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Wed. is my first sound job

Discussion in 'Sound, Music, and Intercom' started by miriam, Nov 26, 2007.

  1. miriam

    miriam Active Member

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    This is a continuation of a thread in the off topic forum. Link to thread.

    Okay so here's the scoop.

    The event is a big fundraiser, and I will be running the mixer for the main entertainment at the fundraiser. It is a singer/dancer, and a guitarist. The singer is going to take me to and from, so we will not get there for the entire thing. I will not get to set up or strike, just do the cues, etc. Which is disappointing. And we will not get to test the system or find a mix that they like at the actual event. So we will do that today. Not at the venue, somewhere closer.

    For the thing today, I will set up and strike, and conduct the sound check. Which is excellent practise, because they have events there a couple times a year, and if they see I can handle their system (it's a very small system), they will definitely call me again.

    We will run through everything, but the space is extremely different and the settings on the mixer will be different, effects will be very diiferent. It is good practise anyway, finding a good mix for that room-- it is L-shaped with huge stone walls covered with plaster (it is an underground bomb shelter, basically).

    For Wed., it is a big social hall, I don't know much more about it. I will be doing the mix during the performance and will not get any feedback on how it sounds to them on the stage. Just how it sounds to me from the speakers. So I am very nervous about that. I will have a few minutes to shmooze with whoever is doing sound for the rest of the fundraiser. What can I ask that person in order to help me do a better job? Should I call the venue and ask them anything?

    THANKS!
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 26, 2007
  2. avkid

    avkid Not a New User Fight Leukemia

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    Oh no, those kind of places give me nightmares.
     
  3. wolf825

    wolf825 Senior Team Emeritus Premium Member

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    Couple good things to know about when you call a venue is to find out of they are IA or Union--and what their rules are or extent for you to work in their space..

    Also good to find out what the gear is you will be using (helps to know if you have a console or EQ or whatever to work on--is it stereo, have delays or fills etc etc...or if you are bringing your own gear--let them know what you need to connect to their system so they can prepare) and if needed, let them know what you will be needing from them (number of channels or mics etc, a table or chair--general stuff). Lastly-helps to know how far from the loading dock or parking area it is to the room and where best to store any dead cases or how to bring in any equipment (i.e. thru kitchen or lobby or whatever)... You can't go wrong when you contact the veneu ahead of yoru arrival and make a contact to meet and work with--makes a gig go better...

    -w
     
  4. miriam

    miriam Active Member

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    Okay, so I spoke to several people and there has been glaring miscommunication happening.

    Originally, I thought the show was going to take place in the L-room, seats 150 max. It's local, I know them, they know me, fabulous.

    But it is not. NOT. I found out it is going to be in the next town. Fine, no problem, they will give me a ride. Then they tell me it is part of a fundraiser, and I just need to show up and not do any pre or post show anything. So I'm a little bit taken aback, but okay. Now I find out-----

    There are going to be 400 women there all fapitzed at this GALA function!

    HELLOOOOO

    I told them I was just learning, what were they thinking when they said yes I could do the sound?!?

    Where is the hitting my head against the wall smilie! What am I going to do? I spoke to the sound tech the fundraisers hired, he is very friendly. I laid it out for him very clearly how much I know and don't know, and he did not sound worried. And technically the show is not so difficult.

    But 400 people! For my first job. What do you think? Is it more than I can do? Is it smarter to say this is an excellent learning experience and just do it, or is it smarter to say let's not flop so ask the sound tech to take over?

    Can you tell I am a drop uncomfortable about all this?
     
  5. avkid

    avkid Not a New User Fight Leukemia

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    My first show was in a high school auditorium that sat 700.

    Don't worry too much.
     
  6. mbandgeek

    mbandgeek Active Member

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    The advice that i can give, if you are in an enclosed booth, don't stay behind the board all of the time. It is better to venture out the door, hear what the audience is hearing, return to the board, and fix what ever is wrong. The walls in the enclosed booth can reflect the sound, and trick what you are hearing.

    Also, watch the levels carefully and listen for any ringing or feedback. And most of all, Don't panic. You can do it, all of us have been walked a mile in those shoes. If you feel stressed, take a deep breath, regain your focus, and return to what you were doing.

    thats my two cents
     
  7. SHARYNF

    SHARYNF Well-Known Member

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    Since you are mixing and not responsible for the install or setup of the PA, the size of the audience in not that big a factor.

    Make sure you can hear, make sure that any changes you make you make SLOWLY, and before the event try to get some time with the mixer so you are familiar with the layout. Make sure that all your inputs are clearly marked so YOU know what is on what fader. Make sure you are aware of any solo buttons or mute buttons on the mixer

    Good Luck you'll do just fine
    Sharyn
     
  8. miriam

    miriam Active Member

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    Sorry about that crazy post before, I was overwhelmed at the time.

    Things are looking a bit more normal now. I can watch the levels, and I can make changes slowly. This will be fine, and then on Thurs. I can laugh about it. Okay.

    Is this called backstage fright?
     
  9. miriam

    miriam Active Member

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    What was it like? Doing the show, not the auditorium.
     
  10. avkid

    avkid Not a New User Fight Leukemia

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    Pretty easy, 4 mics and a cd player.

    Things didn't get too complicated until I walked into the theatre where am I now and found a 32 channel mixer, a 14 channel mixer and 12 channels of UHF wireless.
    Then the you know what hit the fan.
     
  11. wolf825

    wolf825 Senior Team Emeritus Premium Member

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    400 is no different than 100...you will be fine. Plus you are not responsible for the speakers or gear or design or delays or anything--so you should not notice anything different at the console.. Mix your channels, EQ your inputs and outputs, and balance the sound...and don't worry about askin for help from the house guy--its normal to ask for help and advice--they know thier system best hopefully..

    -w
     
  12. miriam

    miriam Active Member

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    Not being responsible for the design and setup is definitely a load off my mind. But I am not sure how well the mixer values will carry over from one venue to the other.

    We can maybe do a very quick sound check, and set the monitors, while everyone is eating dessert. I will check, but it is all out in the open, so I do not know how thrilled the planners will be about that. If I ask the sound tech to test basic levels for a very strong high voice, maybe that will help? But he won't have a guitar in advance to set the guitar's channel up.

    I appreciate everyone's input, thank you.
     
  13. miriam

    miriam Active Member

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    YAYAYAYAY!!!!!

    I did it, and it was fabulous! Okay I forgot things sometimes, but all in all it was totally okay.

    They had two light boards, the whole place had fabulous ambient lighting and nice effects on the stage. The lighting tech had actually designed the lights and sound system in the hall.

    They had a mixing board and a dj machine hooked up to two channels of the mixer. And two effects boxes, reverb and delay. The way it was positioned, the same person could not operate both the mixer and the dj machine. Everything was right beside the stage, it was the safest place in the room to avoid traffic flow.

    So the sound tech ran the dj, I cued him to start and stop, raise and lower the volume, etc. I was at the mixing board with the lighting tech. The stage had been in use throughout the evening, so the monitor levels were basically set.

    I had arranged beforehand with the singer and guitarist that if they needed more volume they would point with their chins. But it turns out the monitors were fine.

    So there was one channel for the face mic, one for the guitar, and two channels for effects. They guys said because of the room and the loud audience to use the effects at a certain level, for the songs.

    I did the faders, adjusted for feedback a couple of times, then the lighting tech took out some bass frequency on the equalizer and no more feedback. He could hear the frequency of the feedback, it was awesome.

    I added the guitarist a few times when I noticed her chin, when she wanted to play along to songs that were on the CD.

    The lighting tech reminded me a couple of times when I forgot about the effects, but all in all it was great.

    GREAT!!!!

    I think the techs were amused by me a bit. Like "oh look who wants to be soundman isn't that cute."

    Hah! Soon it won't be cute. Soon it will be miss professional getting hired for all sorts of things.:mrgreen::mrgreen::mrgreen:
     
  14. avkid

    avkid Not a New User Fight Leukemia

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    It's more like a survival skill.
     
  15. Hughesie

    Hughesie Well-Known Member

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    yeah skills like that you end up picking up, i belive there are two types of sound tech those who go "what the ^&^$ is that feedback" and use a process of trial and error, and then there are those who open there RTA program and eliminate it that way. currently im one of the RTA people but i need to move away from that because you don't always have a computer with you. and if your just starting out don't worry about frequencies just try firstly spliting into 3 groups (low, mid and high) that should help you at least narrow down frequncies, and on most sound desks without any outboard processing it's the only way to eq
     
  16. audioslavematt

    audioslavematt Active Member

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    http://sft.sourceforge.net has a very friendly little program to learn your frequencies. It's essential knowledge if you're going to be doing audio, especially if you're doing monitors.
     
  17. miriam

    miriam Active Member

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    That is an incredible tool! Thank you so much. We don't have computer mixers, so it is nice to have a way to practise the search-and-you-shall-find method.

    That's what I want to work on now, identifying high, mid, and low. Also I am working on smooth transitions between singing and speaking, in terms of the faders and effects and whatnot.
     

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