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Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Speaking of Ears

posted by on June 5 at 11:59 AM

images.jpgWhen you go see shows, how is the sound?

What is the best sounding room in town? Big or small.

Is it ever way way way too loud? Even with earplugs? Is the low end ever so crushingly too much that your ears canít take it? Is it ever so muddy, it makes you want to leave?

Conversely, is the sound ever so crystal and perfect, the show transcends expectations? Do the vocals ever come through so well, the lyrics take on new meaning? Are you ever surprised at how good a room sounds?

There are factors. Where you stand, how loud the bass player has his amp, the inherent acoustics of the room itself, stage volume vs. room volume, and the quality of the sound system / sound person.

Maybe you aren’t in a room, maybe you are outside.

So if your ears could speak, what would they say?

RSS icon Comments


Neumos - way way way too loud.

Chop Suey - it depends.

Croc - Jim is the man.

Comet - Muddy?

High Dive - hmmm

Triple Door - the best room in town I think.

My basement - by far the best sound in town I think.

Posted by glendale | June 5, 2007 12:16 PM

El corazon- alomst the worst. hands down
Nuemos- really awful sound, people talking and terrible security make this the worst sounding place in town.
Key arena- terrible.
Croc- is great
showbox- security and sound are pretty bad. except for non-musical stuff.
Mars BAr and Jewelbox- both are great.
vera- only when Jeff is doing sound.
Rat city Roller girls- great.

Posted by tonal | June 5, 2007 12:21 PM

Speaking of ears, I need good earplugs. Where should I get them? I want the kind that are molded for your ear.

Posted by horse | June 5, 2007 12:21 PM

Croc is the best. All hail Jim.

@3 - you want the fancy etymotic ones. I think it's, but you have to go to an audiologist to start the process. They cost $150 to $200, I think.

They also make cheaper, non-custom ones, which are what I use. They sound leagues better than the foam kind, offer good protection, and are about 12 bucks.

Posted by Levislade | June 5, 2007 12:23 PM

I love Jewelbox!!!! Yay Jewelbox. And Triple Door, but it's always too much $.

Why do the security guards at Neumos have to be such dicks?

Posted by CANDY | June 5, 2007 12:24 PM

Thank you, Levislade. I get.

Posted by horse | June 5, 2007 12:27 PM

Yes, all hail Jim at the Croc.

Look for Jim this Thursday on my 'Sound Check' thing. He will be breaking it all down.

Posted by trent moorman | June 5, 2007 12:30 PM

I went to one of those concerts on the pier a few years ago and could not believe how good it sounded.

I wasn't so into the India Arie, but the sound was incredible. All the instruments were seperated and had their own place. I understood her vocs too.

Posted by Timothy Dodge | June 5, 2007 12:41 PM

the worst sound I have heard in town was at the Mastodon/Against Me/Cursive show at the Premiere/Fenix a month or so ago. That was the first and only show I will ever see there. I could see Mastodon's fingers moving, but no matter where I stood all I heard was a big bassy fart.

Posted by Jeff Kirby | June 5, 2007 2:27 PM

Showbox- usually good; however feedback in the last few shows I've been to
Chop - ok
McCaw Hall- excellent
Croc - decent
The Paramount- terrible
5th Ave - even worse
Skylark - not bad
Triple Door - excellent
Jazz Alley - excellent
The Moore - not the best

Posted by harris | June 5, 2007 2:34 PM

Tractor, can I get a tractor? Always seems pretty decent in there. I think it is a good room for music.

Sunset? I don't know, a little too loud.

Posted by ballard | June 5, 2007 4:00 PM

I'll second the Premier/Fenix space as the worst. Sisters of Mercy last year were one muddy puddle of fuzz. I moved all around trying to hear some vocals with no luck.

Posted by Amy Kate Horn | June 5, 2007 4:20 PM

the best & most consistent is definitely the croc. i've heard some good shows at neumo's & showbox but also some lousy ones.

the high dive is the worst. i've just about stopped going there because of the lousy sound & poor layout.


horse, check out puget sound hearing aid & audiology ( i got my molded earplugs from their roosevelt office, a couple blocks north of whole foods.

Posted by jason | June 5, 2007 4:23 PM

Are you kidding me? I went to see Beach House and The Clientele at the Croc last week and it had to have been one of the worst sounding shows I've seen in a very long time. The sound guy looked like he was half asleep.

Posted by yair | June 5, 2007 4:36 PM

I thought Decibal last year at Neumos sounded very good.

Then I just saw Menomena and thought it was horrible.

I was thinking, maybe the Neumos volume issues are because the sound people are wearing ear plugs and I'm not?

Posted by Magg | June 5, 2007 4:43 PM

Yair, where do you go that has good sound? If there's a spot that is better than the Croc, I gotta check it out.

Jim and the Croc consistently have the best sound I've heard. I'm all ears to your suggestion.

Posted by Ballard | June 5, 2007 4:54 PM

I feel stupid saying it because it's so obvious, but I think the Triple Door has the best room/sound I've experienced. I've only been to a few shows there because of the expense, but each time I've been absolutely in love with the clarity and intimacy of their system. When a friend's band played there recently I noticed that they've never sounded better, I've heard them too many times and in most Seattle venues but none of them really compared.

However, the shows I've seen there have been more acoustic/jazzy stuff so I'm not sure how it'd sound with some distorted guitars etc.

Posted by obvious | June 5, 2007 5:43 PM

There are definitely rooms in town that have better sound systems and less structural difficulties to overcome. But an experienced sound engineer with a good ear plays much a larger factor in whether a room sounds good. A quality sound guy can can overcome issues of bad sounding rooms or too few bodies or inexperienced bands and listens and adjusts as conditions change. Most of the best clubs in town have great in house sound who have mixed thousands of bands in that room and know all the quirks of a venue. So the next time your favorite band sounds bad, check to see who is running the board. Almost everytime I see a show and am dissapointed with the sound I find that the band has brought their own sound engineer. Having "your own" sound engineer who knows "your sound" can be important. But bands often shoot themselves in the foot when this person has little experience working in a variety of rooms with vastly different equipment or is too proud to use the local knowledge of the in house.

Posted by roboto | June 5, 2007 6:29 PM

all I have to say is the triple door rules

Posted by rafael | June 5, 2007 9:28 PM

i was standing in the back of the room during menomena, wearing earplugs, and it sounded fantastic.

the sound at neumo's is just inconsistent, earplugs or not.

Posted by jason | June 5, 2007 9:57 PM

Every time I've been to Chop Suey, the sound is horrible.

Neumo's is kind of a crapshoot, but I mostly see loud bands there, and they usually sound pretty good.

Can I get a "FUCK YES!" for the Funhouse? I have to especially give props to Cody (I think that's his name). Every time my band has played there not only have we sounded great to everyone else, but the sound onstage is top-notch.

Posted by Erik R | June 6, 2007 1:24 AM

@ 21 - yeah, Cody is cool and he did a good job for us last wednesday. normally the fun house is too loud but he did a really good job mixing our not-punk rock sound on some apparantly brand-new equipment that he wasnt used to. i heard a rumor someone got stabbed there or something last week? I know it's not sound-related, but is it true?

Posted by Eric S | June 6, 2007 6:35 AM

Props to the Croc and the Tractor for sure. I always liked the sound at Sit & Spin too before it went under. Really miss that one.

Posted by skullbone | June 6, 2007 7:09 AM

I loved Sit & Spin too!!!! Sniff sniff.

Wait, who got stabbed? Shit.

Posted by vern | June 6, 2007 9:55 AM

Croc is the best - onstage or in the audience. Jim is hands down the best sound guy in town. If you don't think the Croc sounds consistently good there's something wrong with your ears, or maybe just something wrong with you period.

Posted by sidchrome | June 6, 2007 12:05 PM

Jim is the best. I agree. He's the sound man's man.

Posted by lilly | June 6, 2007 12:45 PM


Posted by Bill | June 12, 2007 1:20 PM


Posted by Bill | June 12, 2007 1:20 PM


Posted by Bill | June 12, 2007 1:21 PM

Thanks for the love, guys.

Posted by Cody | June 12, 2007 5:22 PM

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