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Sound at metal shows

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by SuperSnake2012, Aug 22, 2007.

  1. SuperSnake2012

    SuperSnake2012 floppy b strings

    Dec 12, 2006
    Bronx, NY
    I was at Ozzfest 2007 in Holmdel, NJ a few days ago... was anyone else there? Great shows were put on by many bands. As a bassist though, I was pretty upset with the way the sound was handled. I've been to a few metal shows, and in every performance I've seen, the bass drums are always so loud that they blend with the bass guitar to the point where your body is just being bombarded with low end. Has anyone been to a metal show where the bass was discernible from the bass drum? :oops:
  2. chaosMK


    May 26, 2005
    Albuquerque, NM
    Too much hip thrust
    I've had the same experience at many of the bigger shows- you can almost never hear the bass well.
  3. badstonebass


    Jun 7, 2006
    Don't know if you would consider it a METAL show but KISS usually has a good bass mix. Iron Maiden as well. Maybe because the bassists in these bands carry the music more than others.

    Modern bands usually doesn't place much emphasis on bass guitar. If you think about many of the bands on Ozzfest the bass isn't even really clear on there albums. Many times the bass and the bass drums are hitting the same "notes". that along with the downtuned guitars make bass almost indistinguishable.
  4. Corona_Clyde


    Sep 10, 2006
    In order for the bass guitar to be heard in any metal band it usually has to have a solo or part where only the bass plays. Other than that, as far as sound is concerned, a metal bassist is screwed.
  5. yeah i think especially with ozzfest the goal is to make everything sound as heavy as possible so they do that kind of thing to achieve the "heavy as possible" sound.
  6. Geezerman


    Nov 28, 2004
    Chicago, IL
    Eh, I don't agree.
  7. mattpnolan

    mattpnolan Supporting Member

    Mar 5, 2005
    New Jersey
    I think that both Corona_Clyde and Geezerman are correct. You can't really distinguish most bass guitar in metal bands/songs. However, if it wasn't there, you'd definitely miss it. :)
  8. Poop-Loops

    Poop-Loops Banned

    Mar 3, 2006
    Auburn, Washington
    Like on "...And Justice For All"?
  9. Shame that most metal/rock bassist don't get heard.
    I saw Queensryche 11-12 years ago, must have been the "Operation Mindcrime" album/tour and the bass was "there". I could hear almost every single bassnote Eddie Jackson played - great. That's the way it's supposed to be.
    Other than that - no bass, no matter what show and what band.
    Van Halen (okay that's not metal) had a good sound with "some bass" and Rammstein wasn't bad either...although those bassparts are not really interesting. Dreamtheater was horrible - terrible sound and NO bass. Why?? :rollno:
    I guess modern Nu-Metal bands are even worse when it comes to audible basssounds.

    I remember seeing Joe Satriani with Stu Hamm and I thought.."yeah sure looks good...the stuff he plays...wish I could hear it".
    No chance.
    Sometimes I feel like I need to punch the soundguy because I pay a lot of bucks and he ruins the show. :mad:
  10. tlwaps


    Feb 13, 2006
    There have only been 2 metal shows that i've been to where you could hear the bass. The first was Korn back in 2000, we all know fieldy's crap sound but it was just the clicking or clacking or whatever you wanna call it. The second show was when I saw Fear Factory back in 2001 when Christian was still playing bass. He wasn't heard much, but at times you could hear him perfectly. Most of the time tho it was Dino's guitar, Raymond's drums and Burt's vocals. Other than that all the shows i've been to you can't hear the bass at all, even in the shows I play. I think the sound guy checks the bass, then when the show starts he/she hits mute and let's it go.
  11. MoD_Scotty


    Jul 22, 2007
    Thrapston, UK
    It really sucks, but it's the nature of the music. There's just not much that can be done to a bassline to make it audible over the kick drum and downtuned guitars. I understand that fact and write my bass parts around it. I save my fills/solos for parts that will give me a greater chance of the bass being heard.
  12. nad

    nad 60 Cycle Humdinger Commercial User

    Sep 22, 2005
    Not Mars
    The Overlord of Nordstrand Pickups
    The dude in Celtic Frost had a great tone that cut through just fine, 20 years ago. Still, few pay attention to how that was achieved.

    There is no excuse for a metal bassist to be buried. Proper use of mid frequences and an engineer who isn't a complete ****tard, and there is no problem.
  13. djwackfriz


    Jul 31, 2007
    Astoria, NY
    Wow, I just checked out your link... you guys are tight! Nice work!
  14. MoD_Scotty


    Jul 22, 2007
    Thrapston, UK
    That's the hardest part...finding a sound guy that knows how to do it!

    That's why I bring 700 watts to every show!
  15. MoD_Scotty


    Jul 22, 2007
    Thrapston, UK
  16. DistortedBass

    DistortedBass Supporting Member

    Nov 10, 2006
    Los Angeles
    Schecter Guitars Endorsee
    It usually comes down to 2 problems.

    First, most soundmen are obsessed with "awesome kick tone"

    Since most music is beat driven these days, using all thier knowledge and gear to get the ultimate overhyped kick is number one on the list. It also causes the guitars to suffer.

    Most metal shows ive been to lately have been a loud ass kit, a wash of nasally undefined guitars, no bass, and tinny vocals sitting way on top.

    Second is the appaling lack of EQ knowledge with bassists.

    They set up thier smiley face graphic eq, scoop anything close to a mid out of thier tone and then wonder why all the live recordings make the bass sound like a pair of boots falling down a flight of stairs.

    If you don't know how to get a good tone , you cant expect someone who doesn't care to make it any better.

    Whenever i have to work with a new soundman I always take them aside, tell them the importance of the bass in the music and then get him a sound he can work with.

    It's amazing what 5 extra minutes of showing someone you know what the hell your doing can do for your show!
  17. MoD_Scotty


    Jul 22, 2007
    Thrapston, UK
    Well said.
  18. Jeff Martinez

    Jeff Martinez

    May 10, 2005
    Denver, CO
    +1 for Queensryche good, Dream Theater bad bass sound.

    If you really want to confuse a sound guy, try being in a band with 2 bassists. His face will look like you just gave him an overview of string theory and singularity.
  19. NKUSigEp


    Jun 6, 2006
    Bright, IN
    KISS, Flaw, Drowning Pool, Tool, Mudvayne, Metallica, Down, Corrosion of Conformity, and Otep.
  20. Chriso21


    Jan 15, 2006
    Fort Worth Texas
    down tuned metal all ways seems to be muggy at every show to me - unless it is played very slowly - There is just too much going on to be projected to the audience properly below d. The best place to listen to a band at a big show is near the sound desk - at the point of the triangle of the speakers. It will never be great outdoors, what with the wind and boomy bass, but I have had the best luck in that area at festivals.

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