My First Experience of Engineering a Live Acoustic Gig

This was my third event that I was taking part in for the live sound engineering. The event was held at the Musician in Leicester. (February 2015)

For the event, I helped set up the microphones and connect the cables as well as making sure everything was tidy. There was around half an hour to set up the equipment, which was less than planned so efficiency and speed was key as well as the need for safety with cables coiled neatly so there wasn’t any slack, where someone could trip over.

Setting up the equipment before the gig. Making sure the front of the stage was clear of cables as to make sure people wouldn’t trip.

Setting up the equipment before the gig. Making sure the front of the stage was clear of cables as to make sure people wouldn’t trip.

The gig was an acoustic gig for Leicester College so was similar to the Easter gig Leicester College gig but played with only acoustic instruments.

With this gig I was given the opportunity to actually work the mixing desk. This was party due to the musicians being from Leicester College, so there wasn’t as much pressure, but mainly because it was an acoustic gig. With this gig half of the bands playing, were just singers and acoustic guitarists, which meant my job wasn’t too difficult.

When starting out as a live sound engineer, being the front of house engineer for an acoustic gig is definitely a good starting point. This is because there is less to worry about, for example there’s more likely going to be a solo performer that sings and plays guitar so there will only need on be two tracks set up on the desk. Generally setting up the stage will take a shorter amount of time compared to a rock gig because there wont always be the need to set up guitar amps and drum kits but instead DI boxes for acoustic guitars. Another reason is that its easier to mix an acoustic act as there only a few sound sources so there wont be instruments covering up the sound of other instruments through the main P.A. This is what I experienced from working the desk for an acoustic gig compared to what I saw when I shadowed a rock gig, as well as working the desk at the Leicester College Christmas Gig.

In this instance there were quite a lot of channels needed fro this acoustic gig, but comparing it to a normal rock gig, the first five or six channel would be used for the drum kit (i.e bass drum, snare, toms etc.)

In this instance there were quite a lot of channels needed fro this acoustic gig, but comparing it to a normal rock gig, the first five or six channel would be used for the drum kit (i.e bass drum, snare, toms etc.)

As with any gig there’s still chances of equipment not working, which is what happened during the gig, with one of the DI boxes not working half way through the show. In this case its can be said to almost be a good thing that things can go wrong even in acoustic gigs because it gives you experience in dealing with the things that can go wrong and learning from mistakes that can be made.

One thing I learnt was not to move the faders and gain knobs to quickly whilst the act is playing. Although I moved the faders slightly it can be quite obvious to hear with acoustic gigs, as there are only a few sound sources to focus on from the front of house speakers.

(I did the engineering for part of the gig to gain experience in working the desk. Having to mix an acoustic act of two singers, with one of them playing guitar was a good starting point to get a feel of working the desk and using the faders).

Video URL – (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9VQH7uSQRtI)

WBL = 5 Hours

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