The sound test is, for those who still don’t know, the mandatory process by which every musician or group must go before a concert. The objective here is to find the best sound mix for that live presentation, depending on the equipment and instruments used, the voices and the dimensions and characteristics of the room. It can be analyzed under two points of view: in front of or on the stage.
The cooperation between the two parties, musicians and technician, will guarantee optimal results. But, for that to happen is important to stick to these simple “rules”. Here are some pro tips for the sound test to go perfectly:
Anticipate as Much as You Can
All you can do before having the musicians on stage, will buy you a lot of extra time. If you’re going to use high-pass filters on some channels, activate them (and adjust later). Using 4 different effects? Configure them. Name the channels. Check out all the lines. The point is to advance as much as possible before bringing the band up on stage, also make sure that everything has been fully charged and hasn’t been un-configured.
Being There on Time is the secret of Success
Normally there isn’t much time for the soundcheck, especially when several bands are playing. It’s impossible to predict how long it will take to find the perfect mix, among other things due to differences in equipment and dynamics.
Therefore, it’s important that the whole group of musicians arrive on time; the time that the band and technicians lose during the tests is paid back during the live session. The worst case scenario is having to play with a bad mix, because of a hasty sound test.
Leave at Home Anything That Doesn’t Work Perfectly
A very common mistake is to use equipment with problems. Before the soundcheck, is mandatory to adjust so that all the backline (or the amplifiers at the back of the stage) is in good condition and there are no cables that can (will) fail. Locating and eliminating font problems can take a long time. And time isn’t precisely what a band has in a sound test, especially if the group is late (which usually happens, come on!).
Check the Position of The Microphones
Normally, when a band is working with directional microphones and very close to the sound source, any changes in position, however small, are usually very significant. Before starting any sound/concert test, it is highly recommended to go on stage to check that everything is as it should be.
Be Prepared for Changes
The conditions will change in a concert, no matter how perfect a sound test goes and this is true. The public and the variation in environmental conditions will cause the acoustics to vary. Even the band will not play with the same intensity in the test as in the concert.
The conditions are going to change, so instead of spending a lot of time trying to get the perfect mix, get a very good (but not perfect) mix in the soundcheck, spending less time, and leave it impeccable by adjusting once the show starts.
Give Clear Instructions
It doesn’t hurt to provide the technician with a series of instructions such as desired sounds or the different parts of the show. Any sound guy will thank any band or musician that respects and appreciates the hard work behind the sound mixer but keeps it short and concise. Be clear and straight to the point, keep good a communication with the technician and be nice, the work will flow better and the band will shine.