Has anyone seen air distort at concerts?

BoomTexan

Tele-Meister
Joined
Sep 20, 2021
Posts
355
Age
19
Location
Houston
I love loud amps, so it was kinda obvious that I'd move to stoner and proto metal. I've been watching videos on how to dial in tone, and a lot of them have cameras placed within 50 feet of the amplifiers as they're cranked to enormous volumes. In many of these videos, you can clearly see the air moving, or at least the waves are vibrating the ground enough to shake the camera significantly.

My question was this: is this an issue with cameras, or have any of yall been at concerts so loud that you could see the air move?

On a sidenote, if Sunn O)))) comes to Houston, I'm gonna go to one of their concerts, and if I'm ever gonna see air move, it's gonna be there.
 

ChazFromCali

Tele-Meister
Joined
Jun 24, 2022
Posts
264
Age
60
Location
Tijuana / Rosarito
I didn't see air move but my guts were moving at a Robin Trower concert at Winterland in 1976.

For some reason Bill Graham Productions decided to hang a lot more PA speakers from the roof on two platforms. It was insanely loud.

I retreated to the snackbar area by the entrance 350 or so feet from the stage and it was just about "OK."
 

posttoastie

Friend of Leo's
Joined
Apr 5, 2020
Posts
4,525
Location
Southern California
Saw Elvis Costello and the Attractions in the late 70s at Long Beach. No air moving just a distorted very loud horrible mix. May be the worst sounding show I ever attended.
Close second was Aerosmith at Long Beach around 1976. Aerosmith was a train wreck. A bad mix and a sloppy performance and the only saving grace was when they played "Dream On" Steven Tyler accidently disconnected his mic on the buildup while jumping up in the air so we were saved a little bit from that horrible vocal performance.
 
Last edited:

AAT65

Poster Extraordinaire
Joined
May 29, 2016
Posts
6,535
Location
West Lothian, Scotland
I think it will be vibrations through the stage / ground that are shaking the camera, not the air.

I was at a Throwing Muses concert at the Clapham Grand. I went down the front. It was very loud and very distorted so after a while I went up the back to join my wife — and up there is was still loud but not distorted at all. That distortion was my eardrums hitting the buffers!!
I’ve never been at a concert with such painfully high sound levels before or since. Maybe they’d forgotten this was a relatively small venue…
 

buster poser

Poster Extraordinaire
Joined
May 1, 2018
Posts
7,406
Location
Tewa Land NM
Couple of Bassnectar shows were more felt than heard for me. I was standing very near the wall of subs at one gig, and truly felt my eyeballs being shaken by the bass, but it could've been.... well. :)

I also saw Van Hagar at the Texxas Jam ('86?) and remember Michael Anthony's bass being a "feel" thing in my chest.
 

Old Deaf Roadie

Friend of Leo's
Joined
Oct 11, 2017
Posts
4,776
Location
Goonieville, OR
If you need to feel it, Buttkicker makes some very usable products.
I lost 75% of the audible spectrum in the name of monitors & FOH.
Full disclosure: I am not associated or affiliated with Buttkicker in any way.
 

Greggorios

Poster Extraordinaire
Joined
Jun 18, 2016
Posts
6,620
Location
NY
I've no expertise in physics or engineering so I hope someone who does can provide better information than I can but I believe the actual answer is that the loud sound itself "indirectly" causes a visual wave. This quote seems to point in that direction.

"Sound waves (through compressible media) cause temporary compression of the medium through which they travel. This compression temporarily raises the temperature. If the sound waves are intense enough, the temperature may rise to the point that the medium emits light. It is called sonoluminescence."
 

Mike Eskimo

Telefied
Ad Free Member
Joined
Nov 9, 2008
Posts
23,458
Location
Detroit
Yes, but it was 1979 and everybody that I was with at that Robin Trower show saw the air distort…
1659450429339.jpeg
 

drmordo

Friend of Leo's
Joined
Jun 27, 2019
Posts
2,937
Age
48
Location
Tampa, FL
I have never seen air move due to loud noise.

The loudest show I can remember seeing was White Zombie during Lollapalooza '93 in New Orleans. It was so loud we left and missed the last half of the show. Or... wait... was it just so bad we couldn't stand it? I can't remember.
 

KokoTele

Doctor of Teleocity
Vendor Member
Joined
Mar 17, 2003
Posts
14,937
Age
47
Location
albany, ny [not chicago]
I saw the Black Crowes a few weeks ago at Tanglewood. It’s a more genteel venue, known mostly for its foofy picnics on the lawn while the symphony plays.

I was in the amphitheater about 20 rows back. It was so loud that I usually couldn’t hear any details. Didn’t help that their backing vocals and guitars were in the same range as the B-3. Mostly I heard mud and kick drum. Earplugs helped a bit.

After the concert my ears weren’t ringing, it just felt like my ears were waterlogged. That continued for about 18 hours before my eardrums healed enough to start ringing.

But I didn't see the sound pressure distorting the lightwaves. I think you'd have to be looking perpendicular to the propagation of the wave under very specific lighting conditions to see that. You'll never notice when looking straight at a stage.
 
Last edited:




New Posts

Top