Go Back  DVD Talk Forum > Entertainment Discussions > Music Talk
Reload this Page >

Why do opening acts sound worse than the main act at a concert?

Music Talk Discuss music in all its forms: CD, MP3, DVD-A, SACD and of course live

Why do opening acts sound worse than the main act at a concert?

Old 09-21-05, 02:16 PM
  #1  
DVD Talk Legend
Thread Starter
 
Mopower's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2001
Location: The Janitor's closet in Kinnick Stadium
Posts: 15,726
Why do opening acts sound worse than the main act at a concert?

I'm not saying all concerts but the ones I've been to this is true. I saw Green Day last weekend and while they sounded excellent, Jimmy Eat World sounded like crap. Muddy audio and you couldn't understand many of the lyrics.
I'm not saying JEW sucks I'm just saying that maybe the sound engineer for them was a drop out in sound school or something.

Flashback a few months ago when My Chemical Romance opened for Green Day. MCR sounded the same way. Terrible. While Green Day sounded crisp and clear. Why is this? Is it a sound engineer problem? Or equipment differences?
Mopower is offline  
Old 09-21-05, 02:19 PM
  #2  
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 2001
Location: Jersey City, NJ
Posts: 719
It has a lot to do with sound, the main act is supposed to sound better than the opening act, so the engineers reflect that, they don't on purpose make them sound worse, but they don't polish it as much as they would do the main act. They are definatley not getting as extensive of sound check either.

I've seen JEW as a main act at bowery ballroom and it sounded pretty damn good.
TripWire is offline  
Old 09-21-05, 02:20 PM
  #3  
DVD Talk Special Edition
 
dvduser6's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2000
Posts: 1,675
I've always attributed that to many factors. In most cases, the opening act(s) have less set up time. They have limited space on the stage since the headlining act's gear has been set up. After all, you're there to see the main band in most cases. Less space, less rehearsal time, less soundcheck time, etc. Depending on the venue and the draw of the main act, a lot of opening bands are simply glad to have some live time to work on their set, get a bit of exposure, and sell a bit of merchandise.
dvduser6 is offline  
Old 09-21-05, 02:33 PM
  #4  
Retired
 
Join Date: May 1999
Posts: 27,449
Yep, the other guys hit it on the head.

And like TripWire, I saw JEW as the headliner in April and they sounded fantastic. So it was definitely related to the issues outlined above plaguing opening acts.
Josh H is offline  
Old 09-21-05, 02:36 PM
  #5  
DVD Talk Legend
Thread Starter
 
Mopower's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2001
Location: The Janitor's closet in Kinnick Stadium
Posts: 15,726
That makes sense.
Mopower is offline  
Old 09-21-05, 02:51 PM
  #6  
DVD Talk Legend
 
The Infidel's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2001
Location: the kingdom of the evil Voratians, ruled by the wicked Ak-Oga
Posts: 11,417
I think they intentionally give the crowd a lousy opening act to further whet their appetite for the "main course".

I saw some crappy band called The Planets open for Stu Hamm at a small venue in Indy several years ago, and apparently they were having some electrical problems, because the lead singer kept shocking himself every time his lips touched the mic. It was kind of funny to watch his head jolting back every few seconds through their entire set.
The Infidel is offline  
Old 09-21-05, 02:56 PM
  #7  
Moderator
 
Giles's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 1999
Location: Washington DC
Posts: 33,495
aren't we being a bit anti-semitic here...
Giles is offline  
Old 09-21-05, 05:24 PM
  #8  
DVD Talk Ultimate Edition
 
covenant's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2001
Posts: 4,900
I noticed the same problem at ozzfest this year.....Velvet Revolver was all muddied and distorted while Black Sabbath was crystal clear.

Funny thing was: Black Label Society was pretty clear too. I guess Zakk gets the same attention to detail/equipment his buddy Ozzy does.
covenant is online now  
Old 09-21-05, 06:21 PM
  #9  
DVD Talk Legend
 
Join Date: Aug 1999
Location: Lower Gum Curve
Posts: 19,048
Originally Posted by covenant
I noticed the same problem at ozzfest this year.....Velvet Revolver was all muddied and distorted while Black Sabbath was crystal clear.

Funny thing was: Black Label Society was pretty clear too. I guess Zakk gets the same attention to detail/equipment his buddy Ozzy does.
I heard Iron Maiden had some problems with the sound cutting in and out too
Jason is offline  
Old 09-21-05, 06:26 PM
  #10  
DVD Talk Hall of Fame
 
Join Date: Oct 2001
Location: San Diego, CA
Posts: 7,533
I think it also has to do with the main act already has all their settings on the board (panning, bass, treble, levels, etc...) fixed for their sound, which is done during soundcheck. That means that the other acts have to either 1) use those settings that are fixed for the main band's sound (which is probably unlikely, or if used, could sound dramatically different for the other band(s)), or 2) use the other channels that are left on the board (which may not be much).
nodeerforamonth is offline  
Old 09-21-05, 07:16 PM
  #11  
Banned
 
Join Date: Feb 2001
Location: NYC
Posts: 15,957
Actually...I have a friend who used to do crew for shows. It also has a LOT to do with the fact that opening acts use their own equipment (ie microphones, etc) and it's obviously not going to sound as good as the equipment used by the main act.
digitalfreaknyc is offline  
Old 09-21-05, 10:52 PM
  #12  
DVD Talk Limited Edition
 
Join Date: Dec 2001
Location: Chicago->D.C.
Posts: 6,524
Originally Posted by digitalfreaknyc
Actually...I have a friend who used to do crew for shows. It also has a LOT to do with the fact that opening acts use their own equipment (ie microphones, etc) and it's obviously not going to sound as good as the equipment used by the main act.
Uh what bands would that be? It has nothing to do with the equipment for a 'decent' opening band at a major show - believe me, been there done that. Others have pointed out most of the reasons why already...main reason - opening band is not going to get the room, lights nor sound that the headliner is getting.
Flashback is offline  
Old 09-21-05, 11:37 PM
  #13  
Banned
 
Join Date: Feb 2001
Location: NYC
Posts: 15,957
Originally Posted by Flashback
Uh what bands would that be? It has nothing to do with the equipment for a 'decent' opening band at a major show - believe me, been there done that. Others have pointed out most of the reasons why already...main reason - opening band is not going to get the room, lights nor sound that the headliner is getting.
Ever watch them changing equipment between acts? Makes COMPLETE sense to anyone with a bit of knowledge of mics and the differences between them. However, your theory on the room (which doesn't change between acts) and the lights (huh????) have nothing to do with the sound.
digitalfreaknyc is offline  
Old 09-22-05, 10:09 AM
  #14  
DVD Talk Legend
 
Mr. Cinema's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 1999
Posts: 18,044
I've only noticed this at bigger arena type shows. But when bands play at smaller venues, the sound seems to be excellent for all of them, at least in the shows I've attended.
Mr. Cinema is offline  
Old 09-22-05, 10:54 AM
  #15  
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 2001
Location: Jersey City, NJ
Posts: 719
Well, it's not like opening bands use pure shit equipment...like Jimmy Eat World has pretty good equipment, they are signed to a major label and have been around for years. It's not like opening bands have hondo guitars and small peavey amps and a radio shack mic. They pretty much have comparable equipment to the main act. Sure some bands have better guitar/vocal processing out there and what not, but there are plenty of huge acts that just mic their amps still and that's it. It has more to do with the live sound board than it does the band's equipment, because most likely a lot of that equipment is what they used to record their great sounding albums also, unless they were pure studio whore's and borrowed the studio's equipment

Last edited by TripWire; 09-22-05 at 10:58 AM.
TripWire is offline  
Old 09-22-05, 11:07 AM
  #16  
Banned
 
Join Date: Feb 2001
Location: NYC
Posts: 15,957
Most of the people i've gone to see lately(Tori Amos, Sarah McLachlan, Howie Day) had a severe difference between the opening acts and the main act. The opening acts would tend to sound unbalanced (at the open, at least) and muddled. As soon as the main act came on, everything was clear.
digitalfreaknyc is offline  
Old 09-22-05, 01:39 PM
  #17  
DVD Talk Special Edition
 
Join Date: Jan 2000
Location: New Hampshire
Posts: 1,128
Originally Posted by digitalfreaknyc
However, your theory on the room (which doesn't change between acts)
The "room" definitely changes between the opening act and the headliner... The acoustics are completely different when you have just a few people standing around checking out the opener and when you have a packed floor in front of you for the main act.
Icculus is offline  
Old 09-22-05, 01:52 PM
  #18  
Banned
 
Join Date: Feb 2001
Location: NYC
Posts: 15,957
Originally Posted by Icculus
The "room" definitely changes between the opening act and the headliner... The acoustics are completely different when you have just a few people standing around checking out the opener and when you have a packed floor in front of you for the main act.
But how would that change an outdoor theater, such as the last concert i went to?
digitalfreaknyc is offline  
Old 09-22-05, 02:46 PM
  #19  
DVD Talk Hall of Fame
 
Join Date: Oct 2001
Location: San Diego, CA
Posts: 7,533
Originally Posted by digitalfreaknyc
But how would that change an outdoor theater, such as the last concert i went to?
Simple. The sound ALWAYS sucks at an outdoor theater. Main band or not.
nodeerforamonth is offline  
Old 09-22-05, 03:02 PM
  #20  
Banned
 
Join Date: Feb 2001
Location: NYC
Posts: 15,957
Originally Posted by nodeerforamonth
Simple. The sound ALWAYS sucks at an outdoor theater. Main band or not.
But in this case it didn't...only for the opening acts. And actually...there were two opening acts. The first sounded horrible...the second was a bit better...and then the main act was perfect. So try again.
digitalfreaknyc is offline  
Old 09-22-05, 04:10 PM
  #21  
DVD Talk Hall of Fame
 
Join Date: Apr 2001
Location: East of Ypsi
Posts: 8,896
Originally Posted by digitalfreaknyc
But in this case it didn't...only for the opening acts. And actually...there were two opening acts. The first sounded horrible...the second was a bit better...and then the main act was perfect. So try again.
Perhaps the opening acts we're actually playing live music and the headliner was simply pushing the PLAY button and dancing around stage to a pre-recorded track.
auto is offline  
Old 09-22-05, 05:04 PM
  #22  
Banned
 
Join Date: Feb 2001
Location: NYC
Posts: 15,957
Originally Posted by automator
Perhaps the opening acts we're actually playing live music and the headliner was simply pushing the PLAY button and dancing around stage to a pre-recorded track.
Have you SEEN Tori Amos?

I don't think so.

And if you're making a pathetic attempt to connect this to Madonna, it's impossible. She doesn't have opening acts.
digitalfreaknyc is offline  
Old 09-22-05, 05:16 PM
  #23  
DVD Talk Hall of Fame
 
Join Date: Apr 2001
Location: East of Ypsi
Posts: 8,896
Originally Posted by digitalfreaknyc
Have you SEEN Tori Amos?

I don't think so.

And if you're making a pathetic attempt to connect this to Madonna, it's impossible. She doesn't have opening acts.
Oops. Certainly didn't mean to dis Tori Amos. I have seen her in concert and she puts on a helluva show.

Pathetic, maybe. Just trying to rile you up.

For what it's worth, I do dig the cover art on Maddie's upcoming LP. Hope the music is as good as RoL and older albums.
auto is offline  
Old 09-22-05, 07:44 PM
  #24  
DVD Talk Limited Edition
 
Join Date: Dec 2001
Location: Chicago->D.C.
Posts: 6,524
Originally Posted by digitalfreaknyc
Ever watch them changing equipment between acts? Makes COMPLETE sense to anyone with a bit of knowledge of mics and the differences between them. However, your theory on the room (which doesn't change between acts) and the lights (huh????) have nothing to do with the sound.
Ever watch? Shit I did it.

The room on the stage IS different. The main band sets up and the rest of the stage that is left is for the opening bands. Pretty simple - not going to set up a whole drum set in 15-30 minutes when it can be done ahead of time. I am assuming you are talking about major acts, correct? The lights was another example in the fact that the headliner gets everything - just stating the obvious ... opening bands get scraps. Sound - because they will not allow a proper sound check or turn it up in some cases and bad levels, room and lights.
Flashback is offline  
Old 09-24-05, 08:25 AM
  #25  
DVD Talk Godfather
 
The Bus's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2001
Location: New York
Posts: 54,866
Originally Posted by Mr. Cinema
I've only noticed this at bigger arena type shows. But when bands play at smaller venues, the sound seems to be excellent for all of them, at least in the shows I've attended.
Agreed. One more reason I don't go to arena shows.
The Bus is offline  

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is On
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service

Copyright 2018 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.