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Things not to say to a Sound Engineer

Things not to say to a Sound Engineer

As much time as you spend in your rehearsal space perfecting your sound, it won’t mean anything if it’s botched coming out of the PA. All the money you spent on new pedals, amps, guitars and strings doesn’t matter if the mix is off in the club.

Not having your own Instrument Cable

Always bring in your own cables. 80% of the cables in venues are the ones either people leave behind or are nights away from being stolen. Most venues do not keep cables because musicians would often walk away with it. Or even if you get one in the venue, what if the cable has a short in it and cuts out in the middle of your set? Be in control of your situation and bring your own cables that actually work.

Know how your knobs and pedals work

Learn to use your gear. Those knobs and buttons on your pedals affect the signals that are being sent to the Sound Engineer. If you don’t know how it works, learn it. Unless you create a bypass for your rig, learning is the only way. It is mind-boggling for the Sound Engineer to help you figure out what does one knob or button does. He already has to manage so many buttons at the Sound Console, please don’t try to add to the count.

Vocal Effect Processors

The most important thing to understand about vocal processors and wireless mics are that you are potentially compromising the signal of the most important instrument in the band by putting a foreign element in the chain. Sometimes vocal processors have EQs or compressors of their own inside the patches that can squash the signal or change the curve. It’s best to bypass those and allow the truest signal pass through. Depending on the engineer and the system, it may sound better using the typical house effects.

Not Knowing How To Play To The Room

One of the biggest culprits of bad sound is when a musician or band doesn’t know how to play to the room.

Especially in smaller venues, you have to realize that, in order for the engineer to get a good mix, he needs to have control of being able to turn things up or down.  If the drums, bass or guitar amp is too loud on stage, the engineer will have to turn everything else up in order to get the right mix.  Many times, that would mean that the entire mix will be way too loud for the room to feel comfortable.

Loud Band, Quiet Singer

Most people complain that they cannot hear the vocalist admist the backing sound track.  When you think about it and realize how crazy that is, it’s easy to blame the one person that appears to be in control of the mix, the sound engineer. If you have Aretha Franklin as your singer, you can be about as loud as you want and she’ll sing over the band.  However, if your singer has a quieter voice (and, by the way, that’s the instrument delivering the song lyrics – kind of important), the band needs to know how to play so the singer can give their best performance.  Otherwise, it loses personality and is, sometimes, just yelling.  The band needs to support the singer and the song at all costs.