<iframe src="//www.googletagmanager.com/ns.html?id=GTM-TMFBBP" height="0" width="0" style="display:none;visibility:hidden"> Rules for Not Pissing Off Your Sound Guy
Expert Music Career Advice For DIY Musicians

Rules for Not Pissing Off Your Sound Guy

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There are many things your band should know about playing in a new space. Proper volume and awareness of the venue are important in determining a good sound for a band. The main reason a band might sound horrid in a new space is that they didn’t listen to the sound guy. Here are some tips on how to sound better in a new space

1) Trust the house sound guy.

This rule is simple. Have you played this venue before? If not, then trust the guy they provided to help you get set up. He’s set up other bands there, and he knows the acoustics of the space. His whole purpose is to make you sound good at the venue so people enjoy the show.

2) Do a proper sound check.

A proper sound check involves everyone at their instrument playing at the level that they play a show. Don’t use tuning as your sound check, because you will be playing a lot differently when you are amped up on a show. Play your favorite part of your favorite song. Then, when everyone is leveled, the whole band should play a whole song, start to finish. Be prepared to play a second song if the sound guy thinks something sounds weird. Again, it’s his job for you to sound good.
The corollary to this rule is don’t be afraid to ask for stuff from the sound guy. Talk to him. Just like you’re not out in the space hearing yourself, he’s not on stage with you. If your vocalist needs more monitor to hear herself, then tell him. He can do something about it.

3) Run EVERYTHING through the board.

If you want to use your own amp as a monitor that if fine, but run your outputs through the board. When you are performing, you may need something to change, and that’s what the sound guy is there for. If it you’re not through the board, he can’t do anything except throw a beer bottle at you, and hope you fix it yourself.

4) Don’t adjust your own levels once they are set.

Another major issue sound guys have is when bands change their levels once they are set. You just did a sound check, the sound guy said you’re good, and then you change something. Maybe you turned up your preamp, or maybe you snuck over and turned yourself up just a little because you’re ‘Just That Awesome’. The mix that was just sounding good now sounds overblown.

5) Look at the space you are in

Another rule: look at the space as you’re loading in. Are the walls flat or do they have some sort of acoustic measures (drapes, tiling, etc.) Is the space open or does it have lots of small alcoves and blocking walls?
The biggest problem here is when you play a gig that’s just a little different from your usual. If you normally play bars, cool, but don’t think that the sound guy is going to level you the same when you’re in a coffee shop. If you’re unsure about how the room will sound, see Rule 1.
Think about the clientele. If a pool hall hires you to play loud music while people drink, shoot pool, and dance, don’t expect the exact same mix as when a local restaurant hires you to play their Sunday brunch. Your levels will be lower, and your mix will be different.

Remember, we’re all in this to have a good time and make some money. Everyone wants you to sound good. Trust me. And don’t touch my board.

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