Date: Thu, 02 Apr 1998 12:14:51 -0500
Subject: Hear No Evil
From: firstname.lastname@example.org (f-erenc szabo)
<I just read your thoughtful and intelligent essay on how live
<is mostly too damn loud! I did lots of live sound mostly in the early
<80s (now I´m mostly studio based) and I always strived for sound
<that didn´t cause the least bit of ear flinching. Sometimes, a band
<would actually complain that they weren´t loud enough, and ignore
<my explanation that any louder and the sound distorts and is actually
<worse (albeit, more superficially "in your face").
<This has actually backfired in several cases: A common edict
<lead band to sound engineers is to make the opening bands sound worse
<on purpose. This usually means "make us louder". Well, often with
<the lead band´s manager monitoring my sound engineering, they have
<often orchestrated their own defeat. I witnessed many people leaving
<or covering their ears upon hearing the lead band, as opposed to the
<enjoyment that was had with the lower volume opening band; the
<loudness then didn´t get in the way of "getting into it" at all!
<Many people mistake "loud" for "powerful". Nobody would sit in
<front of a jet engine blaring away and say "wow, that was a powerful
<performance", but loud concerts sometimes get superficially perceived
<as "powerful performances"!
<I´m sure lots of sound engineers will argue that they´re just
<cranking it up because the audience demands it. Well, I wonder
<what would happen if all parents gave into their children's
<desires like "I want more candy" or "I don´t wanna go to school".
<A bunch of adult malnourished fat toothless dummies? Can´t
<sound engineers see themselves as knowing a bit more about sound
<than the average person, and thus turning down the volume
<because they know better (just like parents know better about
<candy and school)?
Thanks for your message. It´s full of great thought food for folks interested in the Quest for Audio Excellence idea. It´s such a relief to hear from professionals who´ve been facing the pressures and solving the problems of high audio standards during the course of their careers.
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