When the time comes and the band is ready, members will start preparing on stage.  If you have not already, make the time now to introduce yourself to the host.  This is the person with boots on the ground that you are working for (with).  This could be club or hall manager to charity event coordinator.  Get their name, introduce yourself and let them know if they need anything they can come to you and you will be glad to help.  During the performance try to meet the host again and ask if everything sounds good.  Be ready for suggestions and try not to defend or give reasons otherwise.  Keep that relationship friendly.   You may need them to turn off entertainment systems, reset fuse breakers and turn off overhead lights, etc.

Now the band is all on stage they can hear themselves through the monitor and their own instrument amplifiers and they seem ready to go.  The first spokesperson for the band or performance walks up to the microphone to address the crowd and introduce the band or act ……  That is when I turn up the Mains.  One of the bands I worked with for years took advantage of this.  The lead singer would come out every gig and tell the audience “the name of the band is” XXXXX  “and this is what we sound like”.  Then the band came on full with a captivating song.  From quiet to full band volume without the audience going through an hour of “check, check, check…. Test.  Can you hear me??  Check…..” and the kick drum thumping for 10 minutes while the rest of the club is quiet.  It can be stressful for all and this is a great way to avoid all that and sound better on the first song than most bands’ sound until the second set of the evening.  I guarantee it will work.

Balancing levels.  While you connected each players instruments and microphones and got good signals, you normally use the microphone three-connector cables to plug audio into the snake on stage.  For most microphone applications this is the way to connect.  Even a guitar amp will have a microphone in front of its speaker and that microphone will get plugged into the snake for the ‘guitar channel”.  These instruments may require more ‘gain’ than other instruments.  This can be based on the type of microphone as well as the source of the sound… a trumpet can be much louder than the flute when using the same microphone.  Just saying.

If you have an instrument that plugs into an external power source (this is very general, so there are a lot of variations to this tip…) it will have an audio out jack on the instrument – device.  Instruments or devices that plug into an external power source will often use a hi-impedance 1/4 inch ‘guitar’ cable.  These will normally be connected to a direct-input (DI) box first.  The direct-input box will have the three pin microphone connector for cables that will go to the snake.  These instruments often already have more gain than unpowered microphones and generally speaking do not need as much input signal boost or gain than most microphones out on the road.  Make sure these signals do not over power the other input levels and you will be able to get a good mix.  Programmed sounds from keyboards, samplers, tone generators and other devices will vary widely when changing from sound to sound.  Keep an eye during sound check on a number of sounds the devices will generate and set gain levels for the loudest ones.  That way you can pull down on the fader for the device during hi-volume songs or sections and boost them up for softer sounds or tones.   Once the board is properly gain staged and EQ is used, the volume faders should be used to adjust the balance or mix of all signals.

Next we will be defining the term ‘sound reinforcement’

Comments
  1. I loved the idea of playing a sample song for sound check. I will be giving this advice to my artists. Thanks!

    Liked by 1 person

    • midimike says:

      Very cool! It really works. It is the little things in life that help make us successful or at the very least, not so stressed out! LOL. If we all share the successes and warn others of the traps, we can get ahead so much faster. Thank you for your time and I hope your artists gain from and appreciate your input as much as I do.

      Like

  2. […] you are interested in live sound techniques then make sure to check out one of my blog-buddys, MIDIMIKE. MIDIMIKE has a wealth of information on his wordpress site about live sound and heaps of other […]

    Liked by 1 person

    • midimike says:

      May the wind be always at your back, may your cup be full and if I may help you in any way Samuel, give me a yell!

      Like

    • midimike says:

      Oh, man! You are the best, and I am not worthy! Thank you for your patience as I keep learning and I guarantee I will get hopefully better – and faster at this! If I fall short please understand it is from lack of experience and organizational skills and NEVER that I do not value and appreciate our friendship. Thanks again for keeping me in your thoughts.

      Like

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