Martin Popoff brought something interesting in a recent gig review on Bravewords.com He was wondering why musicians spend so much time (and sometimes lots of money) on trying to get the best sound possible in the studio while recording. Then they often complain when customers agree to listen to "bad quality" MPs3 instead of getting the full richness of the sound by buying the real thing on CD. But at the same time, almost all musicians and bands, at least in the metal field, go on the stage and agree to play with a sound so loud that it distorts very often and forces the audience to wear earplugs if they don't want to damage their hearing. Why is it the "norm" that the sound has to be so loud at a metal gig? As for me, I'd prefer to have a "quieter" sound at the gigs I attend, and not to be forced to wear earplugs, which are more or less a pain in the ass. One of the only shows I attended in the last few years where earplugs were not required was Saxon at The Train in Aarhus, Denmark in 2010. The sound was loud enough to feel you're in a rock gig, but not so loud and all instruments (as well as the vocals) were easy to hear. I don't know if it's the norm at The Train, or if it was Saxon's request, but clubs and venues in North America should do the same... What do you think? Why is "too loud" the norm most of the time?