Wednesday, March 12, 2008

I can't hear you

I used the Alice Smith show as an excuse to stop into The Evening Muse on Tuesday night.

Alice sounded great and had a devoted following who sang along with her throughout her hour-long set. I was inspired to download some of her songs on iTunes when I got home.

But what really stood out to me was the sound quality at the Muse. It's a small space and Alice had a big voice, but it didn't overpower the place.

But that got me thinking about how rare that is to find. At most of the bars/nightclubs/music venues around Charlotte, it's not often that I don't have to shout to be heard. And, I'll be honest:
I hate that.

I go out to socialize, meet new people, talk to my friends. I don't go out just to stand around and stare at people, but that's what ends up happening because I don't have the energy to have a conversation that goes something like this:

Partygoer: HEY!
Me: Hey.
Partygoer: What's your name?
Me: Sarah.
Partygoer: WHAT?
Me: Sarah!
Partygoer: TARA?
Me: I work for the Observer.
Partygoer: THE WHAT?
Me: The Observer, the newspaper.
Partygoer: WACHOVIA?

You get the picture.

So tell me, am I the only one who feels this way? Am I being an old fuddy duddy, as my mother would say? Is there a place around town where you know you can carry on a conversation without straining your voice? Or do you guys prefer thumping bass that gets you out on the dance floor?


Anonymous said...

Once again I agree with you. One of the worst places is Vinnies on South Blvd. They have that music so loud you can't even be heard when your yellng and if you ask them if they can turn it down just a tad they get an attitude and usually ignore you. I love to hear music but I also want to be able to talk without leaving with a sore throat from yelling.

Clubgoer said...

Thumping bass is fine for places that have dance floors, but why on earth do places that have no dance floor play the music so loud? Argh.

OK, the answer is that it sells more alcohol - you drink so the music bothers you less and because you can't talk, so there's nothing else to do - but it'd still be nice to have more places here where you can carry on a conversation.

Anonymous said...

Keep preaching the good word! In Sarah we trust. - Daddy War Bucks.

Anonymous said...

Totally agree. that and places with poor smoke ventilation are my 2 pet peeves w/ bars. No reason you should have to yell to be heard at your own table.

Anonymous said...

In most Charlotte places even if you lean in close you have to yell ... and who wants burst eardrums? I agree -- sometimes, I just don't have the energy.

Anonymous said...

Some bar managers insist on having loud music, in opposition to the wishes of their employees and even their customers. They feel it is necessary.

Just make it a point to comment to the person in charge where you are. If they hear it enough, they might get it in their head.

Anonymous said...

You should check out Puckett's Farm Equipment in Derita (up on Sugar Creek Rd.). Always a great atmosphere, with great bands.

Bill Weir said...

Hi! I designed the sound systems at the former Tonic and the present HOM on 5th st.

I was thrilled to read your blog about blaring sound in public places!
As a sound designer I go to a lot of trouble to design systems that will allow people to be comfortable. There is a profound level of ignorance about sound out in the world! I must say that many times a promoter or manager gets worried and turns it up because the think "That's how it's got to be" even though people are seen leaving shortly because IT HURTS!

Also if a very high quality system is installed, it is ultimately the source material that is heard as the system becomes more accurate and true, meaning that a very fine and finely tuned system can sound "muffled" or be so bright as to take one's head off. I implore DJs and managers to avoid the use of MP3 files for example in public but they do anyway- seemingly not caring that people are PAYING for this torture! These compressed sound files are horrible to listen to in commercial settings. Anyway- i just want to say a big thank you for helping to bring this issue to the forefront!


Anonymous said...

Solid post, Bill Weir!

Aly said...

Oooh I HATE those kind of conversations! I totally feel ya on that issue! If you want to dance fine go somewhere that plays loud music but going out is not all about dancing!