Why do some metal bands sound so perfect live while others suck?

Discussion in 'Live Performance & Stage Sound' started by Gmork, May 27, 2015.

  1. Gmork

    Gmork SS.org Regular

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    for instance, ive seen the tech metal band archspire a bunch of times and no matter where they play 99% of the time they sound as good and clear as their album. same deal with fallujah, their live sound was perfect, like listening to an album. most metal bands just sound ok but its usually quite hard to hear the actual notes being played. its got to be more than just using good gear and less gain and lots of mids. what else could it be? it just sounds too perfect. :scratch:
     
  2. AngstRiddenDreams

    AngstRiddenDreams Filthy Casual

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    Great gear and great playing. Lots of practice. Maybe even their own FOH guy
     
  3. Lokasenna

    Lokasenna SS.org Regular

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    Having a decent live setup, for starters, and having the FOH guy do his job.

    Some bands insist on going for their "by myself cranking it up" tone when playing as a band, so everything smushes together - this is why you don't want to scoop the .... out of your mids for a live tone, for instance.

    A competent FOH guy will work his EQ to make each instrument audible, and ideally won't just crank everything up.
     
  4. Dusty Chalk

    Dusty Chalk SS.org Regular

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    Two things -- their (live) sound guy, and their mastering (recording) guy.

    No, seriously, a good live sound guy is awesome -- I know a guy who makes the most wonderful recordings, but he just doesn't pay attention to live sound to the same extent, so he just sounds like another live pub band, live. It could be just as true the other way around. Look up "loudness wars" -- metal bands usually have some atrocious recordings that are clipped to death -- it's like trying to recognize someone while they have their face pressed up against glass. It's not always the mastering engineers fault, but if you look at the recording in Audacity or something, if you see a solid white line, then it's been brickwalled, and their live sound will always sound better.
     
  5. Gmork

    Gmork SS.org Regular

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    FOH= front of house? yep, obviously thats it right. the sound guy. the damn sound guy! it blows my mind that us musicians spend all this time and money acquiring our golden tones just to have it s*** on by some random sound guys. if you want to get anywhere with your music you kind of have to have your own sound guy. ive always said that i wish i could do the sound myself. rant over.
     
  6. TonyFlyingSquirrel

    TonyFlyingSquirrel Cherokee Warrior

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    Some clubs will allow your FOH guy to run their gear, some won't.
    If you have a tour rider that you send out in advance, you'll know what to expect before you get there.
     
  7. bostjan

    bostjan MicroMetal Contributor

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    All of the comments about getting a good sound guy apply; however, I would warn that even a good sound guy cannot guarantee a good sound. Unfortunately, if any one thing is lacking: musicianship (including being able to clearly hear each other on stage), gear, and mix, and also, what is typically taken for granted - good acoustics at the venue - all have to be good for the overall sound to be good. You can have all of the latest gear, have a great sound guy, a great FOH mix, etc., but if your monitors aren't working properly, your band can sound like a trainwreck at the gig.

    This is a button for me - too many of the places I've played have decent house systems, but the stage monitors there seem to never be thought out. Whether its poorly positioned overhead speakers that aren't plugged in all the way, or "yeah we have [obligatory] monitors" but they are actually just a pair of Walmart computer speakers caulked to the edge of the stage, or whatever, I think it's just bottom line a safe bet to bring your own monitors, whether the house claims to have a good system or not, or even if you visit the venue and see with your own eyes that there are nice JBLs or something, unless you know for a certain fact that they function properly.
     
  8. buriedoutback

    buriedoutback SS.org Regular

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    The dudes from Archspire:
    1. Fantastically talented
    2. Use awesome music gear (IIRC for guitar, they run 1 signal to FOH and 1 to their pwr-amp/cab from the pod)
    3. All use wireless In-Ear-Monitors with clicks, guitars, etc.
    4. IIRC they do their own sound / mix their own sound then give the soundguy a feed.
     
  9. Frostod

    Frostod SS.org Regular

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    I think far more important than playing nice, having a good EQ and sound guy is having a good room...
    i've been in so many rooms that really ruined everything because...well they were just random rooms without any form of treatment and this really destroy everything, not even the most skilled tech can fix a ....ty room
     
  10. xwmucradiox

    xwmucradiox sweep.tap.sweep

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    I would say its less of a gear issue than a practice issue. Some bands practice relentlessly and practice as though rehearsal is a show so when they are on stage everything goes smooth and easy. Others dont and it shows.
     
  11. WarMachine

    WarMachine SS.org Regular

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    IMO the key to a good live sound is a good live band. What i mean is, you can take a band that sounds amazing in the studio and just turn to s^it live, you've got a band that just doesn't gel the way they should. And i agree about the sound man, a shotty sound guy can make even the best bands sound like ass. But for the most part it seems like more bands nowadays are more or less studio only bands, and it shows live. Perfect example; Sevendust. Been listening to them since i was about 14. Saw them live in '10 in Covington KY at the Madison Theatre....lets just say that Dope blew them off the stage....:spock: :scratch: right? lol they sounded terrible. No one was in time, mids were so honky i thought i was at a stand up comedian show throwing racial slurs hahaha.
     
  12. VBCheeseGrater

    VBCheeseGrater not quite a shredder

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    The sound guy of course, but i think at least 50% of it is the musicians themselves knowing how to dial in their tones to sound good live. You don't even need some bad ass amp, but you do need to know how to dial what you have in so you will be heard clearly and sit in the right part of the mix and not stomp all over other guys. I'm still working on this skill myself. It's a fine line between getting the tone you really like and what will work well in the mix
     
  13. eyeswide

    eyeswide SS.org Regular

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    As said before, a lot of guys just don't appreciate that a good tone when you sit and play by yourself is way different than how it sounds in a full mix. Your "awesome, chunky, beefy" tone likely sounds like a bucket of mud when the full band comes in.

    Beyond that, the FOH guy is God. They have so much power and can easily mess up your whole band's sound.
     
  14. Dusty Chalk

    Dusty Chalk SS.org Regular

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    So true. And everything else that's been said, but really, this attitude of 'everything louder than everything else' sucks balls. Learn to play nice with others, even in the mix, especially in the mix.
     
  15. Albionic

    Albionic First of the magi

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    Guitarists more than any other type of musician seem to have poor relations with sound guys. My brother is sound man at a huge theatre and he loathes working with guitarists. He says they refuse to turn down and seem to believe they are sound experts despite no training and experience. They seem to want the back line to produce the required volume rather than foh which he says is never a good idea (on his advice I always di when I can and it is a big improvement).

    I think you really have to just let the guy do his job because let's face it even if he sucks there's very little we can do about it.
     
  16. USMarine75

    USMarine75 Doc McStuffins (*Block version, not sig) Contributor

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    I was wondering about this, too. Every time I've seen In Flames they sound amazing. Same thing with VH (minus DLR!). But, then I watch other bands like Soilwork and they sound terrible. I was actually shocked that the live Soilwork album sounded okay. Explanations above sure make sense.
     
  17. VBCheeseGrater

    VBCheeseGrater not quite a shredder

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    Yup this is one of those things I can relate to both ways. I will always turn down when the sound guy asks me to, but only to a point. If I can't hear myself from my cab, it really takes the wind out of my sail. I don't want to rely on the monitor and it's interpretation of my tone - sometimes its fine but often trash, depending on the sound guy and gear. I might feel different if I knew the monitor feed would sound great every night.

    In an effort to accommodate stage volume limits and still hear myself, i've built my rig so that my top cab is always pointing right at my head at ear level, so i can always hear myself well without blasting the stage and everyone else, and i'm also able to adjust it's volume independently from my bottom 2 cabs so if i need to turn it up it does not affect the miced mix.
     
  18. FILTHnFEAR

    FILTHnFEAR Infidel

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    Good idea.:yesway:
     
  19. Blasphemer

    Blasphemer Bird Law expert

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    Have you considered something like the Radial JDX? Consistent FOH tone from night to night, so no surprises in the wedge
     
  20. UnattendedGolfcart

    UnattendedGolfcart SSO's Fat Mac

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    Definitely has to do with the monitors and FOH guy. When I was younger and played in my band we sounded like crap on all fronts, because 1) the venue we played at had crap monitors and a not good sound guy who we didn't really talk to, 2) our Line 6 Spider IV amps believe it or not do not sound good cranked (lol) and 3) we didn't practice meticulously enough.

    I watched a video of Dean Lamb who said that Archspire practices together as a band for like 3 hours a day for 3-4 days a week. Think about how much they practice every small section of their music to make sure every part is perfectly together.
     

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