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lowendgalore

Bass mix in live concerts.... Disappointing?

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Yup - the big sheds are the worst for this. Loads of kick drum and zero bass guitar definition. Lets see what happens at the Slash gig in Manchester Arena on Friday. Having seen them in a 1500-ish venue I know what it should sound like...wonder if it will? :D

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I thought it was just me - I rarely go to arena sized gigs now due to bad experiences - all kick drum and floor tom blooming over the entire mix. The worst some years back was Lionel Richie - Now there are some great bass lines in his back catalogue - but I never heard a note he played for the very loud floor tom and kick drum. I was sat next to the mixing desk smack in the middle of the arena if I had a pen and paper I would have passed him a note without leaving my seat, so it wasn't where I was sat.

Kick drum should be supporting the note the bass is playing to punctuate and give the note energy - great when someone does get the balance right.

Edited by deepbass5

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Amnesia - feedback on that, will be interesting to hear!

Okay soo a bit covered on muddyness and a mutual feeling of lots of kick in the big venues.


So what about low bass in the mix? At Jools Holland, i mean it litrally was as if the channel was muted, absolutely fried my head... Musically i didnt know where the chord progression was or anything because of lack of the root note.... Made it a bit unlistenable at times, i didnt know where i was haahha!

At the west end it was as if the engineer had gone to the graphic and just droppped 200hz and bellow completely out, sounded very thin!

Sweet to hear your thoughts guys, thanks for your replies!

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[quote name='UglyDog' timestamp='1416860660' post='2614479']
I went to see Rush on their Hold Your Fire tour at Wembley Arena in 1988(?). Ged was playing his black Wal, and looked like he was on great form -- a bit hard to tell though, because I didn't hear a single bloody note he played all night :(
[/quote]

It wasn't until the Clockwork Angels tour that I found their bass mix to be right and that was only at one of the two shows... Worked out that it's because bad planning and budget has meant seats way off to the side all barring the Birmingham show - 6 rows back just left of centre and the whole mix was great.

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Saw Nine Inch Nails a few months apart first at Scala and then at the O2. Their bass was pretty good both times. O2 I was on the side of the stage down the bottom, scala I was 2 people back from the stage.

Quite good to get a similar sound at both

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[quote name='UglyDog' timestamp='1416860660' post='2614479']
I went to see Rush on their Hold Your Fire tour at Wembley Arena in 1988(?). Ged was playing his black Wal, and looked like he was on great form -- a bit hard to tell though, because I didn't hear a single bloody note he played all night :(
[/quote]

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Yeah I was at that rush gig,and saw them 2/3 years ago at the o2 30 th anniversary of moving pictures.bass was just a sea of mud both times,never again will I bother considering the o2 ticket prices.shame cos ole geddys a bit of a hero of mine.level 42 at royal albert hall recently wasn't much better bass sound wise,was up top at the back then though.

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Saw Lee Sklar last night - very possibly the best live bass sound I've ever heard.

Not only that but, based on a beautifully produced album, he was note perfect all night. Right down to the subtlest touches :)

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A mutual feeling is big venues are a null spot for bass!

Lee Sklar is the guy molan, i listen to him in awe.... what was the size of the venue?

It's such a fudged, id love to hit up Jamoriquai and TOTO but it'll be plagued with the same either can't hear it or muddy mess that everyone is voicing...

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[quote name='amnesia' timestamp='1416864259' post='2614563'] Yup - the big sheds are the worst for this. Loads of kick drum and zero bass guitar definition. [/quote]

The first Einsturzende Neubauten gig I saw this month was, pretty much literally, in a big shed. It was in an old bus depot in a small Belgian town.
Given the complexity of their set up the sound was amazing, just as good as when they played at Koko last week,

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[quote name='tubbybloke68' timestamp='1416870280' post='2614653']
level 42 at royal albert hall recently wasn't much better bass sound wise,was up top at the back then though.
[/quote]

I was at that gig, in row 5 and dead centre, what surprised me was that a lot of the time a keyboard was playing booming root notes, luckily I was close enough to hear the sound from the bands backline but I'm imagining it didn't sound too good once you got further back in the venue.

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[quote name='flyfisher' timestamp='1416857491' post='2614404']
There was nothing wrong with Norm's bass mix when I saw The Blockheads last week :)
[/quote]

Better luck than me. Last couple of times I've seen him with Wilko it's just been an indistinct low end rumble.

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Was at the RAH last night for Jackson Browne and you knew the bass was there but you only heard any definition
when solo'd... and I was in a good seat in a box right in line with an array. Could see what P.A it was, but must admit,
a little underwhelmed by the bass sound. I think the Engr has his hands full with the dueling steel gtr and lead gtr, plus organ, 2 bv's
who were excellent and main vox...
I'd say the top end was very very good, the bottom,.... not so much.

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[quote name='spongebob' timestamp='1416854435' post='2614342']
Rearing it's ugly head again - my 21st century gripe - lack of bass definition!

For a long while, I thought it was just me. Reassuring to know that others feel the same way - I can't fathom as to why bass has been reduced to a dull thump in so many cases.

Musical mush! :(
[/quote]

I have found this to be true at larger venues or festivals than in small venues. Must be some physics going on but yep, many times I can see the fingers doing stuff but don't hear the notes just some dull thud, mainly bass drum.

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I think generally a band big enough to be playing these kind of huge gigs are obviously very popular, being popular would mean that many of their fans aren't musicians themselves. People who aren't musicians literally couldnt give a sh*t about anything apart from the vocals and wouldnt even notice the sound of anything else... maybe a bit of guitar solo every now and then but certainly not bass.

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The Notion of "subs" often leaves a gap where the bass guitar sits in the lower mid range.
15" horn loaded martin style bins threw the bass guitar down the room, 2x18 sub bins on the floor and 10" line array units hoisted up leave a huge gap in the power mid range sound and there is literately nothing to push the bass guitar sound out.
Other than the Sub bass and highs the amount of bass guitar the rigs can push is very limited and these creates a hole in the sound that gets swamped by other noise.

I am convinced it is a "modern" PA rig design that is not actually designed that well.
I certainly remember watching the bands of Old, Big Country, Simple Minds, Level 42 and they had cracking sounds from the PA.
Every concert I have been to these days has a movie soundtrack style feel to the mix and I often wonder how it all went so wrong.

Edited by spacey

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As a few have mentioned the Royal Albert Hall I'd say the best big gig bass sound I've heard was the Specials there a couple of years ago.
The mix was excellent for the whole band too. I was in the Royal Box (she didn't seem to mind) so I don't know if that makes a difference?

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[quote name='lowendgalore' timestamp='1416854102' post='2614339']
Does anyone else find the bass mix in a live concert very disappointing a real lot of the time?

Ive been to recently Jools Holland, Stereophonics, Robbie Williams and just a couple of weeks a go Wiked in the west end and all of these i found the bass in the mix less than satisfactory!
[/quote]

Your problem is that you are going to see boring old has-beens at enormodromes. Go and see some new bands at small (less than 500 capacity) venues and you'll find the bass sound far more satisfactory.

[quote name='lowendgalore' timestamp='1416862565' post='2614523']
Theres one company that when i look and ask them about some of there eq-ing they boost nothing, they only take out... So i might i ask whell hows my bass sitting guys and they will say something like "took out 62hz, it was a bit heavy there" and im like ahhh:(
[/quote]

A good engineer will always cut rather than boost. IMO if you need to boost there's something wrong with your signal chain/rig, or you've got the wrong sound for the overall band mix.

Edited by BigRedX

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[quote name='BigRedX' timestamp='1416922271' post='2615029']
Go and see some new bands at small (less than 500 capacity) venues and you'll find the bass sound far more satisfactory.
[/quote]


I only get to gigs at smaller venues and 9 times out of 10 the sound is dreadful. In the last 12 months I'd say only 2 bands I've seen had a good sound and that was probably explained by the fact they brought their own engineers. Otherwise it's the usual problems of poor mixes, crap PA's etc etc...and most new bands that have a guitarist and drummer in them still seem to think they have to play at volumes to make the audiences ears start to bleed.

Edited by Marvin

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I've pretty much given up going to big gigs for this reason, too.

The last few Rush gigs I've been to have been dreadful. These days, the purpose of bass in the FOH is basically to rearrange your internal organs. Who cares what notes are being played?

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I went to a gig at The Festival Theatre, in Edinburgh, a couple of years ago. It's a 2,000 seater and it was full. The overall sound was shockingly bad (the sound engineer took until the 3rd song to realise that he'd muted the snare) but the bass sounded excellent. The bass player was a friend of mine, who plays a Musicman Sterling with 5 year old roundwounds on it, and wherever he plays he always gets a great sound (however bad the rest of the sound mix is).
He uses a lot of mid, which isn't a great tone on it's own, but when playing with a band it always stands out in the mix.

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