Tips to stop "The drums are too loud" complaints?

Acidline303

Senior Member
Maybe talk to the sound guy and if he's cozy with the owner have him point out that measuring SPLs with an iphone's onboard mic is probably about as accurate as throwing a baseball with your toes.

Not only that but SPL readings function much the same way as speaker power measurements (RMS/Peak) work. You have sustained SPLs and transient SPLs. Drums will often push the peaks over whatever threshold he's imagining he must have but dont contribute nearly as much to perceived loudness as a sustained sound with long decays (such as an overjuiced guitar cab) will.

Of course, if the owner aint paying you to think, you might have no recourse at all. Find another place where the owner isn't handicapping your entire performance with a free app download.
 

Mongrel

Silver Member
Honestly...there are so many aspects to this whole thing it almost rates it's own made for tv movie...lol

1. Just how loud is this band? We have NO idea or any way to put this into perspective without a recording.

2. Cymbals are too loud even for the OPs bandmates? Too loud at THIS venue? Too loud every time they play? Too loud on stage in general? Too loud in the stage MIX? Too loud at the band's rehearsal space?

3. Is the venue owner a volume freak with every band or just THIS band? Has the band gone to hear other bands in the same venue on different nights? How does THAT drummer deal with it?

4. If the sound-man was doing his job should micing up the kit really be a problem? I've been mic'd up just to get a balanced sound in the house. This is usually a GOOD thing because you can get an idea of your overall sound in your mix and it makes it easier to blend volume-wise with the rest of the band. Nothing helps control your volume like having your drum mix blasting into your own ears, even if the fader is on -10 on the house side.

5. Still not understanding the reluctance to even try an edrum kit-or better yet a triggered acoustic kit like that sweet Pearl kit someone posted. Really? You really don't even want to give this a try? You get those huge stadium rock kit sounds at the volume of brushes...what's not to love?

6. Something else missing from the thread is the "magical quiet touch hard rock drum technique" example video ( Bueller? Bueller? Bueller?) that may have made all the other posts moot...(nudge nudge wink wink...lol).
 
Just got back from the gig tonight. At soundcheck, we tried the hotrods and they didn't really work out so well. The cymbals were completely drowned out by the guitars, etc. so we opted to switch back to sticks.

Now here's where it gets funny.

The owner was told that I would be using the Hot-rods tonight, and as far as he was aware that's what I was using all night. In reality, I was playing the AJ1's exactly as I have been every night for the last few weeks, but he came up to the sound guy and I to tell us how these "Hot-rods" have changed everything, the level was perfect, the sound was crystal clear and everything was even sounding a bit warmer.

Thought that was odd and during the second set, I switched back to the X5Bs that I usually use on most other gigs and played a little louder than usual, just to see if that made a difference. Nope. The guy loved it. In fact, he thought it sounded even better than the first set!

This whole time, this thing was entirely psychological...
 

newoldie

Silver Member
Nobody is mentioning the guitars. A drummer can have the world's best dynamics, but if the rest of the band are playing too loudly, then the drummer playing softer no real effect. Dynamics is a whole band thing. Anything less doesn't work, period.
Agreed with that and can relate to recently.
As I mentioned in my post here earlier in this thread, the lead guitar in one band was the culprit (along with the harmonica player). Once the guitar settled down in volume, the dynamics could operate within a more balanced, appropriate range:
"One band I play in at a particular small club would often get complaints from the bartender to turn the volume down and everyone in the band criticized each-other-- until it was honestly determined the "loud" factor came from the lead guitar and harmonica players. A recording helped to pinpoint the louder instruments"
 

Push pull stroke

Platinum Member
Something else missing from the thread is the "magical quiet touch hard rock drum technique" example video ( Bueller? Bueller? Bueller?) that may have made all the other posts moot...(nudge nudge wink wink...lol).
I can do it, but it's not something that you can learn overnight. LOL
 

Mongrel

Silver Member
I can do it, but it's not something that you can learn overnight. LOL
I'm sure it's a learned skill....or more likely a "black art"...lol.

See, I have heard *about* this "magic" technique... But I have never, ever, no never *seen* a video representation of it that did any "hard rock" song justice. They always sound like a muzak version of the tune, frankly.

Until someone who advocates "inch high doublestrokes" can provide me a video tape of a live band playing....say..."Aint Talkin' 'Bout Love" anywhere close to how it should sound, I will stay in the camp that says "it can't be done".

No offense, with respect, fondly, sincerely, and lol,

Mongrel

(Big) :)
 

Push pull stroke

Platinum Member
I'm sure it's a learned skill....or more likely a "black art"...lol.

See, I have heard *about* this "magic" technique... But I have never, ever, no never *seen* a video representation of it that did any "hard rock" song justice. They always sound like a muzak version of the tune, frankly.

Until someone who advocates "inch high doublestrokes" can provide me a video tape of a live band playing....say..."Aint Talkin' 'Bout Love" anywhere close to how it should sound, I will stay in the camp that says "it can't be done".

No offense, with respect, fondly, sincerely, and lol,

Mongrel

(Big) :)
I didn't say it would sound the same. How could it? But I can still keep good groove and time at really low volume. The drum hits and cymbal hits don't sound the same, though. You can make the right gear choices and such, but there's only so much that will help. Let's face it, though....if the listeners were there to hear the band, nobody would stop you from playing normal volume. If someone's complaining, then you really are just live Muzak. LOL
 

Nate'sKit

Senior Member
I didn't say it would sound the same. How could it? But I can still keep good groove and time at really low volume. The drum hits and cymbal hits don't sound the same, though. You can make the right gear choices and such, but there's only so much that will help. Let's face it, though....if the listeners were there to hear the band, nobody would stop you from playing normal volume. If someone's complaining, then you really are just live Muzak. LOL
Which, for the OP, begs the question. What do the clubs audience think of it. I'm guessing that they probably don't care and that the owner is just being jackass.
 

Frank

Gold Member
Which, for the OP, begs the question. What do the clubs audience think of it. I'm guessing that they probably don't care and that the owner is just being jackass.
In my area, the patrons of live music definitely care.

I spend a great deal of time promoting live music in my region, along with networking with bands and venues. Volume absolutely matters. People want to enjoy live music while out eating and drinking, and they want to be able to converse comfortably while doing so.

Outside of a small number of venues/situations, most situations are not Concerts. The gig is to provide interesting background music to make a bar/restaurant a little more special than going to Applebee's. Might not be what many want to hear, but, at least in my region, it's the truth.
 

Nate'sKit

Senior Member
In my area, the patrons of live music definitely care.

I spend a great deal of time promoting live music in my region, along with networking with bands and venues. Volume absolutely matters. People want to enjoy live music while out eating and drinking, and they want to be able to converse comfortably while doing so.

Outside of a small number of venues/situations, most situations are not Concerts. The gig is to provide interesting background music to make a bar/restaurant a little more special than going to Applebee's. Might not be what many want to hear, but, at least in my region, it's the truth.
You have a point there. I guess the places that I go to that have live music are for live music, or have an area for the music and other areas for socializing, playing pool, and such. I would also say that if I was somewhere that had good live music my ears would be drawn to that anyway.

What? They can't concentrate on playing with their phones when the music is too loud? ;-)
 

Mongrel

Silver Member
In my area, the patrons of live music definitely care.

I spend a great deal of time promoting live music in my region, along with networking with bands and venues. Volume absolutely matters. People want to enjoy live music while out eating and drinking, and they want to be able to converse comfortably while doing so.

Outside of a small number of venues/situations, most situations are not Concerts. The gig is to provide interesting background music to make a bar/restaurant a little more special than going to Applebee's. Might not be what many want to hear, but, at least in my region, it's the truth.
Absolutely understand, agree with, and have been through this myself. A very talented local band plays great tunes by bands like Steely Dan very well. Unfortunately they play VERY LOUD. Too loud to have a conversation even 75 ft. from the bandstand on the other side of the bar. So, trust me, I get it-lol. (Ironically Steely Dan can be very convincingly played at lower volumes without losing not only the groove but the impact as well than almost any "hard rock" tune I can think of off the top of my head).

"Interesting background music" to me anyway would not include high-energy HARD rock tunes. THIS is what I am grappling with. Not the technique, not the purpose of providing "background" music for dining to, etc. I guess I am struggling to see the appropriateness of "hard rock" for these purposes unless the point is to provide muzak from the get-go. And why in the world would someone book that type of band over a light-rock, folk-duo, or jazz combo?

Even though it seems the problem has been "solved" (thankful for that!), it would be interesting to hear from the OP what his band's set list is, and get a little more background on the venue.
 
Top