How quiet is TOO quiet?

Discussion in 'Recording/Live Sound' started by guitfiddle, Feb 22, 2012.

  1. guitfiddle

    guitfiddle Member

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    I went to see a prog metal band the other night, and they had 60 watt tube amps, in a room about 25x50, with 15 ft ceilings. They were so low, that the excitement factor of a metal band was simply not in the room at all.

    They played well, and that did a lot for them, but the tones were crap.

    The sound man had mics on all the amps, and they were set on around 1.5 - 2 on their volumes. Sounded like cans full of angry bees. At any point during their two sets, the drummer was in real danger of overpowering the PA.

    So, when do you guys feel that quiet is just too damn quiet?
     
    Last edited: Feb 23, 2012
  2. SteveO

    SteveO Member

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    If the sound guy is happy, you're too quiet.
     
  3. rokpunk

    rokpunk Member

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    maybe the bands rider specified a db level, so that's what they got. who knows?
     
  4. Zingeroo

    Zingeroo Member

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    This.
     
  5. rokpunk

    rokpunk Member

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    if you are going to blame the soundguy for things, bring your own to blame.
     
  6. guitfiddle

    guitfiddle Member

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    They are all amatures. The sound guy has owned his PA for less than two years, and the band was doing it's first gig.

    I guess it's better than being too loud, but there was absolutely no feel to the music in the room. Very good for the band's parents, and their friends, but lame for a rock band over all.

    I'm not even talking about being too loud, just loud enough to realize that you're listening to a live band. These poor guys sounded like a karoke machine.:bonk
     
    Last edited: Feb 23, 2012
  7. rokpunk

    rokpunk Member

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    i hope there was alcohol available, at the very least. :)
     
  8. SteveO

    SteveO Member

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    Must be a new genre of music- Cocktail Metal. :bonk

    If I were in that situation, I would have pushed for having the amps run unmiked just to let them breath a bit. They would sound a LOT better, and they would have filled a room that size just fine.
     
  9. rickenbackerkid

    rickenbackerkid Member

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    First gig, the guys are just warming up. They will find their feet.
     
  10. guitfiddle

    guitfiddle Member

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    That's what I think, too. I mean, a 60 watt Super Sonic would sound great, set on 4 in a room the size of this place. Unfortunately, the sound guy is new, and still believes that every single source of sound needs to be mic'd, ran super low, and then only really heard through the PA. Bad in a little bar room, cause it sounded like a stereo instead of a band. And, the place was packed with their friends, so it would have soaked up a bunch of reflections, and sounded great.

    I think a lot of people these days are simply scared of any sound louder than their iPod.
     
  11. guitfiddle

    guitfiddle Member

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    True. They just need a sound guy who knows that in a little room like that, the amps are a part of the sound as much as the PA.
     
  12. Seektone

    Seektone Member

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    Isn't it really all about eq'ing the amps correctly? Making them sound big?
     
  13. Zingeroo

    Zingeroo Member

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    That's what the soundguy wants you to think. There's really no replacement for SPLs, though.
     
  14. rokpunk

    rokpunk Member

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    Why are you under the impression that soundguys have a secret agenda for your sound or for your amplifier? I always tell guitarists (when they ask me if they are too loud, etc..) play at the level that makes you happy. I don't base my mix around the guitar sounds, in fact, they are usually the last band member to soundcheck, and, in general, they require less of themselves in the mains than any other member of the band.

    If you really think the soundman is out to get you, you should seriously consider hiring your own guy to mix all of your shows.
     
  15. guitfiddle

    guitfiddle Member

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    Maybe. It's REAL hard to make a 60 watt tube amp sound like anything other than ass down that low on the dial, no matter how it's eq'd.
     
  16. 3dognate

    3dognate Supporting Member

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    The wife and I went to the the Off Broadway production of "Rock of Ages" last month in Peoria, IL. '80s rock songs... live band... high level singers... you'd think it would kick butt... The drummer was in a isolation booth and the music and singing volume was at such a low level... there was absolutely no energy to it. I mean the wife and I could carry a conversation at normal volumes right in front of the line array... I didn't pocket my SPL meter like I usually do for concerts. But if I had to guess I bet it was 85 db back at the board and maybe... maybe... 90db in the 3rd row. That is too low for that type of music. I've seen several plays/concerts in that same theatre and the sound is usually fantastic. The music was a disappointment in that show... good thing it was funny.
     
  17. Seektone

    Seektone Member

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    Not to beat a dead horse, but what are some opinions of the appropriate range then of SPL at say 50ft from the stage? What is actually too quiet? what is actually too loud?
     
  18. RustyAxe

    RustyAxe Member

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    Not mentioned, but many venues and locales have strict noise ordinances ... something sound guys have to be keenly aware of. In my opinion, there is no level that is too low for metal ... :hide2
     
  19. guitarrhinoceros

    guitarrhinoceros Senior Member

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    Wow, you are the exception I think. At my gigs, the soundperson is always trying to make sure we are not too loud. I like to let my 100 watt amps breath with the extra headroom and punch but I rarely get to do so. Most of their reasoning behind having me and our other guitarist turn down is so that we don't add too much bleed into the microphones.
     
  20. guitfiddle

    guitfiddle Member

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    To me, there is a large area between too quiet, and too loud, and these poor guys were at the very lower end. No excitement, except for their playing, which was good. Like Lemmy said, "The only way to feel the music's when it's good and loud."

    It just seems that they fell victim to the thought process that turns the musicians into simple triggers for the PA, instead of living, dynamic musicians on a stage and playing with some power.
     

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