Dismiss Notice

Psst... Ready to join TalkBass and start posting, make new friends, sell your gear, and more?  Register your free account in 30 seconds.

Stage vs Audience Sound

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by Larzito, Feb 8, 2001.


  1. Larzito

    Larzito

    Aug 1, 2000
    Dallas, Texas
    I was playing at a medium sized club last night and was getting a nice articulate, warm sound on stage. I was using an Eden WT800 & Eden 410XLT and not running through the PA. At one point I went on the dance floor and played (don't ask), and noticed that the sound was considerably thinner and not nearly as good as on stage. I was probably 15 feet away from the rig. I started toying with the onboard bass boost, increasing it to fatten, only to loose clarity. Anyone out there have any suggestions (other than going wireless and roaming the club) as to sound characteristics and how they might affect the entire club? I'm thinking that 15 feet away the sound may be thin, but that 40 feet away it may fatten due to the sound wave principals. Anyone know the normal "throw" for an Eden 410XLT? It pissed me off to be digging the sound I was getting on stage, only to find that it may not have been as good in the rest of the room.
     
  2. You have my sympathy! In a pub my band plays regularly the following happened at first:

    Soundcheck (pub nearly empty): Good balanced sound. Soundman tells me to add lots of lows because he thinks the bass is not fat enough.

    Gig (pub full): Onstage tone a nightmare, it feels muddy to me and I can barely hear myself.

    15 feet out (mixing desk): Good balanced sound.

    Back of pub (100 feet): Sounds like sticking your head inside a subwoofer. Foundations shaking. All other freqs drowning.

    Problem: Stage has high ceiling and rest of pub is long, narrow w/ low ceiling. All the sound got absorbed by the audience but the bass just travelled the length of the room and stayed down there!

    There is another thread (in the amps or misc forum where this thread will probably get moved ;) )which covers accoustics in detail - try a search.
     
  3. Chris A

    Chris A Chemo sucks!

    Feb 25, 2000
    Manchester NH
    Misc sounds good.........

    Chris A.:rolleyes:
     
  4. Hey Larzito!!! The best thing you can do is to get a good stage tone.No matter where you move,the room's dynamics will change the sound of any instrument.Every room has a "sweet spot".It varies from room to room.Every stage has it's own "sweet spot" and that too is not so consistent.Unless the room is acoustically refined,you won't beat this neverending problem.I'm not saying it's hopeless,I'm just saying there are so many variables that affect sound,even if you have a good PA and a great soundperson,some things can not be controlled.I've played in alot of clubs ranging from a hole in the wall to 3,000 seaters.I can honstly say there were some good sounding gigs and there were nightmares from Hell. The last time I played a good sounding room was at the Grog Shop in Cleveland,Ohio.The soundman knew his stuff(I wish we could've taken him on tour with us.)Then there was the gig at the Masquerade in Atlanta,GA...Big stage,Big room,crappy soundman.Win some lose some.
     
  5. Boplicity

    Boplicity Supporting Member

    What a nice stage setup! I dream of having Eden equipment one day (when I win the Lotto!) Anyhoo, I've always been lucky to have a PA sytem when I played, so I let others fool with balancing sound levels, but I did look up some info in my sound book to see if I could find an explanation. BTW, Willie Dizon is right about the "tricks" sound can play. My biggest bugaboo was having stage monitor levels be right for the soundcheck, then when the audience was there and we started to play, I couldn't hear anything...often the bass drum was what I couldn't here or myself either. That is my worst nightmare.

    OK, here's some excerpts from "Sound Check: The Basics of Sound and Sound Systems." by Tony Moscal. I took the excerpts from sections on "Dispersion and Directivity" and "Distance and Reverberation."

    "Two common problems facing sound engineers are room reverberation and distance. All rooms have to some extent a phenomenon called reverberation....It is caused by sound waves bouncing around the room and hitting the ear at slightly different intervals.

    "The reverberent field is where the reverberated sound is actually louder than the original sound source. This makes the sound unintelligible and difficult to understand.

    "The closer the listener is to the speaker, the less problem he will have with reverberent field. Typically, the the distance where the reverberent field tends to dominate is 10 to 20 feet from the speaker.....

    "The other problem facing sound engineers is how sound fades with increasing distance. Every time distance from the speaker doubles, sound pressure levels (SPL) drop 6dB. This is important in speaker placement so people in front of the stage aren't blasted while people in the back can barely hear.

    "A good rule of thumb is to get the speakers up in the air so you can direct the sound to all listeners. Do not block the speaker out put with any obstacles (people in front.)"

    This book contains a great deal more highly technical information, but I hope what I excerpted gives you some insight into the reason why you encountered the problem you had.

    Jason oldsted


    [Edited by JasonOldsted on 02-08-2001 at 11:19 PM]
     
  6. Amen!to that. If your onstage tone is at your liking, your performance will show it. There's not much you can do about the main's sound.

    [Edited by Herm on 02-09-2001 at 12:19 AM]
     
  7. gweimer

    gweimer

    Apr 6, 2000
    Columbus, OH
    Sorry, but I'm going to disagree with everyone. My first question is: Who are you playing for? The answer to that will get to the next part. If you're only playing for yourself, don't even worry about it. If you want the audience to hear you, you need to make some adjustments that may not be what you want to hear from onstage. First, don't boost the lows, CUT them. The room (in most cases) should fill them out. By cutting the lows, and bringing up the volume a touch, you may find a better balance in the room. You need to work very closely with your sound man on this. Some rooms tend to absorb sound while others (like large open barn-like places) tend to amplify them. If you work with the same sound man, it's a better thing. Our sound man used to keep a notebook with EQ settings, etc. for each room we played. The quest for bottom with clarity is a tough one. You need to play with your EQ a bit. By cutting everything lower than 100hz and making a slight boost at 250hz, you can get rid of some mud, and bring out a little presence. Again, the answer to my first question is the key to what you do next.
     
  8. Larzito

    Larzito

    Aug 1, 2000
    Dallas, Texas
    I appreciate the responses! I suspect that the critical range is 10 to 20 feet from the speaker...sound is sort of in disarray at that point because of all the above mentioned factors, plus the rest of the band's amps, drums, etc are all fighting each other. Problem is, this is also the most common distance for the dance floor. As gweimer suggested, I have removed some of the lows to optimize clarity (I think I mentioned boosting and cutting in my original post). And in the process of removing some of the lows for the sake of clarity, I am trying to tailor the sound for the audience and not myself. Basically, that is entirely the point I am tyring to make...how to optimize the sound for the audience. Also, a lot of the venues I am playing do not have a sound man and I am not running through the PA...which is why I want to figure out how to optimize audience sound straight from my rig. I was not at all unhappy with the sound I was getting the other night onstage, it just seemed thin at 15 feet away...which doesn't suggest too much low end...just the opposite...but adding low end made it muddy. A lot of small to medium sized clubs in the Dallas area do not have house PA/Soundman...which is not all bad as a lot of soundmen are less than stellar. So I'm looking for tricks on how to coax more out of the rig to fill the room with quality, booty-shakin bass that is clear, warm, etc without boominess. Has anyone seen the Holy Grail?
     
  9. All the posts on this subject will be helpful for me.Soon I will be working for Mars Music and I need to know this stuff.Kudos to Larzito for bringing up the subject,also thank you Jason and gweimer for your information!!!
     
  10. Thank you too.
     
  11. I_Dream_Of_Bass

    I_Dream_Of_Bass

    Feb 8, 2001
    **SNIP**

    You're right Larzito...I reread what I typed and somehow it didn't register to me until now that it has absolutely nothing to do with your question. It belongs in a separate thread. My apologies for the vent. Guess I REALLY didn't like that job.

    [Edited by I_Dream_Of_Bass on 02-10-2001 at 09:12 AM]
     
  12. Larzito

    Larzito

    Aug 1, 2000
    Dallas, Texas
    I didn't intend for this thread to be a debate about soundmen IDOB, but you have to understand that soundmen are SUPOSSED to adjust levels constantly in reaction to what the performers do. Otherwise, we could set up the sound and leave it alone and wouldn't NEED soundmen! I'm talking about the situation where the soundman is also the bartender, bouncer, doorman, toilet cleaner, etc for a club. OR, the soundman who spends his time talking when he should be mixing. OR, the soundman who never seems to be at the board at all! As I said, this is not a debate about soundmen, but all above examples are true (we won't even talk about those who think bass should be "present" but not "heard"...which is an entirely different debate concerning personal taste...but the soundman works for ME and should make ME sound how I want to sound...within reason of course).

    Your points about ear fatigue and tweaking later in the evening are very true. It makes me think that the same is probably true for the soundman and the audience as well (which is something interesting that I had not thought of). But you are right, tweaking later in the show causes problems and should be discouraged. Treble is usually the first to go. I always make it a point to observe what settings I ended the night with. Some have been pretty scary. As I have gained experience, I tweak less and less, usually leaving the treble alone and go for warm, meaty bass.

    In closing, some soundmen could use a good punch, but overall, I am usually very thankful when I have the pleasure to work with one. I was not striking out agaist them in hope s of starting an argument. I too have run sound, and know it is no piece of cake...but nothing worthwhile ever is! I am interested in solving the problem of "tricks on how to coax more out of the rig to fill the room with quality, booty-shakin bass that is clear, warm, etc without
    boominess."
     
  13. Bryan_G

    Bryan_G

    Apr 28, 2000
    Austin, Texas
    I didn't read all of the posts so if its been said, sory. I have been to a few club gigs(in the crowd), and I think that the 8x10's always sound the best, I am usualy up at the front, so I guess it is because they cut through and blow away, and the lows can usualy be left for the main's subs. As far as being on stage their is nothing like haveing 8 10's blasting away right by your ear.
    I would say you have to cut the lows, or you will be way to muddy to be heard. (unless thats what you want) This is just what I think and I don't have the experience that alot of the other people do.
     
  14. I wish I had 8x10's crankin behind me!!
     
  15. I use SWR 4x10 and 1x15 and a wireless. Most times my onstage sounds great, then I go into the audience area, and it sucks, all mids and no bottom, even though I've got the mids scooped. I've mostly solved it by running a DI to the PA, so I can get a good stage sound, then go out front and get a good audience sound with the PA. (the PA's mine, so no-one can complain, hee-hee!