Mini-Tip: Communicating With the Sound ManJune 7, 2008 10:42 am Live Sound
At a live show, there are three things that instantly brand a band as a group of newbies: (1) frequent feedback, (2) feeble vocal levels, and (3) talking to the sound man through the PA. All of these problems will be noticed by the audience, but to me problem (3) is perhaps the most egregious. Having a band member say “I need more of me in the monitors, Dude” at full voice through the main speakers is like, so totally unpro.
With a little planning, this scenario can be avoided. One way out is to develop a set of inconspicuous hand signals, like those used by sports teams. Ninety-five percent of the time, the message to be communicated has to do with the stage monitors. Someone, or something, is too quiet, or too loud. Signals are needed for which vocal or instrument to fix, and whether the level needs to go up or down.
A second possibility is to use one of the cables in the snake to run a signal from an otherwise unused microphone onstage to a small amplifier at the sound man’s position, creating a one-way intercom. (The band I work with uses one of these.) Finally, if the sound man happens to be monitoring the mix in headphones, a quiet whisper up close to a mic (perhaps during applause) will be heard clearly in the phones and not at all by the audience. (Weird, but it works!)
[An expanded version of this Mini-Tip appears in my eBook, Cheap Advice on Live Sound.]Tags: mini-tips, stage practice -->