biz and Backstage w/ the Band here. Thought I would come over here and ask why I'm hearing so many bad FOH mixes lately. When I go to a club and hear the kick way out front, I just chalk it up to a rookie sound man who's more impressed with his rig's ability to get a decent kick sound and wants the world to know. Never mind that it's way out of proportion.
      But Sat. night I went to hear John Mayer in an ampitheatre. I've heard several other acts there w/ the same system and know the gear to be top-flight. Also, the opening act (Train) sounded great.
      So, Mayer comes out and the mix was all kick and snare. You couldn't hear the keyboards at all thanks to the snare competing with lead vox and guitar. The bass was lost amidst the uber-compressed thump of the kick, and that was the way it was from first song to last.
      I would like to say this is an isolated incident, but it's a trend.
      Why?


      That's too bad. I would have expected John Mayer to sound good. I don't go to many shows, but most of the ones I do go to sound good.

      -Dan.
      <div class="signaturecontainer"><i>Well, I've been to one world fair, a picnic, and a rodeo, and that's the stupidest thing I ever heard come over a set of earphones.</i></div>

      Comment


      • #4
        I've often wondered this myself...

        Basically, I've stopped going to concerts in any venue that could be considered an 'arena' because the poor sound makes it a waste of time.

        Had free tickets to a Pearl Jam concert recently, and as I expected, it sounded like a boomy mess.

        I can only imagine how challenging it is to get good sound in those larger venues, but as long as the masses are willing to pay big bucks for crap sound, this trend will continue.


        Given the design of modern purpose-built musical amphitheaters and today's sound-reinforcement technology, there's no reason for bad sound. Admittedly, a lot of performances are still being given in basketball arenas masquerading as "muilti-purpose facilities" --- and many of them are acoustically hopeless.
        I have heard great sound and mixes at this particular location (Walnut Creek in Raleigh) so there's no excuse other than a clueless FOH mixer.
        www.WheresEddie.com

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        • #5
          I went and saw a show at the Warfield in San Francisco a couple years ago and had the same sort of experience. The headliner was the Dropkick Murphys, I dont remember who the opening acts were. I got there just after the first band started playing and I couldnt make out really anything in the mix. I had to strain to hear the lead vocals. It just sounded like mud, really really loud too. I figured it was just because they were the openers and the sound tech didnt care that much or something. The second band was the same thing. Then Dropkick came out and all I could hear was bass guitar and snare drum. And the volume was rediculously loud. Out in the hall I still had to yell into my buddies ear so he could hear me. We ended up leaving after 2 or 3 songs.

          I had heard them while I was stationed in Germany in a small venue in Munich. It sounded awesome, and thats what I expected at the warfield show. I was pretty bummed after driving 3 hours one way.

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          • #6
            Were you up front or near the back?

            Our local 1500-capacity place uses an L'Acoustics dV-DOSC and V-DOSC system, and when you're up front, the only thing you hear are the guitar amps on stage. Go to the back and you're getting pounded with kick drum. At the sound booth, it sounds great typically. If they added some center fills and maybe a center cluster of subs, the place would be phenomenal. I have no idea why they haven't ever done this.

            Random musing... I've wondered why amphitheater-type venues (you know, fixed seating) don't mount speakers into the back of the seats. It seems like a few well-placed subwoofers and a couple small speakers a foot from your head would give everyone in the crowd a perfect mix, would eliminate the need for a giant array at the stage (maybe put some fills up front to give those sitting close to the stage the normal live music "feel"), would eliminate the need for time delay. Hell, stick a volume control in there and you could even adjust to your liking. The lawn would still have to be fed off small arrays in the back, as they are now.
            <div class="signaturecontainer"><font size="1">How about a mother****************ing crocodile pit instead of those titty ****************s !</font><br />
            <br />
            <br />
            <font size="1"><i>Last edited by Jazz Ad on 06-20-2004 at 098 PM</i></font></div>

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            • #7
              Were you up front or near the back?

              Our local 1500-capacity place uses an L'Acoustics dV-DOSC and V-DOSC system, and when you're up front, the only thing you hear are the guitar amps on stage. Go to the back and you're getting pounded with kick drum. At the sound booth, it sounds great typically. If they added some center fills and maybe a center cluster of subs, the place would be phenomenal. I have no idea why they haven't ever done this.

              Random musing... I've wondered why amphitheater-type venues (you know, fixed seating) don't mount speakers into the back of the seats. It seems like a few well-placed subwoofers and a couple small speakers a foot from your head would give everyone in the crowd a perfect mix, would eliminate the need for a giant array at the stage (maybe put some fills up front to give those sitting close to the stage the normal live music "feel"), would eliminate the need for time delay. Hell, stick a volume control in there and you could even adjust to your liking. The lawn would still have to be fed off small arrays in the back, as they are now.


              It's a little more difficult than it seems. There will be a lot of mush from all the other speakers around you that are increasingly distant but still audible, and you'll always wind up with a blue hair sitting next to a headbanger, so volume wars and hilarity will ensue...
              Write something...

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              • #8
                would eliminate the need for time delay.

                The band's backline will put out big volume without the sound system even being in use. Every set of speakers would have to be delayed to the backline. Yikes!

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                • #9
                  They did exactly that for the Beatles Love Cirque show in Vegas. Beatles family weren't happy with the sound system so they made them install speakers in every seat.
                  <div class="signaturecontainer"><img src="http://img3.harmony-central.com/acapella/ubb/cool.gif" border="0" alt="" title="Cool" class="inlineimg" /> <font size="4">samkokajko wins!</font> - MusicalSchizo <img src="http://img3.harmony-central.com/acapella/ubb/icon_lol.gif" border="0" alt="" title="lol" class="inlineimg" /></div>

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                  • #10
                    Maybe those bad engineers are FULL SAIL graduates?
                    Dale Christenson

                    <div class="signaturecontainer"><font size="1">Dale Christenson</font><br><br><font size="1">Just remember that the individual is the smallest minority and liberalism is a disease of the mind.</font><br><br><font size="1">&quot;In the beginner's mind the possibilities are many, in the expert's mind they are few.&quot; - Author Unknown</font><br><br><font size="1">Look in the mirror for the answers to your problems</font></div>

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                    • #11
                      Did you get a chance to hear the mix at the mix-position?
                      <div class="signaturecontainer"><b>Desk</b>: Yamaha 01v96, Presonus D8, Alesis DEQ830<br />
                      <b>Processor</b>: Behringer DCX2496</div>

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                      • #12
                        Maybe those bad engineers are FULL SAIL graduates?


                        That's what we used to call them (young guys that THOUGHT they new a lot but really couldn't mix to save their lives). In the last couple of years though I have worked with a couple of guys from Full Sail that were pretty good (I guess it just depends on the individual). In the end we stopped ditzing Full Sail but certainly not the bad engineers (they get the full brunt of our sarcasm :>).

                        Some shows the com chatter is much more entertaining that the show it's self(often this is done to help keep us awake).

                        It is a shame that, just like in the corporate world, in this INDUSTRY, sometimes it's not who you know but who you bl**.

                        I've seen shows where there was bad musicianship as well (hmmm that didn't sound anything like the studio version - or even music for that matter :>). The same thing happened. Somebody knew somebody and got the gig. That mentality (not putting a priority on competence) is what causes bad sound more often than not.
                        J.R. Previously jrble

                        See my Dog Of The Hair studio at: http://www.dogoth.com/studio/

                        Quote from someone: Flat response? Get out the jack and change the tire.
                        If you think "power is knowledge", you have it backwards.

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                        • #13
                          I was at an "A-List" show maybe ten years ago, mixed by one of the top FOH guys in the business, and I couldn't hear a single word the singer sang, all night, and overall the mix was a murky mess.

                          The band is also one of the best live bands in the business, so he wasn't trying to cover up anything. At one point, about 3 songs in, the vox came up and were nice and clear, for about 10 seconds and then vanished again...

                          The opening act, however was clear as a bell - like a big stereo, so it wasn't the system.

                          I know at one point, Springsteen used to walk the entire hall, during his traditional 2-3 hour soundcheck, and make sure that every seat got the best sound possible. Even with late 70's technology, his shows were incredible-sounding.

                          MG
                          "Thank You, NASA!"

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                          • #14


                            So, Mayer comes out and the mix was all kick and snare. You couldn't hear the keyboards at all thanks to the snare competing with lead vox and guitar. The bass was lost amidst the uber-compressed thump of the kick, and that was the way it was from first song to last.
                            I would like to say this is an isolated incident, but it's a trend.
                            Why?


                            My theory is a loss of perspective. Lead kick and snare have become acceptable - nobody gets fired because you can't hear the rhythm guitar or the second keyboard player.

                            Kick, snare, vocals, bass, and solos - that's all you need.

                            Many of these techs have a vast amount of knowledge, skill... so to me it comes down to perspective.

                            For instance, thnik of how silly the reverb snare of the eighties sounds today, but at the time only a few of my friends questioned the insanity. And I must confess that I fell prey to the evil REV5 bombastic 80's snare.

                            But some people like a total mix. Go hearTower of Power sometime. With a band like that it's essential to hear most of the parts.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Speaking of verbs, is there a unit out there that replicates some if the delays/verbs of xmas past? Something like a PCM41 patch, a rev500 patch or two...
                              <div class="signaturecontainer"><a href="http://www.rock-bot.com" target="_blank">www.rock-bot.com</a><br />
                              Live-Band-Karaoke<br />
                              <br />
                              bassist and sound reinforcement</div>

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