Why does this show sound like crap?

No one’s harder on a sound man than another sound man. Need proof? Attend a rock show with an audio engineer — who’s not working the board. (Warning: I do this all the time and don’t actually recommend it.) You’ll swear you can see the off-duty engineer squinting his (or her) ears, dissecting the other engineer’s every twist (or non-twist) of the knobs. What to the untrained ear sounds like a passably amplified song can torture someone who would have upped the high end or limited some subtle distortion.

Audio engineers — and their ability to separate sound like so many threads of tone and buzz and hiss — amaze me. But occasionally those magic ears fail, or the equipment does. And then, even those of us with less advanced holes in our heads for hearing can tell that something’s wrong.

Categories: Music