Sound check before gigs.


View Full Version : Sound check before gigs.

12-20-2009, 07:23 AM
I just came from a gig/concert in an event and it was basically an annual end of the year gig by all students of that particular school.

What amazed me is how almost none of the line up of performers check their gear, eq, tone properly before performing.

Most equipment from mic, electone, electric drums are all PA-ed and some amps miked up.

There're a few guitar gig/bands that totally screwed up, depending just on their MFX alone.

It's situation like this I learnt very important things.

MFX units are at the mercy of the gig PA, and in a multi-gig setting where different groups perform with so many different types of instruments, you're really really handed out your ass if the sound guy did not do a proper job.

One of the guitarists ended up having his tone mucked up completely, fizzy/buzzy and turned off the audience. The group was very promising but because of no proper sound check, ruined their whole performance.

So if you're gigging, would you rather lug your own amp/equipment than just a simple MFX and depend entirely on the questionable rig/settings of the PA at the gig site?

12-20-2009, 07:28 AM
ive been the sound guy a few times at school concerts, i always do the PA properly and have every single tiny component thats gonna be connected to my mixer, checked properly.

Alex Vik
12-20-2009, 07:32 AM
I'd rather bring my amp AND have a pedalboard that can plug right into the PA. I try my best to be prepared for any problems.

Silent Murder
12-20-2009, 07:33 AM
My old highschool music teachermade a big deal about setting up before gigs (he was an incredibly talented person, owning his own music studio and such)- as soon as he got replaced, there was a noteable decrease in quality and since then, only people who are forced to go see a gig will go to it. It's muddy and on several times, the equipment failed live. Needless to say, it was cringe-worthy.

12-20-2009, 07:34 AM
When I did my performance exams for school, everything was mic'd up, and the PA soundboard just needed a press of a button to EQ everything how I had it before.

12-20-2009, 07:41 AM
We always do a soundcheck at our school concerts.

12-20-2009, 07:53 AM
We do sound checks/rehearsals in the day, just say they can work out which groups need what on stage.

But there's hardly any time in between performances.. So you're left as a band to plug in, set up, on stage. So you can't really bring a multi-fx (let alone your own amp) to plug into because it takes to long. Getting a Steve Vai tone out of an old Cube 30 is not fun.

12-20-2009, 12:01 PM
In the real world, you don't always get a sound check. You have to be prepared for that. Whether you're on a bill with three other bands in a single evening at a bar, or playing the main stage at a festival where there is a new band on every hour on the hour throughout the day, you have to be prepared to play without a sound check.

Sure, in a perfect world, you will. If it's YOUR gig, you will. Otherwise, you really can't bet on it.

The best you'll otherwise be able to hope for is a quick line check (basically making sure that nothing will be completely dead before you start playing. Try your guitar? Check. Bass? Check. Everyone say something into a mic? Check? Okay, you're on!!) and a competent sound person who will get everything sorted by the end of the first chorus of the first song.


Phil Starr
12-23-2009, 03:21 PM
The best band in the world can be made to sound poor by incompetent amplification and anyone better by good gear well run. I won't say it is as important as mastery of your instrument but it isn't as far short as you might think.

The only thing you can do to protect yourself is to learn as much as you can about amplification and develop your powers of diplomacy when talking to the sound guy/girl.

You could start here, articles 4,5,6 are on their way

01-04-2010, 07:06 PM
When we gig we strategically place our closest and most musically talented people in various locations of the venue and play a warm-up song. They tell us what sounds good and bad from wherever they are in the room and we compromise on levels and tones to give a nice mix to everyone.

01-04-2010, 08:32 PM
It's wierd but when you're playing out regularly with your own PA (we do 100+ gigs a year), self-engineering becomes almost instinctive!

My band mostly does larger pubs and clubs and we use a fairly modest PA (2 powered 15"s with active monitors, no subs). On a typical night we have four vocal mics, kick, overhead and keyboard gonig through it. I also occasionally mic the guitar amps and DI the bass - not for volume but simply because a little bit in the speakers gives a bigger '3D' feel.
We only ever do a line check on each individual channel - I can guess the correct levels from previous experience!
Practice is really all you need, the ability to look at a room and immediately work out how to get the best sound. If you're planning on gigging with your own PA, I strongly recommend taking the band to a local rehearsal studio and spending a few hours learning the ropes.

If you're playing a larger venue where everything is going through the FOH system, you really should be doing a full sound check!

Zach Dunn
01-07-2010, 11:58 PM
We're playing a big gig this saturday, with 7 other bands, and apparently only the headlinging band and opening act get a sound check as they wont have time (2 hours) when the other week, we had 8 and managed a perfect sound check with 8 bands playing 1 song each in less than an hour...hmmmm

01-08-2010, 12:40 AM
I've seen a few battle of the bands go bad because of shitty sound checks.

My band is pissy and will take forever to sound check so we're happy with the sound so our show is great.

01-08-2010, 04:53 AM
My advice: do a sound check during the pre-practice. (which you should have before a show anyway). Get your amp volume levels to that you would at a show. Set your clean and dirty channels to switch at the same volume. Set all your pedals to the same volume output. Generally have your amps at 5 or 6 of 10. A solid volume level will pick up the best in the PA mics, and will in turn act somewhat as your rear monitor and be able to set your front stage monitor levels easier and not cause feeback. Please do a soundcheck. Have your levels set prior. Eq and get your tone down BEFORE the show. Don't waste everyone else's time.