Bad mix?

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I don’t suspect this will be a blog so much as a general set of scenarios and questions that I wish to have answered by the music community cause I truly and honestly am perplexed by something that has been eating away at me during some live concerts. So here goes.

Imagine that:

  • You’re at a live concert in a small or large venue.
  • Let’s pretend it’s the West End Cultural Centre, only as an example, cause it can also happen at the Burt.
  • The band that is playing has at least four musicians, including a vocalist.
  • The band takes the stage.
  • The singer starts to sing and you cannot understand one of the words the singer is singing.
  • You can’t understand why you can hear so much freaking guitar and bass, but not the vocalist.
  • You stare up at the sound booth in utter confusion at the fact that the vocals aren’t the main feature of the band’s sound.
  • You wonder if you’re the only person in the room who is just a little confused as to why other instruments are blaring throughout the room, and the vocals are completely lost in the wash.
  • You wonder if the band did a sound check.
  • You wonder if the singer knows he can’t be heard.
  • You wonder why every sound guy in the city seems to just “not get it” at times.
  • You wonder if you’re just being a music snob for being so damn picky.

Anyone else experience this same thing or am I just going crazy?

Anyone else wish the sound guy would get a set of ears?

Anyone else feel a general sense of annoyance when you can’t understand a single word?

Do bands ask for this kind of mix on purpose? I don't understand it, but maybe bands enjoy the vocals to be lower in the mix than the lead guitar. Who knows? Maybe I just care about vocals more cause I'm a singer.

By the way, this experience has actually happened to me on a number of occasions, at a number of venues. One of which happened this past Saturday night at a concert I went to. Luckily, the issue seemed to be fixed by the 5th song. And the situation has happened with a number of different bands, in a number of musical genres, although I find this more with rock bands.

So that’s it. That’s what I wanted to talk about. Discuss amongst yourselves.

Take care,

Three-time Matt Costa concert attendee who is royally annoyed to the gills that someone had the nerve to steal his equipment...

Jodie Borle


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