“As an Audio Engineer what can I do to make my next show a better experience?”

5 simple time saving tips that can help you stand out at your next show

With the rise of festivals and touring bands populating clubs and venues around the world, time is becoming ever more precious. As many audio engineers can attest, there’s never truly “enough” time for preparing for a set, but rather just enough to get things in the right direction. And even if you have the time anything can happen or go wrong. That’s why we created this simple list of 5 time saving tips that work and allow you to give your audience and band the best experience you can offer.

Know the bands before hand and how you can accommodate them.

Now we know this seems like such a simple thing but it easily can be overlooked and become a second thought. Also we don’t mean just listening to the band’s music or knowing what type of music they play. Rather understand that professional engineers asks for information from the band so when they show up its game time. Examples of this information are things like pre-drawn stage plots, the need for special accommodations (such as in-ear monitors), or if they’re bringing an instrument that you’ve never worked with or need to know something about. By doing this you’re already one step ahead of the game and can ensure that you’ll prevent as many surprises as you can. You are also showing the band that you care about ensuring that things run smoothly and that you want everybody to have the best time.

Radio-Nashville-Stage-Plot

Fig 1. An example of a band’s stage plot courtesy of Radio Nashville

Label your cables with the correlating channel just in case.

Again another simple concept but in practice it’s not done enough. By labeling your cables you’re preventing many future headaches from mispatched channels. On that same note for channels 6 & 9 drawing a line under the number can reduce a very common mispatch.

Have a designated mixing engineer and FOH (front of head) engineer

Sometimes the possibility of having two engineers can be a blessing. In fact some venues always do. But remember if it’s not a possible option it doesn’t mean that your set won’t go well. Having a mixing engineer puts someone by the stage that will be the band’s new best friend and will help free up the FOH engineer to focus on what the audience is hearing.

Try and run your board wireless if you have the option

Now before we delve in remember that some setups are not able to be run wireless. Again this isn’t a deal breaker but having the option to do so is a huge convenience. There will be times where you’ll have to setup you’re mixing board in spaces that aren’t the best location to allow you to properly hear the band and mix. By having the option to mix wireless you can move around the room and really hear what you audience hears. In fact, we’ve talked to plenty of engineers that have moved their mobile gigs to full wireless setups and have never looked back!

presonusstudioliveWEB

Fig 1. An example wireless setup courtesy of presonus.com

A clean, labeled and tidy stage setup can make everyone’s life easier

As an engineer you have to remember that you’re creating a space when you’re setting things up for the band and audience. By keeping it organized and neat you’re making everyone’s life easier. You’re also giving a more professional demeanor and letting the band know that they can trust you. When you have the band’s trust they feel more at ease and things can run more smoothly.  

What may seem obvious is not always the case!

As you’re reading this list you’re probably thinking that these all seem like obvious things that one would do at a show (or at least some of them). We’d like to think the same thing too! But unfortunately it’s not always the truth. Now remember these are tips that will not only save you time (especially if you have multiple bands playing at the same venue that day) but also show professionalism and that you know what you’re doing. This leads to better running gigs and more possibilities that you’ll get the call next time they need someone for a show.

Now that you’ve seen what we think are helpful tips, what are some tips that you feel should be on this list? Is there anything on this list that you feel has really helped you out a show? Please let us know below!

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