Updated: May 10
The soundcheck is the most important element to a successful show. Here are some of the benefits that the process of the soundcheck can provide:
Commuting - Finding the best routes to and from the venue. Its always good to have more than one route to and from the venue in case of traffic delays or accidents. Normally the promoter will provide transportation for you. While in Ireland we had no problem getting from the hotel to the festival grounds and back early in the day for soundcheck. Later that day when it was time to leave for the show we noticed other groups of performers in the hotel lobby that should have departed long before us. It turns out that the road to the festival was a two way street and it was now congested with festival goers headed to the festival. Although we did arrive in enough time we were all getting nervous and unsure if we would get their on time. You don't want your artist to be nervous that may may miss their show due to traffic.
The Venue - Once you arrive at the venue its a good time to walk around and see where things are. You will want to know where the exits are and which ones are closest to the stage or green room in case you need to leave quickly or arrive discreetly. It's important to know where the restrooms are for everyone in your party. Food and drink locations are also important because you or your entourage may get hungry or need a special diet. You will want to see your dressing rooms to see if they will be secure while your performing, do they have their own restrooms, ,and how close they are to exits.
Tech Team - After doing the above I usually connect with the tech team so I can identify the audio and video equipment they are using and determine if I will be running the consoles or will someone from the venue be assigned to work with me on the audio and video aspects of the show. I also use that time to establish and set up our personal video recording equipment and assess how easy it will be for me or a member of our team to get to them during the performance in case we need to change batteries or reposition the cameras. I usually set up at least a 3 camera shot to ensure we capture various views of the show and audience. Trust me you don't want to have to climb down from the control booth and climb up a Trussell to change a battery.
The Program - After determining the previously mentioned things I go over the show with the tech team. During this time we discuss lighting and special effects, what the cues are and what we will be expecting to happen. This is often a good time for the tech team to show us any other effects they have that may enhance the show. Once we have gone through the show on paper its time to check the sound.
Sound check - Now is the time to select the mic settings for reverb, feedback, clarity to ensure the artist is going to sound crystal clear no matter where an audience member is located. I usually move around the room during this phase to ensure the sound is good anywhere in the room and if its not we address it and try to resolve it. Some issues could be a bass unit or midrange is so close to the audience that is is annoying. In that case we try to modify things so it sounds good at the worse locations in the room. I also walk the stage to ensure my artist won't fall off in bad lighting. I use that time to place water and towels in locations on the stage that are easy for the artist to get to during the show. Nothing worse than having an artist trying to perform when they are thirsty or sweat is dripping from them. Always let the artist know where the water and towels are located on the stage. Always keep water away from any electrical items to prevent shocks and electrical shortages. Safety first.
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