I really don't understand...

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by One_Dude, Apr 27, 2019.

  1. I know this topic has been discussed before, but my experience last night brought it to the forefront again. The issue is excessive volume from a live bands' PA system.

    A musician I know is in a band I had never heard before and they were playing at a local venue last night. The venue is mostly a pizza place that also serves beer and harder drinks. There was a nice family type crowd, and the band is really terrific; great classic rock songlist, well rehearsed, and high energy. The problem was, the volume was so loud that it hurt our ears. I am usually on the other side of the music, playing it live rather than listening to someone else. My band is always careful about volume level and we never get complaints about being too loud. Last nights band was so loud that we were moved to a separate room for our meal and then we left as soon as we finished eating. In the separate room with the doors closed the band volume was about right. I really don't know how the folks in the main room could put up with that volume level.

    Our waitress was very nice and said they frequently get complaints about the band being too loud. I suspect part of the problem is the room acoustics; it's a very "hard" room, with lots of metal tables and metal wall coverings, but a good sound man can deal with that. It looked like this band was running sound from the stage which in my view contributes to problems like this. Whoever is running sound from the stage does not hear what the audience hears and really doesn't know how they sound unless someone tells them. What they hear in their monitors volume-wise is not what is coming out of the FOH speakers.

    I would have liked to stay longer to hear this band, but without ear protection we just couldn't do it. I don't understand what makes some bands think they can only sound good if their volume is at the ear-bleeding level. I know the next time I see the band member he will ask me how I liked the show. I'm not sure what to say; since we left during their first set, I imagine others also didn't stay for the whole show.

    Does anyone have some insight as to why some bands play way too loud to the point where the audience can not enjoy the show?

    Thump on,

  2. JTE

    JTE Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 12, 2008
    Central Illinois, USA
    Mixing from stage is necessary but if you're at the point that you need to start putting electric instruments and/or any drum in the mix you gotta bite the bullet and mix from FOH.

    Too many musicians playing real-world gigs don't understand their true role in the venue. Many guitarists and bassist are more concerned about "my sound" (or the sound they imagine they have which supposedly sounds just like their favorite artists- I'm talking of the SRV wannabes who need to crank a Super Reverb in a 200 seat restaurant, and the bassist who needs a full SVT rig for that same gig). Add in the infatuation with huge drum sounds at the expense of a mix and it's a disaster.
    Odinbass, dbsfgyd1, filmtex and 13 others like this.
  3. JimK


    Dec 12, 1999
    A "pizza place"...with a full PA?
    Whenever we played something similar, it was our own amps, PA was for vocals & horn only.
    MattZilla, ahc, CB3UK and 7 others like this.
  4. FunkHead

    FunkHead Supporting Member

    Mar 10, 2007
    I blame the room. If the room can't keep up with a loud drummer than it's just too small. I don't even want to play venues like that.:D
    Gabbs, wmhill, DirtDog and 8 others like this.
  5. JRA

    JRA my words = opinion Gold Supporting Member

    loud = 'talent', "serious business," "take no prisoners," "we're too cool," yada yada.

    lots of otherwise talented folks don't know what they're doing (or not doing) when it comes to music/entertaining. :)
  6. Stumbo

    Stumbo Guest

    Feb 11, 2008
    IME, too many drummers don't control their volume and play full force instead for the room. Everyone else turns up to hear themselves.

    At one venue last year we heard a very popular band (been around for over 40 years) that was super loud for the venue. The vocals were being over powered by everything else. The bass player was playing rock lines in this funky r&b group. The drummer was playing like he was beating a dead horse.

    After the first set they played some music through their JBL mains/subs and it sounded righteous. It was how the band should have sounded.

    When I saw the FOH guy asleep at the back of the venue near the end of the night I figured he was pretty much deaf and, since the break music sounded so good, he was probably overruled as how the band members set the volume on their rigs.

    And these guys play every week, year after year.
    Last edited: Apr 27, 2019
  7. FunkHead

    FunkHead Supporting Member

    Mar 10, 2007
    Exactly, I truly believe the Drummer has the most power in any given situation.
  8. RustyAxe


    Jul 8, 2008
    If you read some of the posts here in TB, it's because some bands think that unless they're blowing 120db at the back of the room they aren't putting on a show. Like mic'ing an entire drum kit for an audience of 50 in a restaurant lounge. Or using a double stack in that room. I could go on. For others it's pure ego ... "hey man, this is our sound". For others it's just being clueless.
  9. Cliff Colton

    Cliff Colton

    Nov 7, 2016
    GrooverMcTube likes this.
  10. BAG


    May 5, 2014
    New Zealand
    Be straight with him. Tell him you like what they play and how they play it but the volume ruins it. If another musician can't stand the volume then Joe and Josie Average will most likely be walking out the door.
    CB3UK, RobTheRiot, smokinjoe and 7 others like this.
  11. DavC


    May 17, 2005
    Tallmadge , Ohio
    having run PA from stage in several bands over the decades ... i'd say ' that ' was never an excuse for being to Loud !!

    having Ears and some Common sense makes it a fairly simple process ...

    have a friend/barkeep/ in the audience to let you know if the volume is OK ..!?

    use a db meter ..!? ( good instrument for bar owners to have )

    use a wireless setup so you can check the FOH yourself ...

    way to many " Soundmen " i know are half deaf and just like to show off how loud/boomy their crap can get ... ?!?
  12. Scottgun


    Jan 24, 2004
    South Carolina
    Yes. Both the band and the venue not communicating about expectations. This should all be settled in advance.

    Even if that doesn't happen, the band should notice quickly if an audience is there mainly for food and music secondary and adjust accordingly. The manager should notice too and speak up. Plenty of obtuseness to go around.
    CB3UK likes this.
  13. buldog5151bass

    buldog5151bass Kibble, milkbones, and P Basses. And redheads.

    Oct 22, 2003
    They don't understand it's not a concert hall, and people aren't there just to see them.

    One thing I do when I get to a place is speak to whoever is in charge and tell them to throw something at me if we get too loud.
    gebass6 likes this.
  14. Spent


    May 15, 2011
    Upstate NY
    I used to play with a drummer who was proud of only being able to play loud. We got a lot of great gigs (our demo CD was a live show), but most didn’t ask us back. They were very upfront about it, we sounded great, people came out, but we were too loud. The guy wad a great drummer, and it was a great band, but we eventually broke up. Fast forward, I’m play with a pretty average band, but the drummer has great volume control. Left (on good terms) after a few years because we were gigging too much (and making exponentially more money). They’re still going strong years later.

    Mediocre and reasonable volume > Awesome and loud.
    alanloomis1980 likes this.
  15. And I

    And I

    Feb 19, 2009
    Witchtown, MA
    I always bring ear protection because you never know. I also don't plan to go out to eat when a band is playing there. Some restaurants have good live music setups, most don't. I don't want to sit down to eat dinner in front of a loud band and have to scream at someone across the table, and I don't want to play in that situation either.

    MYLOWFREQ Supporting Member

    May 13, 2011
    If the place is a medium sized place with reflective surfaces, and if the musician's stage volume is too loud (i.e. if the guitar player cranked up the volume too much), the sound engineer would either try to convince the guitar player to turn down, or s/he would turn everything else up to get a more "balanced" mix. The latter case sounds like your scenerio.
  17. Munjibunga

    Munjibunga Retired Member

    May 6, 2000
    San Diego (when not at Groom Lake)
    Independent Contractor to Bass San Diego
    Great post. This is why I carry a supply of earplugs in my car.
    jamro217 likes this.
  18. foolforthecity

    foolforthecity Supporting Member

    The band I’m playing in right now makes sound reinforcement changes based on venue. And our drummer makes use of a cajon in low-volume applications. For desired levels below that, the band drops to a duo or even solo and the unnecessary players have a free night off.
    alanloomis1980 and And I like this.
  19. Conversely, I’ve also seen many drummers dumb down their playing, hitting light as a feather because they’re relying solely on PA support and fear getting yelled at by the BL (as if the drummer is always the sole source of sonic mayhem). Meanwhile, they’re ripping loud in the PA, while the guitars try their best to override the low end, and the bass player thinks in turn that adding more BASS is the answer. A PA mix with all instruments plus vox can be at times more detrimental in the wrong hands than just plain old everyone TURNING IT THE HELL DOWN from the start.
    BooDoggie, Kijuer, jamro217 and 2 others like this.
  20. FunkHead

    FunkHead Supporting Member

    Mar 10, 2007
    All great points. Personally, I like when only the Vocals are in the PA but that's frowned on here on TB.