Optimum seats for a concert?

What do you think the best seats are when you go to a concert? I think it is about 15 rows back in the center.
Depends on the venue. In many cases I think you are right. But a few halls have better acoustics at the mezz or balcony level. Pittsburgh is definitely best in the balcony. Baltimore--well it changes every year as they change the acoustics--haven't sat in the balcony or mezz yet this year. The floor has some anomolies with delays coming off the new ceiling--they mezz is probably better as the delays won't be as long compared to the direct sound.
Center in my opinion always sounds best--sometimes slightly stage side right--if it's a piano--I like to see the keys.
Abstract7: For sound as the only consideration in the Meyerhoff in Baltimore, the best seats are high in the back (Terrace D and Center). These are also the cheapest seats. The sound is balanced with a wide sound stage field. Terrace C is good too. You just have to not be bothered by being up high.

I sit in an upper box over the stage on the left. I guess this is near field listening in audiophile terms. But I like to watch. With pianists I look right down on the keys and can see everything. The sound is very clear there, because it basically comes straight up.

Sugarbrie--thanks for the input. I had not previously even had that suggestion--and I know quite a lot of people that go regularly and move around to try different acoustics--including some in the orchestra that don't have to play every piece. I will have to try the Terrace.
At the NJPAC, most seats have excellent acoustics, although the best I ever sat in were in the first tier balcony, front row. My subscription seats there are in Row J of the orchestra, as that's my preferred distance from the orchestra; you get the proper blending of the orchestra, but you're close enough to get a feel for the energy of the performers. At Avery Fisher Hall, the only seats I've really liked there are row O, center orchestra; getting closer to the sides or the back adversely affects the sound. Carnegie Hall, I like the front of the balconies, but still prefer the orchestra seats, about rows J-M. Sitting closer does give you more of the direct sounds of the musicians, but I like the better blend from a bit back. Sugarbrie, I once tried to go to the 5th tier at the PAC to listen from a side box, but I just couldn't take the height, I'm afraid.
Abstract7: Some muscians I know tend to prefer the Terrace D on the left. This is the piano side (you said stage right above), but it is considered the left side of the hall for ticket purposes. Start there. What night/series do you usually go?

The Kennedy Center is better since the renovations when Slatkin came a few years ago. Not sure what are the best seats.

Sugarbrie: I'm doing series E, but I have a few I've had to change--like the next one, but then I've kept the rest of the season.
Anywhere but in the pit, where I sat for a number of years. Down there, where many players now wear earplugs to protect their hearing, one is highly focused on production but inattentive to the overall sound, which one cannot really hear, anyway.

There's an apocryphal story really understood only by pit musicians about two bassoonists who played side by side for two decades. Unexpectedly, one took a week's vacation right in the middle of the season. The first night he was away, his colleague looked up out of the pit and there sat his friend in the 10th row. Amazingly, he was there every night for a week.

When he returned, his buddy said, "I can't believe it. For twenty years you never take a vacation, then you take a week off and spend it sitting in the 10th row."

"Yeah," exulted his pal, "and you wouldn't believe what I heard. You know that part where we go BOOMP-boomp-BOOMP-boomp-BOOMP-boomp-BOOMP?"

"Sure. I know that part. What about it."

"Well, man, while we're doing that the orchestra is going (bursts into the Toreador Song)."

You may respond to this with a blank look but tell it to anyone who has played the same score every night for three months and they'll fall out of the chair.

Anyone else here done any pit playing???
As a general rule of thumb, I've found that the highest seats available, and as close to center as possible, provide me with the best results.

I don't know much about acoustics, but my reasoning is simple:

Most audiences at symphony performances don't know how to sit still and keep quiet through even one movement, let alone an entire piece. When I sit up in the "cheap seats", there usually aren't many people up there, and I am therefore somewhat isolated from crowd noise.
As another rule of thumb, if the hall was built for a symphony orchestra it will have decent sound almost anywhere. Some multi-purpose halls have problems. George Mason University has a visually stunning arts center and an excellent schedule of events, but if you sit in the back-half of the hall forget it. The cheap seats in the back sound like you are in another room from the orchestra.

Then there are amazing places like the historic Mechanics Hall in Worcester, Massachusetts. This was a union hall built in 1857 and is used now as a concert hall among other things. It is one of the best concert halls in the world accoustically. It is one of Yo Yo Ma's favorite places to play recitals. The Boston Baroque's B-Minor Mass (Bach) recording on Telarc was recorded there. They attract major orchestras and groups from all over the world.

Mechanics Hall is just a large room, not a theater. The classical schedule (there are others) is at http://www.musicworcester.org/calendar.html

See the attached link of a list of 76 great concert halls from around the world. (Mechanics Hall is on the list.)


It is quite difficult to determine which seats are the best if you don't know the concert hall. In my case I know a several theatres with excellent acoustics and it's not even necessary to be in the middle. My personal like is when I can see the fingers of musicians since I do worship them.
I always watch after the soloist fingers and his/her artistic feelings during the performance which gives me an idea how one's understands/feels the music. So I prefer to sit not too far away from the orchestra.

The very main thing for audiofiles is not to take in mind that there are pair of speakers standing in the performance hall he..he..:)