Why does rock concert sound suck?

I have been to two rock concert in the past year : Brit Floyd in Bridgeport CT and Eric Clapton at Madison Square Garden, NYC (last Monday)

For Brit Floyd I was about 40 feet form the stage and treble end was an ear-splitting distorted sound - the soprano solo on Dark Side of the Moon sounded like a chain saw running at 5x speed.

For Eric Clapton I was sitting at floor level about 20 rows behind the mixing desk - i.e., the opposite end from the stage. In this case the high top end was not so distorted, but the voices were still very harsh - seemingly a massive response peak at ~1500hz. Imagine AM radio with the treble turned up 20db.

I knew a lot of the words form the songs ahead of time of course, and just about recognized them, but otherwise the lyrics were unintelligible. The only exceptions were when he sang a quieter song - e.g., “Tears in Heaven” . Clapton moved back from the mic rather than place his mouth right next to it. Then the sound was quite listenable .

Of course managing the acoustics in such a big venue is no doubt a challenge — but does it have to be this bad?


Another thing that might be interesting to this thread is that I was browsing around on YouTube and there was an episode (I don't recall, it may have been the "Audiophiliac" guy) in which a gathering of "audiophiles" was in a home, I believe in New York, and an interviewer went around and asked individuals "What is 'snake oil' in audio?"  The range of responses was ... revealing.

But the response that stood out to me was one guy who said, essentially:  "It's ALL snake oil.  None of it sounds like real music, and it can never hope to.  I don't care what your system is, it does not reproduce the experience of a performance at Carnegie Hall, nor any other hall where music is actually performed.  Once I finally realized this, I stopped spending money on stereo gear, and now I spend my money on live performances so I can actually experience the real thing."

Something to think about.  

@curtdr >>>The studio monitors are designed, first of all, for the studio...well, you get my point<<<

No doubt about it. I'm familiar with nearfields vs standard home audio system speakers. I've been to the CES high performance audio rooms many times over, AXPONA in Chicago a bunch of times, a few official recording studios, and I've been a Radio Broadcast Engineer for over 3 decades (lots of studios and audio equipment involved with that!). I've taken it all in, and tried to recreate (within budget) all of the good things I've heard. Acoustics also plays into this big time. When it comes to audio, my ears and brain have about 45 years of experience involved here. I know what sound I'm shooting for. My point is, when many audio enthusiasts (I think I do like that description better than audiophiles) are trying to assemble a system that replicates live performance PA systems (I seem to hear that mentioned frequently), I'm shooting for a more recording studio sound quality. 

@waytoomuchstuff , Right Arm!...uh, I mean, On....*L* ;)

A few years back, Smashing Pumpkins played a local small venue louder than flesh 'n feathers could stand.  Inside, you could yell at lungs's top to the person next to you and not be understood...misunderstood, Yes...


(spouse) "WHA....? YOU WANT HIS WHAT??1"

3 deep on the sidewalk outside had a better 'experience'...*L*

At least Pink Floyd was enjoyable in contrast, even when the rain came and went....while it poured, the inflatable pig over the infield crowd appeared to be urinating on the people below, a goofy sight to see and recall even now.... ;)

@ the BMG 'The Complex' show attended @ CWP/HOU, smallish attendance for a not so large outdoor facility.  BMG show opens with a pair of reader boards left and right stage that initially started a conversation with each other.

One began to play the 'victim', a bit of bitch and moan about this 'n that.
The other taunting, being dismissive...generally a snot.

The conversation began to draw in the audience for yay 'n nays, which led into the performance...

Talk about an unusual 'warm-up' act....*L*

And some things should just be played loud, just because.
Volume to 12 and snap the knob off.

The Cult > She Sells Sanctuary is one....Prodigy's Narayan is another..

The latter has a nice 'growl' goin' from the woofs...

But....too much has this 'additive effect'....makes you play chit like this at the stoplight, windows down, cranked.....


(Tell me it doesn't make you want to dance...yeah....*L*)

Coffeehouses and small venues are to my liking. Who needs hearing loss? I got on the board of my local coffeehouse some years ago just so I could get my mitts on the tape library. GREAT STUFF! 

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