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Ever experience Bad Sound at a Public Concert or Event?

I'm constantly impressed these days with the discouraging level of attention or training demonstrated by people who are producing the sound at concerts or public events... I'm a recording engineer of some years and experience having taught audio skills at University level out of the gate in my early 20's and now as a record producer in my own studio. I'm fortunate to have lots of professional musicians as close friends and lately when we find ourselves at concerts ( I'm talking large, high dollar events...) the quality of the mix can be from less than attentive to outright trash... By outright trash, I mean something you'd expect of a chimpanzee with major hearing loss...

In the past month, we've been at events with friends from the Doobie Brothers band, and Tower of Power and others who have all independently complained of a really "bad sound mix"... This is something I'm all too aware of and it seams to be getting worse in recent years. The sound people in the most recent cases have been both young and old so my first theory that they are inexperienced has been deflated. The experienced sound man was suffering from presbycusis ( loss of high frequency sensitivity attributed to ageing ) which was painfully apparent in his mix as an edgy, grating high end which was so bad it hurt. The other event was a young sound engineer running the board at a large public forum event and was typical of someone who just isn't paying any attention during the performance, thinking their job was done when they completed the "sound-check". I've experienced this now many times over the years and my wife is very tired of my complaints about the tragedy of great musical performances that are ruined by" bad sound".
It's certainly a problem area. Check out our thread about it here: https://en.audiofanz…ial-comments.html
Danny Hull: What a concise, cohesive, emphatic article written by an articulate audio fanatic who in my opinion hit the nail right on the head! When I go to an event, I don't expect the sound to be perfect, but in between songs when the mics start to wwwhistle and ooooohhh all by themselves, wouldn't that be a clue that "sumpin ain't rat"??
Thanks Mike for illuminating this overlooked aspect of the musical concert experience...

Clay
Glad you found it usefull, Clay. Now if only the sound techs would read this and change their cursed ways!!
You should try that app on Android's phone. It's called Uptune!
I used it a few time to balance the volume of my band before a show (we were left without a soundman) and it helped a lot.

Your right...

What a lot of people forget is the sound after the sound check.

If the hall or space is getting filled with more and more people. Sound start to change at some point and you have to correct that as an engineer...

The less more impact.... But temperature change also change the sound... More on outdoor events....

Sound can start to bend... From or to the ground.... And for sure if your concert is besides water... At large events sound arrays need to be corrected.

We learn at SAE that you can not take things for granted.... You have to work for it...


Now days everybody " thinks" that it is easy and that " everything" can and will be corrected by equipment... They had some lessons or non at all....

They have to remember that their work start with setting up the equipment... Run the show and ends after breaking up the stage..

And while doing this they af to be focused 100%......


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but I have to say that I see this also often by younger studio engineers..... " we have the equipment so I can do this...." no education and with some experience.....

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- Angelie

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