I tend to fall in to the militant camp as well, so my apologies for coming off self righteous.It's all good. I fall into the militant camp sometimes so I'm sorry if I came across as a little tetchy.
Yes, there are engineers that think like that. Sometimes they have a reason though and that might be venue-specific. I'd like to think that if you had a real issue with it that they would try and explain to you what they're doing but sometimes either the engineer isn't a good communicator or they just don't have enough time!
I just came off a big outdoor festival gig and was having kick problems with the engineer, so I was more than a little pissed off when I wrote the original post.
I also have done some engineering for live settings, so I am definitely aware that there is way more to live sound than just how awesome the kick drum sounds lol.
When we play in a smaller, indoor venue, I find that adding a little extra muffling to the kick really helps the engineer nail the kick sound. When we play these big open air gigs, I usually stick to just the felt on either side, and most of the time, the engineer agrees and the show goes on.
But the engineer Saturday was just not having it, and our guitarist (an excellent engineer in his own right) had to go down and dial in the kick sound.
So what are your thoughts on bass drum muffling for large open air gigs? I know I don't have any specifics so it will be hard to make any concrete judgements. Maybe just some general rule of thumb kinda things? The kick is very tight sounding (suprisingly) but it does have some tone. More of a thump, less of a smack if you know what I mean.