Loud vs. Actually Loud vs. Stupid Loud

Discussion in 'Bass Humor & Gig Stories [BG]' started by HereIGoAgain, Nov 1, 2012.

  1. HereIGoAgain


    Oct 16, 2011
    This is inspired by the "booed at blues festival" thread.

    I've heard some people tell me things are loud when in reality, two can carry on a conversation without issue while the music is playing.

    This is opposed to "Actually" loud where, for example, you can't hear anything else. You can't hear your phone ring and the person next to you has to put mouth to ear to be heard.

    "Stupid" Loud is the point where pain is caused. For example, air-arcing is loud enough to cause damage. A dimed Vox AC30 or a Plexi on ten through a full stack is also in that ballpark. I have a friend who saw Van Halen live, and he and a large group were right in front of the mains. He told me the concert had a first-aid stand that started handing out cotton and ear plugs. I once saw a "battle of the bands" event featuring 6 hard rock/heavy metal bands playing in a venue slightly larger than the average basement. The event went from 7:30pm to about 1:00am. My ears still were ringing and my left ear was numb by 6:00pm the next day.

    These definitions are mostly my opinions. I guess the point I'm trying to make is that some people call something "loud" when it truly isn't, and some really don't know when enough is enough.

    What do you guys think? What are your experiences?

  2. I'd call it loud if I want to put in ear plugs, and stupid loud if I have to put in ear plugs.
  3. pedro


    Apr 5, 2000
    Madison, WI.
    The key's player I play with carries one of those gadgets that measures decibels. Generally speaking our gig levels was around 90-95.
  4. musicman666


    Sep 11, 2011
    I Always wear earplugs in any of the situations you have stated.
  5. Stinsok

    Stinsok Supporting Member

    Dec 16, 2002
    Central Alabama
    Robin Trower playing through 2 stacks in a club. Emerency situation, had to stuff cigarette filters in our ears.
  6. 254 stringer

    254 stringer

    Apr 15, 2010
    Waco Texas
    Of course it always seems louder if its something you don't want to listen to.
  7. pedro


    Apr 5, 2000
    Madison, WI.
    LMAO. I suddenly remember seeing Blue Cheer in 1968 b
  8. mpdd

    mpdd neoconceptualist

    Mar 24, 2010
    i think when people play at stadium volume in a small venue, they are punishing the audience for having to play for less than 40, 000 people
  9. Winfred


    Oct 21, 2011
    When the guy that pays me says to turn down, I turn down. If he says turn up, I turn up.
  10. hdracer


    Feb 15, 2009
    Elk River, MN.
    I've done that before!
    They actually work good. But at the price of cigarettes now days it is cheaper to buy a pair of ear plugs.
  11. two fingers

    two fingers Opinionated blowhard. But not mad about it. Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2005
    Eastern NC USA
    I think the point that came out from the blues festival thread is quite simply this. If the AUDIENCE thinks it's too loud, then it IS too loud. We don't play for ourselves. Without the audience there's no paycheck, and no point.
  12. Cantstandsya


    Jul 27, 2001
    Fontana, CA
    I was at the front of the stage for Dinosaur Jr. at Lollapalooza in 1993. The stack of Marshall cabs that J Mascis was playing out of was pointed right at me and it was so loud when they started playing that I got really dizzy and almost blacked out. It wasn't even the PA that was killing me, just his cabs ! Since then, that's been my reference point for crossing the line between " too loud " and " stupid loud"
  13. Loud enough to make my ears ring is stupid loud to me. Ears ringing = lost hearing.

    Louder than the PA can present the vocals, stupid loud.

    Too loud for staff to take orders, stupid loud.

    So loud nobody stays for more than 1 set even though they dig it. Stupid loud. True story, I went to an original rock show where the crowd turned over three times. Great band, neat tunes, lyrics, even some dynamics, but LOUD. They could have been playing to a packed bar by the end but no, they had to be too loud to make any conversation.
  14. lowfreq33


    Jan 27, 2010
    Endorsing Artist: Genz Benz Amplification
    I try to keep our volume just loud enough that everything is clear and you can feel the low end a bit on the dance floor. Vocals have to be heard. In a larger club this usually translates to peaks around 105-110, average level around 95. Smaller places around 85-90.

    One thing that makes a big difference is the quality of the mix. If everyone's tone is good, no harsh icepick guitar tone, and the blend is good you can get away with more volume.
  15. SlyTaco


    Jul 6, 2009
    Hell yea, I was at the MN show. Fantastic lineup!
  16. rust_preacher


    Dec 17, 2009
    ...and bass can sound great and be effective with lots of punch, at sensible volumes.

    ...NOT the way Jamiroquai mixed their show that I saw about 10 years ago.
  17. We play loud enough that you need earplugs but I see people at out shows without them too which I think is crazy. However we need to be loud and the audience likes that. We don't play bars only small clubs so it helps that the club owners are not expecting a fine dinning atmosphere. Also most sound guys say they mix us louder than most bands because we have a good even sound and its easier to go louder with no vocals.
  18. MegaSwing

    MegaSwing Your Obedient Bassist® Gold Supporting Member

    Nov 26, 2002
    Baltimore, MD USA
    I don't get a band who plays so loud that it expects the audience to wear earplugs and is surprised when the audience doesn't. Wouldn't it be better for everyone if you found the same musical balance at a lower volume, like say, the effective volume level through earplugs? Just wondrin'.

    I remember attending a local show a couple of years ago at which the band was so freaking loud that my hearing was a little cottony for months afterwards. I'll be wary of that band forever now. Doesn't seem like a great long-term strategy for building a fan base when you look at it that way.
  19. Tractorr


    Aug 23, 2011
    I agree about the tone thing. I go to a lot of heavy metal shows so I go to a lot of very loud shows (I always bring eat plugs). The band I am consistently blown away by is Nile. They have 3 full stacks on stage and an 8X10 and they are really loud but it doesn't hurt. Their sound is full and envelopes you but you don't sit there going "make it stop, make it stop!"
  20. lowfreq33


    Jan 27, 2010
    Endorsing Artist: Genz Benz Amplification
    A lot of bands use volume to cover up sloppiness. I don't make a habit of going to see those shows.