Dialling in the Sound

How hard can it be? Just play with the sliders until the performance sounds great. Easy, right?

Over the last month and a dozen shows I’ve developed a deep respect for the guy or girl driving the sound desk. Faced with changing shows every day and often several different shows in a single day the sound person has to deal with diverse instrumentation, vocal setups including microphones on stands and headset microphones and often difficult venue acoustics.

Complicate things further with fold-back placement and moving performers with unpredictable feedback risks and that sound engineer is not just technical resource but an active performer in the show.

Despite our strong visually oriented perception of performance it is sound that critically underpins a show. Bad sound distracts and makes us more critical of everything, amazing sound makes us forgiving of even the ugliest performance hiccups.

Dialling in the sound is hard and every sound girl or guy sitting behind those sliders is as much a performer as the artists on the stage and deserve all the credit they hardly ever get!

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