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Can you ever hear yourself how the audience does?

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by WashburnAB95, Feb 8, 2014.

  1. WashburnAB95


    Nov 18, 2013
    How come when ever sombody else plays through my equimpment it sounds warm full and round everything I would hope for? When I play it sounds thin and weak. I know technique plays a role but I have heard myself recorded and I am pleased with the tone. Having an extra long chord or a wireless system gets you sorta close but I still don't think it is the same.

    I think it is like this... Does anybody here get car sick? How come if you yourself drive you are much less likely to get sick? Somehow when you are actually in control of the car your brain interpets the sensory feedback differntly in a way that doesn't make you sick. I think it is the same when playing bass... you hear it differntly when you are in control.

    Has anybody else ever noticed the same thing? Is there any strategies you can use to hear yourself better?
  2. JCooper

    JCooper ...meep. Supporting Member

    Oct 21, 2009
    I've wondered the same things....and I like your car sickness analogy, too.
    Perception is subjective, by nature I suppose.
  3. WashburnAB95


    Nov 18, 2013
    I have had the same thing happen at a guitar store... I really like what others are play and I feel like I just noodling not doing anything and I get compliments. I think part of what makes music interesting is the unexpected. You play it perfectly straight almost every time then once through you do something slightly differnt and catch the listener off guard and it sound good. When you are playing it is never unexpected. Well at least it shouldn't be :)
  4. cableguy


    Jun 4, 2009
    North Bend, WA
    Maybe out front you are hearing FOH not your amp.....
  5. Phalex

    Phalex Semper Gumby Supporting Member

    Oct 3, 2006
    G.R. MI
    FOH is someone else's job. It's also a totally different perspective. I gotta hear myself onstage, but that sound probably doesn't translate well to big picture.
  6. WashburnAB95


    Nov 18, 2013
    Yes I know acoustics, FOH and such matters but that is not what I am asking about.

    Lets say you had a perfect wireless system and you where playing from the center of the audience... will you be hearing it the same way they do?
  7. Packinton


    Jan 19, 2014
    Maybe you could try with a (borrowed) wireless transmission to experience the difference in sound from varying postions in the room?
    When I stand clos to the speaker I hear more treble. This will spread and fade, and the bass will remain.
    Again. when your in a venue, the sound changes from rehearsal to performance due to the people in the room.
  8. I routinely step out into the audience, both to interact with the party people, and to hear FOH. One of the perks of going wireless.
  9. squirefan


    Nov 22, 2009
    Lansing, Ks.
    To use a cliche, we tend to be our own worst critics.
    That's why we're bass players.

    I know what you mean, though, and I quit worrying about it. A good soundman is really more in touch with the audience than you, and through osmosis, will put you/your sound there. As long as you're doing your job well, it's the overall mix that matters.
  10. Oren Hudson

    Oren Hudson

    Dec 25, 2007
    Gastonia, NC
    I use wireless for lots of reasons with sound checking being one of them. I find that lots of times, the on stage bass is perfect, but tends to gain a good bit of boom the further I get from the stage, beginning at about 20-25 feet. I hate it, but you have to find a little more treble or a little less bass to hit the sweet spot at distance while remembering that your sound is a bit different that what is on the stage. :meh:
  11. Gaolee

    Gaolee Outta my way! I'm caffeinated! Supporting Member

    I play through a w-bin. There's very little chance the audience hears what I hear on stage. I just have to take it on faith and experience that it sounds like it should.
  12. get a wireless and see what it sounds like out front.

    for DB players, this is the world they live in- you can never hear your 'real' sound. i get compliments on my tone all the time when i play DB, and always wonder what the big deal is. i like my instrument, it does sound nice, but i never 'get it' until i hear other people play my bass.

    i don't think its so much that we're playing that it sounds different. a lot of it has to do with where you are in relation to where the sound is coming from.
  13. Ha, I have exactly the same feeling !!
    A few month ago I acquired a multi effect in which there is a looper.
    And while I was focusing on my tone, trying to find the best settings, I recorded a loop and I discovered that my tone was way better that what I heard when I was playing : deeper and more articulate.

    So, I guess, there are some factors which transform what you hear when you are playing. Maybe it's because you are concentrated on what your hands are doing, I don't know...

    And I made the experiment with my singer too : we were practising just the 2 of us. And we two were finding that the other one was too loud, and that it was difficult to hear its own instrument / voice well.

    So we did the same thing : 2 loops with the voice and the bass. And when just listening we were amazed to hear that, in fact, the sound was very good and equilibrated.

    Try that experiment and you'll see that it's not that you're playing bad or the other ones trying your rig are better than you. It's something due to the brain work.

    So, now I do that time to time : play a bit, record a loop, listen, then play again. And I train my ears to hear the same kind of tone. And it seems to work. Not perfectly, but I hear something more realistic while I play.
  14. ahc


    Jul 31, 2009
    No. Virginia
    I've noticed the OP's point too. I think this is akin to the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle in physics. You are both creating the sound and observing it at the same time. Might be cause for a lack of some precision in the measurement/observation. Then again, I could be full of it.
  15. I totally get what you are talking about. When I listen to a recording of my band it sounds different some how. I may hear a run and think to myself, hmm, that sounded good. When it did not register to me when I actually played it. Don't know if that makes sense.

    Scientifically there are specific parts of the brain that are being used when playing music. I am guessing they are not all used when listening to music so the perception is different?

    Either that or all musicians are slightly crazy. I think that is the best answer.
  16. Gaolee

    Gaolee Outta my way! I'm caffeinated! Supporting Member

    Play a DB through a w-bin. It's the ultimate uncertainty principle rig.
  17. Baird6869

    Baird6869 RIP Gord Downey. A True Canadian Icon. Supporting Member

    I would say "no" to answer the OP's question IF he is on stage. "Yes" if using wireless and playing from the crowd.

    Think about it, most of us play with big bass cabs blaring a couple of feet from our @$$. Not the best place to hear a full band mix.

    YMMV, but I sound tinny and trebly to me on stage and perfect (to me) in the mix or on recordings.
  18. jefkritz


    Oct 20, 2007
    iowa city, IA
    Depends how you mean...

    In terms of receiving the same audio signal to your ears - yes (at least as much as any two people in the audience have the same received audio signal)

    In terms of 'hearing the same thing' as in experiencing the same thing - no. no one ever hears the same thing. this involves many many layers of cognition etc, and is highly subjective.
  19. baba

    baba Supporting Member

    Jan 22, 2002
    3rd stone from the sun

    My goal is to make sure my band and I can hear clear definition in all notes and punch while on stage. FOH is FOH.

    My current rig slices like a knife on stage - Dingwall SuperJ5 - Genz Benz Shuttle 6.0 - pair of GK NEO 112's.
  20. Savage_Dreams


    Jan 8, 2007
    obviously you would hear the same thing, but that doesnt mean you would interpret it the same way.

    as for it sounding different if someone is playing your stuff, sure technique makes a difference, and not counting FOH, i think just about any bass amp will sound different from a distance than it does when your standing right in front of it. the key is to learn how to make it sound good out front, and that sometimes means it doesnt sound like how you want it to sound while standing right in front of it.