Hey guys! So this tri in addition to studio and post production, I have also been learning live sound production. I have had experience in the live sound world, having been a front-of-house (FOH) engineer at a local church. As a result, I was interested in learning how to set up for a live gig has as well as learning some new methods in mixing for a live gig. In this post, I will be reflecting on what I have learnt so far, especially on my role during my live sound assessment, in preparation for my final live assessment at The Boston in Northbridge.
Our live set up consisted of
- Six speakers (two subs, two top speakers and two PA for monitoring)
- Two desks (a digital desk for FOH mixing and an analog desk for monitor mixing)
- An amp
- An EQ
- And a bunch of effects both internal to the digital desk and external)
Connecting the amp to the four main speakers involved using a multicore. It was pretty tricky to connect as it was a 32-pin connector, but with practice we were able to connect it properly.
Troubleshooting is very commonplace in live sound. In the first few weeks, my class and I often struggled trying to get levels through the speakers. Solving that problem involved testing for faulty cables, replacing faulty cables, checking to see what channel(s) we sent a microphone to on the desk and checking to see what he neglected to plug in among other things. Doing live sound has taught me to assess and solve problems effectively.
I recently finished a live sound assessment where I acted as FOH engineer. Ultimately I did get a lot of the FOH stuff right. I am good at balancing levels, setting up the speakers and make sure there is sound through the speakers. One of my weaknesses however was setting up the effects as there were many components involved i.e. sending the reverb to the mix, sending it to the monitors, selecting the appropriate effects. I feel that with more practice, I will be able to send effects to the main mix and the monitor mix effectively.
Furthermore, my communication skills with the test band were great. While I did get a little nervous to begin with, slowly I started to find my voice and I was able to have the band play their instruments so I could test levels effectively. I was also able to effectively communicate with other group members (such as system techs, monitor engineers), which I am stoked with as that has often been a challenge in the past.
I understood and researched my role as a FOH engineer and therefore was able to do my job effectively. However, I think I also need to research the live sound industry. I might go to more live events and watch other FOH engineers (as well as other people involved in live sound) for inspiration. My goal will be to see how I can become effective not just as a FOH engineer but also a stage hand (i.e. setting up instruments and connecting them to the speakers), which will likely be one of my roles during the final assessment.