#1
I dont know if this should be here but i didnt know where else it would go either and i know that there are a lot of guys around here who have been around the block a few times so if this isnt the spot, alan or axemanchris just tell me or move it.

I was just wondering if anyone had any experience in working the sound boards at live shows and what goes into learning how to do it. Is it mainly just trial and error or is there a legit way to learn how to do it? The more gigs i play the more i respect the guy tweaking my sound and making me look better than what i actually am and now im just kinda interested in maybe trying it out for myself and i figure if nothing else it would open up a lot more venues for my band or even me solo if i could be my own sound guy. Any help is appreciated and like i said if its not the right place i apologize in advance and just let me know.
#2
Most people out there working in the field, I would think, learned as they went. I'm a recording guy - not a live sound guy - but I have learned a lot of stuff that I would/could apply to live sound through learning recording. I dunno if you want to or need to lay out that kind of investment, though. Boy, you really do learn WHAT you are doing, though, as opposed to simply 'a rough guide of what to do when....'

Essentially, the things you want to learn about are:
-how different mics behave on different instruments
-how mic placement has an effect on the end sound you ultimately achieve
-practice EQing to get a sense of how things tend to go.
-practice with FX - especially compression, reverbs, and delays, and learning how they behave.

You'll also want to learn about how different types of rooms - shape, materials, ceiling height, etc. - have an effect on how the sounds from the instruments behave, and by extension, how the sound from the mains and monitors will behave.

There are some *great* recording sites out there. I also highly recommend Recording Magazine.

CT
Could I get some more talent in the monitors, please?

I know it sounds crazy, but try to learn to inhale your voice. www.thebelcantotechnique.com

Chris is the king of relating music things to other objects in real life.
#3
Much of it is experience. Learn all you can about the controls, but most really good live sound guys have at least some technical training, and have worked many shows. If you can find someone who will let you hang around, and is willing to show you what he does, that would help. That's basically how I learned about it. That, and as axeman says, through studio/recording work. Most of the guys I know do both.
#4
Like everyone said it has a lot to do with experience. Maybe you could go to one of your local venues and ask if you can sit in with the sound guy. Just so you can see what he is doing, ask some questions, learn how it sounds from his point of view. Also check community colleges, they sometimes offer some small courses in mixing, and recording.
#5
Quote by MR. Goodcents
Like everyone said it has a lot to do with experience. Maybe you could go to one of your local venues and ask if you can sit in with the sound guy. Just so you can see what he is doing, ask some questions, learn how it sounds from his point of view. Also check community colleges, they sometimes offer some small courses in mixing, and recording.


I'd make the same suggestion, but just make sure you're not pushy with any one that doesn't want to be bothered and be sure to buy the guy (or gal) a few beers for their trouble.
#6
I don't think you should have any trouble getting involved just be careful as it can be addictive. Most of setting up is about humping gear so willing hands traded for watching and then joining in the interesting bits is usually seen as a good deal for all. Small bands often lack anyone with real expertise to set up the sound and since the technology is basically fairly simple a musical ear is really more important than anything. Offer to help.

Meanwhile read all you can. There's a guide to PA in the columns but I have only got about a third of the way through so it is still a bit basic. Sound on sound magazine has some good articles and much of this is on the web they have recently started a live sound mag too.

Have fun
#7
Our sound guys seem to have started by "freelancing" with the equipment rental places by humping the equipment and eventually moving up to actually running the board. Horrid hours, low pay, heavy gear but that is where you start so you can be a sound guy. Good education because it is live and real from the moment you show up to load the trucks.

Most places of worship also have sound systems and are quite often looking for volunteers to run the board. I know a few people who have "found" religion so they can play with equipment.

If you are more serious about doing live sound check with the local unions. Generally it is local of IATSE (International Association of Theatre Stage Employees, Moving Picture Technicians, Artists and Allied Crafts) in North America.
#8
Eq is obviously important, if it's possible cut instead of boost, you'll get less nasty mud type noises and feedback.

Don't get to loud, speakers dont sound nice if they're straining. Don't be scared to tell the musicians on stage to turn it down.

But in my experience the ability to improvise quickly and efficiently is the most of important of all, some piece of equipment is bound to get lost, not turn up or break. Or a band will think they're too good to bother turning up for soundcheck so you'll have to do it on the fly (Have a bit of a chat with them after the gig if they do this).

and be cool and care about the band, nobody's gona re-hire the sound guy who just stands by the bar chatting with a pint while's the bands sounding shit.
#9
Just remember that different genres require very different eqing and balancing. Cant tell you how many times sound guys have set up sound for a metal band for my funk/rock band
#10
as a bit of a freelance sound engineer, this always helps me.

Instruments
Low-cut
Fundamental
Sensitive frequency
Harmonics

Male voice
100 Hz
200 Hz
2 kHz (+)
4 to 5 kHz

Female voice
120 Hz
300 to 400 Hz
2,5 kHz
5 to 6 kHz

Spoken voice
120 Hz
200 Hz
2 to 3 kHz
4 kHz

El. guitar
80 Hz
200 to 300 Hz
2,5 kHz
> 4 kHz

Ac. Guitar
100 Hz
150 to 250 Hz
2 to 3,5 kHz
6 kHz

Piano
-
80 to 150 Hz
2 to 3 kHz
> 4 kHz

Harmonica
100 Hz
250 Hz
1,5 to 2,5 kHz
4 kHz

Saxophone
80 Hz
150 to 250 Hz
2 kHz (-)
3 to 4 kHz

Trombone
80 Hz
150 Hz
1,5 kHz
3 kHz

Trumpet
120 Hz
300 Hz
1,5 kHz (-)
> 4 kHz

Flute
200 Hz
300 Hz
1,5 to 2 kHz
4 kHz

Bass
-
80 Hz
300 to 500 Hz
2 to 3 kHz
(for a ‘pop-punk’ or brighter bass sound, boost 800 Hz and 500 Hz)

Bass Drum
-
60 to 80 Hz
350 to 600 Hz (-)
2 to 3 kHz

Snare Drum
80 Hz
150 to 250 Hz
600 to 1,5 kHz
3 to 5 kHz

Tom
100 Hz
150 to 200
600 (-)
2 to 3,5 kHz

Floor Tom
-
120
300 to 500 (-)
2 to 3,5 kHz

Hi-Hats/Cymbals
200 Hz
400 to 600 Hz
2 to 3 kHz (-)
8 kHz

Br. Ukulele (?)
-
250 Hz
2 kHz
6.7 kHz
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HUMANITY WHATS WRONG WITH YOU.


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#11
^

Oh bravo, very nice. I'll be having this in my documents now, many thanks.
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your just a simpleton that cant understand strategy apparently.

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#12
Careful, though.... I made up a nice little chart that documented all sorts of characteristics of different sounds - the 'bite' in a cello and all that. Honestly, It was such an overgeneralization that I NEVER used it after the first week or so. I always found that, regarless of how well-intentioned a guide like that is, you can never generalize specifically enough for it to be accurate or useful.

CT
Could I get some more talent in the monitors, please?

I know it sounds crazy, but try to learn to inhale your voice. www.thebelcantotechnique.com

Chris is the king of relating music things to other objects in real life.
#13
Quote by axemanchris
Careful, though.... I made up a nice little chart that documented all sorts of characteristics of different sounds - the 'bite' in a cello and all that. Honestly, It was such an overgeneralization that I NEVER used it after the first week or so. I always found that, regarless of how well-intentioned a guide like that is, you can never generalize specifically enough for it to be accurate or useful.

CT


Would that at least be a good starting point to work either down or up from?
#14
For me, not enough to really bother with. By the time I referred to the chart and what-not, I could have found the offending frequencies and cut (or vice-versa) on my own.

Kinda like, I *could* go look up every single word I read in the dictionary, but if I can get it by context, then most of the time it wouldn't be necessary.

CT
Could I get some more talent in the monitors, please?

I know it sounds crazy, but try to learn to inhale your voice. www.thebelcantotechnique.com

Chris is the king of relating music things to other objects in real life.
#15
The EQ debate kind of illustrates what you are getting into. Running live sound works in the area where theory and practice merge. Good grasp of the technical issues will really help especially when things go wrong but using your ears is the most important thing. You only have to listen to live music on TV to hear what a technically gifted but cloth eared technician can do to the sound.

The truth is that the Humanity and axemanchris are both right; chris clearly knows about fundamentals, cut off frequencies and sound spectrums and if you read some of the Humanities posts in the bass forums he clearly has an ear for tone. No-one has yet said that we eq for loads of different reasons (room acoustics, mic characteritics,differentiation in the mix) as well as good toneal balance. We could be debating eq for weeks and on other forums they do.

The point is that if this is interesting to you then you need to get into it. Whether you just dip your toe in or plunge in up to your neck is up to you.