Live sound engineering techniques with Rush monitor engineer Brent Carpenter

Posted on Saturday, December 14, 2013 at 9:38PM

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#35 - Posted 12/23/13 @7:48PM by kennyplay1 [contact]

The CA CD disc to me sounds wayyy better compared to the live show. The bass is LOUD and punchy, you can here it. In the recent concerts, 2004 and on to now bass is wayyy low... Sometimes can't hear it at all. Sound is GUITAR heavy too.

I miss hearing bass at the shows.
Also if watch The Garden on CA DVD, you can see Geddy hitting the floor trigger when the strings (seems) to come in. They don't but the sampled sounds do. Much of the strings are triggered sounds, not the strings themselves.

The worst, IMO for live sound was around 93'.. They just had the Marshalls and bass amps (Trace Elliot) wayyyy loud on stage, the sound mixer couldn't get a good sound... This was at the Spectrum in Philly. I saw Van Halen around the same time there to, huge amps on stage, very loud and they too had an extremely loud stage volume and the mix was off. If your sound is sooo loud on stage, it doesn't get turned up in the house mix...
#34 - Posted 12/21/13 @3:00PM by Taurus Pedal Boy

As it is now, you'd have to pay $25 to have access to watching this (and whatever other content they have) for 30 days. I'm tempted, but I think for $25 I should get to own it.
#33 - Posted 12/19/13 @9:59PM by logan 5 [contact]

"Empirically" wow had to look that up,what i gather, it means it can be proven, digital may measure better than analog, and direct may measure better than mic'ed amps, but do they sound better? sound and how we perceive it is totally subjective. "What is done with it by the engineers is another story" totally agree, and I think that is were the rub is, as long as the band likes what it hears through their monitors that's good enough for them, and the house sound is not their responsibility and they really don't dwell on it they have their own responsibilities, on the Work in Progress disc the discussion of mic placement came up and Neil kind of brushes it of with that's the sound mans job and as long as he liked what he heard on playback then he was fine with it, to my ears (which is the ultimate measuring tool) mic'ed amps cranked to 11 sound better, i think the sound engineers rely to much on tools and not their ears.
#32 - Posted 12/19/13 @1:35PM by drummerboy2112

#31 totally agree with the "what would the sound engineers do with it" comment. Kinda like put a paintbrush in my hand vs "(name your classical artist"

or better yet, drumsticks and the TMT tour kit in my hands vs Neil's. Yea we have the same gear, but obviously its night and day as to the sound that will be produced.

There are engineers out there, who I wouldnt know if they walked up to me, that can make or break an artist's live sound. I saw REM at MSG years ago, like 2002 i think, and it SUCKED. Then I saw Motley Crue last year, and was told that Nikki's bass was all pre-recorded by the sound guys. Also, Tommy Lee's drum sounds were all triggered. And it still sounded like ass. Poison opened and it was SO. MUCH. BETTER.

So its not the venue. Its what you do with what you have and having the balls to remove OR change sh*t if you had to. I think with all Rush has going on, it may be nearly impossible to mix live especially with the strings now being in similar freq as Alex, but if it can improve, then I think they have an obligation to do so.
#31 - Posted 12/19/13 @10:43AM by CraigJ [contact]

#29 - I agree. I would also add that I don't think I've ever been to a concert in an arena where I would classify the sound as excellent. The best I ever heard Rush is when they played Irvine Amphitheater and Pacific Amphitheater on various tours in the 90's. When I go to a concert I'm trying to get tickets as close as possible - I go for the experience.

This whole argument about amps on stage vs. direct is a lot like the digital vs. analog arguments. Empirically speaking, direct is better than using mic'ed amps, and digital is better than analog. What is done with it by the engineers is another story.
#30 - Posted 12/19/13 @12:29AM by ncstaterush [contact]

#9.. GREAT SUGGESTION... would love to see that happen.. likely not since I did not win the Mega Millions last night.

Go Bears!
#29 - Posted 12/17/13 @6:18PM by unusualmuse [contact]

#17: "For the large concert venues that Rush plays, the on-stage amps would have very little effect out to the front of house...."

Not so. Remember, there are also *mics* on the stage; about 20 on Neil's kit alone, plus vocal mics for Geddy and Alex, plus a number of audience mics. It's almost impossible to control bleed from stage amps in a situation like that. This makes it frustrating to set your gating, compression, compression, and EQ on your mics, not to mention get a clean sound out to the house.
#28 - Posted 12/17/13 @4:30PM by jiminseattle [contact]

I totally agree Marty. I love Snakes and Clockwork. Unlike many, they are my two favorite Rush releases. Love the way Ged sings as well. The whole package is superb to me.
#27 - Posted 12/17/13 @3:59PM by marty from clayton [contact]

I'm not in the "I'm thankful for everything they do at this point" camp either.
I simply like their newer material and sound better.
#26 - Posted 12/17/13 @1:38PM by jiminseattle [contact]

Couldn't have stated it better Jupe, eloquent and direct.
#25 - Posted 12/17/13 @8:38AM by jupeguyowensound [contact]

And I will add that I used to be in the "I'm thankful for everything they do at this point" camp, but lately have been leaning towards the "why can't they and their team get it right" camp. Whining,complaining...maybe, but look people are paying their hard earned dollars to buy products put out by those Rush guys and if there is something lacking in the product then we should be able to voice our honest opinions about it. I think Rush should be scrambling to fix the CA audio mess and be issueing(sic?) an apology on Rush.com and offering an exchange program if and when they put out a blue-ray where ALL OF THE INSTRUMENTS are even in the mix.If you think the mix is "awesome" or "very good" then that's good for you, but I would go get your ears checked or take the rose coloured glasses off!
#24 - Posted 12/17/13 @7:57AM by jupeguyowensound [contact]

I've seen every tour since Signals and some tours multiple times and I can honestly say that the only show where the sound was truly horrible was Vapor Trails at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.It was awful where we were sitting anyways. The 2 CA shows I saw (Toronto & Hamilton) had pretty good sound. Now as far as the CA blue ray/dvd's are concerned I agree with Jim....not good imho. If the sound matched the visuals it would be truly stunning. I just can't agree with you guys out there that think the audio on these is "very good" or "awesome".
#23 - Posted 12/17/13 @4:25AM by londonrush [contact]

Recently went to see Peter Gabriel at the O2 in London and his sound was excellent, beat Rush hands down. A lot of people are commenting on just how hit and miss Rush' live sound was on recent tours; if other people can get it right, why can't Rush?, especially with the ticket prices they charge. Any explanations from technical bods out there?
#22 - Posted 12/16/13 @11:05PM by jiminseattle [contact]

I agree with most everything stated Marty except:

-CA DVD and CD are subpar to me.

-Tour was great but the sound at the Key Arena was weak at least to me and I was in the 20th row. The Gorge and White River ampitheatre are superior.

CA is my favorite album of all time but have to admit to a smidgeon of disappointment.
#21 - Posted 12/16/13 @9:53PM by marty from clayton [contact]

OK, it's easy to be critical of others, so let me say on a positive note...
- I think Clockwork Angels show was the best concert I have EVER been to -- sound, lights, visuals, video, pyrotechs, strings, energy, etc.
- I LOVE the CA BluRay. I for one think the sound is fantastic on my home system, and I love the camera work. I love the energy on stage, and I love how the band is so obviously having a great time while still kicking a** musically.
- I LOVE Geddy's mature voice. I accepted his 70's wail. I devoured his PeW through TfE vocals. But I think VT through CA is his best singing of all of them.
- I think Neil's current drumming is unbelievable, and his lyrics on both VT & CA are the best of his illustrious career.
- The vocal melodies Geddy has written in the 00's & 10's are amazing, and move me to chills frequently.
- Alex's work continues to stun, whether it's elegant arpeggios, rhythmn guitar work, power riffing, or perfectly composed solos.
- The mixes on VT Remix, S&A, & CA are full, modern, and powerful. I for one love them. If you want an 80's sound, listen to 80's music. Modern music is thick. Maybe by the year 2112, the trends will have gone back and forth 5 times each, but that's the way styles go.
#20 - Posted 12/16/13 @9:40PM by marty from clayton [contact]

#13 Lance -- Go Pack!
And YES, let those Ravens get going tonight!
And finally, bring back Rodgers & Cobb!!!!!!
#19 - Posted 12/16/13 @9:06PM by drummerboy2112

I have a PRS, (play a little guitar too) and they do sound good and sure why not, bring it during any rtb or cp tune

I have an 84 American strat that just sounds so right for many of the signals-gup tunes

Anyways, snakes and arrows blu ray sounds great
Wonder what happened?
#18 - Posted 12/16/13 @7:30PM by logan 5 [contact]

Agree drummerboy with the exception of the PRS to me they sound awesome, #15 I could give a rats ass if amps on the stage make it harder to get better sound, rock and roll should be played through a stack of amps cranked to 11 if not you lose something (reminds me of the time I purchase a pair of high end planer magnetic speakers the sound was so void of the typical distortions of a normal loudspeaker that when you played rock through them it sounded very polite something was lost), date line 1980 someth'n front row center MP tour the sound from the stage was pure, I could hear the fingers gliding across the strings the bass drum had punch and impact, the bass was full bodied and round, now it all sounds spitty and hollow, somewhere along the way it became about the "show" and not about the quality of sound, the DVD actually sound pretty good in "stereo", not what I heard at the live show.
#17 - Posted 12/16/13 @7:19PM by estring [contact]

I don't care what they say....direct sound input will never replace the sound of a live speaker that actually moves air and interacts with the instrument through feedback and vibration. The Foo Fighters still use mikes and amps and their sound is much more dynamic than the "canned" music Rush concerts end up being. For the large concert venues that Rush plays, the on-stage amps would have very little effect out to the front of house....
#16 - Posted 12/16/13 @3:23PM by drummerboy2112

@#15 I agree to a point, and yes the control is there with DI, but I was just reminiscing and I got carried away, the visual of it was what got me in trouble :)

The live (being in the hall I mean) sound isnt that bad these days, but it can be improved, e.g. how about keeping all the DI stuff, but tweaking the instruments?

I'm sure no one would notice a Yamaha violin being swapped out for a stradivarius behind the boys, but we all would go apesh*t over a rick sound with better sounding drums and cymbals, next a fat strat screaming thru alex's new amp setup, no? I am just providing an example to show how easy it would be to do this, no different than Alex using whatever lineup now. Just swap out a PRS for a strat, or neil swapping out the cymbals and snare, thats all. Ged making room for one lousy 4001.

I listened to a 1992 boot (Ludwig drums) and damn if the person's mic that night didnt pick up the snare, ride and drums better than whats on the blu-ray, I a-->b'd it ad nauseum, and the clear winner was ONE! cheapo throwaway mic!
Plus the overall mix was ?better? to my ears anyways.

now is that right? lol
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