Saturday, October 23, 2010

Frequency response helps audience response

I know that with my little group, the minimal audio system I've put together to balance our sound by reinforcing weaker parts of the EQ spectrum has made all the difference in audience response.
From a comment by music therapist Lyle Sanford on Beethoven's grand slam. As Lyle says later in his comment - Looking forward to seeing where this path will lead.

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2 comments:

Lyle Sanford, RMT said...

Thanks for the link! Your succinct "frequency response/audience response" formulation is really terrific.

You won't be surprised to learn that the main reinforcement we use is for the bass instruments. A full bass sound makes everyone else sound better and the group as a whole have a more unified, melded sound.

The other thing is that with the moderate amplification the Eb tubas don't need to work so hard to be heard, so they can play with better tone quality, which also really helps the overall sound.

When I went to conservatory back in the 70's, there was no mention anywhere of audio issues. I'm not sure it's much better these days. It's rare for a musician to know the difference between a dynamic and a condenser mic, or to have an idea of what mic placement works well for their instrument.

Part of the problem, at least for me, was some sort of misguided idea that audio equipment diminished authenticity. Now I think connecting with the audience trumps pretty much everything else. Authenticity doesn't really matter if nobody is paying attention.

mrG said...

... and a heavy dose of salt, fat and sugar makes McDonalds one of the world's most in-demand and profitable food sources, but ...

ok, that's not the point I wanted to make; the point I wanted to make was not that the road of audio-enhancers is what Sun Ra might have called "Right road, but going in the wrong direction" and a slippery slope that leads to vast neuro-gimmickery, but rather that Beethoven did not need audio-enhancers. All he needed was, ironically (or perhaps amazingly) a good 'ear' -- the audio gear you want to use is not an EQ or, as the dance clubs use, bass-enhancers, what you want to use is an audio spectrograph.

Although McDonalds may grab the lions share of the buying public's hunger attention, it does not nourish them, and I know it is an unpopular position (I'm an unpopular sort of person) but I think that pretty much trumps bums-in-seats ticket receipts any day ;)

Any belief that classical music needs 'sizzle' to attract 'modern' audiences denies the Bartok Effect, and denies the history of symphony orchestras -- recall that the the TSO went bankrupt in its first incarnation and took 5 years to break even in admission revenue in its second incarnation: the audience is ambivalent to the music because they themselves have no direct experience with making the music, so they think their CDs are 'better'. In Europe, however, which is where the bulk of our present-day (aging) audience originates, almost every child has basic skills in an orchestral instrument and most certainly has had direct experience of the music via their parents. If we want an audience today, we have to grow one, and start not at age "disposable income", we need to start earnestly as young as possible, as if their lives depended on it.

Until that happens, unless that happens, you had better learn to play like Lady Gaga. And dress like her too, because only the grotesquely sensational can reach through a habitually stupified thick skin.