This probably won’t be the last time I will mention that I like to teach things that I have learned over the years.  But I also like to learn.  I did OK in school, but nothing really interested me, so I just made it through.  At the right time in my life, I found music.  From my parents, TV, brothers and back then AM radio, I absorbed all the songs I could.  Back then they did not pre-package and filter music in the same way they do now,  You could hear unique styles and among the commercial sounding and cookie-cutter pop tunes there were really talented songwriters and performers.  Recordings were also hit and miss, with wide varieties of textures.  We were still waiting for “stereo” to come out.   Fun times!

I bring part of this up to say the following:  I am just a guy.  I have no formal training, I haven’t gone to technical schools,

I have not worked with national major players and unless you hang out in my town, you probably do not know the names of the bands, writers and performers I have been blessed to know.   I wish you did.

I also know a lot of very smart guys that have all the answers and references ……

Then there is the group that THINK they have all the answers but never get things to work or things sound bad and get worse as the evening goes on.

The best way in my opinion to truly know what you have learned is to teach it to someone else.  (if you can!)

I do not think another series about which knob you should turn, which special new box you should buy, which new instrument will get you to the next level, or which processor do you add to a particular instrument is going to add to what is already out there.  I would like to give you a feel of options and let you figure out on your own why ‘it doesn’t work’ or if ‘it sounds bad and gets worse’.  As described in earlier my LSR series, a number of live sound tragedies could be avoided if the sound engineer understood the challenge from both points of view.  Too many sound men and women mix to the House.  It is extremely important to mix for the Stage as much as the House.  More on that later.

Once you know why it is not working or not sounding as good as you want, you will be able to fix or improve the mix much quicker.  There are tricks that will help there as well.  I picked up a few from here and there, started writing songs with my older brother, bought a 4 track reel-to-reel and a couple Radio Shack microphones (that were great and I still have one in my mic case!!).  After that of course we needed guitars, drums, organ, and I am still living at home.  I had to figure out how to get them all to work together because back then I was the ONLY person I knew that had anything like recording equipment.  Necessity is the Mother of Invention and I kept going until I figured it out.  Once friends and their friends knew I could figure their stuff out, I got to know a lot of musicians.  Then I got into sales.  One thing leads to another.

Setting up the sound gear for a live gig, the beginning part before you even plug in the equipment, creates the foundation you will need to have a problem free event.  IF we understand what the foundation is there to do, the building or pyramid can get as tall as you want, and you will not have to worry about it crashing down on everyone around you.   Here is where we need to focus or channel in on the foundation itself and the ways to build a strong audio reinforcement base.  This is why I truly believe if I can learn it, so can you.  Next series we will talk about the other type of audio channel.

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  1. […] Live Sound Reinforcement Series Chapter 11 – What is a Channel?. […]

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