Monday, September 29, 2008

It's Too Loud

You know what I'm tired of hearing? "It's too loud."

I'm a sound guy. Yep, I'm the dude that sits behind all the knobs and buttons and faders that control how a band sounds. Over the last five or so years I've been doing it, I've found that old saying to be 100% true: Opinions are like assholes, everyone has one. For nearly every person that I get that tells me to "turn it down," I have someone else that says "hey, turn it up!"

Mind you, most people have NO idea what loud is. This band is loud. I was at that concert, behind the speakers. Under the the control of a certifiably insane pilot, I listened as they came out of the gate at 126 decibels A-weighted, or dB(A), SPL. At 0:20 in the video there, when the singer screams... I got the nice "ear tickle" standing BEHIND the speakers. It was LOUD. The measurements were take out front, 100 feet away from the speakers by a good friend who was providing the sound system for this band to play through.

Typically I mix the same band weekend after weekend. And typically, I never make it over about 98 dB(A) SPL. Most shows hang around 95 dB. If the band is REALLY rocking out, at a public concert, we might hit 100. To give you and idea of the difference between 126dB and 95dB compare standing by a major highway as cars and trucks go at 90-95dB and Standing 100 feet from a Jet engine at 120-130dB. Every 10 dB increase is a perceived doubling in loudness. Every 6 dB is a doubling in sound power. So 126dB is over 8 times louder than 95dB, and over 32 times as powerful.

Mind you, I'm not asking that I be allowed to run concerts at 126, 120, 115, or even 105 dB all the time. I'm asking that people leave the sound guy the hell alone. We know what we're doing, and if people are plugging their ears and leaving, we'll adjust, don't worry.

This past weekend I was mixing at a moderate 92dB and I was asked to turn it down. I complied, because we were guests of the festival. But after I said "OK" I was subjected to the following comment "because it is just ~SOOO~ loud." Really, it's "Soooo loud." Give me a break.

This all happened as I was carrying on a regular conversation with a friend... neither of us having to raise our voices much at all. It's just silly. People that like the music they are hearing, want it turned up, and if it's just not their "style" they want it turned down, and 5 dB is just not enough... for them, it' needs to be off.

I also love the people that come up to me angry, literally indignant, that the guitar isn't at the exact right level. Or the keyboards are "buried." Or the vocals are too quiet. Which is it? How can the keyboards be buried and the vocals too soft? Then I get a former drummer that says "turn up the kick!" It never ends; people and their damn opinions.

The next time I it happens, I'm just gonna mess up a buncha knobs and when the audience turns around, I'm gonna point at you and walk away. Let's see your opinions mix a 8 piece band on 32 channels now Mr. Smarty Pants.

Monday, September 22, 2008

BW3, DJ

You may find that some of my posts are a little... spiteful. Even hateful at times. Screw you. Keep reading and you'll see why I get this way.

A few years ago I was in Morgantown, WV with a friend of mine. We were "DJing" his cousin's wedding reception. I put that in quotes (yes, I used air quotes) because I normally don't "DJ." I "DJed" when I was 16. I'm 29 now, so I'm over that. If you are 40 and you still DJ. Get a life. Go learn an instrument and try and play in a band. Or, try running sound for a band. Its infinitely more complicated. Sound guys "DJ" on their breaks.

Anywho, we were setting up to "DJ" this wedding reception and after we're done, I start to get pretty hungry. The lady working behind the desk at the hotel kindly informed me that there was a BW3 down the street that had "grill" type food and wings. So two blocks and a stoplight later, here I found myself and my friend entering the hell that was Buffalo Wild Wings. (And yes, the nickname is BW3 because it used to be called Buffalo Wild Wings and Weck.

After waiting a short line, I was greeted with a girl at the counter that took my order. Little did I or anyone know, it would be MY LAST ORDER EVER at BW3. My order consisted of a Chicken Sandwich, Fries, and a soda. ("Pop" for those of you in the Midwest and you losers out in Pittsburgh that INSIST on using that word). How hard could that be? A chicken sandwich, fries, and a soda. I was also forced to choose a "flavor" for my sandwich. I wanted plain, but apparently that wasn't acceptable. More on that later.

After fifteen minutes, my friend received his order. Not quite fast food speed, but not terribly long either. I even gave them a little extra time seeing as they were *moderately* busy. Nothing like the place I usually go to for lunch, a little Mexican place, where they feed 100 or more people inside of an hour, without breaking a sweat. But, being the nice guy I am, I gave them another 10 minutes. I was after my friend in line you see.

After 30 minutes elapsed, I saw 2 or 3 people behind me get their orders, so I politely asked the girl behind the counter how much longer my order would be. She told me 5 more minutes. Not really thinking anything of it at this point, I wandered back to my corner, and stood quietly. Mind you there was no where to sit by this point as a surge of people had come in. After about 10 minutes (100% longer than I was told I would have to wait). I asked again about my order, and if I could at least get a cup to get some Coke. I was informed to "please wait my turn" as they were very busy." I asked how much longer I should wait as I had been there some 40 minutes at this point. I was told 5 minutes. At least I was given a cup. When I went for some Coke, the machine had no ice, no Coke (just Sprite, yecchh), and my cup was a non standard size which none of the lids fit.

Sigh... after *another* 10 minutes, I returned to the counter, I asked where my food was. One of the cooks in the back proceeded to yell out "Hey man, can't you see we're very busy here." And then all hell broke loose. I said, "LOOK, I've Been here for damn near an HOUR and you people have done nothing but give me a CUP that I could put WARM soda in with no lid. I would like my Sandwich NOW, or I would like my money back." This was returned with more whining and arguing. It also conjured up a worried look on one of the other cook's faces as he had realized he over looked my order on their chicken sandwich assembly line.

I was told it would be another 10 minutes. I said, "f*** you, I'm leaving." And I walked out.

Now, that may or may not have been the best thing to do. But by that point my blood pressure was so high, and I was so hungry, it was either that or possibly a brain embolism. I chose what I thought would cause less of a commotion.

I proceeded back to the hotel where the reception was and found that there was a snack shop in the hotel lobby that had pre-made sandwiches at their deli counter. I bought a tuna fish on wheat, a bag of M&Ms and I was pretty happy at that point. Had I known that existed in the first place, I would have gone there instead. I actually like tuna fish sandwiches.

About 10 minutes later, my friend shows up with my sandwich. I decided I would taste the sandwich that took over an hour to make, because if it took that long, there must have been a lot of care put into it.

One bite... - "UGHHH, YECCCHHH. WTF!?!?!"

Curry.

Let me tell you people, if you don't like curry, there is no way you can force it down. In my haste to choose a "flavor" for my chicken sandwich at BW3, I chose "Carribean Jerk." Which a trip to their website confirmed had CURRY as one of the main seasonings.

The moral of the story is there are things that are so simple that you'd think any idiot could do them but you'd be wrong. One is DJing. Any moron can play dance songs from a computer and fade in and out between songs. But how many weddings do you go to and the music just sucks or sounds like ass. In the same vein any idiot should be able to make a chicken sandwich in under 20 minutes. Hell, I can make f**ing chicken piccatta in that amount of time. But you'd be wrong. Just go to BW3 in Morgantown, WV and see what happens.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Books are dead

You know what I'm tired of hearing about? Books. Everyone says, "go read a book" or "the book was better" or "you know what society's problem is, we don't read enough books."

Bullshit.

Books are dead. They are an antiquated form of communication. Outdated in method, synchronous, and not very efficient. I can get 95% of what is in a book in a two hour documentary, 30 minutes Googling the info I need, or in about 2 minutes of someone explaining what I need to know. Film, the internet, and phones have books by the balls.

Sure, there are you "fiction" readers. I hate fiction. What does fiction have to do with real life? Nothing. It's a waste of my time. Sorry for those of you that like well penned prose. My suggestion? Find a few intelligent blogs to read. Your time would be much more well spent.