Thursday, September 24, 2009

Falling In Love Again

You know that recent post where I talked about not being super happy with my Hearos "Musician" earplugs?

Well, one of my usual plugs became misshapen, and it became rather tough to get a good seal with it. I decided to switch back to my Hearos,! They were easy to insert, and sounded good.

Absence makes the heart grow fonder, I suppose.

I still wish the Hearos had higher attenuation, though.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009


Hi Everybody,

So, last night I got the urge to get out the database and look at what's been going on so far. This was partly inspired by a desire to go a bit deeper with some of the data used for the "Case For Support" post.

I am, of course, aware that statistics are often used to lie and distort information - but I do think that they can be a useful tool if you know what you're looking at. I will also say that I'm not a statistician, nor am I intimately familiar with the science of statistics in general. However, I do know just enough that some interesting meanings might be extracted from numerical descriptions of what happens at Underground.

Also, it is very important for me to state that any "negative" connotation of terms used in this post is only towards the numbers themselves. It's not a reflection on anyone's show, or their promotional efforts. Indeed, having spoken to a number of folks, I think I have fairly strong anecdotal evidence that "general public" promotion has no appreciable effect on show turnouts - so, save your money, and just tell all your friends to bring their friends. Flyers don't work!

First off, the total number of shows so far this year:


...and the total number of attendees (this is derived from the door split, and so is not 100% accurate - but it is close enough for rock, and/ or possibly roll):


If we divide the total attendees by the number of shows, we get an average nightly turnout of:


For the purposes of looking at things further, I think it's wise to establish a "window" for average numbers. That is, it's probably pretty rare that EXACTLY 37 people show up at an event, so we need a bit of wiggle room to get a meaningful count of how many shows were "extremely average." For the purposes of this post, I'm going to define a 5% "swing" around the exact average as still being within average "territory." So, for these numbers, an "average show" might have a range of attendees between:

35 (low side) and 39 (high side)

Moving on, if all the raw turnout data is handed off to a "Standar Deviation, Entire Population" calculator, we get a standard deviation of:

30 people

In my mind, what this means is that the turnout for a "reasonably normal" show has quite a range of possibility. You could have anywhere between 7 and 67 people in attendance, and still have a show that would be reasonably considered to be "ordinary" in terms of turnout.

Now then, if we do some counting, we find the following:

"Average" Shows: 9

"Above Average" Shows: 43

"Below Average" Shows: 59

What's interesting about this is, that if you look at how the turnouts "map" to the different overall show divisions, you see that 39% of the shows (a minority) accounted for 68% of the total turnout this year so far. In fact, if you add up the attendees for shows that were average or below, the total number of people is 1324, which is still less than the number of attendees of shows that had turnouts above average (2788 people).

Let's go a little deeper:

"Uncommonly Small" Turnouts (below 7 people): 10

"Uncommonly Large" Turnouts (between 67 and 97 people): 9

"Rarely This Large" Turnouts (between 97 and 127 people): 4

"Exceptionally Large" Turnouts (more than 127 people): 2

"Normal" Turnouts: 86

This is interesting, because it means that only 14% of all the shows done this year had 35% of the turnout (or, in other terms, 15 "better than normal" shows accounted for 1458 people that showed up).

Fascinating, eh?

Monday, September 7, 2009

A Word On Booking

There has been a substantial amount of weirdness with booking lately, and I wanted to post something about it.

Very simply, I want to make sure that everybody out there knows that they are NOT being jerked around in any intentional way.

What has happened, though, is that a lot of dates that were planned for quite a while have fallen through, and I have also come under some temporary circumstances that require slowing, or outright freezing of booking. Additionally, bookings that were in force five minutes ago may or may not stay that way.

The bottom line:

I always handle bookings based on what I know at that moment. If something changes in the next moment, it can be frustrating, but I don't have a way of telling the future.

Now, nobody has said anything to me about the goings on - this is just to pre-empt any rampant speculation, as I definitely recognize that Underground may appear to be acting a bit strangely at the moment.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Ear Plugs

Last week, on a whim, I decided to go back to using my "expensive" ear plugs. They're supposed to preserve the natural frequency balance of the sound entering your ears, even while getting the level down to something "safe."

I used them for a loud show (metal), and was very quickly reminded of why I retired them. They certainly cut quite a bit of broadband level when inserted, but they seem to let through a disproportionately high level of the highest frequencies. Beyond annoying, it's disconcerting, and it's particularly noticeable with metal bands that use lots of cymbal wash (because cymbals have harmonic components that go VERY high). Also, the high-midrange resonance caused by the plugs was downright painful at times, but I won't go into that...

Anyway, the most expensive earplugs that I own are also the ones that I like the least.

I had some Etymotic/ Hearos plugs that I used (and liked a fair bit), but they were tough to clean, and I never felt sure of the balance I was getting. Their supposed "higher accuracy" just made me feel like I wasn't really being protected from the loudest parts of the night.

For quite a while now, I've been back to using earplugs that you can buy at Smith's Marketplace for about $3.00 - and I like them a lot. Even though they really kill off the high frequencies, I somehow feel like I know what's happening when I have them in. (Of course, I might be totally wrong, but I don't get many complaints about my mixes being wildly inappropriate, so...)

Sometimes, the cheap component is the right choice. Notice that I said "sometimes."