Talking about common problems and solutions is one thing, but in this article I’m also exploring the over-arching reason why most of these occur and what you can do to avoid them.
The 5 Common Audio Problems / Solutions
1. Partial plugging: I’ve even done this one back in my guitar days. It’s what happens when the guitarist doesn’t plug their cable completely into their guitar.
When I don’t get a signal during a line check, this is the first thing I ask them to check.
2. No monitor volume: You know they are plugged in.
A signal is being sent to them, but nothing is coming out. Solution…turn the monitor on (we’re obviously talking about active monitors here).
It’s so easy to overlook. Also, if that’s not the problem, I check the controls on the monitor itself. Sometimes they get messed with too.
3. Bad cables that appear functional: A cable tester can show a cable as good but when it’s plugged into a piece of equipment and the plug is jiggled, static is heard in the system.
I’ve had this happen even when I jiggled the plug in the cable tester. The solution is simple - replace the cable and fix the old one or replace it. Unfortunately it’s not 100% reliable so don’t keep it in service. The only way to prevent this problem is regularly testing of cables.
4. No audio passing through a channel: The best practice for resolving this is to follow the signal flow. In doing this, it’s easy to overlook the sub-groups, VCA’s, etc.
For example, a channel that’s assigned to a subgroup but the volume for the subgroup isn’t up. I find that by resetting the board before I start, I start from the same settings each time and avoid this error.
5. No audio when using a condenser microphone: You probably already know that condensers required phantom power. It’s just too easy to overlook that because…most “got-ya” problems occur when you vary from your standard routine. Plus, if you’re using an unfamiliar mixer, sometimes the phantom switch is in a new location.