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LITTLEWING

Where was the bass????

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I've just come in from The Guildhall Southampton after watching the great Sum 41 and although the drums sounded awesome and the guitars and vocals stood out very nicely, the poor bass guy might as well have stayed in the dressing room with a cuppa and a newspaper. I could clearly see him playing but all I heard was something like a 10 litre truck revving it's engine for an hour and a half.
WHEN OH WHEN in this day and age of modern audio technology are we actually going to hear a proper bass sound reproduced through a p.a system rather than an indistinct low mushy rumble which does nothing but rattle seats and internal organs???? It's like at The Brook and Engine Rooms too. Just a total waste of time, effort and talent.

Okay, rant over.

No, actually I'm going to rant in bed now.

And in the morning at work.

So there.

Edited by LITTLEWING

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I went to a gig at in Aberdeen last week and the band were individually and together excellent musicians. The overall sound was as you say vocals, guitar, drums, KICK and flubby mush. :( When the drummer stopped using (or held back) on the kick / floor tom you could hear the bass and it sounded great. When the kick came in again it just overpowered all the low end......grrrr :angry:

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SUBS

there's ya answer,totally unnecessary at 90% of venues yet every sound person insists on putting all the bass through them.

I actually get earaches from subs.

Normal PA speakers can handle bass just fine,there is no need to use subs for bass.

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[quote name='Acebassmusic' timestamp='1488844667' post='3252399']When the kick came in again it just overpowered all the low end......grrrr :angry:
[/quote]

This is the way 90% of all the rock gigs I have been to in the last 30 years have been mixed. "They wanna feel it in their chests/stomachs/etc" Idiots.

The sad thing is that when you get an actual sound engineer on the desk, this doesnt happen. Just the self-proclaiomed "Sound men" apparently.

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Touche Amore at the Islington Academy a couple of weeks ago was completely the opposite - you could hear every single flick of the pick, I've never heard anything like it a a gig before! The sound guy must have been a bassist but even so it was just an incredible experience!

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Gave up on big venues many years ago because of awful sound mixes. Made an exception as we had waited years to see Dr. John and got tickets at Cambridge Corn Exchange. Lasted about half an hour and couldn't hear anything remotely acceptable so we walked out. I remember gigs at Wembley Arena where you could hear 10x better in the Gents than you could in the auditorium.

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Best gigs I ve been where the sound was awesome was in venues Like the tabernacle in London , they had this db machine where the power would cut on stage if volume too loud . It wasn't too bad for instrument with high freq but you had to becareful with Kick drum as if too much bass on it would cut the power.

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It's one of the reasons I prefer smaller gigs. I saw Lake Street Dive at Oran Mor in Glasgow (capacity around 500) in November, and the bass sounded amazing - even my guitarist friend commented on how good it sounded.

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[quote name='bazztard' timestamp='1488856940' post='3252424']
SUBS

there's ya answer,totally unnecessary at 90% of venues yet every sound person insists on putting all the bass through them.

I actually get earaches from subs.

Normal PA speakers can handle bass just fine,there is no need to use subs for bass.
[/quote]

Subs only reproduce the frequencies below the cut off point where the mid/high units can't effectively and efficiently recreate them. In a gig, "All the bass" doesn't go through the subs. They just reproduce the extreme low end (generally around 100Hz and below). The presence of subs aren't to blame for a below-par mix.

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This is why i try to leave my bass's EQ on the mixer as flat as possible only correcting for the room here here or there and i allways push the 80Hz HPF in all instruments appart from the kick drum, even the bass. It makes everything sound cleaner and i don't have my bass strugling with the KD for the sub-bass region. I don't scoop mids, that's where the note definition is and allows me to mix the bass at a lower volume without overpowering the rest.

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Often the sound guy is just not listening. I saw esperanza spalding last year and the bass was inaudible for the first few songs and the bass is obviously a focal point in her act. I've seen it happen lots with second guitar/keyboard part where they suddenly see someone is playing but no sound! Quick! Fader!

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another one here that doesn't do big gigs anymore, last one I went to was the Quo reunion tour, yep, kick drum louder than anything else, really pissed me off as Alan Lancaster and the mix of the pre Rocking All Over the World Quo albums were the reason I got interested in bass (listen to Down Down, especially the album version), I've watched to the DVD of the Wembley gig from the same tour since, yep perfect sound, we're going into the recording studio in a week or so, I've already told the engineer I want a big fat lower mids bass sound, fingers crossed

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I saw Cannibal Corpse a couple of years ago, Alex Webster is one of the most talented bassists in metal, but he was completely inaudbible, only time I heard him at all was when he hit a couple of notes between songs and during the bass break in Hammer Smashed Face. Very disappointing, but my actual point is that the person on the sound desk was their tour manager! So even when bands bring their own people out, who should know how to mix the band, it's still no guarantee of a decent mix.

The rest of the band sounded great, but clearly the bass had been sacrificed for guitar, kick and snare tone.

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[quote name='mike257' timestamp='1488885107' post='3252586']


Subs only reproduce the frequencies below the cut off point where the mid/high units can't effectively and efficiently recreate them. In a gig, "All the bass" doesn't go through the subs. They just reproduce the extreme low end (generally around 100Hz and below). The presence of subs aren't to blame for a below-par mix.
[/quote]

Harmonic Enhancement.

It's supposed to be used a low volume to enhance the bass or treble. Use it at high volume and you just break the mix.

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It's not [i]all [/i]the fault of the engineer of course...

Bass frequencies are by far the most difficult to get under control - and this is greatly compounded by the characteristics of the room/venue itself. And also the characteristics of the instruments: 'clacky', trebly pick-playing will always cut through better than a more 'fuggy' finger style. And where you happen to be standing - or sitting - within all of that.

Sometimes there's only so much you can do. Sometimes it comes down to a compromise in clarity between the kick or the bass. And sometimes, yeah, it [i]is[/i] the fault of the engineer ;)

Edited by Skol303

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[quote name='Skol303' timestamp='1488894146' post='3252704']
It's not [i]all [/i]the fault of the engineer of course...

Bass frequencies are by far the most difficult to get under control - and this is greatly compounded by the characteristics of the room/venue itself. And also the characteristics of the instruments: 'clacky', trebly pick-playing will always cut through better than a more 'fuggy' finger style. And where you happen to be standing - or sitting - within all of that.

Sometimes there's only so much you can do. Sometimes it comes down to a compromise in clarity between the kick or the bass. And sometimes, yeah, it [i]is[/i] the fault of the engineer ;)
[/quote]

Further to this, are we guilty of cramming rock/funk/electronic bands into spaces that were designed to help carry "acoustic" sound (i.e., without powered amplification)? Not sure why, but this thread reminded me of one of the early chapters of David Byrne's [i]How Music Works, [/i]where he talks about how styles of music evolved in tandem with the environment in which they were played. So religious/choral music puts a lot of emphasis on harmony and melody but is rhythmically quite sparse, because percussive sounds in a big, echo-y church quickly lose their definition. Conversely, a lot of traditional African music was played outdoors and so puts a lot of emphasis on busy drumming that can be heard in a crowd.

To that end, was I wrong to get annoyed with the awful, booming bass resonances at the Shepherd's Bush Empire when I saw Joanne Shaw Taylor and King King a few years ago? The SBE looks very much like it was originally a large theatre, and it doesn't look like it's had a lot of acoustic treatment since it was repurposed. Should I blame the building or the engineer? Conversely I've generally found the Royal Festival Hall copes more or less as well with electric music as it does with orchestral...though of course that leaves a bad sound engineer with nothing to hide behind. (See Exhibit B: Brian Wilson's [i]Lucky Old Sun[/i], in which the PA was audibly clipping throughout the first half.)

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[quote name='Japhet' timestamp='1488879390' post='3252515']
Gave up on big venues many years ago because of awful sound mixes. Made an exception as we had waited years to see Dr. John and got tickets at Cambridge Corn Exchange. Lasted about half an hour and couldn't hear anything remotely acceptable so we walked out. I remember gigs at Wembley Arena where you could hear 10x better in the Gents than you could in the auditorium.
[/quote]

Was that the gig a while after Katrina had made most of the band homeless? I was there and had great sound all night. Including for Ladysmith who were also on the bill IIR. Must be th perennial corn exchange problem of "where you are sitting". I used to play there a lot in the sixties & seventies with some major acts and the sound was - er - variable depending on the experience of the band and their sound crew and the quality of their PA kit. Trick back then was to play across the room and not very loud. (grin)

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[quote name='ivansc' timestamp='1488901801' post='3252788']
Was that the gig a while after Katrina had made most of the band homeless? I was there and had great sound all night. Including for Ladysmith who were also on the bill IIR. Must be th perennial corn exchange problem of "where you are sitting". I used to play there a lot in the sixties & seventies with some major acts and the sound was - er - variable depending on the experience of the band and their sound crew and the quality of their PA kit. Trick back then was to play across the room and not very loud. (grin)
[/quote]


Would have been quite a few years before Katrina. Couldn't even make out what Dr.John was saying between songs (and it was nothing to do with his accent either). It wasn't the first time we'd had dreadful sound at the Corn Exchange either. These days we like to go to The Stables at Milton Keynes if there's anything worth seeing. I've had it with big venues.

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Saw The Musical Box at Pompey Guildhall last year and the bass player's Rick was clear as hell across it's whole range. I wonder if the crew try for a '70's mix.'
And while I'm on it (climbing onto soapbox), all this kick drum nonsense has led to pub drummers insisting on it being amplified however small the venue is.

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[quote name='spectoremg' timestamp='1488920801' post='3252986']
Saw The Musical Box at Pompey Guildhall last year and the bass player's Rick was clear as hell across it's whole range. I wonder if the crew try for a '70's mix.'
And while I'm on it (climbing onto soapbox), all this kick drum nonsense has led to pub drummers insisting on it being amplified however small the venue is.
[/quote]yeah, our drummer mics up his kick drum, (there's me thinking a drum kit is an acoustic instrument) fortunately we get feedback from it if it's too loud :)

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For the people complaining about too much low end at big gigs I totally agree and wish more of my peers (I'm a Sound Engineer for a fairly famous Jazz Club) would read this article
It makes some exceptionally valid points and probably goes quite fair into explaining why some gigs sound bad

[url="http://www.audiotechnology.com.au/wp/index.php/time-to-shelve-the-low-end/"]http://www.audiotechnology.com.au/wp/index.php/time-to-shelve-the-low-end/[/url]

Ps. the guy writing has mixed for a few people all of which have a reputation of sounding excellent on tour

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