Being a live sound engineer is no piece of cake. Unlike studio engineers, you don’t have the option to undo or another take. It’s all in the now and the present. Sure, it’s a rewarding experience if your gig goes well, but any small thing going wrong can be stressful. Mumbai Music Institute, one of the leading music academies in Mumbai brings 5 tips to help you become a better live sound engineer.
- Know your venue: A live event’s venue can vary from a small cozy bar to a concert with thousands upon thousands in attendance. You need to tailor your skills to adjust to your environment. A closed bar, a paneled concert hall or an open-air event, all have different ways of absorbing and reflecting the sound. Another issue to be accounted for is that different sections of audience are situated at different distance from your equipment and the stage. Every output device needs to be adjusted so that the audience gets the best music experience that they paid for.
- Know your equipment: At times, you are familiar with the instruments you will be using. At other times, you need to fill in for someone else. Whatever the case, it is important to be familiar with the equipment’s you are using. It doesn’t matter if you are used to working with digital mixer. If your organizers have a twenty-four channel analogue mixer, that’s all you got and you need to stretch your resources. Hence, it is useful to show up a bit earlier if you are not familiar with the equipment or the settings, and get accustomed to their capabilities.
- Know when to do nothing: Every artist is different in his or her own regard and hence, their requirements are different. When it’s a feather-voiced lead singing in a metal band, you need to fly your fingers over the board to make sure they are audible over the instruments. However, some bands are so well versed in their acts that they mix themselves. In such cases, it’s best not to mess with the faders or change EQ settings. Just be on the lookout for something that sounds wrong during the act and fix it.
- Know what can go wrong: When you are working at a live event, there is no scope for a second try. Any and every mistake made will be in full view of the audience. Hence, it’s always advisable to make a note of everything that can possibly go wrong and decide a backup for it in advance.
- Know your filters, frequencies and feedbacks: If a channel does not require low frequencies, use a High Pass Filter. If it does not require higher frequencies, use a Low Pass Filter. Also, be sure your equipment can handle the high or the low level that you are going to give them. Feedbacks are never aesthetic on the ears and will only earn you glares from the stage and the audience.
There are multiple sound engineering courses in India from where you can learn the ABC’s of the Audio Engineering but when it comes to live sound engineering, there are many listeners and only one chance to please them. So, put on your earphones because the music is only as good as it sounds to you.