COMPRESSED HOUSE SOUND

Discussion in 'Live Sound [BG]' started by tunewriter, Jan 19, 2014.


  1. tunewriter

    tunewriter

    Joined:
    Jul 26, 2012
    You know it when you hear it. The band is playing live but there is no, or very little, stage sound. All the sound is out front and it sounds like it could be a recording but you know it's live.
    I think I need a good sound engineer to answer this as I have not heard this type of mix often but I'm always impressed when I do. The vocals are always just above the music and the instruments are all very tight and at the proper volume for the venue. Some people would not like this as it does sound canned and overproduced but I'm so curious to know how it's done. Some kind of compression must be used. I just don't understand what is used or how. Anyone, at all, out there know what I mean and can anyone provide any insight? Very much appreciated. Call me dumbfounded.
  2. Kmonk

    Kmonk

    Joined:
    Oct 18, 2012
    Location:
    South Shore, Massachusetts
    Disclosures:
    Endorsing Artist: Fender and Spector, Ampeg, Curt Mangan Strings
    Basically, low stage volume and letting the PA do the work.
  3. modulusman

    modulusman

    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2004
    Location:
    montana
    My thoughts also. I don't like to run a compressor on the whole mix.
  4. walterw

    walterw Supportive Fender Gold Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2009
    i like to compress the vocals, so that they stay just above the mix without getting too loud, but yeah, you're describing a band with low stage volume and a good soundguy.

    compressing the whole mix can lead to weirdness where the instruments drop in level with loud singing then come back up, the ol' "pumping" and "breathing".
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  6. M0ses

    M0ses

    Joined:
    Sep 11, 2009
    Location:
    Eastern Wisconsin
    No stage volume and intelligently monitored PA volume. Silent stage doesn't mean crap if you still insist on blasting the PA twice as loud as the room dictates.
  7. tunewriter

    tunewriter

    Joined:
    Jul 26, 2012
    Guys - Someone has to know what I mean. Maybe the sound is not compressed but it is sooo smooth it could easily be a recording. No instrument stands out of the mix. Like I said, some folks would not like this as it does sound like a recording. But I know it's not. If anything, it's over produced. I have only heard it two or three times in my life. Believe me, when I hear it again, I'll ask the sound guy what's going on.
  8. fokof

    fokof Gold Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2007
    It can be a lot of stuff ……

    Ingredient to a good sounding show (not in a particular order)

    -Good room acoustics
    - Songs have good arrangement , meaning , each musicians have their own spectral parts.
    -Musician have good tones and patches are well balanced dynamic wise. (read : they sound good)
    -Songs are written/arranged with "live" interpretation knowledge , not only studio.
    - Low stage volume helps FOH guy do a REAL mix instead of "Damage management"
    -Good PA equipment
    - Soundman knows how to "Slice" each instrument in their own "Spectral part" (if need be , if the band hasn't)
    -Songs are well preformed.
    -Songs are good.

    IME (35 years of professional music work) , band is 90%.

    Sh!t in , Sh!t out
  9. Rodger Bryan

    Rodger Bryan

    Joined:
    Jun 17, 2006
    Location:
    Connecticut
    +1, especially to these points.

    Too many guitars crowding the mids->low mids, stage volume wars, a keyboard player stepping all over the bass... these can ruin a stage mix and can drive the sound guys nuts.
    The only thing I would add is that when the FOH slots the bass and kick the right way for the given group's sound and controls the sub-40Hz range, this can make a huge difference in how it feels. Compression alone won't deliver that.
  10. walterw

    walterw Supportive Fender Gold Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2009
    we know exactly what you mean.
    it's low stage volume + a band that's arranged their s%^t to sound good and not fight frequencies + a good soundguy + a good system + a good room.
  11. Joe Louvar

    Joe Louvar

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    Jun 6, 2011
    Location:
    Santa Rosa, CA USA
    +1. Yep
  12. tunewriter

    tunewriter

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    Jul 26, 2012
    Thanks gang. I'm convinced. Guess I was hoping it was some type of special mixing or equipment.
  13. ga_edwards

    ga_edwards

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    Sep 8, 2000
    Location:
    UK, Essex
    Careful judicious eq can go a long way to smoothing out a lumpy mix and giving it a polish, as can a multiband compressor.

    Another trick to get that 'studio' smooth polish is to strap an aural enhancer such as the BBE Sonic Maximiser over the final mix.
  14. walterw

    walterw Supportive Fender Gold Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2009
    sorry, but yuck.
  15. tunewriter

    tunewriter

    Joined:
    Jul 26, 2012
    Wait a minute. Ga_edwards just might have a point. I'm going to try it this weekend at rehearsal. Just happen to have one available. What the heck. It might help.
  16. AMachine

    AMachine

    Joined:
    Nov 1, 2007
    its equipment set up the right way with a engineer with a seasoned ear.
  17. ggunn

    ggunn

    Joined:
    Aug 30, 2006
    Location:
    Austin, TX
    And it can be easily overdone when it's on the overall mix. When every kick drum hit has a little "vacuum" after it due to the release time from overcompression, it makes me a little nuts.

    There is a currently running TV commercial that illustrates this very well. I don't remember what they are selling, but there is a scene in the middle of it where a guy jostles another guy at the bar; the jostlee tries to jump the jostler and the jostler's friend pulls the attacker's hat down over his eyes and they flee the bar. The pounding music that has been running under the action kicks up and goes into that overcompressed sound that makes me feel like someone is using a plumber's friend on my ears. If you've seen/heard it you know what I mean. It's hard for me to believe that someone thinks this sounds good.
  18. Michael Pearce

    Michael Pearce

    Joined:
    Aug 3, 2013
    Location:
    St. Louis, Missouri
    Basically what you're talking about is a proper mix set up by a good sound engineer. Unfortunately, there are too many people doing sound who are just hacks. Too many venues view sound as a job that needs to be done, and whoever can do it should just do it, rather than a specialized skill that contributes hugely to the final result.

    Vocals are *supposed* to be the most prominent part of the mix. The sound is supposed to be clean and clear. Anything else is a bad mix. The fact that a good mix surprises you when you hear it just goes to show how neglected sound engineering is.
  19. tunewriter

    tunewriter

    Joined:
    Jul 26, 2012
    Could not agree more Michael. We are trying to get a permanent sound guy and it has not been easy. Two years of monthly gigging and we have only used the same guy 3 times. We use him when he's available but he plays in a band himself so we never know. Seems every sound guy has a unique setup and they are all over the map. We just want to sound professional and be able to hear what's going through the house ourselves. Not blast anyones ears. We are there to entertain not offend. We play classic rock not metal and we play bars not collossiems. We have a small following so we are doing something right, it's just a pain not knowing what we will sound like at the next gig. Oh, and we pay our sound guy before we pay ourselves and he, at least, get's equal pay. Most of the time quite a bit more. But we are talking about bars here. No one is getting rich.
  20. fokof

    fokof Gold Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2007
    :rollno:
  21. sdenney78

    sdenney78

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2012
    Location:
    Birmingham, Alabama
    Is there any way to get that posted at the top of the "Live Sound" forum!!!

    All jokes aside, I think the main problem is that everyone wants to be in front of the crowd and not behind everyone. There are not enough people out there desiring to mix live sound; everyone wants to be the star of the show.

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