Last week while doing my sound check, I had the sound guy ask me to turn up the volume on my handheld mic.
This is a scenario where knowing your gear comes in handy. This was a Shure SM58, which is a very standard microphone and 99% of handheld mics don’t have volume knobs.
I asked the sound guy for clarity, that he was referring to the corded handheld I was holding. He said yes, and repeated that I should turn up the volume on it. I told him I was unaware corded handheld mics had a volume knob and didn’t know how to adjust it, and he’d have to show me. At that point, somehow he magically made the sound go up using only his soundboard.
The whole week ended up being a struggle with this sound company. From them wanting to sound check a band 10 minutes before my show after I had already starting to my “talk up” for crowd building, to them telling me my gear was bad when it ultimately was their snake that had bad inputs.
The moral of the story is to not let anyone push you around, and know your gear, so that you know how it works, why it works and that will usually give you a clue as to why it’s not working when it doesn’t.
Sometimes when performing at a fair the stage doesn’t really have a sound person. If they’re using professional variety acts, it’s normally not really necessary to have a sound guy there the all day, every day. On the stage I was on there were only two acts, me and a juggling act.
One of the things that I always do is take a picture of the soundboard:
The uppermost three cords are mine. Once the sound tech gets me where they want me, it’s easy to simply reference this picture whenever I show up and plug in. I don’t have to walk all over the fairgrounds to track down the sound guy to set my audio. -Louie
It’s rare to get an indoor show at a fair, however that’s what I have this week. It’s great to not be out cooking in the sun, and having an audience that’s also not getting heat stroke. With all of the bonuses of being indoors, I’ve been struggling through my shows, and not quite sure … Continue reading “Figure It Out…”
It’s rare to get an indoor show at a fair, however that’s what I have this week. It’s great to not be out cooking in the sun, and having an audience that’s also not getting heat stroke. With all of the bonuses of being indoors, I’ve been struggling through my shows, and not quite sure why.
Then yesterday morning I was reviewing video of my show and to work on a routine and noticed something. In the video I couldn’t understand what what I was saying. What the mic on the camera (which is never crystal clear) was recording was a lot of echo. To confirm it wasn’t just the camera’s placement I put my small digital recorder in the audience and recorded my first show. The audio from the audience was also very hard to understand.
I narrowed it down to the sound guy blasting the music louder than my voice. And my voice he had very loud, so it just bounced around this and the audience couldn’t make out what I was saying. I asked him to lower my volume and recorded the next show. It sounded the exact same. My conclusion was that he didn’t lower the volume, or not very much.
Here’s how I fixed it. I did my show on the floor in front of the stage. Now I could control of the volume of the music because I was in front of the speakers and could hear how loud it was in the room. This is where running your music with a remote control is helpful. Also standing on the floor he couldn’t have my voice too loud because I’d feedback. So that fixed the problem of me being understood. It worked out great, and I have my first rockin’ show of the week.
The moral of the story is that if your show isn’t working, don’t just chalk it up bad audiences. Yes, something audiences are bad, however if you are struggling multiple shows, it’s probably something you are doing.