The soundcheck is mainly about 3 basic things:
1. The band should be able to hear well on stage to feel comfortable and to play optimally,
2. The mixer should get the opportunity to fine tune all signals,
3. Mix and edit and you want to find out – especially in smaller venues – how the room interacts with the stage sound.
Howdy SEA Fans welcome to another tipTuesday blog post.
Today we are sharing some tips on how to do the sound check for a live band performance for optimal output.
First of all, thanks to our Faculty on Sound Reinforcement Nivin Sam John who assisted us in coming up with this article by sharing those valuable tips.
Here are those practical suggestions for the sound check which Nivin he gained from his live-sound experience on topics like how to bring a band soundcheck across the stage – and what is necessary besides the right technique.
What is the whole structure of Sound Check?
The exact structure of a soundcheck certainly depends to a large extent on the artist’s ideas.
If you are working with a band, with whom you have done many performances, the structure will be in place quite automatically.
In the above-mentioned case, you might have already prepared a suitable scene as a starting point, which some readjustments you can carry on.
For bands that I know well, the structure of the soundcheck may even seem a bit chaotic, as I often check out readily available signals from willing musicians without a predetermined order.
This saves a lot of time, but the overall sound blends together more like a jigsaw puzzle and this can only succeed if you know the band sound as well as the sound of the individual instruments or their place in the arrangement and frequency spectrum very well.
When working with a new artist for the first time, it will be helpful to discuss and clarify in advance what the goals of the soundcheck are, whether it makes sense to follow a certain course of action, and so on.
How to do the preparation for Sound Check?
During the preparation time, here I need to start taking in detail with the artist which will be beneficial for the sound engineering on how to prepare himself for the creative work which is about to start.
If possible, I’ll do a line check right after setup and mike, even with an assistant to make sure all the channels are working, and maybe even roughly whistle the monitors by extracting feedback-prone frequencies from the corresponding channels.
If necessary at all, this can only be done in detail anyway, when microphones and levels are fixed.
After that, I usually take a little break in consultation with the artist to prepare myself for the creative work that is now beginning.
A small break after all the technical and organizational arrangements often works wonders for the effectiveness and productivity.
If I have not found any time for this before, then after this break I usually adjust the sum EQ based on some reference songs.
Often, I use a 31-band EQ for this, and, if available, I prepare some tapes that might prove particularly difficult or helpful in the parametric Mains EQ.
In order to access them quickly later on, I usually prepare them only on the basis of the frequencies and slopes and leave all gains on 0. Often I use the reference songs just to check whether the Main Outs possibly left and swapped right. A surprisingly common phenomenon.
For relaxed communication with the artists in the state, I prefer to use a talkback microphone.
How to address the Musician in the stage?
It is not an issue for the sound engineer if he or she has been closely associated with the band members for a long time, because the sound engineers know their specific preferences.
In case of those band that I do not know yet, I like to write down the names of the musicians on the digital or analog scribble strip.
For example, I find it easier to soundcheck when I address the musician by his name than with his function in the band.
People usually appreciate being perceived as people and individuals.
Especially since it also leads to fewer confusions.
Musicians also like to express monitor requests by mentioning the name of the corresponding musician instead of the instrument.
Since I think it’s just convenient to have the names directly on the desk – especially at events with several artists.
Even if I have not seen the band for a long time and unfortunately forgot the names again, I have them ready when I load the band scene.
I find it more practical.
How to setup Stage Sound?
A band will first set their stage sound – so this does not have to happen during the sound check.
Especially in smaller venues, it is often true: The better the band already hears on stage without PA and monitors, the more familiar the situation seems to them and the more balanced the whole thing sounds then also forward.
The smaller the room, the higher the proportion of the stage sound in the overall sound, and this must be considered.
Many more seasoned bands make these corrections themselves and already know how and how loud they want to sound on stage, inexperienced artists may need to ask you to adjust the volume of the amps down or up and the like.
As mentioned elsewhere, a simple account of the overall sound’s effect on the audience often helps.
The smaller the room, the more importance comes to the sound that emerges on the stage.
Since even small bass amps often produce sufficient levels to create a disturbing roar in the room at certain frequencies, it is particularly worthwhile to use Bassamp’s frequently integrated graphics or parametric equalizer to search for suitable resonance frequencies in order to attenuate them , If the stage allows it, changing the location can also make a big difference.
Experienced musicians may take such measures automatically, but I have often found that this improves the transparency and perceptibility of the bass, even at low stage volumes, and the musician is grateful for some support. In a similar way, this can of course also applies to guitar amps or monitors.
Should the Sound Check Start with the Drums?
Many soundchecks begin with the drums.
From my experience, this often means that in the end, the headroom is no longer enough for all other instruments.
Personally, I often start the soundcheck with the quietest instruments and voices and then build the mix around it.
It seems advantageous to me that you can at least coarsely and for all good audible already a suitable balance for the monitors screw together, which then only has to be adjusted in volume as soon as the whole band starts.
In addition, it builds up the mix around the possibly most important elements around, and probably represents them even better.
Which Sound Check Procedure to follow?
The soundcheck itself starts with the usual leveling of the channels, etc.
I usually try to have as many microphones as possible already open – as this significantly affects the overall sound and so, for example, feedback problems become apparent more quickly and can be fixed.
I find it important to have a quick, intuitive sound setting for the individual channels so that I do not get lost in too much sound screwing and possibly lose perspective.
If there are some difficulties with instruments (drums resonances or similar) then a little bit of detailing is obviously worthwhile. In the same way, you should also dare to try different microphone positions, etc., but overall I try to prepare all channels as fast as possible so that the band can play a few songs.
Usually, after the soundcheck with the whole band, there is still the possibility to go over some instruments, which might sound even better, with the respective The ability to do a soundcheck very quickly helps.
We hope that the topic we discussed above has been a matter of interest as well as a piece of valuable information on how to perform the sound check for a band to receive optimal output.
What do you think? Write us in the comments!
Happy Sound Engineering !!!