Sounds of Success: 5 Basic Mistakes in Live Sound

When it comes to audio systems, everybody knows that the most important thing is having a “good sound”.  Unfortunately, beauty is in the eye of the beholder- or in this case, the ear of the listener.  And while good sound can be evasive, bad sound can be glaringly obvious.  Here are five basic mistakes to avoid, in the hopes that you can get closer to pinning down the sound that you want.

Mistake #1: Bad levels

Levels, or the volume of each instrument or component in your mix, are important.  We’ve all had to suffer through an event where it was hard to hear what was happening.  You don’t want that to be your problem.  Whether you are setting the right level for a single speaker, or making sure that the mix for your band emphasizes the right instruments and vocalists, it’s important to avoid bad levels which can result in a jumbled and unclear sound.

Mistake #2: Improper EQ

Every sound guy loves to talk about EQ, and with good reason.  Proper EQ, or equalization, allows you to get closer to the sound that you want by giving you control over the volume of different frequencies, such as lows, mids and highs.  On the other hand, improper EQ will give you the sound that you don’t want.  Nobody wants to hear the overbearing boom of too much bass, or the distracting crackle of an obnoxiously loud hi-hat.  While the prospect of failure is intimidating, fiddling with your EQ until your sound suits your needs can lead you to success, and Audio-Visual Group is always ready to help.

Mistake #3: Unnatural

Like the concept of “good sound” itself, this quality is a bit difficult to pin down.  What you don’t want to do is change the audio to the point that your audience thinks, “This shouldn’t sound like this (or it wouldn’t in real life).”  Whether this a matter of using more subtle effects on your audio, ensuring a balanced sound through speaker maintenance, or simply fitting your sound to your venue, Audio Video Group can make sure that your sound is natural.

Mistake #4: Poor system design or coverage

Unfortunately, many systems are not optimized to fully convey sound to the room they are in.  This can result in dead zones- sections of a room where it is difficult to hear- or simply in poor audio quality due to room effects such as reflections or echoes.  Audio Video Group can optimize your system so that your whole audience hears the best mix of your audio.

Mistake #5: Loud does not mean good

You don’t want to be the one who overcompensates for a mediocre sound by blasting your audience’s ears off.  A good sound shouldn’t be overbearing, and should allow for the subtleties of the audio to shine through.  You want your audience to be able to hear the distinction in tone between the lead singer and the harmony.  You don’t want to give our audience a headache.

It’s important to keep in mind that your sound should not just be “good enough”.  Like it or not (and we hope you like it), your audience will be affected by the quality of your audio.  While it might be “in the ear of the listener”, a good sound is definitely noticeable.  And of course, bad sound is too.  Your sound is meant to get your message across and you shouldn’t leave it up to chance.

If you think you have bad sound, the best way to address this problem is to schedule a sound review from Audio Video Group. We can provide an analysis of your system and your room’s audio properties that can be helpful in determining how to fulfill your sound needs.  Most of the time, you can’t change the room itself- you have to change the sound.  If you aren’t experienced with analyzing and adjusting an EQ curve or interpreting a frequency response, we’re happy to help.  At Audio Video Group, we take good sound seriously and have the tools and expertise to do it right.

If you’re serious about capturing “good sound”, call Audio Video Group today and we’ll help you pin it down.  To schedule a sound review, contact us at 301.668.4448 or contact us on our website, for more information.

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