Dream Theater - awesome show, but no bass...

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by Waffles and Scotch, Oct 24, 2011.

  1. My girlfriend and I went to see Dream Theater for the first time on Saturday night at Ruth Eckerd Hall in Clearwater. It was an amazing show and they covered most of my favorites. They sounded great...except for one thing - there was no bass in the mix!! Or at least you couldn't tell there was any. We were about 30 feet from the front of the stage, almost dead center, and this venue is known for having great sound. I love John Myung - he's a huge influence for me - so it was pretty disappointing to not be able to hear him at all...

    Wouldn't a group as big as Dream Theater have their own sound guy, and wouldn't that sound guy (or one provided by the venue) want to make every instrument audible?
  2. john_g

    john_g Supporting Member

    Sep 14, 2007
    Ive heard that for years. There was a guy, I think here on TB, that saw DT and was able to talk to JM after the show and told him he couldnt hear any bass. JM seemed shocked.
  3. juankidiaz


    Oct 14, 2011
    Miami, FL
    Aw man that sucks big time!

    The best thing about DT is that each and everyone of the players is a master of their craft! (I'll leave LaBrie discussions for a different thread)

    I can just imagine how bummed you were on seeing Myung kicking that bass' butt and not being able to hear it! :crying:

    Hope they get that sorted out... and SOON!
  4. jmac


    May 23, 2007
    Lancaster, Pa
    I'm glad you started this thread. I saw them October 16 at the Merriam Theater in Philly. I have the same to report. There were moments that he could be heard, like on Ytse Jam. But for the most part nada. It was depressing.

    Unfortunately, it's not an isolated case. I saw Journey this summer. The same thing. Ross Valory not in the mix. Again, it was depressing.
  5. sound guys hate bass players unless they themselves are bass players. haters gon' hate :(
  6. jaywa


    May 5, 2008
    Iowa City, IA
    These are 100% fails on the FOH engineers.

    With the budgets that bands like Journey and DT have and the advances in sound reinforcement technology, there is absolutely no reason for plenty of bass not to be in the mix with as much power and clarity as any other instrument.

    Got too many FOH guys out there that know the technology up and down but have no ears.
  7. That's sad. John Myung is an amazing bassist. The songs just aren't the same without him.
  8. father of fires

    father of fires Commercial User

    Nov 29, 2006
    Chief of Medicine at Damnation Audio
    FOH doesn't EQ for the people in the front and middle. These are the fans. They'll be coming back no matter what. Sound guys need to impress the people in the back and sides. This is where you get your best sound. Kenny G's sound guy told me that.
  9. I'm 100% sure that DT have their own sound guy, just like any other "bigger" band. However, that doesn't mean that you should expect the bass to be heard...unfortunately. I've been to a lot of Heavy Rock/Metal/Rock/ Jazz-Fusion shows and very rarely was the bass audible.
    Van Halen - bass was there (somewhere)
    Bon Jovi - very little bass
    Whitesnake (Rudy Sarzo) - zero bass
    DT - zero bass
    Accept - little bass
    Robben Ford - some bass
    Chick Corea Electric Band - some bass
    Satriani (Stu Hamm) - little bass....even in a 3piece band they manage to bury it.
    Steve Vai (Sheehan) - great bass....could hear everything.
    Tribal Tech (Willis) - superb bass
    Steve Lukather & Larry Carlton (Chris Kent) - very little bass
    Eric Sardinas - very little bass
    Carl Verheyn - little bass
    Metallica - zero bass
    Queensryche - bass was quite ok
    Judas Priest - very little bass
    Vicious Rumors - very little bass

    Most of the time I could have shot the sound guy. Some venues just don't sound great and the bass, of course, is usually the first instrument to "disappear", but it really seems some sound idiots just don't like the bassist too much.
  10. MattyH


    Jul 20, 2010
    Long Island
    I've never heard JM in the mix live ever. Even on live dvd's and such. Terrible thing.
  11. Saw them on October 7th, and wholly agree. That was my only complaint about the show, and was quite disappointed when I could barely hear his solo on Ytse Jam. Some bass lines he was a bit more audible, like Breaking All Illusions I could hear him fairly well in the main verse riff.

    Regarding somebody telling Myung that they couldn't hear him, perhaps they've got tons of bass in what the band's hearing... us... not so much!
  12. boynamedsuse

    boynamedsuse Supporting Member

    Oct 13, 2010
    Interesting. I've always been in the "cheap seats." Maybe that was good after all. :p
  13. Mystic Michael

    Mystic Michael Hip No Ties

    Apr 1, 2004
    New York, NY
    So what else is new? I've been to three Dream Theater shows...and the bass never showed up to any of them... :rollno:

    It's not hate. It's cluelessness... :rolleyes:

    The problem is stylistic and idiomatic. It is that classic rock, hard rock - or any of the multiple sub-genres distilled from rock - for the most part has no tradition of interesting, compelling bass parts. And so up and down the line - from composition, to arrangement, to the recording mix, to the live mix - bass is treated like a second-class citizen of the band: necessary, but not particularly valued.

    It's not that most people are consciously and deliberately biased against bass. It is that for the most part, it doesn't even occur to them, i.e. guitarists, producers, engineers, etc. to treat the bass any better. The issue seldom ever comes to mind. It's automatic. That's why they have "no ears".

    Obviously there are exceptions (i.e. Rush, Yes, etc.). And there are genres of music - hybrids of rock and/or genres that are unrelated - where the bass not only has equal footing, but is often highlighted, (i.e. progressive rock, fusion). That's why those genres are so much more fun (and challenging) to play for a bassist. :bassist:

    But for the likes of Bon Jovi, Whitesnake, Van Halen, etc., I wouldn't ever expect to hear much bass (in the case of Bon Jovi, "too much" bass would get in the way of Jon's ego; in the case of Van Halen, "too much" bass would get in the way of Eddie's ego...:rollno:).

    As for Dream Theater, they have only themselves to blame. From a pure chops standpoint, they are among the most advanced, highly-skilled players I have ever heard - bar none. From the standpoint of actual maturity and musical sophistication...including the proper use of dynamics, obtaining an excellent, balanced mix, etc. well, they simply aren't.

    And by this point it doesn't look like that will ever change. They remind me of a bunch of high school headbangers...who woke up one day to suddenly find they had musical super powers - but without any adult sense of taste... :ninja:

  14. jaywa


    May 5, 2008
    Iowa City, IA
    It shouldn't make me feel better to know that a world-class bassist like John Myung gets jacked in the house mix same as a semi-pro schmuck like me... yet somehow, it does.

  15. Herrick


    Jul 21, 2010
    Munchkin Land
    That's disappointing to hear...or not to hear rather :( The bassist is always getting the shaft in the studio and live.
  16. cjmodulus


    Jul 15, 2010
    I can rarely hear any bass in some of their later albums, so at least they're consistent. It seems like the mix is all vocals guitar and drums with audible keys occasionally.
  17. Stumbo

    Stumbo Guest

    Feb 11, 2008
    I saw Carlos Santa in a benefit concert at the Greek Theater last year. There were other bands on the ticket as well.

    They all used an SVT with an 810 cab. When I could hear the bass, it was really loud on the stage but too bassy and rumbly and mostly nada FOH. Seems that the stage e.q. was not that good and the FOH bass support was missing. There was one mic on the cab. Don't know about D.I. I think D.I. would have helped.
  18. seanm

    seanm I'd kill for a Nobel Peace Prize! Supporting Member

    Feb 19, 2004
    Ottawa, Canada
    +1 The fact I am usually well placed in the mix must mean I am a better player than John Myung! If any of you need help playing roots on a Tom Petty song, you can come to me for guidance ;)
  19. I've seen DT many times, only 1 time did I really get to hear the bass the show through.
    Show in "De Melkweg" in Amsterdam, where I was standing frontrow, elbows resting on the stage, in front of Myung.

    I heard his backline (not the PA) the whole time :D
  20. juankidiaz


    Oct 14, 2011
    Miami, FL
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