My guess is often, sound guys feel like they are herding cats.
"Steve, you are a man of many goats."~ capnjuan
"8 of 18", "19 of 22", "25 of 25"
"Alternatively, you could just go the ultra-relic route with it. Basically go for a look that says the amp was on fire and they put it out using belt sanders. "
The best sound guy I ever saw was the first sound guy I ever saw. He played the board like an instrument, moving several faders at once if he had, too, like bringing 4 drum mics up for a solo at the same time he was re-setting the compressor for the main singer. He'd tap out the amount of delay he wanted for a song when the drummer would hit his sticks together to set the rhythm, stuff like that.
He showed me the way to talk to someone else at a normal volume in the middle of a super loud rock concert: Put your outstretched hand over your mouth. You're not closing your mouth with your hand, you're leaving it open at about a 30 degree angle. Put your fingertips close to the ear of the person you want to talk to and, at a normal voice level (or just a little bit higher), 'bank shot' or 'angle' what you are saying into your hand and let it bounce into their ear. They'll hear you perfectly and you're not screaming into their eardrum.
He was a member of the band. They valued him highly. Later, he went on the road with a big country act running monitor sound, but he got tired of sleeping in a bunk on a bus and came home. He just wanted to see if he could do it.
The next guy I saw didn't know how to use a compressor very well and buried the lead singer in the mix, so she wouldn't distort the sound when she hit a loud passage. He got fired.
As a player who has done a fair bit of live sound and runs a project studio where 99% of what you do is engineering let me try and balance the discussion a bit.While i can remember getting pissed off at our soundguy back in the 70s more than once Karma has gotten even w/me many times on the other side of the board.Some of my favorites are:everyone asking for "more me" in the monitors at the same time(and then complaining about the monitors being too loud seconds later.)The inevitable lead guitar player who refuses to trust that I will,in fact,turn him up for his solo even tho' he forgets where his solo begins 5 out of every 10 times.And of course no matter how many times some folks are reminded to bring and use fresh batteries......you guessed it!Having said all that,it's still a great rush to see a group of young kids rocking their asses off and getting an audience going while you sit at the board knowing you had a (very)small part in making it happen.The other side is once you've done sound a few times you will occasionally compliment a sound person when the band sounds good.
'66 D-40/'67 Hagstom 3 electric/'72 Terada acoustic/'74 F-50nt/'78Ibanez A200 Artist electric,etc.
There are plenty of reasons for the Sound to suck; physical limitations of the venue, PA equipment, Sound Guy, even the Band. I can forgive a lot of things if the sound guy pays attention to the entire performance and doesn't bury me in the mix.
About 3 months ago, I finally got around to listening to 3 recordings of my band, recorded from 'out front', where the audience was. The recordings were of performances that were engineered by our No. 1 sound guy over a couple of years. What did I hear? The keyboard player was buried in the mix and so was I (lead guitar player). On every recording, at three different gigs, from different places in the room, we were consistently buried in the mix.
What happened? The keyboard guy and I were either on mics or DI boxes and, when the band's sound level came up (inevitable), the only thing I can figure is that 'No. 1" wouldn't re-adjust the overall sound. He would spend his time talking to the facilities engineer instead of raising Keys and Lead Guitar up with the rest of the band.
If he'd left us low in the mix and kicked us up for the solos that would have been satisfactory. Didn't happen, though. It was almost like, "Hey Man, I just spent an hour and a half setting up my PA; time to relax!"
I feel bad, because he was and is a friend, but we don't use him anymore. We paid him about $2000.00 a year.