The Official KSAND Kent Sandvik Web Site

Producer, guitar player, composer and maker of noise.

Loud Music in Bars

Posted on | September 1, 2008 | 3 Comments

wheelsI read this interesting thread on talkbass about cases where bands have played too loud in bars, getting in trouble, such as not getting more gigs.

It’s really simple. Bar owners don’t like customers leaving their venue. Customers leave if it is too loud. Any band should understand that simple business rule.

There’s even more (and I posted about it on that thread.) If someone plays loud, any nuances are not heard, overtones, effects, arrangement details. It all just becomes a sonic mush of air pushed that does not give any breathing room for details.

In some cases musicians play loud as their hearing is bad, due to playing loud music for years without any hearing protection… So it’s a bad circle.

When playing in smaller places, there’s absolutely no need to provide a huge wall of sound. 500W or so concerning PA should be enough. 50W guitar amps are fine. Same with bass amps, 300W should handle it.

I guess metal music is different, but that’s fine. Now, I’ve checked metal band performances now and then but I leave the place after five minutes as there’s no chance to really hear any music the bands are playing, just sonic noise, but that’s my  personal opinion. For the rest of the music world, no need to work with huge volumes, that’s ancient.


3 Responses to “Loud Music in Bars”

  1. Mr Speaker
    September 1st, 2008 @ 7:09 PM

    I find the opposite to be more annoying – if a band plays quiet enough that people can hear each other talk, then they will. The whole the whole way through the set.

    I much prefer to whack in a pair of earplugs, then listen to some ass-hats discuss the banalities of their day.

  2. Joel
    September 1st, 2008 @ 7:10 PM

    People get addicted to that tasty, natural in-ear distortion.

    “It doesn’t sound as good when it isn’t crankin’ loud! That’s part of my tone.” Yes, your ears strain at such loud volumes and that changes the tone. It also causes longterm hearing damage.

    This keeps me out of bars (unfortunately, because I miss playing and seeing shows.)

  3. Kent Sandvik
    September 2nd, 2008 @ 9:41 AM

    If someone wants to hear the band, there’s always the option to move closer.

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