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Bad live sound at a time when technology has never been better?

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Re: Bad live sound at a time when technology has never been better?

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Mon Oct 28, 2019 3:47 pm

The Red Bladder wrote:'Clever' councilors do 'clever' things and right at the top of the list of 'clever' things they do is save money by converting buildings. Every unsightly and 100% unsuitable disused factory has a gaggle of councilors lobbying to have it turned into a film studio, a concert venue or they have some other brain-dead idea to save money.

I think the really clever ones sell said buildings to the local polytechnic-cum-university as an inspirational centre of excellence for their latest Needlework and Knitting honours degree courses... :lol:

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Re: Bad live sound at a time when technology has never been better?

Postby CS70 » Mon Oct 28, 2019 3:50 pm

Yeah I mentioned soundcheck for that reason.
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Re: Bad live sound at a time when technology has never been better?

Postby MarkOne » Mon Oct 28, 2019 6:07 pm

At the level most of the bands I go to see operate, they play wherever they can get in the up to 400 sort of size, with house PA of dubious provenance.

None of these sort of places are built for live music, but 'converted' from something else (this conversion usually consists of ripping everything out and painting the inside black!)

So it's not surprising the sound is er... sub-optimal

Thinking of places like:
The Thekla, Bristol (Converted ship - yes, all those steel hull plates!)
The Globe, Cardiff (Converted cinema)
THe Komedea, Bath (Another ex-cinema)
The Tunnels, Bristol (Converted, uh, concrete tunnels)
The Fleece, Bristol (Converted warehouse)

I've seen lots of great bands at all of these, but I can't honestly say there was ever a great sounding show. It's just the price of liking Prog Rock!

So on the odd occasion someone like Steve Hackett rolls into the area playing classic Genesis stuff and can command a much bigger audience, its great to go to somewhere like the Bath Forum and get an amazing sounding show.

And I've seen some great sounding shows at places like the Hamersmith Apollo, Birmingham Symphony Hall, Cardiff St Davids Hall, Bristol Colston Hall (Be interesting what it will be like post-renovation)
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Re: Bad live sound at a time when technology has never been better?

Postby IAA » Mon Oct 28, 2019 6:26 pm

Well, I say clever - they THINK they are clever and nobody has ever told them that they are in fact as a breed, 100% stupid as pig shite

Well, that’s told me!

I must confess, that I stood because a/ I retired early b/ I wanted to do something for my local community and c/to stand as an independant and avoid the pointless party first mantra

There are indeed poor councillors, but as we can see there are poor sound engineers, architects, etc etc. It’s the 100% blanket statement that’s a little hard.

Anyway I put the time in because in some way I believe its for the benefit of folk in the villages and after 35 years working in the NHS I wanted something straightforward to do other than of course....write music :headbang:

Mind you, I could be stupid I s’pose?
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Re: Bad live sound at a time when technology has never been better?

Postby Arpangel » Tue Oct 29, 2019 8:41 am

The Red Bladder wrote: you are talking to any councilor who has not made it to MP within 10 years, the chances are that you are talking to a gibbering, babbling moron. No exceptions are allowed (by me!) and I have had to deal with hundreds of these creatures - boy could I tell you some stories

I'm sorry to have to prove you wrong, and there is an exception, her name is Diane Abbott, she made it to MP and is merrily flying the flag for blabbering morons the world over.
I'll also tell you an unbelievable story, when I lived in London a local wide boy bought an old garage and decided to turn it into a "Jazz club" you know, a place that plays Jazz "music" this garage was basically a large square glass box, and he left it like that, on top of that folks, yes, please believe me.......he tiled some of it! with large white bathroom tiles!!!!!
All it took to turn it into an Eventide on max decay in a torture chamber was one screaming child, as for a band, it was hilarious, needless to say, it closed down.
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Re: Bad live sound at a time when technology has never been better?

Postby The Red Bladder » Tue Oct 29, 2019 12:40 pm

IAA wrote:Well, that’s told me!

Well, I knew there'd be someone!

IAA wrote: It’s the 100% blanket statement that’s a little hard

I suppose it is just about possible - unlikely but possible - that one or two intelligent persons slip through the net here and there. But when you have been asked to give expert advice to a council committee on a specific subject, only to hear mindless babble about nothing from people who are obviously innumerate and economically and technically completely illiterate, one is forced to come to one obvious conclusion.

Whoever first posed the question "Do many people who don't know what they are talking about know more or less than one person who doesn't know what they are talking about?" must have been attending a council committee meeting.

Arpangel wrote:I'm sorry to have to prove you wrong, and there is an exception, her name is Diane Abbott, she made it to MP and is merrily flying the flag for blabbering morons the world over.

That is a classic case of a false syllogism!

Many MPs are clever, but not all - in fact, as the latest machinations in Westminster have shown us, most of those occupying the front benches of the two main parties are in fact every bit as grossly hebetudinous as Comrade Abbot.

Cue Andrew Neil - "In the studio tonight we have the Ghost of Mahatma Gandhi, a man with two heads, a nine-foot nun - AND DIANNE ABBOT!!!"
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Re: Bad live sound at a time when technology has never been better?

Postby Arpangel » Wed Oct 30, 2019 8:53 am

The Red Bladder wrote:Cue Andrew Neil - "In the studio tonight we have the Ghost of Mahatma Gandhi, a man with two heads, a nine-foot nun - AND DIANNE ABBOT!!!"

I'll be using SDC cardioids on Andrew Neil, the nine foot nun, and Diane Abbott, Mahatma Gandhi's ghost demands a Soundfield obviously, but it's the man with two heads I'm confused about, do I use a stereo or mono mic on him? I'm hoping Hugh might be able to advise...?
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Re: Bad live sound at a time when technology has never been better?

Postby The Red Bladder » Wed Oct 30, 2019 1:43 pm

I like the Soundfield idea - spot-on!

Two heads - M/S? I mean, it's about time somebody found a use for M/S stereo - cos I be blowed if I've ever found one!

As for Dianne Abbott - a body-mic could be the answer, but then we'd have to find some brave soul who is prepared to go in 'there' to put a body-pack on her undies!
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Re: Bad live sound at a time when technology has never been better?

Postby Exalted Wombat » Wed Oct 30, 2019 2:34 pm

Sam Spoons wrote:I did an outdoor gig/festival a few years ago, I was assisting the sound guy and we were getting a decent sound from our rig **. The headliners arrived, with their own sound guy and spent about 50 mins setting up and sound checking. The band (Sunshine Underground IIRC) were excellent but, more relevant, their sound guy was brilliant, listening to our rig was a revelation, it sounded like a veil had been lifted. Just goes to show that knowledge is far more important than gear***.

Conversely, I remember the opening night of Dickens World at Chatham. (It wasn't ready, and the venue was a building site. But that's another story.)

We were doing some Victorian music hall. The sound guy (from Radio Kent, I think) DI'd my keyboard, handed out a few radio mics and all was fine. Then there was a pop band. Horribly loud, but clean and well-balanced. Then the top of the bill, Chas & Dave, who brought their own sound guy. Who managed to mix piano, bass and drums into a distorted mess.
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Re: Bad live sound at a time when technology has never been better?

Postby Exalted Wombat » Wed Oct 30, 2019 2:46 pm

MarkOne wrote:None of these sort of places are built for live music, but 'converted' from something else

Ever played in the shaft at the Brunel Museum in Rotherhithe? Acoustics are exactly what you'd expect from the picture.

https://www.theguardian.com/stage/2016/apr/15/brunel-thames-tunnel-arts-space-grand-entrance-hall
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Re: Bad live sound at a time when technology has never been better?

Postby Arpangel » Wed Oct 30, 2019 3:25 pm

The Red Bladder wrote:I like the Soundfield idea - spot-on!

Two heads - M/S? I mean, it's about time somebody found a use for M/S stereo - cos I be blowed if I've ever found one!

As for Dianne Abbott - a body-mic could be the answer, but then we'd have to find some brave soul who is prepared to go in 'there' to put a body-pack on her undies!

M+S stereo? I've tried, have I tried! I just can't be bothered with all that phase reversal and coding and decoding lark, it's far easier to plug in two cardioids or omnis.
As for Diane Abbott, it's a terrible job, but someone's got to do it...

:shock:
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Re: Bad live sound at a time when technology has never been better?

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Wed Oct 30, 2019 3:32 pm

Arpangel wrote:M+S stereo? I've tried, have I tried! I just can't be bothered with all that phase reversal and coding and decoding lark...

These days it just involves loading one MS decoder plugin in the DAW... not exactly complicated!

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Re: Bad live sound at a time when technology has never been better?

Postby The Red Bladder » Wed Oct 30, 2019 4:20 pm

I have four dedicated M/S channels on my desk, so I tried it once on one recording and came to the conclusion that it ain't worth the hassle. Punters do not hear the difference.

Maybe just maybe in the world of surround, one could possibly use those four channels to create true surround with front, side-left, side right and then rear. It would make an interesting experiment but I for one do not have the time and putting up five or seven mics and panning them the way Mother Nature intended is a whole lot easier!
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Re: Bad live sound at a time when technology has never been better?

Postby MOF » Wed Oct 30, 2019 4:25 pm

it's about time somebody found a use for M/S stereo - cos I be blowed if I've ever found one!

As Hugh said above, plus it was a BBC requirement when I went freelance in 1991. No one asks for it now but it’s a great way to provide rock solid, mono compatible stereo.
Also if you read articles in SOS about mastering there are quite a few, if not all, engineers who convert conventional stereo into MS and work on just the M track with plugins or external devices while listening to the decoded MS tracks after those inserted devices.
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Re: Bad live sound at a time when technology has never been better?

Postby The Elf » Wed Oct 30, 2019 4:29 pm

Mid Side is a doddle! Get hold of the FREE Voxengo MSED - and you're done!

I use MS on almost every project to some degree or another. It's an insanely elegant and beautiful tool, with lots of advantages and no downsides I can think of. It amazes me that anyone serious about audio would dismiss it! :headbang:

One simple example...

Insert an encoding MSED, a decent stereo (unlinked) EQ and a decoding MSED on your master buss. Now lift the HF in the side signal and HPF some of the lows (the 'Right' side of that stereo EQ) - instant stereo widening, and more mix headroom!
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Re: Bad live sound at a time when technology has never been better?

Postby MOF » Wed Oct 30, 2019 4:33 pm

I have four dedicated M/S channels on my desk, so I tried it once on one recording and came to the conclusion that it ain't worth the hassle. Punters do not hear the difference.

In the context of live sound MS is probably not very applicable, no more so than using a conventional crossed pair of cardioids though, since most PA systems are effectively mono.
What were you recording in MS stereo and why was it more hassle than two cardioid mic’s, was this live or a studio setup?
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Q)

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Wed Oct 30, 2019 5:23 pm

The Red Bladder wrote:Punters do not hear the difference.

Good. It's working right then! :D

There should be no significant difference in the stereo image generated by a Mid-Side array and the equivalent XY setup.

The key benefits of using an MS array are practical convenience in some situations (but not others!), post-production versatility, and potentially better mono compatibility and tonality of central images compared to an XY array using LDCs.

Maybe just maybe in the world of surround, one could possibly use those four channels to create true surround with front, side-left, side right and then rear.

I think the conversation here is either at cross purposes, or something has been lost in translation! There are only two channels in an MS array (and arguably three during decoding) so an MS array is resolutely stereo.

There is no possibility of creating surround with an MS array because there is no backwards-facing mic, and so no way of discriminating between front and rear images.

For surround you'd need an MSM or 'double MS' array which does feature a second, backwards-facing, Mid capsule so that the rear image can be captured and decoded using the shared Sides mic.
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Re: Bad live sound at a time when technology has never been better?

Postby The Red Bladder » Wed Oct 30, 2019 5:56 pm

Lost in translation - you silly leg-before-wicket English person!

I mean that it would be fun to create four M/S pairs for the front, 2 sides and the rear - possibly around a central baffle. But then as stated, putting up 5 or 7 mics is easier to do.

BTW, not that this has got to do with anything here, but I have discovered the joys and benefits of the Sennheiser MKH 416 - the newer models are waaay better than the many old ones I used to know and boy are they clear and good! I strongly suspect that there is a far better capsule in there than there used to be. I got one for a fantastic price from Scan.

It's far too good to be just a reporter's mic and for movie location sound.
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Re: Bad live sound at a time when technology has never been better?

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Wed Oct 30, 2019 6:26 pm

:D
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Re: Bad live sound at a time when technology has never been better?

Postby James Perrett » Wed Oct 30, 2019 9:48 pm

The Elf wrote:Mid Side is a doddle! Get hold of the FREE Voxengo MSED - and you're done!

If you are Reaper user there's MS decoding and encoding in the JS plug-in section.

I don't use it on every project but it is a very useful tool when you need it.
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