Respond to this
2/21/2005 8:58 PM
James Walczak (4510) wrote:
Well usually where I see this is on home stereo systems really...my own included :-) There's an old practice in recording called "scooping the 800's" or something like that. Basically most of your bass frequencies are below 400 hz and most of your other instruments and vocals (with rock music at least) are 1000 hz and higher, so there's a tendancy to raise the frequencies that are most prominant (everyone likes to hear vocals, guitar and drums!) and reduce those that are "irrelivant" (although they really arn't). Since 800 hz is in about the middle of this, you end up with a "smiley face" on an eq.
Now I think the reason this gets used like this with live sound reinforcement goes back to simply an inexperienced person running the mix and eq...either it's because it sounds good on their home stereo eq or simply this is what someone told them to do so thats how they try to do it with live music...which of course is totally wrong. The one thing I've learned over the years is that every venue is different and as such the sound system needs to be set up different every time...no two bars are a like when it comes to running sound. I've played in a couple of places that really weren't "too" bad when it came to setting up the sound system, but I've also played in places that were very literally -barns-. We played a gig a couple of years back...The Earth Song Festival (kind of an alternative Woodstock thing really...3 days of mostly Pagan music). This is at the same place that our local Pagan community has their annual Solstice Festivals and Pagan Pride Day's. Now the building where they have the bands play....sshhhheeeeessshhhhhh. It's a small "hall" and all four walls are just painted cinder block with a tin roof! I mean we're talkin feedback city here! LOL!!! The -only- way to tackle a place like this (although this really applies to -any- venue) is you have to take the time to "wring out" the eq. I won't go into the details of how to do this, but needless to say, a lot of folks who run a mixing board for a friends band have -no idea- at all how to do this...or even that it should be done at all!. When you get folks that don't know what they're doing or a sound person who trys to use a basic eq setting for all instruments and venues, then yes, things are going to usually sound pretty bad.
Another thing that a lot of amature sound people don't take into consideration is that the "dynamics" of a bar change of the course of the night. While I'm not sure about the rest of the world, around here the band starts playin around 9 pm. At that time the bar isn't really full yet, but by the second set, the bar is usually pretty packed (if your a decent band! LOL). Now at this point you usually have the PA pretty cranked up, the band's a rockin, yadda, yadda, yadda. However by the third set, the bar is starting to clear out a little bit...this is usually the point where the bar owner walks over and ask's "hey...can you guys turn down a little?". There's simply not as many bodies in the venue to absorb the sound! LOL! I've seen a number of bands where by this point the sound guy will be stoned-ass drunk and tryin to find some woman who's desprite enough to go home with him and won't even notice the PA's too loud, let alone if the mix is off. It's pretty sad.
Honestly, I've been running sound now for quite a few years, both for my own band(s) as well as for others. It's a skill just like anything else and really takes a little effort to learn how to do it "right". As I said before, so often a bands "sound man" will really be nothing more then somebody like the drummers best friend who really has no idea at all about what he's doing and is just there for the free beer.
Just my opinion, but I'll stand by it...free beer in hand! LOL!