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Sound Check Fundamentals: Preparing for the Sound Check

By August 28, 2013March 20th, 2016Audio

In this two part blog, the Tahoe Production House sound team will cover what is involved in doing a Sound Check. Let’s start with part #1: Preparing for a sound check.

There are other things, and preparations that must be done prior to a sound check in order for the sound check to be as successful as possible. This is the same in Live as it is Recording. Although in a studio most of this has should have already been done during construction and wiring phase.

Here are just a few things with a short description of what should have taken place before beginning a sound check.

1. System set-up, placement for good coverage, alignment and tuning, which includes EQing. Using “Pink Noise” is a common tool to use for tuning a system. All components must be in perfect working order. “AC Power” should be checked for correct phase, grounding, and voltage BEFORE turning on any of your equipment. Be certain adequate amperage can be supplied for the show safely and easily. Now run music you know from a CD, iPod or whatever, at a low volume. Check all components of your system to be certain all is good.

2. After all band gear is set up, turned on and working, input cables are connected to microphones, and on stands, and somewhat placed, D.I.’s connected, do a “line check” at this point. This is done by a tech, band member, or helper. Talk into the microphone and listen to each one through headphones or the system. Scratching the front of the microphone, or tapping the front of it, does not tell you if the mic is working properly…and the mic signal path. The point here is make certain the correct mic is connected to correct input on your mixer and the entire signal path of that mic/D.I. source is working properly. At this time,

I also check for hums or buzzing. There is a technique that I do to hear if there is a problem with input.

3. I also hook up a talk-back mic to be used for communication to the stage and any announcements to the audience. For the stage, this eliminates yelling across the venue for communication and for when the band is playing, it works great so they can hear you. If you have an on stage monitor engineer this helps him to hear what’s going on as well with the F.O.H. engineer. If possible, a “clear com” set-up should be in place for the monitor engineer and the F.O.H. engineer to communicate privately….This really helps as not to interrupt a sound check or the show.

This will be a 2-part blog as there is a lot involved. So stay tuned for part 2 next month.

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