Why why why? More sub abuse/misuse.

Discussion in 'Live Sound [BG]' started by Ekulati, Jul 5, 2022.


  1. Ekulati

    Ekulati Supporting Member

    Jan 2, 2016
    Richmond, VA
    Back from the 4th down the Atlantic coast, went to a hoppin' touristy outdoor venue on the water with friends and family for dinner and drinks. Really nice covered stage, pro setup all the way. Good band mostly "safe" country mixed with the usual classic rock chestnuts.

    I know the bassist MUST have been playing the right notes, but I couldn't hear them. COMPLETELY drowned out by the enormous kick drum sound. Now, the rest of the kit was fine, in fact I could've used more snare and hi hat. But the kick ruined everything. My wife even got us a different table because it was killing her.

    Lots of pro gear but they ran their own sound.

    Can we establish some rules for sub usage going forward?
     
  2. Marko 1

    Marko 1 Supporting Member

    Mar 9, 2009
    N.E. Ohio
    I've heard of them putting too much bass in the mix, but kick?
     
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  3. Wasnex

    Wasnex

    Dec 25, 2011
    If they were running their own sound, they may not have been aware.

    It's possible that the kick drum mic was bumped and moved closer to the beater. Or maybe a gain control in the subwoofer signal path was bumped.

    Also, in my experience most players tend to sandbag during sound check. Then when the show starts and the adrenaline starts flowing, they play like they actually mean it. So maybe it sounded great during sound check and then during the show the drummer started kicking the crap out of bass drum.

    The level changes can result in volume wars between the musicians. One person players louder and suddenly no one else can hear. So all the other players turn up. Then the first person can't hear and reaches for the volume. This tends to go round and round over the course of a performance.


    It's also possible that whoever dialed in the mix actually intended it to be that way. Believe it or not, some people actually think this is how a mix should sound. I am not one of them, but it's very common.
     
  4. J Wilson

    J Wilson

    Apr 22, 2022
    An Undisclosed Location
    none
    There are few bands that run their own sound from the stage that ever approach what someone sitting in the house hears and implements. I can think of only one I ever heard that had it dialed in.
     
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  5. s0c9

    s0c9 Supporting Member

    Jan 9, 2014
    Ft.Worth/Dallas
    1964 Audio artist, Fractal Audio Beta Tester
    That's not sub abuse.. it's a terrible mix.. :vomit:
     
  6. Ekulati

    Ekulati Supporting Member

    Jan 2, 2016
    Richmond, VA
    Yup multiple times. Another glaring example was a few years ago, Jackson Browne, in a brand new theater with great acoustics and good gear: low frequencies were just a big boomy wash of sound, completely masking whatever notes Bob Glaub actually played. He could have sat out the whole gig and it wouldn't have made a difference.
     
  7. Ekulati

    Ekulati Supporting Member

    Jan 2, 2016
    Richmond, VA
    Yup, this is my concern, that this has become a conscious aesthetic preference. And thus my semi-joking label of "sub abuse." This particular issue -- the LOW lows of drums obscuring pitches near the same range -- really never happened before the invention of subs. Others issues happened but not this one.
     
  8. MCF

    MCF

    Sep 1, 2014
    US
    [QUOTE:”but it's very common.”[/QUOTE]
    Mostly in country. I’m not much into country, but my wife is. Almost every concert I’ve been to with her sounds like that. Zac Brown and Dwight Yokum being two notable exceptions. I don’t get it.
     
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  9. MCF

    MCF

    Sep 1, 2014
    US
    [QUOTE:”but it's very common.”[/QUOTE]
    Mostly in country. I’m not much into country, but my wife is. Almost every concert I’ve been to with her sounds like that. Zac Brown and Dwight Yokum being two notable exceptions. I don’t get it.
     
  10. Killing Floor

    Killing Floor Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2020
    Austin, TX
    Good gear doesn’t mean good sound tech.
     
  11. /\/\3phist0

    /\/\3phist0 ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°) mmm Woody! DHDIK? Sweet Treets. Supporting Member

    I run sound most times, I also use a wireless, and an iPad to mix.
    I save shows for different venues.
    The kick issue is far too common.
    And many bassists, unfortunately , dial in a bedroom tone without any idea that it doesn't work in the mix
     
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  12. REV

    REV Supporting Member

    Jun 18, 2006
    Recently went to see Bonnie Raitt and the sound was similar. Tons of kick and the bass was mud and really loud. I know it wasn't the sound system because opening act Lucinda Williams had excellent sound. Is there a new school for sound engineers I haven't heard about?
     
  13. Some years back I went to see Thievery Corporation at an outdoor venue in DC. (TC is NOT country, FYI) They had several opening acts.

    The sound was awful. All kick and bottom end mud. Couldn't hear a note, and even with earplugs in at the back of the crowd it hurt my ears and gave me a headache. I was there with friends and couldn't talk to anyone, the show was ruining the night, not making it.

    The following summer I went to the same show again, also TC with some different openers. Same story: awful skull-crushing bass mud and kick.

    So this is not just a country thing by any means. Whoever was running sound needed some adult supervision.
     
  14. eddododo

    eddododo Supporting Member

    Apr 7, 2010
    the craziest thing is that the ‘engineer’ is listening to the same thing as us.. like what
     
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  15. Supadope

    Supadope Supporting Member

    Nov 30, 2015
    Louisville
    My goal is to leave the world a cooler place than when I arrived.
    There's no harm in making a suggestion to the person running the board. I've done it and I usually get thanks for trying to help. Obviously don't try to tell them everything that you think should be corrected, but letting them know the kick is too loud should be well received.
     
  16. Engineer? Likely got their meagre mixing education from youtube...
     
  17. /\/\3phist0

    /\/\3phist0 ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°) mmm Woody! DHDIK? Sweet Treets. Supporting Member

    Likes it to sound like a loud car stereo does on the outside.
     
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  18. JeezyMcNuggles

    JeezyMcNuggles Supporting Member

    Feb 23, 2018
    Santa Maria, CA
    I suck, but nobody really notices
    You can't hear a single subwoofer unless your about 10/20 feet away from it. Or, your standing in the opposite corner that it's bouncing off of. They didn't know it was loud. They've got highs and mids screaming in their faces.
     
  19. JeezyMcNuggles

    JeezyMcNuggles Supporting Member

    Feb 23, 2018
    Santa Maria, CA
    I suck, but nobody really notices
    My stereo sounds like it's in your car from the outside.
     
    Nashrakh likes this.
  20. Esteban Garcia

    Esteban Garcia bassist, arranger, aelurophile Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2018
    Portland, OR
    I heard Earth Wind and Fire open for Santana recently, and their mix was so bass heavy you couldn't hear the bass, if you know what I mean. Nothing but woof. More like shockwaves than sound. The kick drum was ludicrously loud.

    I used to be impressed by speakers and amplifiers. Now I just want to hear the notes. Is that too much to ask?
     

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