Whether you are standing or sitting, you want the optimum place to put your butt when seeing your favorite band. Despite the appeal of sitting in the front, does it provide the best experience? And besides, where is the best place to sit at a concert?
The best place to stand to hear a perfect version of the band’s tunes is either right or left of the middle section. That’s where you’ll listen to the truest sound coming from the speaker. Keep this in mind if you prioritize sound quality.
Front-and-center seating is great if you like to be in the middle of the action. But it isn’t as great if you prioritize the best sound quality for the show. Below, you’ll learn more about the pros and cons of the best (and worst) seating options.
Why is the Middle the Best Place to Sit at a Music Concert?
The speakers are set up along the stage’s sides and are always pointed toward the venue’s center section. However, those in the exact middle will hear sound after it hits a few obstacles. Sitting to center-right or center-left will allow you to hear sound traveling before it hits obstacles.
This is especially true of indoor theaters or concert halls, as the sound is contained. Outdoor venues or those with open-air ceilings sets up a different dynamic. You have to consider things like time of day and weather.
Generally, music-festival goers who enjoy a lot of bass should aim to stand just in front of the soundboard where the engineer is working. This is the exact center of the venue. Those who want a truer sound should still aim for the right or left of the center.
Five Good Spots To Sit in a Concert
The best seat in the house depends on your priority. Here are the four best areas to sit at a concert:
- Front row
- Near the speakers
- The middle section (especially the center)
- On the balcony
- Left and right seats
Expensive seats aren’t always good, as you might not have the budget for the best. These five list items cover a range of budgets for the best seats.
1. Front row (or center stage)
Front-row seats get you the most exposure to the band. You’ll have plenty to see and hear, as you’ll be at the front of the action. You’ll also get a small chance to interact with the band, which other seats don’t allow.
Typically, the front row isn’t the best experience for sound. In many cases, speakers are pointed so the sound travels behind you. So, you might hear some distortions.
The center stage (the standing room) sometimes replaces the front row. You can get caught up in a mosh pit during metal shows here. Otherwise, this can be more of a dance floor in pop shows.
You should experience the intense nature of a front row or standing room at least once. You might find you like being where the action is.
2. Right by the speakers
Some people love to stand right by the speakers. They can feel the sound rip through every part of their body. For many, this is why concertgoers love to be near where the sound is.
However, only being near one speaker means you might not hear everything. Certain sounds are piped through specific speakers, meaning you might get your ears dominated by half of the performance.
However, standing that close to a speaker will ruin your hearing. Concert sound can rise from 100 to 120 decibels. Two minutes of hearing music at 110 decibels can cause damage. Always bring earplugs to a concert, regardless of where you stand.
If you don’t bring earplugs, you might have a ringing sensation as your hearing recovers. With enough exposure, your ears might not recover.
3. The middle section
The middle section has the highest sound quality, as all the speakers are pointed at you. This gives you complete exposure to all the sounds from all the speakers.
The drawback of choosing the middle section is that you don’t always get the best possible view. This view is reserved for center stage or balcony seats.
Of course, not all venues are built the same. The best section for sound is impacted by how the stadium is constructed. But, the middle has the best chance of delivering the best sound.
4. On a balcony
The balcony offers a great view of the entire concert. The perspective is great, and you have a fair chance of solid sound quality, making it an excellent balance.
Not all venues handle their balconies well. Sometimes, the second and third-level balconies have questionable sound quality.
5. Seats to the right and left
Seats to the left and right of the band have a decent view, solid sound balance, and are generally cheaper. So, these seats have a great combo.
The problem is that they might not get the best direct experience. Shows that rely on facing one direction might mean those to the left and right suffer from a weak show. In stadium venues, the left and right border on the behind, making them somewhat bad.
Three of the Worst Spots to Sit at a Concert
A bad seat at the concert is anywhere the show might be ruined. Here are three of the worst seats in the house:
- Back of the concert
- Behind the band
- Under a balcony
Here’s the breakdown of why these are bad.
1. The back of the concert
The back of the room offers the cheapest seats to get you into a great concert. However, the problem with that spot is the sound will hit and reverberate several times before it comes to you. It isn’t the best place for optimal sound.
Those in the back will hear a thinner sound that is more “room” than music because it won’t come directly from the speakers. It will hit floors, ceilings, walls, filming equipment, and many people before it gets to you.
Plus, the back of the concert doesn’t give you great visuals. There might be an ocean of drunk concertgoers between you and the music you love.
The one benefit: the cheap seats don’t cost as much, which is great if you are on a budget. So, you can still have a good concert experience.
2. Behind the musician/band
Concert venues are built to surround a stage. You know what we are discussing if you’ve ever seen live music at a football stadium. This is the unlucky section that gets to see a wall of equipment or the back of the musician’s head.
A concert’s best experience comes when things are pointed at you. Those things include the speakers, the stage, and (most importantly) the show.
3. Under the balcony
The walls and under the balcony don’t provide good sound. Standing near a wall will result in hearing a sound echo. It will hit you, and then you’ll hear it again as it hits the wall.
The sound under the balcony may be slightly muddied because the balcony obstructs sound from speakers set high in the venue. It might also seem louder, but not with quality sound, such as bouncing noise.
How Do You Get the Best Seats at a Concert?
Want to get the best seats at a venue? Here are some tips:
- Pay for concert tickets early (especially for pre-save tickets)
- Be willing to pay a premium for the best seats (so save your money)
- Know someone with connections to the artist or the venue promoter
- Wait to make purchases until near the end of the business day (from 3 to 55 pm). This is when they release “hold out” tickets for premium seats
- Sign up for the fan clubs of your favorite bands (they sometimes get first-serve tickets)
Here’s a video showing some more tips:
Sound engineers work hard to set up concerts to fill an entire venue. However, they aren’t miracle workers, as their equipment might not reach the back. Because of this, the middle offers the best sound experience.
If you like the social aspect of concerts, you might prefer the front. If you want your soul blasted out of your body with sound, you want to be near the speakers. And finally, if you want the best view, get a balcony seat.
You can save money and enjoy a show from anywhere. But just know what to expect from these different sections. That way, you won’t get disappointed by the wrong expectations.
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