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LAB Best Threads: Never Heard This Before…
You never know what kind of "logic" is about to come out of the technically challenged among us.
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Editor’s Note: Here’s an interesting thread from the PSW Live Audio Board (LAB) forums. It’s lightly edited for grammar and formatting. Enjoy.

Posted by Ivan
While doing a demo/shootout (with several different brand loudspeakers) the front of house guy said something that I have never heard before, and usually thought the opposite was preferred.

He said about one of the products (his mind was already made up about another product) before the demo was even setup…

“I don’t like product A because it is to responsive. When I move an eq knob on the mixer I hear lots of change. I like a speaker system that requires more movement on the console to hear differences”

I always thought it was preferred to be able to hear actual differences you make. I guess I was wrong.

Of course I have heard all sorts of different things during demos.

Things like “Well I can hear that the signal cable going to that particular setup has a notch in the freq response”


Some people have good ears.

Reply by Tim
Some people have vivid imaginations and a fatal dose of confirmation bias.

Reply by Dick
Right up there with “it’s too loud. I can understand the words.”

Reply by Roland
Unresponsive systems are often indicative of comb filtering and system problems. Systems that you can hear every minor tweak on usually, bode well that it’s well set up.  Obviously, that might also mean it’s just good in your listening location!

Reply by Ivan
It is just an excuse. Just like other comments I have heard. “Don’t you think that clean sound would be fatiguing after a while” or “I think that cabinet has to much low freq extension”.

Are these people actually listening to the words that come out of their mouths???????????

I guess people are free to spew what they want.

Reply by Tim
Never underestimate the power of stupid.

Reply by Chris
Once had someone come up to me and say “Why are the vocals so clear? That can’t be right.” This was a pop/rock band, not grunge or some other mumbled crap.

Reply by Ivan
I did a show in a hardcore type club. Everybody was amazed at how good it sounded and how much sound I got out of the “small” PA I brought. But the house guy said “Well it sounded nice-but it didn’t have the ice pick in the forehead that makes your eyeballs hurt”

I took that as a complement, but it wasn’t meant that way.

Reply by Jack
I once had a person tell me during a demo that he thought it was too clean. “It will need more distortion to cut through the stage noise.”

Reply by Ivan
Maybe that needs to be a marketing tag for some companies. “We are more distorted than brand X”  YEAH-that should attract lots of buyers.

Reply by Brian
I did a political campaign in Ukraine some years back. I had a decent sized d&b rig. For the first several events i kept getting complaints from the campaign that it wasn’t loud enough, but it was so loud I started setting up front of house BEHIND the stacks just to get out of the pain zone. Still they were telling me it wasn’t loud enough.

Finally i figured it out. They had never heard a PA that was capable of 120 db without distortion. So, since it wasn’t distorting, they thought it wasn’t loud. I began to introduce a little clipping at the mic pre just to ‘dirty up’ the sound a bit. Then they wanted me to turn it down because it was too loud.

Reply by Ivan
I have experienced the EXACT same thing with some bands. The front of house guys want a certain amount of “overload” in the sound.

I also did the same thing as you and would overdrive a compressor in the system to give just a tad bit of distortion and then they would turn it down. The funny thing is that they would complement me on the “adjustments” I made in the system.

It just goes to show you that you never know WHAT somebody is actually looking for. And many don’t ask for the right thing.

Reply by John
Too responsive? Tell the guy to take a time machine back to the 80’s. I can’t beleive anyone with functioning hearing would say that. Mixing on a clean, undistorted system where you can hear small changes has really brought my love of mixing back.

Unless the band sucks. In that case ignore the above.

Reply by Steve
I hate the term ‘cut through.’ I have seen it used on advertisements for all sorts of audio equipment, usually for recording, claiming the source in question (vocal, etc.) will ‘cut through the mix’. I don’t want it to cut through the mix, I want it to stay where I put it. And what if every input had one?  Would it be a Deep Purple style ‘everything louder than everything else’ situation?

Reply by Jim
Joey Stampinato of NRBQ. Soundcheck for NARAS post-Grammy gala (1995?) in one of NY Hilton ballrooms. Complaining to sound person: “Those lights are so bright I can’t hear what I’m playing!”

Reply by Jack
It’s not just in sound, but other things too. Ski boots, and skis for novices tend to be quite sloppy, and very reactive for the advanced. For novices, if every action they make went to the skis, it would be a wild ride, but for the advanced, every nuance needs to make it to the skis, and from the skis to the snows surface.

If he sound system is too reactive for you, you are not up to the task.

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