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> Bad Audio And Acoustics, They take away some of the fun
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MacEoghainn 
Posted: 11-Feb-2005, 11:34 PM
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ZodiacHazel

Realm: Cape Coral, Florida, USA, Planet Earth

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I may be too picky (since in real life it?s my job) but I can?t stand it when I?m at a venue where you are there to hear someone speak or hear a musical performance and the acoustics and/or the sound system is so bad that you can?t even tell what language the speaker is using or what song the band/performer is playing. This seems to be especially true at a lot of Celtic Festivals and Highland Games.

I have attended two (2) Celtic Festivals/Highland Games on the past two weekends (and will be attending another this weekend) and unless I find just the right spot to stand or sit I am not going to be happy with what I am hearing (and in the case of ?the Barn? at the Sarasota Highland Games, I don?t think I could have found a good spot). I?m also sure at the festival I?m attending next week I?m going to have to get there early to pick my spot or I?ll be out of luck. Usually the best spots are either centered on a speaker cluster or near the mix location (also known as the FOH or Front of the House). Generally the mix location is pretty good since it is set up so the Board Operator (the ?Sound Guy?) can actually here the band (it?s hard to mix ?Live? sound when you can?t hear it).

So you say, ?MacE, what can I do about this??

If you?re a performer/artist/speaker it may be hard to broach the subject with the people who hired you since it is usually not a good idea to ?bite the hand that feeds you? (unless you?re independently wealthy or a really big star) but I assume each one of you have found your own way of expressing your displeasure with the situation.

If you?re just a ?nameless face in the crowd? you need to let someone in charge know, that as a ?paying customer?, you weren?t happy with the ?service? provided. If they hear from enough people then the organizing committees of the groups that put these games and festivals on will be motivated to do something.

If you?re a member of a group or club who sponsors one of these events then become familiar with the venue the event is to be held at and what it will take to provide a good ?show? for the public.You also want the event to be one the artists will want to comeback to (remember, it doesn?t help an artist?s career if people who hear them for the first time are not impressed because of bad sound/acoustics). Good sound is not an accident! In most venues it has to be planned out and implemented by professionals. No, those little cubes that sound so good in your home are not going to work in a 1000 seat auditorium. What would you think if you went to the movie theater and instead of the movie screen at the front of the theater they rolled out a 27"diagonal TV set for you to watch the movie on? If the venue is a ?barn?, like you?ll find at most fairgrounds, then start talking to management of the venue (usually a government entity) about improving the facility (especially if they want your group to keep coming back). Even a barn can be treated with materials to improve the acoustics and still be used for it?s primary purpose.

Well I?ve ranted on long enough. Hopefully I?ve made sense!

MacE


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MacE
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CelticRadio 
Posted: 12-Feb-2005, 08:25 AM
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ZodiacOak

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I agree with you with Mac.

Although I have no experience in dealing with audio at such large events - I wonder if some of this is related to old out dated equipment.

Just as much time should be paid to getting the proper audio and acoustics as the actual music. I guess that is why some of the better known Celtic bands and musicians have road crews. But I do have to say that Charlie Zahm's audio always sounds good where ever he goes. And to my knowledge it is usually only him and a few other support people. So maybe he has a good understand of this.





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Keltic 
Posted: 13-Feb-2005, 11:03 PM
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ZodiacWillow

Realm: Ottawa, Ontario  Canada

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This is an issue that not only affects the ears of the patrons but also the musicians and bands that are on stage. Many of these bands gain much of their exposure at festivals and if the sound is sub-par, whether it is due to the acoustics, bad equipment or an inexperienced sound man, not many people are going to walk away with the desire to see that band again. Most festivals are run by volunteers and unless concerns are brought to their attention, everyone loses. You have to realize that unless you are the top name on the bill, at many of the festivals, you are not irreplaceable. There is quite often a number of 'in waiting' groups, hoping for a chance for the exposure, especially at the larger festivals. This means that there is sometimes a fear of speaking out. However, as a paying customer, the patrons will be listened to if there are enough complaints.


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MacEoghainn 
Posted: 28-Jan-2006, 07:09 PM
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ZodiacHazel

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Here we go again!!

I hate to beat a dead horse but once again it's Festival time here in Florida and once again I can't believe what I'm hearing (or maybe it's what I'm not hearing) for sound at the very first festival I go to.

There is a book by two of the giants of the Professional Audio industry, Don and Carolyn Davis, called "If Bad Sound Were Fatal, Audio Would Be The Leading Cause Of Death". I suspect many of the people setting up sound for these festivals have never read this book (I begin to suspect that they might not be even be able to read sad.gif ) nor even know who Don and Carolyn Davis are.

There is really no excuse for these problems anymore (especially outdoors). The technology has advanced so far it is merely a matter of some planning, having the right equipment, and setting up and testing the sound system before hand that all in attendance should go away from one of these events commenting on how great the sound was.

MacE sad.gif
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