Even though there have been tremendous advancements in technology, there are still many concerts which sound appalling and often the entire blame is put on the live sound engineer. It is for such situations that sound engineers need to have proper live sound training. The aim of the live sound engineer is to make everything sound louder, but at the same time to ensure that it doesn’t sound different than the original sound. Mumbai Music Institute, offering live sound engineering training has brought to you the list of the 10 crucial factors of live sound engineering.
1. Understand the gain structure well: All the latest public addressing system (PA System), which includes the microphones, amplifiers and loudspeakers, are curated to work efficiently within a certain range, and only when they are on similar peaks do they produce the desired sound.
2. Knowing your limitations: There are no magic buttons which can convert any sound into something which is a 360-degree opposite of what is being played. You need to know your equipment well so that you can work on creating the best musical environment that you know. Efficient live sound training is very crucial for handling your equipment to gain the maximum potential.
3. Limit the EQ: Generally known as ‘Equaliser’, is a term for the varying range of audio filters used for alteration of frequency. Though they aren’t needed often, as the state of art technology has made it possible to use equipment of same frequency, thus a minimal requirement for equalisation. But in situations where the need arises, you cannot overdo it, as equalisers do have their distinct sounds.
4. Preparing ahead of time: Being a live sound engineer, means tuning and tweaking your channels and equipment beforehand. You cannot make major changes while the show is going on, as it will interrupt the entire flow of the live show.
5. Experiments during live shows is unacceptable: Only during sound checks should the live sound engineer experiment a bit with the equaliser settings and the gain structure, and even then not rapidly, but gradually. Any rapid changes are very easy to identify. This is one of the main reasons why sound checks are more important than anyone realises so that you have your equipment ready and you can easily prevent blunder during the show.
6. Keep up with the lead vocals: If you aren’t able to hear the words of the lead vocalist, then you need to make manipulations to ensure that he is audible while ensuring that you don’t reduce the music too much. The backline instruments should also be loud enough to create a one-of-a-kind musical experience.
7. Train your ears well: Throughout the show, you should be on a lookout for any weird sounds like booming sounds or ringing sounds or buzzing sounds. You should be able to identify it without anyone having to inform you about it so that you can adjust it accordingly.
8. Know your signs: You should always have your eyes on the band to catch hold of any signs they make to basic changes, or when they are switching instruments, so that you can make the appropriate changes on the console.
9. Dwell in the music: For a few seconds you should close your eyes and enjoy the music from time to time, you will be surprised to witness that you hear better that way and are able to pick up on the smallest things going on with the music, which may be difficult to notice otherwise.
10. Always analyse the crowd: You should always have a sound-pressure meter so that you can analyse the pressure levels at the desk. Additionally, remember that the audience may end up suffering hearing damage, and thus you should always keep the sound levels in a check.
These are just some basics that one should be aware of, but getting a live sound training, gives you a better hands-on experience to such situations, thus allowing you to be better prepared for the various situations that might occur.