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Cheap Advice On Live Sound
48 Tips To Make Your Band Sound Better
(pdf format)

This is the real deal. You get 48 full-length articles from the Cheap Advice Guy covering all aspects of setting up and running a live sound system for a band.

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Solo Performers: Use Recorded Backing Tracks

Live Sound 2 Comments

I don’t suppose anyone reading this remembers The Perry Como Show, a musical variety program that ran in various forms on NBC-TV during the 50s and early 60s. Perry Como was a Bing Crosby-like crooner who enjoyed immense worldwide popularity in those years. I remember watching his show from time to time back when I was about 9 or 10 years old.

At the beginning of each show I saw, Como would sit in what looked like an ordinary living room and perform an opening song. Now, here’s why I’m telling you all this. Before he started singing, he would turn and lift the tone arm of a phonograph on the table next to him and then drop the needle on the opening grooves of a record. Music would swell, and Perry would croon. That’s right, he sang along with a record, karaoke style!

At the time, I couldn’t figure out why he did this, but later I realized that it was a clever artifice to gloss over the fact that Como’s singing was accompanied by lush orchestration despite the lack of any actual musicians visible on the set. (Earlier versions of show had featured a live orchestra, but by the time I was watching it they were apparently down to just a record player.)

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PA Systems For Solo Performers

Live Sound 4 Comments

Most of my articles about PA systems, mixers, etc., are in terms of running live sound for a multi-member band, perhaps because that’s what I do for Rusty Strings. But I sometimes get questions from individuals who are interested in performing alone on acoustic guitar and vocals, or keyboard and vocals, in small settings but who are uncertain about what kind of sound reinforcement to use or how to achieve a particular echo or reverb effect on their vocal.

Before I even start discussing configuration options or specific recommendations, I must stipulate that I will not be addressing computer-based setups for live sound, that is, where a laptop is used as a mixer. Such a setup calls for a different kind of audio interface hardware that I will discuss in a future article. Here, I will be talking about systems based on conventional mixers. With that attended to, I will begin by describing the basic system configurations for solo performers.

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