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#2900831 - 01/09/18 08:37 AM Stevie Wonder Concert Sound Issues
HammondDave Offline
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Those who attended last month’s Stevie Wonder House of Toys Concert at The Staples Center witnessed some of the worse sound ever in a concert venue. My wife filled out a survey commenting on this and a Staples representative called her yesterday to explain that the sound was controlled by Stevie Wonder’s technicians and not employees of Staples.

“For her troubles” they are giving her two free tickets to the George Benson concert.
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#2900832 - 01/09/18 08:43 AM Re: Stevie Wonder Concert Sound Issues [Re: HammondDave]
Dave Bryce Administrator Offline
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They made me the same offer - a pair of tickets to see George Benson and Kenny G at the Microsoft Theatre...or a pair of tickets to see Keith Sweat at the Microsoft Threatre...or a pair of tickets to see The Piano Guys at The Shrine. facepalm

I told the nice lady that I did not think any of those shows in any way made up for the screwup at the Stevie show nor the fact that we were essentially forced to suffer through it for four hours, and said the only thing that wold make me feel better was knowing whoever was running sound would never mix professionally again (dammit grin ), so they offered me a refund.

I can live with that.

dB
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#2900834 - 01/09/18 08:50 AM Re: Stevie Wonder Concert Sound Issues [Re: Dave Bryce]
davedoerfler Offline
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Originally Posted By: Dave Bryce
so they offered me a refund.


Wow. How cool is that.
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#2900860 - 01/09/18 10:37 AM Re: Stevie Wonder Concert Sound Issues [Re: Dave Bryce]
Adan Offline
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Originally Posted By: Dave Bryce
a pair of tickets to see . . . Kenny G at the Microsoft Theatre...


I know it's subjective, but to me that's just adding insult to injury.
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#2900867 - 01/09/18 11:06 AM Re: Stevie Wonder Concert Sound Issues [Re: Dave Bryce]
zxcvbnm098 Offline
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Originally Posted By: Dave Bryce
They made me the same offer - a pair of tickets to see George Benson and Kenny G at the Microsoft Theatre...or a pair of tickets to see Keith Sweat at the Microsoft Threatre...or a pair of tickets to see The Piano Guys at The Shrine. facepalm

I told the nice lady that I did not think any of those shows in any way made up for the screwup at the Stevie show nor the fact that we were essentially forced to suffer through it for four hours, and said the only thing that wold make me feel better was knowing whoever was running sound would never mix professionally again (dammit grin ), so they offered me a refund.

I can live with that.

dB


Good on Staples (or AEG) for at least reaching out and trying to remedy the situation as best they can.

Perhaps someday we'll get the backstory on how it went down and the details of how an artist that has done major tours for over 40 years ends up with such a stunning disaster of a show?

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#2900888 - 01/09/18 12:28 PM Re: Stevie Wonder Concert Sound Issues [Re: Adan]
Dave Bryce Administrator Offline
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Originally Posted By: Adan
Originally Posted By: Dave Bryce
a pair of tickets to see . . . Kenny G at the Microsoft Theatre...


I know it's subjective, but to me that's just adding insult to injury.

I agree. I actually told the lady the "Shoot Kenny G three times' joke. grin

dB
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#2900890 - 01/09/18 12:30 PM Re: Stevie Wonder Concert Sound Issues [Re: Dave Bryce]
MathOfInsects Online   content
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Staples Center feedback after a Kenny G show:

Do you have any complaints about the sound quality? Yes.
What was the nature of the problem? The sound worked perfectly and I could hear everything exactly as it was played.

Staples Center: Please accept our apologies. A full refund is on its way to you.
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#2900895 - 01/09/18 12:58 PM Re: Stevie Wonder Concert Sound Issues [Re: MathOfInsects]
LX88 Offline
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I commented last time around when this event was being discussed that unfortunately this seems to be the rule rather than the exception.

I don't go to a lot of big " shows" these days, but one of the traditional events in my area - The Waterfront Blues Festival in Portland Oregon has gotten progressively louder and more and more bass heavy the further along we go.

I have heard plenty of sets that were destroyed by over eager sound men.
The fact is , impact seems to be more impressive than sonic clarity. And keyboard instruments usually take the biggest hit in the mix.

If you talk to the average person, they probably don't know what a Wurlitzer or Rhodes electric piano even is, much less a Hammond organ.

I would imagine that there are plenty of sound men who don't know much about them either.

I can't tell how many times I have had to debate with a monitor mix person about the fact that a keyboard player who is playing a digital keyboard designed to run in stereo should have at least a stereo mix on stage. They act like I am nuts or something.

It doesn't surprise me in the least that a Stevie Wonder concert would be destroyed sonically. I have been involved with several people who have worked with him over the years and the impression I have been given is that what goes on inside that organization is not easily governed.

There is good reason that Stevie played a lot of the instruments himself on the recordings during his classic period in the 70's.




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#2900941 - 01/09/18 03:41 PM Re: Stevie Wonder Concert Sound Issues [Re: LX88]
DaveMcM Offline
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Frankly I would be happy to get tickets for George Benson. And then there is Kenny G...take away the permed hair, silly grin and sappy tunes and what do you have? A dude that plays a pretty mean soprano sax. Until I can pick up a sax and play half of what he does, I hold on the negative comments. "other than the permed hair, silly grin and sappy tunes of course" smile


Edited by DaveMcM (01/09/18 03:48 PM)
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#2900957 - 01/09/18 05:07 PM Re: Stevie Wonder Concert Sound Issues [Re: Dave Bryce]
RABid Offline
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Originally Posted By: Dave Bryce
... I actually told the lady the "Shoot Kenny G three times' joke. grin

dB


Had to Google this one. Found a "shoot Kenny G twice" joke. Not sure if it is the same, or if there are multiple jokes about shooting Kenny G. smile
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#2900959 - 01/09/18 05:09 PM Re: Stevie Wonder Concert Sound Issues [Re: RABid]
MAJUSCULE Offline
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Would definitely go see GB.

Very disappointing and sad to hear that Stevie's personal sound crew was responsible for this mess. That's very unfortunate at that level.
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#2901008 - 01/09/18 09:03 PM Re: Stevie Wonder Concert Sound Issues [Re: MAJUSCULE]
HammondDave Offline
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Registered: 01/20/08
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My wife is going to George Benson because he was hitting on her pretty hard the last time we saw him. I will be in Italy so....
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#2901188 - 01/10/18 01:50 PM Re: Stevie Wonder Concert Sound Issues [Re: HammondDave]
B3bluesman59 Offline
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Another reason concert sound can be bad is because many of the dudes doing the mix have hearing problems. Years of exposure to a lot of volume will certainly impair ones hearing...and what sounds good to the sound guy will not sound good to someone with normal hearing.

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#2901192 - 01/10/18 01:59 PM Re: Stevie Wonder Concert Sound Issues [Re: LX88]
I-missRichardTee Offline
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Registered: 09/04/11
Posts: 6368
Loc: S. Ca. USA
Originally Posted By: LX88
I commented last time around when this event was being discussed that unfortunately this seems to be the rule rather than the exception.

I don't go to a lot of big " shows" these days, but one of the traditional events in my area - The Waterfront Blues Festival in Portland Oregon has gotten progressively louder and more and more bass heavy the further along we go.

I have heard plenty of sets that were destroyed by over eager sound men.
The fact is , impact seems to be more impressive than sonic clarity. And keyboard instruments usually take the biggest hit in the mix.

If you talk to the average person, they probably don't know what a Wurlitzer or Rhodes electric piano even is, much less a Hammond organ.

I would imagine that there are plenty of sound men who don't know much about them either.

I can't tell how many times I have had to debate with a monitor mix person about the fact that a keyboard player who is playing a digital keyboard designed to run in stereo should have at least a stereo mix on stage. They act like I am nuts or something.

It doesn't surprise me in the least that a Stevie Wonder concert would be destroyed sonically. I have been involved with several people who have worked with him over the years and the impression I have been given is that what goes on inside that organization is not easily governed.

There is good reason that Stevie played a lot of the instruments himself on the recordings during his classic period in the 70's.





What in the hell is it about whomever is in authority at these shows, that gives these inept unsound workers ( so called SOUND men ) all this untouchable status? Like tenured professors, Judges ...
Sometimes I miss the mafia .
What is it about MEN not behaving as men?
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#2901195 - 01/10/18 02:04 PM Re: Stevie Wonder Concert Sound Issues [Re: zxcvbnm098]
I-missRichardTee Offline
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Originally Posted By: zxcvbnm098
Originally Posted By: Dave Bryce
They made me the same offer - a pair of tickets to see George Benson and Kenny G at the Microsoft Theatre...or a pair of tickets to see Keith Sweat at the Microsoft Threatre...or a pair of tickets to see The Piano Guys at The Shrine. facepalm

I told the nice lady that I did not think any of those shows in any way made up for the screwup at the Stevie show nor the fact that we were essentially forced to suffer through it for four hours, and said the only thing that wold make me feel better was knowing whoever was running sound would never mix professionally again (dammit grin ), so they offered me a refund.

I can live with that.

dB


Good on Staples (or AEG) for at least reaching out and trying to remedy the situation as best they can.

Perhaps someday we'll get the backstory on how it went down and the details of how an artist that has done major tours for over 40 years ends up with such a stunning disaster of a show?


Simple... it's the character of modern man.. destroyed by things the bylaws at KC do not permit me to utter. And that fact illustrates my point.
We are a muzzled bunch, here in USA. And forces bigger and maybe invisible to us, are molding the character of average Joe. Sorry Joe Muscara, not you!
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#2901214 - 01/10/18 03:20 PM Re: Stevie Wonder Concert Sound Issues [Re: I-missRichardTee]
HammondDave Offline
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Loc: Los Angeles, CA
I believe that the rules at KC are meant to keep civility and kindness to the group.
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#2901248 - 01/10/18 06:00 PM Re: Stevie Wonder Concert Sound Issues [Re: HammondDave]
Dave Bryce Administrator Offline
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Originally Posted By: HammondDave
I believe that the rules at KC are meant to keep civility and kindness to the group.

That's a major part, or course.

The other reason is nowhere near as sinister as IMRT would apparently like to believe - it's much more selfish. As clearly posted in the sticky on the subject, it's because I absolutely refuse to moderate political/religious discussion on a keyboard forum.

There's no reason at all I should be forced to do that. idk

You want to discuss politics? There's all sorts of places for that on the web. This is not one of them. hand

That's all.

dB
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#2901249 - 01/10/18 06:06 PM Re: Stevie Wonder Concert Sound Issues [Re: HammondDave]
humannoyed Offline
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Registered: 12/28/00
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Sadly, poor sound mixing seems the norm these days. Most bands I hear on TV have a member or two that cannot be heard period. Often it is the keyboardist(s). A notable exception I remember a few months ago was The Weight Band on public television. Mixing was excellent! You could hear everyone distinctly. I even rewound the credits to see who mixed it, meaning to send him a message of gratitude. Forgot though. frown
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#2901258 - 01/10/18 06:28 PM Re: Stevie Wonder Concert Sound Issues [Re: humannoyed]
OB Dave Offline
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I think it really depends on the production company. I saw an Eric Clapton show about 30 years ago where the sound was absolutely abysmal, and I was tenth row center. There simply is no excuse for how bad the sound was.

At the time I was willing to cut some slack, as the show was at the San Diego Sports Arena, which is your basic hockey/basketball arena. Except... a few years later I saw the Jerry Garcia band there and the sound was amazing! It was a nice comfortable volume, and you could hear everything clearly. The stacks were flown pretty high and you could even go side stage and behind the stage and it even sounded great back there. So there was no excuse for the Clapton disaster. I've never given him another penny.

So I think it really comes down to the skill and the budget of the production.

As for the Staples Center, I saw Lady Gaga there 3-4 years ago, and that was a first class production as well. Insane set design, very engaging performance, and you could hear everything clear as a bell. And we had sets sorta side stage.

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#2901292 - 01/11/18 12:19 AM Re: Stevie Wonder Concert Sound Issues [Re: OB Dave]
I-missRichardTee Offline
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But not once has there been mention of responsibility with so called sound men.
We have malpractice suits in medical field. We just complain kind of weakly, and that is the end of it?
Stevie Wonder, no less. Imagine what Stevie, with his amazing hearing, was going through.
Zero responsibility eh?
Please not another word about civility..Are these inept people protected, or not?
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#2901371 - 01/11/18 08:21 AM Re: Stevie Wonder Concert Sound Issues [Re: I-missRichardTee]
Dave Bryce Administrator Offline
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Originally Posted By: I-missRichardTee
But not once has there been mention of responsibility with so called sound men.

Mention where? Are you expecting someone to generate some kind of public report somewhere?

My guess is that people will, in fact, be fired/not re-hired as a result of this. It was really bad. The lady I spoke with told me they were getting complaints during the show, and had responded to almost 200 total contacts.


Quote:
We just complain kind of weakly, and that is the end of it?

Who is this "we" you speak of? idk

I didn't complain weakly - I complained quite loudly, and got a refund for four tickets. I also got my voice heard - the lady who called made it quite clear Stevie himself knew about it and was really unhappy. I do believe there will be fallout.

I'm completely fine with that.

dB
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#2901373 - 01/11/18 08:29 AM Re: Stevie Wonder Concert Sound Issues [Re: Dave Bryce]
I-missRichardTee Offline
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My experiences with so called sound men, a misnomer if there ever was one- has been spotty. Most people when they screw up on their job, get heat for it.
I have no idea about the WHO, who is responsible.
Since my experience is what it is, I have to assume that sound men ( ugh, I dislike that term )
are like tenured professors - a protected class, more like a bunch of roadies.

My comment of indignation is not merely about a single instance, but a global one.
I know all people who control PA's are not this poor in their skill set.. but again a sizable number are.
They ought to be fired or go into extensive training, but then be tested by musicians who have the authority to pass or fail them.

Are they generally speaking, overseen by a capable, in charge of their fate- person who is musical?


Edited by I-missRichardTee (01/11/18 08:32 AM)
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#2901428 - 01/11/18 11:41 AM Re: Stevie Wonder Concert Sound Issues [Re: I-missRichardTee]
MuzikTeechur Offline
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A few years ago I was somewhere there was music playing (Christmas Music) and heard a pretty hip tenor sax player (or maybe it was alto) playing a big band/swing version of "Santa Claus is Comin' to Town."
Somehow I managed to find out that it was Kenny G, and I was stunned. When I was a dual saxophone/piano major in college, Kenny G had just released his first album (around 1983? 84?) and we ridiculed him roundly. The playing was so simplistic and bubblegum pop, not to mention his Pied Piper style of holding the soprano sax.
So, here was this pretty hip recording which collided with my opinion of Mr. Gorelick.
I found the recording somewhere and still own it.
My opinion is his watered-down, bubblegum style is what sells records to folks whose eyes would roll back in their heads if he were playing bebop. He's a pretty talented horn player who found a way to make a buck. Just my opinion.

L
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#2901437 - 01/11/18 12:30 PM Re: Stevie Wonder Concert Sound Issues [Re: I-missRichardTee]
EscapeRocks Offline
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Originally Posted By: I-missRichardTee
Imagine what Stevie, with his amazing hearing, was going through.


Given he uses in ears, I doubt anything. I'm sure HIS sound was perfect.
That happens. We've had festival shows where the monitor desk has all out in ears dialed in perfectly...like listening to an excellent recording on my iPhone, yest later we were told FOH sucked.

That happened with a big name artist last year at American Airlines Center in Dallas. He actually wrote a public release apologizing, and explaining how he and the band are all on ears, and can't tell what FOH sounds like, and it wasn't until after the dates that he was made aware of the complaints.
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#2901721 - 01/12/18 06:47 PM Re: Stevie Wonder Concert Sound Issues [Re: EscapeRocks]
HammondDave Offline
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Loc: Los Angeles, CA
No word from Stevie yet... I wonder if anyone told him.
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#2901726 - 01/12/18 07:24 PM Re: Stevie Wonder Concert Sound Issues [Re: I-missRichardTee]
waygetter Offline
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Registered: 03/11/07
Posts: 384
Loc: Sausalito, CA
Originally Posted By: I-missRichardTee
...Stevie, with his amazing hearing

Nitpicking here, but what leads you to this conclusion? How do you know he has amazing hearing?

Creative, musical genius, yes.

Do blind people have better hearing than people with sight? I don't know about that, maybe their hearing becomes enhanced as they rely on it more every minute, every day.

Are creative genius musicians automatically great "soundmen"? Do they automatically know how to mix live sound, or record & mix great records? Maybe yes in some cases, maybe not in others. Certainly lots of great artists have a 'vision' of what they're hearing, and an ability to effectively communicate that vision - to great sound engineers who know how to translate that vision into reality.

I think most of us are good at setting up our own stage mixes - we know what we want to hear, at what levels.

But as for doing a great live mix, that's a unique talent in my opinion. And probably underrated and under-appreciated by most of the general public.

Seems to me that live sound - when it's working great, it doesn't get much attention. But when it goes bad, it gets lots of attention! Kind of a thankless task. But man, something apparently went really badly at this concert.

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#2901754 - 01/13/18 03:39 AM Re: Stevie Wonder Concert Sound Issues [Re: waygetter]
I-missRichardTee Offline
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Registered: 09/04/11
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Originally Posted By: waygetter
Originally Posted By: I-missRichardTee
...Stevie, with his amazing hearing

Nitpicking here, but what leads you to this conclusion? How do you know he has amazing hearing?

Creative, musical genius, yes.

Do blind people have better hearing than people with sight? I don't know about that, maybe their hearing becomes enhanced as they rely on it more every minute, every day.

Are creative genius musicians automatically great "soundmen"? Do they automatically know how to mix live sound, or record & mix great records? Maybe yes in some cases, maybe not in others. Certainly lots of great artists have a 'vision' of what they're hearing, and an ability to effectively communicate that vision - to great sound engineers who know how to translate that vision into reality.

I think most of us are good at setting up our own stage mixes - we know what we want to hear, at what levels.

But as for doing a great live mix, that's a unique talent in my opinion. And probably underrated and under-appreciated by most of the general public.

Seems to me that live sound - when it's working great, it doesn't get much attention. But when it goes bad, it gets lots of attention! Kind of a thankless task. But man, something apparently went really badly at this concert.



Blind people I have encountered have musical gifts above average, and rely on hearing more than the sighted counterparts. By better hearing I did not only mean hearing in the sense that an old person has less hearing than a young person... I mainly meant, musical hearing... a vague concept for all but those who possess it.

It is more a matter of interest than anything else. What I mean is, IF I were interested in being a capable sound man.. and I did not have to deal with the grunt work, or too much technical electrical work, and was only using my ear and knowledge of music, and knowledge of frequencies.. I am fairly sure I could be a better than average sound man. But I lack the interest, not the talent.

I played a festival last Oct, where the sound men permitted a non stop feedback for about 20- 30 minutes.

And in case it is not already obvious; I do not put a sound man on the same level of musical knowledge and talent as a musician... not in a million years. The amount of attention to musical details a musician deals with, is monumental compared to a sound man. If a musician devoted a third of that time to becoming a competent sound man, I am sure he could.
Again, it is a matter of interest.

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#2901763 - 01/13/18 05:58 AM Re: Stevie Wonder Concert Sound Issues [Re: I-missRichardTee]
ProfD Offline
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Registered: 05/11/06
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Loc: Wash DC Area
Originally Posted By: waygetter
Seems to me that live sound - when it's working great, it doesn't get much attention. But when it goes bad, it gets lots of attention! Kind of a thankless task.

Totally true. Most folks other than sound enthusiasts and musicians pay attention to the sound unless it is bad.

Originally Posted By: I-missRichardTee
It is more a matter of interest than anything else. What I mean is, IF I were interested in being a capable sound man.

I do not put a sound man on the same level of musical knowledge and talent as a musician... not in a million years. The amount of attention to musical details a musician deals with, is monumental compared to a sound man. If a musician devoted a third of that time to becoming a competent sound man, I am sure he could. Again, it is a matter of interest.

Neither runnning sound nor playing music is rocket science. But, they all require some level of interest, a gift or talent and an investment of time in study.

Some sound folks are musicians. The better ones have ears that are tuned not only to frequencies and balancing levels but to actually knowing how the music is supposed to sound.

Usually big name artists and bands hire the best sound engineer and crew. If Stevie Wonder was using his own folks, without a very reasonable explanation, somebody will get fired for rendering a bad mix at his concert.

OTOH, if the sound was contracted out, the only recourse is that company might have a harder time getting another gig. Either way, time will tell.

Pro sound is an integral part in delivering a great listening experience. cool
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#2901898 - 01/13/18 09:28 PM Re: Stevie Wonder Concert Sound Issues [Re: ProfD]
MathOfInsects Online   content
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Registered: 02/04/15
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Loc: California
Originally Posted By: ProfD
Some sound folks are musicians. The better ones have ears that are tuned not only to frequencies and balancing levels but to actually knowing how the music is supposed to sound.


I watched a guy click his tongue into the mics at a large venue with a rented and unfamiliar board, tell the button pusher which specific frequencies to roll back, and tune the entire system, monitors included, to essentially plug-and-play levels using ears and instincts alone, in about 15 minutes--before the first of us plugged a cable in or made a sound. It was wondrous to behold. Stage levels were perfect, sound was ideal. That is talent, IMO.
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#2902095 - 01/14/18 06:52 PM Re: Stevie Wonder Concert Sound Issues [Re: MathOfInsects]
kbrkr Offline
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Registered: 08/09/17
Posts: 11
Most of the times the artists are sub-contracting with a stage and sound company. These people insist on over saturating the sub frequencies (boosting sub woofers) to the point you can no longer hear any other frequency in the spectrum. This makes vocals, instruments, etc sound muddle just to get that "thump" factor. They boost the Kick and Bass through the subs which sort of conflict with each other and create a horrible rumble. If they would just dial it back and run below FLAT on the bottom end, it would sound very tight.

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