Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Sound and Fury: Why Doesn't It Sound Good?

Posted By on Wed, Dec 3, 2008 at 7:08 AM

click to enlarge sound_mixer.jpg

Anyone who's ever gone to a show with me in Nashville has probably heard me complain about the mix at some point. I'd say I have a problem, which I probably do, but to paraphrase a girl who dumped me once: It's not me, it's the sound.

True story. I am at a show. A good band is playing, but I can't hear the snare drum, which, last time I checked, was a pretty important thing to hear in rock music. I am literally standing 15 feet away from a drummer but can't hear his snare drum. It's like standing in line at Burger King and not being able to smell beef. This means the sound is bad. Objectively so. (I know there are a lot of subjective preferences, but you have to hear the fucking snare drum in a rock band. Have to.)

I turn to someone named Tracy, who is not Tracy Moore, and say, "The sound is terrible." Tracy scrunches up her face, gives me the "shut the fuck up you are such a dork" look and says, "This place is known for having great sound and [name redacted] did sound at [name of kinda famous venue redacted] for years."

"But you can't hear the snare drum."

"Yeah, whatever."

"But you can't hear the snare drum. Listen."

"Yeah, whatever."

"You wanna make out?"

"Huh?"

"I said, 'You can't hear the snare drum.' "

"Yeah, whatever."

So, my question is: How much do you care about the sound when you see bands play? Is it a deal-breaker? Ever? What if it's too boomy? Or the vocals are way too loud compared to the instruments? Or when you can't tell the bass guitar from the guitar guitar? Or do you just watch the band and don't really care about all that?

Basically: Are you a Steve or a Tracy?

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