Notes from Peavey's Kent Morris, sound reinforcement clinic, Melodee Music, Sterling, Virginia. Thanks to Rob Mock at Melodee for hosting this clinic. The rest of y'all missed out.
Live sound is all about damage control. I wanna refer and credit our sound guy as "Damage Control."
focus on the board, focus on what's going on stage so you can use the
board to enjoy the show better. The easiest way to do this is to have
another guy (like the light guy) describe what's happening onstage to
the sound guy.
Get the audience's speakers as close to the audience as possible and the microphone as close to the vocalist as possible.
Get as much energy into the board inputs as the board can handle.
The Mythbusters screwed up the "brown note" experiment, because tones that low are 30 feet wide, so they take 30 feet to oscillate, and the speakers were too close to the target.
often happens at 1600Hz and 2.5k, so check those controls first.
Separate EQs for the main and monitor have too many controls for any
operator to kill feedback effectively. For a monitor you're much better
off with a smart anti-feedback system like a Peavey Feedback Ferret-D.
EQs filter 1/4 of an octave and operators never return that EQ pot;
smart anti-feedback systems filter 1/64th of an octave and experiment
with slowly bringing the offending frequency back safely.
The more mics, the less gain among all the mics, so if you can't pick up a group, use less mics.
Chart everything and label everything. Bring gaffing tape and painter's tape.
way to carry a guitar signal longer is to use a TRS guitar cable, but
don't use TRS by default; just use them when the signal is noisy or
Arrange the stage into segments by what the monitors need and what the mains need.
do not need low end. Low end is omnidirectional. Start mixing the show
with the mains first, then the monitors. DEFY THIS AT YOUR PERIL. Start
with the highest frequency source on the mains, then down to the lowest
frequency source on the monitors, then the highest frequency source on
the monitor, down to the lowest frequency source on the monitor. That
gives you maximum dynamic range and devote monitor volume to what's
missing from what the band can hear from the house mix. This allows the
mains to complement the monitors instead of the monitors screwing up the
Send to the monitors what the musicians need to play on time and on pitch and nothing else.
No one wants to know how much you know. They want to know how much you care.
Never have a single point of equipment failure. This means an extra mixer, an extra mic.
Never let them see you sweat. This too shall pass.
Follow your instincts. Think ahead.
of EQ as "band-limited volume." For adjustable, "sweepable" mid EQ,
crank the mid gain to about 80% of maximum, then adjust the sweep until
it squeals and/or sounds the worst, then turn the mid gain down until it
Use the EQ controls to kill all the EQ irrelevant
to the source, ESPECIALLY for the house and for recording, so that the
frequencies in each channel stay out of the frequencies of every other
channel. If you do this right, when you solo one of the channels, it'll
sound "thin" and its frequency band will sound TOO isolated. Ironically
this means the frequencies are properly isolated. Usually mixes sound
bad because each channel isn't "thin" enough to mix correctly.
Monitors need to be on a "pre-fade" send so that changing the main volume doesn't change the monitor volume.
no longer sound like crap, mostly because the interfaces are more
user-friendly, so drummers are actually bothering to tune the drums to
their liking. Older V-Drums could be tuned, but it wasn't obvious how to
tune them so no one bothered.
Put guitar amps on an angled stand so that the guitarists can hear themselves.
Bose sounds for Bring Other Sound Equipment.
Buttkicker drum throne rigs help drummers hear themselves.
Buttkicker platforms help bassists hear themselves.