By Dave Rat • May 2, 2011 Previously, I’ve defined several hard earned (and hard-learned) essentials for stabilizing the audio output of the artist/instrument/console combination to achieve sonic success in the fast paced world of music festivals. Now let’s continue the discussion, noting that a lot of this information also serves as a “best overall practices” guide to apply to all live sound work. An absolutely key set of variables to get a handle on are the tendencies of the artists with whom you work. Does the bass player turn up the amp after sound check? Is the band nervous, causing the guitar player(s) to play harder and louder at the start of the show, while the drummer tends to go faster and lighter? Does the lead vocalist sing softly until confidence builds? These are all very common issues that cause a perfectly good sounding sound check to come up like a train wreck at show time. Pay close attention and try and spot patterns that are predictable so they can be addressed. As noted in my last article, with your gain settings well documented, observing your channel metering will indicate any variations in the levels coming from the stage. You now know that guitar rig three is a few dB hotter than yesterday, and so on. Next, build a set of theories and test them. Look at your faders after the first song every day. Take a console snapshot digitally, or if you’re working analog, with your phone or camera. Print and analyze the snapshots. Answering the question “what did I change and why?” should provide valuable insight toward unraveling the causes of the changes. Confirm Assumptions With some attention and persistence we’re hopefully at a point where the sound from stage is now tame, or at least somewhat predictable. Remember, the console EQ adjusts the sound of the microphone/instrument combination to correct. The system EQ adjusts the sound system/venue combination to correct. Therefore, the only thing that should now change from venue to venue is the system EQ, while the console settings should remain about the same regardless of system type and venue type or size. The next adventure is to confirm all assumptions are solid and progress is being made. Begin recording your live shows using a pre system EQ send to the stereo recordings. Compare the tonal balance of the recordings to the artists’ CD releases or a previous live recording that you strive to reach. If your recordings are dull, then the system EQ is too bright, and vise versa. Make adjustments to the mic setup, channel EQ and system EQ until your recordings reach a level of consistency and desirable tonal balance in line with the sound quality of the live show. Read the rest of this post 1 2 About David Dave Rat President, Rat Sound Systems Dave Rat heads up Rat Sound Systems (www.ratsound.com), a leading sound reinforcement company based in Southern California, and has also been a mix engineer for more than 30 years. Comments Leave a Reply Cancel reply Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *Comment Name * Email * Website Krooburg says System EQ via the “Dave Rat Headphone Transfer Function”. Interesting… Andrey says Does this imply usage of GEQ on the system? What is the opinion for only using a 4band parametric on the master bus? Tagged with: Audio Concerts Consoles Digital Engineer EQ Mixers Poll Stage Technician · all topics Subscribe to Live Sound International Live Sound International brings you information on a wide range of pro audio topics. Stay up-to-date, get expert tips, industry news, new products and technologies delivered. Discover how to make smart use of today’s sound technology, Subscribe Today!