8 Tips to nailing your soundcheck

Live performances are a great way to gain more fans and connect with them. Live performances are held in local cafes and pubs as well as auditoriums and arenas.

Live performances are back, and they’re bigger than ever. It’s more important than ever to get back to the basics, and that includes your soundcheck. Here are some tips on how to get the most out of your soundcheck.

Bring your gear

It may seem obvious, but I once had a drummer show up for soundcheck without any drumsticks. It’s never a good idea to assume that everything is packed.

If you are bringing gear to a gig, make sure that the cables work, the daisy chain has working jacks, and your amps and instruments have the correct power supply. You might be a musician with a collection of patch cables which you shouldn’t use on your stage-ready equipment. Check your gear before your big show so that you are prepared.

Your sound person deserves your respect

It should be obvious, but some musicians take their frustrations out on the sound person after a long trip to a concert venue or when they have problems with arranging a backline. You should treat your sound person as a member of your band. They can improve or degrade your sound by sliding a fader. They are familiar with the space you’re in, and can adjust your sound to fit the mood. This is a very difficult art that should be respected by musicians and audience members.

Run what you know

Your sound person may start by playing each instrument as a baseline. You’ll then play one of your tracks to let the sound person hear what you sound like when you all play together. It’s important to know which track you plan to play beforehand.

Try to run a song from your repertoire that has the most dynamics. You can use a track with 3 pedals placed at different intervals or a track without any instruments and just the vocalist to gauge your range.

Don’t forget to perform like you would during a gig when you run your two or three tracks. Do your soundcheck with the same energy so that your sound person won’t be surprised by a heavier kick or strumming nearer the bridge pickups.

Do not be afraid to express your needs

You should be open with your sound engineer about your needs and setup if you’re nice. Ask your sound person if they can help you with the levels of any extra pedals or synth settings you may have.

Listen to feedback

Listen to the questions and feedback of your sound person. You’ll also want to communicate your needs, and run your most dynamic tracks. It doesn’t mean you have to change the track immediately, but you can definitely get a better sound if you are told by the sound person that you’re too far away from the microphone.

The sound person will not ask you to change your band’s setup, but may have some questions and make suggestions to help it improve. The sound person, especially if every member plays a different instrument, can provide great insight into what would work best in the venue.

Buy a good monitor mixture

Learn to rely on your favorite instrument for cues and rhythm. It could be that the bassist relies on the drummer. For a drummer it may be the singer. You might ask for a more prominent mix if you have a great sync with another band member. While you are playing your soundcheck through, make sure to pause and ask the sound person for a monitor mix adjustment.

Pay attention to the soundcheck, and don’t hesitate to ask for a little more in your mix. Once the house is packed, relying on room sounds becomes more challenging.

Don’t forget yourself! Keep track of your own performance. If your monitor is biased towards your band members, you may lose your balance during the show.

Wear earplugs

As a musician, protecting your hearing is a priority. While some musicians only use earplugs on stage, wearing them while practicing can help you become accustomed to the sound dampening. This will improve your understanding of your band members’ dynamics.

Many concert-goers wear earplugs to protect themselves from damaging their hearing. Learn to adapt to the new experience, and to appreciate the subtleties of your music without damaging your eardrums.

Soundcheck is a real thing.

You’ll soon be performing in front an audience. But it’s best to approach your soundcheck as if you were already playing for a new crowd. Arrive well-rehearsed and confident with all the energy that you will bring to the stage. Your sound person will be impressed by your honesty and will be able get the right EQ for you.

The return of live performances has eagerly anticipated the return of live performances! These tips will help you to ace your soundcheck and play in front of your audience with confidence after a year-long hiatus.

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