Discussion in 'Live Sound [BG]' started by kenbert, Jul 11, 2013.

  1. kenbert


    Jan 16, 2013
    Lansing MI
    Went to see a concert last night in a large arena that had 3 bands, all 3 bands had awesome bass players but they all sounded like s..t. The bass was to loud and very muddy with no definition. Seems like every time I go to a large show the bass sounds like crap with the exception of a few like pink floyd and rush. So my question is why can a band like pink floyd or rush get a good bass sound when most cant in a large arena?
  2. Eric Moesle

    Eric Moesle

    Sep 21, 2001
    Columbus OH
    Soundman, plan and simple. They need to focus on bass (i.e. Rush) and quit EQ-ing in a manner so deep that it gets lost in an arena mix.
  3. +1000
  4. Joedog


    Jan 28, 2010
    Pensacola FL
    Amen! I've only played a handful of big gigs with stacks of subs, and more often than not, the bass sounded like elephant farts. Don't these guys have ears? On the other hand, once in a while you get a soundman who can make it sound like thick, crisp, heavenly thunder, and not drown out the rest of the band. Leaves you with a big grin on your face!
  5. pedroims


    Dec 19, 2007
    Pink Floyd, Rush, Iron Maiden, U2...that kind of bands have dedicated sound engineers, their job is to reproduce the band's sound the best they can.
  6. kenbert


    Jan 16, 2013
    Lansing MI
    I guess that makes sense but I have seen some pretty big names who's bass sounds horrible, you would think at that level they would have all the latest and greatest equipment to eq the room and so-fourth and their soundman would realize it sounds like crap!
  7. modulusman

    modulusman Inactive

    Jan 18, 2004
    Because the idiots running the soundboard grew up listening to bass heavy crap in their car stereo so they have no idea what a good mix should sound like.
  8. ggunn


    Aug 30, 2006
    Austin, TX
    I think it's more that that's what they think the audience is doing.
  9. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Yamaha, Ampeg, Line 6, EMG
    A bit of both.
  10. Bredian


    Apr 22, 2011
    all that.

    Went to a touring national youth rock type show a few weeks ago (rotating bands every 45 minutes on several stages) and asked the sound guy if those were subs under the covers... he said "didn't make a difference...the sound travels through..." ......didn't.

    Helped my good friend/drummer produce a show in a baseball stadium just before that and noticed while all sounded great except the bass. He especially gets the kick done nicely as he's a drummer. I noticed some of the bass was coming through pretty crisply during a slappn' tune so I left our standing spot and went to the stage.... the "great" tone was coming from the stage setup.... Gk head + 2 cabs out of a Stingray..... I've played through the PA before and we took some time to get it right. Doing some research, I found that the board he just got, a Presonus, has a bass preset that already has sound guys complaining....... lovely how the industry continues the old BS.

    Of course, now he's pissed that I mentioned it.
  11. Sleeping Giant

    Sleeping Giant

    Aug 3, 2011
    The Wembley Arena in London used to be a swimming venue called the Empire Pool. It had a olympic size pool in the center of the main building. When they converted it to be a concert venue they didn't fill in the pool but just put a floor over it. This acted like a huge boom box and made the hall sound like [email protected]
    A friend of mine was doing his drum sound check there and the bass drum was overpowering while doing the monitor mix and he asked the engineer to turn off the FOH. The engineer then told him the FOH was not on.
  12. derrico1

    derrico1 Supporting Member

    Apr 12, 2005
    Charlottesville, VA
    Lots of presets are wrong for a given mix. But even for the size venue that might use a Presonus board, the presets can't be blamed for the mix the audience hears. After auditioning them and finding them lacking, any decent FOH engineer would just avoid the presets.
  13. all the big name concerts i've been to have sounded like the engineers had the bass EQ'd heavily between 30-80hz leaving that low end mud to be the only thing heard.
  14. elgecko


    Apr 30, 2007
    Anasleim, CA
    I saw Pink Floyd at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena. It sounded like ***. Arenas aren't ideal for "good sound".
  15. Thumpinshelton

    Thumpinshelton Supporting Member

    I have worked many large arena shows for a company out of Nashville and also attended hundreds of arena and outdoor shows. I have NEVER been to either type of show and really like the sound. Honestly, those venues aren't created for music. I prefer the smaller theater style shows with a max capacity of around 2500 (or even smaller) or a solid club show. I am not really a "heavy metal" fan but, I worked a Metallica show in Nashville a few years ago, but the night before they did a surprise show at a tiny record shop in Nashville. They sounded 100% better in the tiny record store with a small PA than they did in the huge arena with about a million dollars worth of FOH gear.
  16. Bredian


    Apr 22, 2011
    Agreed. My favorite shows (sound qual) are standing close enough to hear the stage generated sound.. my ears can pick out the separated sounds from different directions instead of a wall of mashed mono from a pile of instruments and voices..
  17. will33


    May 22, 2006
    It's gotten so bad I stopped going to big arena shows a few years ago. I just refuse to, even if it's a group I really like. Costs way too much money to jear a bunch of garbage. I just can't see how some so-called professional engineer sitting on a million dollars worth of gear can't make it sound good. It's a waste of time and money.

    I do go to big shows if they're outdoors. Much better chance for good sound and I've heard a few where the mix job was just stellar.

    And +1 to idiots with car subwoofers not knowing what a good mix is or how to achieve it.
  18. intheory


    Nov 17, 2009
    SW Florida
    +1 on eq. I use a rack eq and kill everything under 100 on my bass rig. No mud, but I still have punch. Unfortunately some sound men don't know that the frequency range under 100 causes the "mud," especially when the kick, bass, and guitar are putting out frequencies in this range at the same time.
  19. Err... isn't an open E a 40Hz note?
  20. standupbassman


    Jul 7, 2009
    A standard tuned guitar doesn't reproduce much of anything below 100Hz (100Hz is a little above the 3rd fret on the low E string. When I run sound (and just about anyone who can legitimately claim to be an audio engineer will put a HPF around 100Hz on a guitar. A common thing I hear from guitar players, is something like "I love how big and fat my guitar sounds with the bass turned all the way up." When playing by themselves, it may sound good, but in the context of a band, not so much. If you are having an issue with the guitar creating a lot of low end, try talking him into using a HPF and EQ his guitar so that there is more mid-range and high end. The band will sound better. As for cutting everything below 100Hz, I would advise against it. You're cutting out the fundamental on about 1/2 of your range!

    Also, every tour EQ's the PA a lot, in an attempt to minimize reflections, but like elgecko said, arena's aren't designed for "good sound", even a .Wav file through the best PA won't sound like your headphones.

    The other issue is that the sound is very different throughout the room, and there is only one engineer. Next time you go to an arena show, stand by the sound guy. It will usually sound pretty good.

    If you're in the nosebleeds, like I am when I usually go to shows like this (actually, I'm usually backstage but still...), you'll predominantly hear bass. This is because, subwoofers are almost perfectly omnidirectional, which means there will be bass everywhere, whereas mid-range drivers and tweeters are directional, if you don't get a seat where the pa is aimed, it will sound bad. And even this isn't a guarantee. If you are too far from the stage, you will hear a lot reflections mixed in with the direct sound from the PA, making the sound undefined. This can also cause frequencies to be cancelled out, attenuated and boosted, which will change the sound.

    Ultimately, it comes down to acoustics and money. There are probably ways of making arenas sound better (I have some ideas), but if a band can sell out an arena and make money doing it, why spend more than they have to. Trust me, the engineer knows about everything you're hearing. There are so many factors working against them that it isn't possible to fix everything and maintain their timeline (or make money...)