01-11-2010 02:46 PM
Ever been super excited to go a see a band live and then be disappointed by how they sounded in person? Well, that very well might be the band’s fault but, what many people overlook is that there is another huge variable of the “live performance equation” that takes place behind the scenes… or sound board rather.
As a live performer, I know the feeling of having to deal with bad monitor mixes, or an entire lack of monitors for that matter, and still attempting to put on a good show. It takes a lot of smiling and praying that you are in the right key. Having been there, I am always taking that into consideration when I am on the other side of the stage, as a listener. I can tell when someone isn’t hearing themselves in the monitor because they get that concentrated look on their face or they do the ever-so-popular “plug one ear” trick. That’s just one of the complications that can arise with live sound… others include dealing with feedback, mixing the main speakers, monitoring wireless battery levels, playing CD tracks, ignoring everyone that wants to talk to you, etcetera… All of it falls on one person: the sound guy, or girl.
On the flip side, the rare but ever-so-comforting gifted sound person can almost make a band sound better than they actually are. They can dial each instrument in perfectly so that they fit nice and snug in the mix without killing everyone’s ears. They are always making sure the band is hearing everything they need to up on stage to put on the performance of their lifetime. It is a beautiful thing of harmony and cohesion really.
Sound Engineering is not an easy job by any stretch of the imagination. It combines technical know-how with an artistic ear for mixing the various timbres and frequencies of every musician on stage. I liken it to a surgeon, with much less schooling and credibility; you must be skillful, smart, slightly crazy, and have good gear. I’ve got that third one taken care of.
The good gear part is what Best Buy® can help take care of! We’ve got your mics, PA speakers, mixers, power amps, and more at any of our stores with a Musical Instruments department or even here on BestBuy.com. Check out what Mike from our Pasadena, CA store likes to use for his live sound rig:
I hope I haven’t deterred you from an aspiring career as a Live Sound Engineer. Bands everywhere need you and if you ever want to feel like an asset to a team, there’s your job. I’ve done it and it feels pretty darn cool when things go smoothly.
Check out more videos of our Musical Instrument Associates demoing products at www.bestbuyMIvideos.com.