What are the best seats in Glasgow’s SSE Hydro?

Backglasgow-hydro-best-seats-sound-echo in September, Glasgow’s newest arena-sized concert venue opened to much fanfare.

I was at the second ever concert in the venue and wrote an article on how impressed I was and feel it is a superb addition to the canvas of venues in Glasgow. It is head and shoulders above the old Hall 4 of the SECC.

Over the months that article has caused all sorts of debate in the comments, mostly with people disagreeing over the acoustics and my appraisal of them. I stand by my first thoughts 100% and have now been to the venue for in excess of ten shows, from Stereophonics and Black Sabbath, to Elbow, Beyoncé and Prince and have stood in many places (never again sat yet) and mostly thought the sound was immaculate.

Two of the biggest show complaints seem to be Peter Gabriel and Del Amitri. I wasn’t at those shows and cannot comment, but there was obviously issue. Any top-tier artist’s sound engineer should be able to work his magic and limit any distortion or echo. But this leads to another interesting point; the sound engineer can only mix the sound for his ears during a show. From where he is standing is the point at which the sound is mixed. If you feel the sound is too bass-heavy or echoes and are standing and want the best possible sound then head toward the back and near the sound desk. It’s your best option.

At Black Sabbath the sound was crushingly intense and was a perfect mix (standing in the equivalent of seating at 008) I had no issues. At Elbow the string section soared as did the clarity of Guy Garvey’s vocal. No issues once again (roughly equivalent of 009). At the Alter Bridge show when standing at the side (004) there was a definite drum echo, so simply we moved more central (back half of 005). Also if you read through all the comments of the previous article you will notice that only those who were upset or annoyed by the sound commented. So whilst one-sided it does raise the issue that not everywhere is good for that crisp live sound we all crave.

Last night I saw Prince and as it was a 2hr 30m gig I moved around a fair bit to test out the sound from different places. It was also the loudest show I’ve heard in the venue (yes louder than Black Sabbath), and there was definitely an echo from the drums (severe slap-back) and some other instruments, especially the bass being muddy at times. However, not everywhere. If you are looking to book seats (where you simply can’t move to get a better sound) or want to know where best to stand for optimum acoustics then based on all our writer’s (many) visits to the venue here is a diagram which we hope will help you.



Gareth Fraser
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2 thoughts on “What are the best seats in Glasgow’s SSE Hydro?

  1. Pingback: Is the SSE Hydro any good? | Musicscramble

  2. steven connor May 25, 2014 at 09:22 -

    finaly!….. the Hydro needs to sort this out. I seen black sabbath there and the sound was immense from row K, Seen Prince (standing) and to be honest the hydro ruined my experience, if I had known about that echo picture I would have placed myself more strategically. Anyway I was told it is becaus they skimped on the acoustic curtains behind the stage area, dunno if this is true but you must have made a packet by now..dig in and sort it out