Something has to be done with live metal sound

Discussion in 'Live Performance & Stage Sound' started by Dores, Jun 8, 2012.

  1. Dores

    Dores SS.org Regular

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    Ask yourself: When was the last time you went to a metal show that actually had great sound? Where you could hear both guitars clearly, all the solos, vocals and feel the punch of the bass drum and bass guitar? I don't really know if I'm just plain unlucky, but this is true for about 1/50 of metal shows I go to.

    I always have high hopes when seeing new local bands or other bigger bands that I haven't heard before live, but just about every time they start playing, the mix is all over the place. Guitars, or at least one of the guitars always get lost, the vocals are often overpowering and I end up hearing a bunch of mud with drums in it. And that's just horribly disappointing, every single time.

    Why can't metal sound good live all the time?

    People always tell me to stop putting stuff in my ears to dampen the volume. Well, ringing ears and damaged hearing isn't really for me, and all the shows I've been to in a medium/small venue are comparable to the noise of a fighter jet taking off anyways. I've tried with regular ear plugs, which totally destroy the sound, and "musician's" ear plugs which do just the same, and toilet paper which actually works like a charm. But not when the mix sucks.

    I'm thinking that what's ruining the day for the sound guys are the amps we constantly push to 11 to get our "tones", and the drums which are way too loud for controlled stage volumes. Then everything has to be miced and turned up to 12, pushing the PA to it's limits and just making everything incredibly loud.

    And now for the can of worms: Imagine the sound if the drummer played on an electric kit, guitars and bass through Axe FX's or similar, and the volume was low enough so that nobody had to wear hearing protection? Now that would be great! Wouldn't it?
     
  2. Stealthdjentstic

    Stealthdjentstic Banned

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    Literally every band I've seen using an AFX live has sounded great, AAL especially. Even quite a few local bands sound good live.

    And IMO that chest thumping kick, palm mute, etc..is what makes live shows awesome, just wear earplugs and you can easily make out what people are playing.
     
  3. guy in latvia

    guy in latvia SS.org Regular

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    this is why i usually dont go to club shows but go to festivals, they have people who are experts in making live metal sound good, so it usually does ;)
     
  4. Scar Symmetry

    Scar Symmetry Ex Whiny Bitch

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    Axe Fx sounds fucking awesome live. Hate seeing bands that use them live, makes me GAS hard for things I can't afford.
     
  5. Winspear

    Winspear Tom Winspear

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    Meshuggah - awesome.
    Dream Theater is great but anything is gonna sound like shit in an arena really..Certainly perfect on their half though.
    Periphery and AALs sound seemed nothing on Meshuggah. Not as clear or fat as the record, where as Meshuggah was just as clear and fatter. Their records sound weak to me now haha

    But yep..something needs to be done.
     
  6. Stealthdjentstic

    Stealthdjentstic Banned

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    DT sounded like shit when I saw them in 08
     
  7. Winspear

    Winspear Tom Winspear

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    To be fair they are the only band I've seen in a venue that size (apart from support acts who did not sound as good). To me it sounded like it was probably perfect aside from being swamped with reverb. I don't really think progressive music is suited to venues like that.
     
  8. TheKindred

    TheKindred TimeTravel Innovator

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    I go to about 2 shows per week (local talent and big name tours; multiple venues) and would only say maybe 1 or 2 in 10 really have "bad" sound. I have a couple sets of Hearos and they seriously make all the difference in the world. They filter out all the shrill and garbage frequencies and leave that nice balanced 'soundboard' mix.

    In my experience anyway.
     
  9. TheKindred

    TheKindred TimeTravel Innovator

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    Worst sound I can remember in recent history was Devil Driver. Absolute garbage - suuuuuper bass heavy to the point there literally was nothing else coming through. Really sucked.

    I think they had their own (shitty) soundguy. Skeletonwitch came before them and totally owned it. Arch Enemy came immediately after and had great sound. This was at a venue known for good sound too. Everyone else was great, DevilDriver was shite.
     
  10. Zeno

    Zeno SZ Hunter

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    Part of the problem is dickhead soundguys. I played a show last summer where the sound guy didn't like us, so he fucked us over. No monitors, vocals way too loud, practically no bass, and my guitar was overpowering the other guitarist. The pop punk band that played last, though (Battle of the bands, that's why) had great sound. Us and the other metal band? Absolute shit.
     
  11. Stealthdjentstic

    Stealthdjentstic Banned

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    Yup, I have hearos too! Best 20-30 I ever spent
     
  12. Gryphon

    Gryphon SS.org Regular

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    Just wondering for those that said they are hearing Axe-FX's sounded good live, are they running direct or power amp and cabs?
     
  13. TomPerverteau

    TomPerverteau Tube & Analog Snob

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    When there are two or more distorted guitars, one tends to cover up the other one's lead solos. It bugs the hell out of me. The well-mixed, high-buck shows fix that problem pretty well.
     
  14. MaxOfMetal

    MaxOfMetal Likes trem wankery. Super Moderator

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    Very little about a live band of a certain size sounding bad is the band itself, players or gear. I'd estimate and say that 80% of how well a band sounds live if is the venue (PA system, acoustics, layout, etc.) and venue staff (roadies, sound guy, etc.). You can take an amazing live band, with players who are super tight, have great gear that's perfectly dialed in, and aim to play with the perfect give and take mix, but if the house has shitty acoustics and the sound guy doesn't know his elbow from his ass, it won't mean a damn thing.

    The imaginary setup you're thinking of only works if the house and staff are perfect.
     
  15. SirMyghin

    SirMyghin The Dirt Guy Contributor

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    They sounded bad when I saw them open for Maiden, in an outdoor large venue, but excellent in Massey Hall, a smaller, most excellent venue, on their last tour.
     
  16. Ben.Last

    Ben.Last Formerly Lern2Swim

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    As has been said, this has more to do with the venue than the band, and you're not going to see any change in the venue/s you're talking about unless they think it's going to make them more money (and it's not).
     
  17. Stealthdjentstic

    Stealthdjentstic Banned

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    Yeah, when I saw them Opeth and Between the Buried and Me both sounded pretty good compared to them, I suspect it has to do with some of their over the top set ups...like who the fuck really needs 1324 amp heads? :lol:
     
  18. Necris

    Necris Bonitis.

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    I have plenty of things I've noticed from going to live shows but these are some of the ones that apply directly to the sound. It should come as a complete surprise to absolutely noone that many of the issues with live metal sound could be fixed by doing a bit of work before the show to find good eq settings and then turning the fuck down.

    1. Noone puts any real effort into getting a good live sound before the actual show under the incorrect assumption that the sound guy will do it for them.

    2. Metal musicians have absolutely no understanding of context. By that I mean if they had a great sounding show at a large venue when everyone brought a full stack and turned their amp up to 10 they assume that the same will be true for the shoebox sized venue where the distance between themselves audience is literally less than 2 feet.

    3. Any volume other than 0 or 10 is a a completely foreign concept that makes them uncomfortable, this also applies to distortion. You have no idea how many guitarists and bassists I have seen set the master volume on their amps to 10 but turn the channel volume to 3 to appease the sound guy. After two songs they then attempt to be sneaky and turn the channel volume up to ten as well and 90% of the time absolutely ruin their sound. After the show they generally go on to claim "it didn't sound heavy enough before" and that "anyone who turns down is a pussy", "if it's too loud you're too old" etc etc.

    Bullshit like that is why I stopped going to shows altogether, if can't make out what you're playing because the drums eat your sound but I still have to wear earplugs and go home with ringing ears at the end of the night anyway I would rather stay home.
     
  19. SamSam

    SamSam GAS problems Contributor

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    IMO Hearos are shit compared to a custom molded pair of proffesionally made personal ear plugs. I know they are expensive, but come on, it's for our hearing. Hell many mixes sound a hell of a lot clearer to me with them in!
     
  20. Stealthdjentstic

    Stealthdjentstic Banned

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    Well no shit, but for 20 they work well. What you just said is like, "Honda's are shit, we should all buy lambos". When really either does the job, one is just way better.
     

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