Importance of the sound man
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  1. #1
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    Default Importance of the sound man

    I'm wondering what your thoughts are on the importance of the sound man, or sound "engineer" on a performance. Also what are the guidelines that separates the good from the bad.

    Finally on a slightly different note, should the pre-headlining sets be put at a relatively lower level of sound, than the headliners and at which level.

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    Tech Guru JasonBay's Avatar
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    He's there to make sure you don't break the system, and he's also there just case something goes wrong so he can fix it. He doesn't really have much influence on your performance. He does all his work during the day. Setting up speakers, acoustically treating the space, setting up the amps and EQs and so on.

    And yeah, I think it helps to have the levels a little lower, and then change it for the headliner. Nothing drastic, but a subtle boost.

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    The opener/headliner SPL thing has loooooong been a point of "discussion." What we know about physhoacoustics is that overtime the "same" SPL level will sound "less loud"....or you get use to a certain SPL level and the way to get your attention is to raise the volume by a "noticeable" amount (typically 6-ish dB).....or "the frog in pot" problem....

    As for the role of the sound engineer....it can be everything from "setup ahead of time" to "actively monitor and control the PA system during the show."
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    Tech Guru mostapha's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by soundinmotiondj View Post
    As for the role of the sound engineer....it can be everything from "setup ahead of time" to "actively monitor and control the PA system during the show."
    yep. It's a much bigger issue for venues with live bands (if they're mic'd), especially ones that change over the course of the night. The good ones are basically doing a mixdown in real time (after a sound check) like you'd do mixing a new track for release.

    I've done live sound (not really professionally) for a number of bands and more DJ-like performances…and while it can be really stressful, it's a lot of fun.

    Quote Originally Posted by Souvlaki View Post
    Finally on a slightly different note, should the pre-headlining sets be put at a relatively lower level of sound, than the headliners and at which level.
    What soundinmotiondj mentioned is completely correct. Plus, as the night goes on, the venue fills up more, which absorbs more sound, which means you have to turn it up just to compensate for that.

    Quote Originally Posted by Souvlaki View Post
    I'm wondering what your thoughts are on the importance of the sound man, or sound "engineer" on a performance.
    At big venues, they're essential.
    If there's a band that's going to be mic'd, they're essential.
    If it's a small place and you're basically running direct off of the DJ mixer to an amp…obviously not necessary…you are the sound guy.

    Quote Originally Posted by Souvlaki View Post
    Also what are the guidelines that separates the good from the bad.
    A good live sound engineer makes the musicians sound as good as they can, gives them the monitors they need (if there's not a separate guy to do just that), solves any problems that come up quickly, and keeps overall levels sane for when in the night it is……and otherwise stays the fuck out of the way.

    The bad ones don't have ears to create a good mix, do too little, do too much, or get in the way.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Souvlaki View Post
    Also what are the guidelines that separates the good from the bad.
    Quote Originally Posted by mostapha View Post
    The bad ones don't have ears to create a good mix, do too little, do too much, or get in the way.
    That /\

    I am a "sound man" at my day job, we do mostly corporate and live bands, we do get hired to tech out DJ rigs occasionally. Some of our more trusted DJ clients we just bring out a big rig and set it up and let em at it, the not so skilled ones we have to baby sit. A good sound guy can be your best friend, just don't piss him off.

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    Tech Guru mostapha's Avatar
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    Heh. I read a story about a live sound guy who got pissed at a band and resorted to pitch shifting the monitor feeds. Apparently, it was epic.

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    Tech Guru SirReal's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mostapha View Post
    Heh. I read a story about a live sound guy who got pissed at a band and resorted to pitch shifting the monitor feeds. Apparently, it was epic.
    HAHAHAHA!!! Wow, I'd love to hear the results of that. It's like the Anti auto-tune.
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    I don't know if it's a true story, an urban legend, or just a sound engineers twisted fantasy. You pitch shift the lead singers vox by a semi tone, send the wet signal to the foldback but send the original dry tone to FOH. I've never done it surprisingly.

    I had a bass player complain about reverb in the monitors, in reality it was the sound slapping off the back wall and coming back. Next gig I did where they were playing he got some spring reverb in his mix

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    Quote Originally Posted by rotebass View Post
    Next gig I did where they were playing he got some spring reverb in his mix
    hahahahha.

    A good sound guy won't make a bad band sound good but it will make it sound the best they can deliver. On the other side of the spectrum, a bad sound guy can ruin a night.

    Needless to say it's way more relevant during a live performance, DJ acts tend to be fire & forget unless the DJ is going full retard on the master.


  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by rotebass View Post
    Next gig I did where they were playing he got some spring reverb in his mix
    hahahahha.

    A good sound guy won't make a bad band sound good but it will make it sound the best they can deliver by making sure both the audience and performers are listening to what the need to clearly. On the other side of the spectrum, a bad sound guy can ruin a night, that's why most big acts (or people who take their craft seriously) have their own sound eng.


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