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Saw a great gig... but the sound was awful 😕


EJWW

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Took my 10 year old daughter to see Yungblud (see above) at the O2 Academy in Brum last week.

 

Was her first proper gig and she loved it- he didn't do much for me before we went but I was really  impressed by a superb performance and he's a proper showman plus he came across as a nice guy when we met him at the meet and greet beforehand. 

 

Anyway, the reason behind the post is that the sound was terrible. The kick drum and bass notes (synth, not bass guitar regrettably) were so loud it made me feel physically ill. Every time the drummer hit the kick or a bass note rang out I felt my chest vibrate. This was the case for all three bands on the bill.

 

Don't get me wrong I like to 'feel' it when I see bands live but this was ridiculous and the loudness of the bass frequencies 'squashed' the rest of the sound.

 

During sections when the bass and kick were silent the rest of the sound was crystal clear and well mixed which leads me to wonder whether it was our position in the room to blame for the sound problem?

 

With the size of bass frequencies was it inevitable that we would be hit full on in the face with bass being sat in the balcony while the punters in the stalls below get a properly mixed sound?

 

We were sat in the front row of the balcony, right in the centre and facing the stage square on. The sound engineer was sat on the level directly below where we were sat (would have loved to go down there and push through the teenage hordes and ask him to "turn it down a bit"  😄).

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The 02 in Brum is one of the weirdest places for acoustics that I have ever been to. If you're in front of the stage, downstairs then its normally pretty decent, but the minute you venture to the side of the venue (towards the bar) or upstairs, the sound just turns to mush. I'm not an expert in acoustics (and my ears are a bit knackered) but there must be some natural bass traps in that building. 

 

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If you're familiar with a band and know their material, live sound isn't so much of a factor IMO and believe me I've been to many a show with terrible sound.  If you don't know the band's output, it would be enough to put you off going to gigs forever.

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Saw Roger Taylor at Bath Forum last week. We sat front circle.

Great band, but couldn’t hear one defined note from bass player Neil Fairclough. 
Lots of keys, lead guitar, snare, mushy kick drum and (thankfully fantastic) vocals. But nothing from Neil’s fine playing.

I didn’t move around to try different places to listen, but could have been simply location.

Frustrating though. 

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12 minutes ago, SH73 said:

I saw Motorhead in 96. It was far too loud

I think I saw that tour. Manchester Apollo.

 

Did they do that thing where the just played a head splitting sound that got louder and worse, then just stopped when you couldn't take any more?

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Drummers and their kick drums! Went to see my daughter's drum teacher play in his band, everytime he hit the kick it was like a grenade going off! It's quite ironic really that modern PA systems finally give us the power we need for bass frequencies but it often gets abused like it's a new toy in the box. 

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I know it all comes down to budget, but some decent treatment in spaces regularly used for non-orchestral music really wouldn't go amiss.

 

That said, some measure 'good sound' by just how big the low end sounds, so even poor emphasis of the lows can aid that end.

 

As much as I too dislike it, if one is looking for that body-shaking low frequency in a mix in a bad space, it makes sense to have that weight in the kick to give it at least some rhythmic context- too loud in a bad room could make the bass an unintelligible rumble.

 

Sensible levels and a reasonably dry room are the better options, but I can see why we have novelty mixes in crap rooms so often.

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2 hours ago, EJWW said:

20211015_190615.thumb.jpg.01e03ab01e4608d95281d3f143b4e830.jpg

Took my 10 year old daughter to see Yungblud (see above) at the O2 Academy in Brum last week.

 

Was her first proper gig and she loved it- he didn't do much for me before we went but I was really  impressed by a superb performance and he's a proper showman plus he came across as a nice guy when we met him at the meet and greet beforehand. 

 

Anyway, the reason behind the post is that the sound was terrible. The kick drum and bass notes (synth, not bass guitar regrettably) were so loud it made me feel physically ill. Every time the drummer hit the kick or a bass note rang out I felt my chest vibrate. This was the case for all three bands on the bill.

 

Don't get me wrong I like to 'feel' it when I see bands live but this was ridiculous and the loudness of the bass frequencies 'squashed' the rest of the sound.

 

During sections when the bass and kick were silent the rest of the sound was crystal clear and well mixed which leads me to wonder whether it was our position in the room to blame for the sound problem?

 

With the size of bass frequencies was it inevitable that we would be hit full on in the face with bass being sat in the balcony while the punters in the stalls below get a properly mixed sound?

 

We were sat in the front row of the balcony, right in the centre and facing the stage square on. The sound engineer was sat on the level directly below where we were sat (would have loved to go down there and push through the teenage hordes and ask him to "turn it down a bit"  😄).

 

But at least you got Yungblud to stand behind your daughter while you took the selfie!

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6 hours ago, Lord Sausage said:

I think I saw that tour. Manchester Apollo.

 

Did they do that thing where the just played a head splitting sound that got louder and worse, then just stopped when you couldn't take any more?

I saw them in Europe at an open air festival, very loud.

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7 hours ago, EJWW said:

 

 

Anyway, the reason behind the post is that the sound was terrible. The kick drum and bass notes (synth, not bass guitar regrettably) were so loud it made me feel physically ill. Every time the drummer hit the kick or a bass note rang out I felt my chest vibrate. This was the case for all three bands on the bill.

 

 

Back in the mid ‘70s I was always in the Hammersmith Odeon, normally a fantastic sound (something that is still the case going on latter days gigs I’ve been to there. However, when I saw Rory Gallagher, despite being a fantastic performance by the three piece, the above was my physical experience, something was very wrong that night 🤢.

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21 hours ago, SH73 said:

I saw Motorhead in 96. It was far too loud

 

 

The loudest band I have ever heard was Mamas Boyz in The Garage in Glasgow  back in the 80's. We liked loud bands but that was just noise. I was young and even I found it painful. You couldn't make out what song they were playing. Absolutely no need for it.

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41 minutes ago, ubit said:

 

 

The loudest band I have ever heard was Mamas Boyz in The Garage in Glasgow  back in the 80's. We liked loud bands but that was just noise. I was young and even I found it painful. You couldn't make out what song they were playing. Absolutely no need for it.

A bit out of the context, but we used to practice in a garage. Push the car out , set up then rehearse. Small space filled with drums, two guitarists, drummer and singer. Often spectators and heavy cigarette smoke. It was loud. I remember when I rested against the workbench and touched the vice I would get an electric shock only when I touched the bass strings. Good old 80s.

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These days sound engineers have spectrum analysers and other gizmos, which should be able to iron out peaks in the sound. Of course there may be some venues that you just can't ever get a good sound in.

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19 minutes ago, gjones said:

These days sound engineers have spectrum analysers and other gizmos, which should be able to iron out peaks in the sound. Of course there may be some venues that you just can't ever get a good sound in.

All the spectrum analysers in the world won't make up for an engineer with a warped sense of what a good sound mix is, as demonstrated by the proliferation of bass bin abuse that goes on!

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On 19/10/2021 at 11:24, Rich said:

I saw Rush at Wembley Arena on the Hold Your Fire tour. The bass was inaudible. Ged looked like he was playing well though. :(

 

I saw Rush at Wembley Arena on the Hold Your Fire tour too. The bass sounded fine to me, but the singing was a bit off. Was it a different night or a different location?

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