I don't want to play another show with Subs, if they're do what I think they do

Discussion in 'Recording/Live Sound' started by jamrat, Feb 6, 2012.

  1. jamrat

    jamrat Member

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    Had a crappy sounding show this weekend. The sound company that was used for sound provided for the FOH: 2 18" subs, with 3 x12 mains on top of that I think they were EV's. for our stage monitors there were two 12" (EV's).
    We worked on the stage sound with the sound guy during sound check but the bass and kick bleed from the FOH subs was so substantial that it screwed up the stage /monitor sound. The bass was so loud, that we ended up trying to bring the monitors louder so the mids and highs were present, there was feedback from the SM58 vocal mics, the Vocal mics got EQed for that, and all around we ended up playing much crappier.
    Our vocals were really hard to get a handle on (we do 3 part harmonies).

    I've found that when we use our own PA: FOH: 2 QSC K12s , monitors: 2 Yamiha 12" clubs, we can keep the volume down only send a little kick (sometimes snair) and the vocals and the acordion thru the PA, (we're a zydeco band) and we can hear eachother well and clearly, have very little feedback, and play more inspired. But almost every show that a sound company comes and uses 18" subs, and the subs are near us, the bleed ends up screwing up the stage sound, and we play uninspired because we can't hear eachother well.

    Maybe the instruments (including the kick and bass) sound "clearer" to the audience with a system thats running Subs, but for me, I would much rather hear a band play tightly and well, with 75% optimal sound quality, than hear a band play lousy with 100% sound quality.

    Musicians, ever run into this, where you're playing right next to the FOH speakers, and the Subs are bleeding tons of bass onto the stage?

    Should I ask the sound guy to run everything thru the heads, and turn off the FOH subs?
     
  2. fisticuffs

    fisticuffs Member

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    Blame the sound guy, not the use of subwoofers.
     
  3. batsbrew

    batsbrew Member

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  4. fisticuffs

    fisticuffs Member

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  5. batsbrew

    batsbrew Member

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    you were too close.

    if you had stood 37' back from the front of the speaker, you would have crapped yourself.
    long waves take distance to form.
     
  6. rod horncastle

    rod horncastle Member

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    Probably the last 5 concerts I went to were ruined by soundmen showing off their subs. Just an endless loud thumping sound with a small bit of music placed on top of it.

    Even worse: I went to a musicians conference near Seattle recently. I went to seminars with some high ranking soundmen who are supposed experts in their field. I heard blah blah blah for hours about how professionals do sound.
    That weekend i got to hear these experts at work. Just a loud rumbling noise at ear piercing levels for hours.

    Apparently thats what experts are calling music these days.
    I usually end up going to see some local bands with a small P.A. (no subs) and it sounds like gold.
     
  7. Seektone

    Seektone Member

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  8. Rex Anderson

    Rex Anderson Member

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    Yep, you can't blame the system, only the operator and maybe the guy who set up and tuned the system.

    If the system (including subs) is properly aligned, it will reproduce faithfully what is sent through it.

    That means, if the sound guy pumps too much low frequency crap into it, it will put out too much low frequency crap.

    I hear it all the time-it seems to have become a norm.

    There needs to be an aesthetics training course for live sound operators. They need to be taught what is good sound and what is bad sound.

    Boomy ass bass that loads up the room so you lose the ability to hear anything else in the mix is not good sound. Is that so hard to figure out?

    Yes, your car can go 120mph-do you drive it that fast? Your guitar amp can damage your hearing-do you turn it up that loud?

    Bass is hard to control due to room interactions with systems-thus the need for qualified individuals to set up and tune systems in the room they are being used in. Then, the person mixing the show has to have the knowledge and skills to make it sound good.

    I got to the point I rarely go see live acts anymore because the sound is so bad most of the time (that and the cost). The systems have gotten better but the operators are not well trained and have no sense of balance aesthetic.
     
  9. Shiny McShine

    Shiny McShine Member

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    So that's what's going on. I was at Overlake Christian conference a couple of years ago and everything below 200 hz was a rumble. It made it unbearable. They totally trashed Lincoln Brewster's sound. His bass player was unintelligible as was the lower keyboard parts. His guitar was mixed with too much low end and further obscured the bass. Overlake thought that it would be better to hire some sound company experts to do their whole event and I was astounded at how bad it sounded with massive arrays of speakers and at least 6 sub bins.

    I've heard this happening other places and didn't make the connection. I thought it was just an isolated incident. I guess I was wrong.

    What's really stupid is that most rock bands don't get below 80 hz anyway except for the kick drum.
     
  10. 3dognate

    3dognate Supporting Member

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    DJs turned Soundmen.
     
  11. rod horncastle

    rod horncastle Member

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    Yep, DJ's wanting people to dance and not hear music. I'd like to do both.

    Shiny it was at Overlake in Kirkland this fall. (I think that's the name of the place?)
    We went to the church Sunday morning and the sound was great. So the room sounds good, P.A. sounds good. Its just the Soundmen making all the noise.
    And Lincoln Brewster's bassist has the worst bass sound I've ever heard. Just rumbling crap with NO clarity. I went to his seminars and heard what he pumps out of his amp. Apparently that's what he calls tone.

    Subs are wonderful things. People just need to use them properly. :bonk
     
  12. batsbrew

    batsbrew Member

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    the key is high pass AND low pass, on the sub feed.

    you dial it in for maximum PUNCH, but without any boom, or thud, or whoooooommmmmmm

    it's ridiculous, how many purported 'sound men' just don't get it.


    it's usually a big muddy room to begin with, why would you want to add MUD on top of MUD?!
    LOL
     
  13. jamrat

    jamrat Member

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    Blame the soundman?
    OK. Can do.
    But he's only been to that one show.
    Tell me if I'm wrong:
    Bass frequencies go in all directions, not just out of the front of the Sub. Bleed much more than higher frequencies.
    So when the Sub is close to the stage, its gonna bleed into the stage volume. So the stage mix has to work alot with what the sub is doing to it. And if its a big loud venue, then that means bringing up the mids and highs in the monitor mix, effectively bringing up the stage volume alot. Which sucks for the musicians ears. Am I wrong?

    And thanks for FYI about the brown note. Thats happened a few times to me. Crazy what you can find out on TGP. Thought it was the blue cheese bacon burger. Huh.
     
  14. fisticuffs

    fisticuffs Member

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    They also don't feedback nearly as often mostly because the low frequencies are rolled off of all but your kick drum mic. Subs make your tops sound better too by giving them less work to do. Subs are not the problem here.
     
  15. speakerjones

    speakerjones Member

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    As others have mentioned, it's not the sub's fault. It's probably a mixture of things.

    It could be that DJ's or musicians with the gear but not the experience are low-bidding and winning jobs, learning the trade through trial and error on the client's dime and at the artist's expense. Most of the good engineers are too expensive for local events whose budgets have been cut. You'll find the best guys either touring or doing corporate work.

    Another factor can be ego or lack of control. I usually take out more firepower than I'll actually need to a show. I like having that comfort zone and not having to push a system close to its limits. A younger or less experienced engineer might use all that juice, just because it's available to him. On the other hand, lack of enough subs or power can cause an engineer to drive what he has too hard turning the mix into a flatulent mess.

    Or it could just be where you're sitting. Sub-bass can act in weird ways depending how they're set up and processed and how they interact with the venue. Moving over 10' to your left or right might make all the difference in the world.

    Also, everybody thinks they know what it's supposed to sound like and as an engineer, you'll never please everyone in the crowd. We used to be the system provider for a pretty well-known touring rock band. In the beginning we had a pretty well-balanced system. We, and the band, thought it sounded great. The fans of this particular band (likely the younger ones) actually went so far as to start an online group to get us (and the engineer who worked for the band) to give them more bass. So, we obliged and doubled the amount of subs in the system. It shut them right up. But, I'm sure there were some (probably older) concertgoers who wish we had never done it. It still sounded great (IMO), but there was definitely more bass in the mix.
     
  16. Floyd Eye

    Floyd Eye Member

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    You are in a band that has a xylophone, I think you can get by without the subs.
     
  17. AnchorHoy

    AnchorHoy Member

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    That's my observation as well

    It's not a technical issue. If anything, PA systems have improved to an amazing extent in the past 20 years

    The person running the FOH board is imposing their own aesthetic judgement on what is coming out of the FOH speakers instead of faithfully reproducing the band's intentions as far as what they should sound like. It's the DJ/dance/Dub mentality writ large, and for any other style of music it simply sounds like ****

    And I'm a bass player...........
     
  18. jamrat

    jamrat Member

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    OK, a couple of things yall are saying are ringing true. The gig was a cheapie, and the sound guy was a low baller. He asked if he could go out and have a smoke rather than do sound check, 10 minutes before it was time to hit (he was running late initially). He didn't have mic stands or enough chords (luckily we had extra stands and chords and our own mics) and he was testing his sound system out at the beginning by playing dance hall reggae. I enjoy the music, but its probably true that he's more into being a dj than a sound engineer.

    And, according to Floyd Eye, were playing a xylophone orchedstra, so ...:p

    E tois Mardi Gras!
     
  19. rokpunk

    rokpunk Member

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    run your subs aux fed. that way only the things you want in the subs will be in the subs (ie. kick, keys, bass).
     
  20. Floyd Eye

    Floyd Eye Member

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    Hey, no offense bro, it just doesn't seem like a sub system is particularly beneficial to you. I can tell you that everyone is right when they tell you that you shouldn't be blaming the subs.
     

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