Monday, November 09, 2015
Live Sound has a recurring problem, and it will hurt you
"We've been dealing with PA systems and live sound for decades. All the problems of poor sound have been solved"
Oh really? I don't think so. Yeah, it's better sometimes, but just as frequently, the sound is mud, and that means your music is mud.
Your livelihood depends on delivering a good product the same way a manufacturer does. It took years of work and practice to create the music, and now it has to be delivered to the audience. Today more successful musicians depend on live performances for their income than ever before.
But what if I told you your product sucks about half the time because the live audio technology in the venue isn't delivering it clearly and well to your audience?
Your fans know your lyrics and overlook the bad audio because they know your songs, but you've left out everyone else who might be there unless your sound is superior.
Legacy (oldies) groups like Ringo, Todd and Tull get away with bad audio because everyone knows their music already. It comes pre loaded in the audiences' heads, like cache. That's why some songs get applause when they start: People already know them and like them, and that's great. Even the FOH person can have this memory and it can fool them into thinking the sound is set up right, when it isn't.
How about your new material? Unless you already are on the charts, and if you want to introduce new music live, it had better be at least intelligible to the audience. We don't want them to skip you the next time you are in town, just because they couldn't hear your music. You might get bad reviews by people who say you sucked when you actually didn't. And they won't complain about the bad audio because, well, that's the way it usually is.
Oh, you've heard which rooms are the ones that sound good, but that's not enough. Chance is at work and you and your crew have one chance per night to get it right. I have to tell you that even with a big name and a great venue, about half the time, your sound sucks.
We need to change that. You need to change that. I won't pay to hear you unless you do something about it. That threat didn't matter that much twenty years ago, but it does now because working musicians depend on live events for their income. They critically depend on delivering their product to their audience and if they want to stay around, they need to bring it to newcomers who are the dates, friends, companions, husbands etc of those who might already know you.
Over the next few weeks we'll look more deeply into the bad live audio problem and start to formulate some possible fixes. As always with our previous missions: Crowley and Tripp Ribbon Mics, RF Venue, New55 FILM and others, what you say you need is what we do. I look forward to this new mission under the resurrected, dusted off Mercenary brand. Bob Crowley
Posted by Bob Crowley at 11:00 AM