Wednesday, 2 March 2011

What Does an Audio Engineer Do During an Event?

If the sound check has been done properly, there is not too much to worry about for the audio engineer in terms of maintaining levels. However, if the event is complicated and will involve speeches, followed by entertainment, followed by a band, and all channels of a large mixer are being used, then he must be constantly vigilant. He will need to do some or all of the following during the event:
  • Adjust individual channel faders on the mixer to minimize feedback and to isolate speeches (i.e. turn off all channels except the speech microphone)
  • Adjust individual channel faders for instrumental solos, backup vocalists, or other inputs such as CD/DVD backing tracks, voiceover microphones, video, or PowerPoint feeds
  • Prevent feedback by adjusting house EQ and main mixer and individual channel faders
  • Adjust effects as needed for best sound quality
  • Maintain house volume to an acceptable level for the audience and client
  • Adjust monitor levels and fine-tune monitor mixes as requested by the performers (this task may be assigned totally to a separate monitor engineer).
This then, is the essence of special event audio systems. The technology is constantly changing and improving, particularly with the advent of digital mixers and the integration of tasks into single devices. However, the basics remain the same. Understand them and the new technology will become much easier to follow.

If you want to learn about audio systems in more detail, including an in-depth explanation of the actual equipment, check out my recent book Special Event Production: The Resources.

1 comment:

  1. Interesting post, never thought about how much goes into putting up some speakers!