What are the two worst things a band can do to piss off the sound Engineer?
1. Don’t show up for sound check.
2. Show up for the sound check unprepared.
A very common mistake bands make is it to treat the sound engineer like he/she has been hired to do nothing. Treat them well and you get a good show. If you piss them off, congrats! You have just won yourself a crappy show! Even the best sound engineer, if in foul mood, can ruin your show for you. Fiddling around with the processor or sampler and practice amps will not make you a sound engineer. When someone is hired to tell you how you can make YOU sound better, do give him/her a chance.
As a musician, you can help by landing on time, and prepared with whatever is in your control. It’s very annoying when a band arrives late and asks for cables and adapters that the guitarist forgot or a crucial part of your drum kit that the drummer conveniently forgets at every show. Try to keep such basic things organised. Make a check list well in advance and don’t be overconfident about small things like your batteries for the processor, power adapter, or even converters for your power plugs and cables.
Here are some tips on how not to annoy your sound engineer:
1. Never ask for an instrument any louder than you need. It doesn’t help, it’ll just make the mix on stage difficult to listen to.
2. Keep your stage amps as low as possible. Have them angled so that they are pointed to your ears and not the back of your knees.
3. You really don’t need the drums on monitors unless its a very big stage. So, watch out when you are asking for drums on your monitors.
4. If all your instruments flood the monitors, you will not be able to hear the vocals. Don’t ask for more vocals than required.
5. Do not put gear on top of mic cables or drop mics. It is easy to get carried away while performing, but NEVER ever swing mics around by their cables, throw around mic stands or stand on the monitors when playing solos. If you really want to do these things, carry your own gear. Avoid spitting or spilling drinks into the gear. It’s no fun rolling cables that are sticky with saliva, drinks, or anything for that matter.
6. After you are done playing, make way for the next band. Do not wait around and chat. You’d like to get time on stage before you start playing, so allow the next band to have the same. Neatly, roll up your cables and start helping your drummer take his stuff off because he/she is the one who has the most to do.
And when you are done on stage, let the engineer know. There is a lot more to do for the Main PA mix.
Well, these are few things which make life easy for you and your engineer. Always remember, your sound engineer is there to help you sound better, rely on him for your sound and offer suggestions only when required.