Sound Engineers - the grumpiest profession!!

HeyMrTeleMan

Colonel of Truth
Messages
3,051
LOL! I forwarded this to my Sound Engineer son. He'll get a kick out of it. Grumpy is NOT the word I'd use for him.

Because he's happy...
 
M

Member 117653

I wouldn't have called them 'grumpy' as such. I think of it more as carefully cultivated air of,

"Hey-man-you're-stuff's-boring-I'm-way-too-cool-for-it-'cause-like-by-this-time-next-year-I'll-be-in-studio-x-under-producer-y-recording-z-and-even-that's-only-if-my-band-doesn't-get-picked-up-quite-by-then-and-anyway-you'll-still-be-hassling-for-shiity-door-deal-gigs-and-nagging-your-mates-to-"like"-your-FB-page-so-don't-go-telling-ME-what-tone-you're-looking-for-I'LL-tell-YOU-what-tone-you're-gonna-get".

Or something like that.
 

loudboy

Member
Messages
27,316
You try to make 3-5 crappy bands per night sound good, for years on end and see how your attitude is... <g>

Seriously, pro production folks are not easily impressed or excited by what to them, is just another day at the office. Like every other working stiff, they want things to go smoothly, with no surprises.

If you sound good, make an effort to be pleasant and work with them, you'd be amazed at how much easier things can go, and how much better of a show you'll have.

The higher up the food chain you go, the more everyone cooperates, and the more enjoyable it is for all.

If you want grumpy and cynical, talk to a few video shooters - those are some bitter SOBs.
 

scotth

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
1,420
I challenge anyone to go to a construction site and strike up a friendly conversation with an older tile setter while he is working on a new floor install.

The likelihood of your life being threatened is very high.
 

GuitarGuy66

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
8,339
These days I much prefer bands that sing, vs bands that scream. This weekends bands are of the screaming variety. I'll do my best to make them sound good, but it will be a long night for me.



Some bands are a joy to mix. Others, not so much. But you take the good with the bad. I think there's only been a few times where the bands were simply not to my taste. It's not my job to like them, it's my job to make them sound good.

Don't get me wrong, sometimes I'm not crazy about what the band is doing but I can respect and appreciate that they are good at what they are doing even if it's not my thing.

But we get the odd band where, oh boy it's something else.

They were some "dangerous noise band, at the edge of this and that." Eff me, it was literally noise. The drummer never kept a beat all night. Just basically hit the drums. Guitars were pretty much all noise.

When a band doesn't have an online presence, take that as a big hint.



To me, the first band is more musical than the second. Loud, sure, screamy, yes but there is some sort of song structure. The second band, not so much.

None of the videos were shot by me.
 

Average Joe

Member
Messages
11,936
Considering the aural crap bands I've been in have subjected the poor souls to over the years, they have a right to feel grumpy. Add all the egos on stage/in the studio who need their fairy dust springled in a particular fashion to facilitate their precious artistic expression of Mustang Sally. I'm happy I don't have their job
 

chillybilly

Member
Messages
3,679
Sound Engineer channels Charlton Heston as Moses: "What I have done I was compelled to do."

By this I mean a Sound Engineer's raison d'etre is making others sound good. So why do they make his life a misery at soundchecks?

Vocalist is flitting about the stage talking to family and friends miles away from the mic. Bass player is slappin' and poppin' even though there isn't one note of slappin' and poppin' on the entire setlist. Drummer is playing intricate 7/6 time signatures, syncopated patterns and a flurry of notes and fills even though the setlist is strict 4/4 time. The guitarist, who apparently believes the name on his driver's license reads "Eric Johnson," spends his time during soundcheck playing soaring leads unrelated to the music to be performed on the night. And then there's the keyboardist, whose Mac won't boot and can't soundcheck at all.

I have every sympathy for them since the only way they can get cooperation is to get ugly with people.
 

MKB

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
8,563
One of the main reasons that sound engineers are so grumpy is most of the time the only comments they hear about their work are negative. Nobody compliments them when they do well, but they get a steady stream of negative comments and correction (It's too loud, the bass isn't loud enough, too much bass, etc). So if you want to de-grumpify a sound guy, compliment him on the great job he did and give specifics. Especially if you are in the audience.

On a darker note, another reason some sound guys are grumpy is they really don't have a clue what they are doing. In 30 years of gigging I have met everyone from true golden ear magicians with incredible PA's (got to play through one that supported the Rolling Stones earlier that week) as well as complete hacks that insisted on micing the woofer in a FRFR I was using with a modeler. He wouldn't even consider using the direct out. Unfortunately the hacks tend to outweigh the magicians.

Yet another reason for grumpiness is they are usually in a huge hurry and are constantly on point for anything going wrong, and they are the first ones to get blamed for any problems.

I've been a semi-pro sound engineer for decades, but tend to hide that ability and stick to guitar. Running sound kind of sucks.
 
Messages
299
If it's true it's because most of them get blamed for a bands crappy performance. I've heard a million times bands complaining about what the soundman 'did to their tunes' when in reality they all need to go practice!
 

Gas-man

Unrepentant Massaganist
Messages
18,611
Bottom line--whenever possible run your own sound.

You just can't count on the typical loser running sound to basically know anything.

Scold away--but it's true.
 

ianrodia

Member
Messages
868
Bottom line--whenever possible run your own sound.

You just can't count on the typical loser running sound to basically know anything.

Scold away--but it's true.
That might work in a small bar with your own PA, but in most actual show venues...you're going to need a typical loser that knows or can learn the room... Or bring your own dedicated sound guy in. Your keyboardist/audio pro isn't going get you sounding half as good as the typical loser.

Also it always seems the people with these attitudes are the dudes in hack bands. Real players in good bands are mostly a joy to work with. They know why I'm there.
 

Probos

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
7,200
These days I much prefer bands that sing, vs bands that scream. This weekends bands are of the screaming variety. I'll do my best to make them sound good, but it will be a long night for me.



Some bands are a joy to mix. Others, not so much. But you take the good with the bad. I think there's only been a few times where the bands were simply not to my taste. It's not my job to like them, it's my job to make them sound good.

Don't get me wrong, sometimes I'm not crazy about what the band is doing but I can respect and appreciate that they are good at what they are doing even if it's not my thing.

But we get the odd band where, oh boy it's something else.

They were some "dangerous noise band, at the edge of this and that." Eff me, it was literally noise. The drummer never kept a beat all night. Just basically hit the drums. Guitars were pretty much all noise.

When a band doesn't have an online presence, take that as a big hint.



To me, the first band is more musical than the second. Loud, sure, screamy, yes but there is some sort of song structure. The second band, not so much.

None of the videos were shot by me.
Dreadful stuff man,.....I could not deal. More power to ya,......
 

Unnecessary

Senior Member
Messages
2,667
I usually try to tell the sound guy he did a good job, even if he didn't when its a place I want to come back to.
But I'm also known for standing out in front the stage during my sound check and shouting frequency ranges at the sound guy, as a lot of them are still in the dark when it comes to DI'd guitars, and kick triggers. It's becoming less and less where we have a guy who truly has no idea, but that used to be the case all the time. The "Sound guy" was actually a bar back or something who was there to move the gear into place, set the mixer a certain way, then make sure nobody, including himself, touched it the rest of the night.
Whenever I have to do sound I'm usually pretty grumpy because musicians are f&%king a$$holes and its usually for some form of metal where I have to deal with at least two guitar players that think Dimebag Darrell had good tone and can't understand why their brother keeps yelling to turn up the guitar on stage......
 
Messages
299
Here's something I see almost every live show. Band does soundcheck, sound man works hard to get levels their best. During performance guitarist (typically) cranks up his amp, usually because some dude in the audience gave him a hand sign. This causes everybody else to readjust, drummer's now hitting harder, singer's voice is now going to **** cause he can't hear. Soundman is into knob twiddling hell but can't overcome the balance spilling off stage. Show sounds bad. Guitarist - who caused entire problem leaves club talking **** about the one guy who could actually hear what it sounds like and did his best.

These guys have a tough tough job. They've been burned so many times they are a bit jaded and frankly after a while expect you to do this to them too. Maybe listen to what they request and maybe just maybe you will see that they aren't grumpy at all.
 






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