Sounds better at home

Does anyone else think that mic/pa setups at live events are crappy? We went to see Gary Burton at a well respected jazz theatre here in Pittsburgh and the sound quality - as usual - was disapointing. This hall has two large p/a speakers hanging high on the wall and they almost always eliminate any sense of real acoustics in the hall, even when they're being used sparingly. I've even seen artists - most recently Jimmy Heath - turn the system off after a number or two. Looking for a good acoustic experience, the whole thing is frustrating and in general my system at home sounds better.
Loud usually equates to better in many such settings. In fact many people seem to think volume alone represents quality.

many of these sorts are already experiencing hearing losses and some aren't even aware of it... and it they are, won't admit to it. I'm routinely amazed by some of my friends vanities regarding their vision and hearing issues which are so overtly apparent to everyone else.

Too many upfront positions at too many rock & roll shows I guess.
Grimace: I agree with you 100%. Because of the obnoxiously loud and/or unnecessarily amplified 'live' concerts I have decided to put my money on good recordings instead. I can get a number of excellent CDs for the price of one concert. A well balanced home system beats any and all PA systems. Stay home, save money, hear better, enjoy more.
I know what you mean. A few weeks ago a friend and I went to a local jazz club in Detroit, the legendary Baker`s Keyboard Lounge. This club has excellent sound but for what ever reason they decided to use a speaker system to boost the bass and overall volume. It was bad,it reminded me of large,dry and very loud solid state amp driving mid-Fi speakers meant for sound quanity rather than quality. Such a shame.
It may be just a matter of perspective. Most people go to live music shows to hear the music in a social setting. Only an audiophile would go to hear a "good acoustic experience".
Grimace is right on in my experience. Last year I went to a Mark Knopfler concert at red rocks just outside of Denver. Fabulous venue, visually, but I found the sound at the concert to be total crap. Almost unlistenable, not to mention the thoughtlessness of the crowd gabbing throughout the concert. I was baffled by AudioGoners glowing reviews of the concert afterward wondering if we attended the same event. Aside from small venues I've had it with large-scale music events.
I often visit Birdland and Irridium jazz clubs of NYC. The sound and acoustics are awesome with minimal amplification.
Recently visited BB-King at Times Square. This venue has even great sound in the man's room:-)
I guess I'm not alone. The problem with this particular venue isn't that they amp everything really loud, in fact that's not the case at all. They're actually pretty restrained with it. However, the sound quality from the two speakers is mediocre and therefore noticible AND they are hard right and left obove the stage. So, unless you're dead center on the aisle you hear the speaker on your side of the stage over the band. Very annoying.
Another jazz club not to be missed, alwyas with great, natural sound is Dizzy's CokeCola club in New York City.
This confirms my growing suspicion that trying to emulate a 'live performance' with home audio is a pointless effort. If that were the case, then most of should be satisfied with mediocre systems.

It seems the point should be refining your system until it brings you the satisfaction and involvement that good music - live or reproduced - brings.
My expectations are usually so low that I've recently tended to end up pleasantly surprised by the sound quality of live shows. I had refused to see an arena show for almost 2 decades (for this very reason) 'til I went to the recent Fleetwood Mac show @ Staples Center and I couldn't believe how good the sound was.

But, but, but...

My standard is never my home system. A recording studio is a controlled environment and it shouldn't be a surprise that a good system can reproduce the resultant high quality program material. Even live recordings are usually captured in a fashion that removes most of the environment from the equation. I would never expect to get the same sound quality at a live venue.

So, I agree with you, but I'd advise you to change your focus. The magic of live music is still IMHO hard to beat.

i guess my blue cheer concerts were a bad idea
Didn't Blue Cheer have those really cool flashpots?
blues magoos
Close enough for this purpose
Unfortunately, most so-called "sound guys", particularly at rock or country events, but also jazz and even classical, have absolutely no clue what they are doing, especially if the music in question is electronically produced. Most of it is ridiculously over-miked and then mixed terribly, and played at ear-splitting volumes, so that it has absolutely no resemblance to what any self-respecting audiophile would call good sound. As blindjim says, many people, especially young people, now think that this is what music is supposed to sound like. I don't want to get started on this, I have ranted about that here before.

That said, however, it is also true that your home audio system should never be your reference point. Though it may sound better than the crap you hear at many live events, it will never capture the magic of live unamplified acoustic instruments in a really good space such as a great concert hall or jazz club. You will hear and enjoy so much more of the music than you can on your home system, I don't care how good it is.

I can ask a colleague from Pittsburgh if there are any good jazz clubs (sound-wise, I mean), if you want, but in the meantime, if you are at all a fan of classical music, you have one of the finest orchestras in the country right now in the Pittsburgh Symphony. I urge you to go check them out. I haven't heard their hall, so I can't comment on its acoustics, but I could ask my colleague about that as well.
It is a matter of acoustics and loudspeakers placement, why most of them lose the sound quality
Actually, singleendedsingle, it is more a matter of "sound engineers" ruining the natural acoustics with their mikes and mixing boards and loudspeaker placement. This even happens in very good concert halls, where pops concerts are almost always unnecessarily and very badly miked. It's never an improvement (assuming a good room, of course), and its downright criminal sometimes.
Learsfool, could you give an example of how you would mic a piano trio (piano, bass, drums)? What would be your preferred mics, how many would you use and approximately where would you try to place them? You've stated that sound engineers don't have a clue, so here's your opportunity to give them a clue.
Onhwy61, assuming you are serious, there is obviously no single answer to this question. It would depend very heavily on the location, and the acoustics of the space, and the type of music being performed. No good recording engineer ever sets up anything the same way every time - there are far too many variables. As for preferred equipment, again it depends on the type of sound wanted on the recording, or at the live event. I of course did not mean to imply that all recording/sound guys were bad - there are many great ones out there, all with different priorities and preferences. That said, you would be very surprised at how many that do this type of thing for live events have no real musical ears or priorities - they just set it up to be as loud as possible, assuming that this is what the audience wants. It is very rare and refreshing nowadays to find a good jazz venue, for instance, that is not over-miked, even when the musicians themselves complain, as we often do.
"No good recording engineer ever sets up anything the same way every time - there are far too many variables."

Someone should mention this to Rudy Van Gelder.