It's likely you started doing live sound because you were the most technically savvy of your musician friends. You didn't become a sound tech out of passion. Somebody had to run the sound system and you seemed like the best person for the job.
However, the sound system can feel like a terrifying technical challenge when you’re trying to figure out how everything works.
The amount of channels on the mixing board looks overwhelming, you’re not sure which cables to use where or how microphone selection and placement differs from studio recording.
And those are just the problems you face before you even turn the system on!
As soon as you power up the speakers you recoil in pain from the feedback screeching through the venue.
Feedback is the nemesis of the live sound engineer, but it’s simply what happens when you don’t set the gain of your system properly. Unbeknownst to you, somewhere you have a microphone feeding back through a monitor, making the band wince from pain at the back of the stage.
That's why live sound is so terrifying. There's no room for error. Everything is live and there's no "fixing it in the mix."
At the same time, there’s something exciting about the liveness of it all. It keeps you on your toes and gets your blood pumping. You think to yourself, “what’s gonna go wrong this time? Blown speaker? Drunk lead guitar player? Awful feedback?”
There’s no room to relax like you would in the studio. You only have seconds to dial things in, but it’s the rush of getting things right quickly that makes it so exciting. This is the rush that got to you in the first place and now you might like live sound more than playing music yourself.
However, this quick-thinking mindset is also why it’s so important to make the right mix decisions immediately.
Although you may know about EQ and understand what mixing means, you don’t feel confident you’re applying them correctly to live sound. You might know whether things sound good or bad, but you have no idea how to start fixing the bad or making the good sound better.
Troubleshooting buzzing cables that ruin a guitar solo, loud ground hums that overpower an intimate ballad, or just figuring out whether a piece of gear actually works is stressful in a live situation.
I understand this situation all too well because it’s literally how I got started in audio.
Here’s the story:
Way back in my teens, I randomly found myself hired as the live sound engineer at this small venue called The Old Library. It was a cool place, but it had a reputation for having bad sound. It was the venue bands were forced to play if there was absolutely nowhere else to go.
Little did they know that they weren't exactly hiring someone who knew what he was doing.
I was extremely intimidated by everything surrounding live sound. All these cables everywhere. All these speakers everywhere, both the monitors and the P.A. The blinking lights of 24 channels on a mixing board?
In a word, overwhelming.
I couldn't show my fear because you don't want the band to think that you don't know what you're doing. Oh no, you just had to panic on the inside and slowly figure out how everything worked.
What a cruel twist of fate...
Two mixers now? Double the signal flow. Double the headache.
My heart cracked just a little every time the band got annoyed at me or yelled at me when they couldn't hear themselves on stage. I wasn't cut out for this. I obviously wasn't good enough to help these bands out.
Who was I fooling?
And every show had multiple bands with different requirements. It was so stressful to keep track of all the instruments everyone was playing. They changed from band to band.
And the bands were always late. Sometimes so late that we didn't even get to sound-check properly. That usually meant that the first band pretty much sucked while I was scrambling to get a good sound going. I can still remember the faces of disgust in the audience, all looking at me and whispering about how I obviously had no clue what I was doing.
I remember how nauseatingly stressful those early shows were.
But guess what?
It got better.
I actually learned how to run sound. And I did it really, really well.
In under a year, the Old Library became a hot place to play. I learned the best ways to make the band happy. I bought extra monitors and made sure the stage sound was as good as possible. And with a happy band came a kick-ass sound. The mixer didn't scare me anymore. I had mastered every single rule of signal flow and wielded my audio with ease.
I learned how to position the stage and the P.A. to make the band sound better. The audience wasn't looking at me in disgust anymore. They looked with admiration, and countless people came up to me just to compliment the quality of the sound.
Sure, the bands kept coming late but I knew how to handle them. I knew my mixer inside and out. I knew the best way to place every amplifier, microphone and monitor.
The sound of the Old Library became an extension of myself. Even if we didn't have time to sound-check it didn't matter. I could get a good drum sound in my sleep.
I want you to experience this same feeling of transformation.
I want you to become a kick-ass, in-demand live sound engineer that all the bands want to know, even if you've NEVER run live sound before in your life. That's why I’ve teamed up with James Wasem from the Great Sound Institute and GreatLiveSound.com to bring you something I'm very excited about.
Get a solid foundation of the most important live sound fundamentals from instructors with over 20 years of experience in the live sound industry. In Live Sound Basics you'll learn how to build a mix, EQ your live instruments and quickly fix common sound system problems before they ruin your show.
I've been considering getting into live sound for a long time now but it always seems so technical and experience-based! You break it down into easy-to-read, bite-size pieces that are simple enough for me to grasp, but detailed enough for me to understand. I plan to read it again a few times, there's a lot of great information in there and the intimidating field of live sound now seems suddenly accessible. Thank you!
A Message from James Wasem, creator of Great Live Sound Basics.
"Hey there, I’m James Wasem from the Great Sound Institute and GreatLiveSound.com
Live sound and audio engineering is something that requires artistic skill and technical knowledge.
Some sound techs have a music background and are pretty good at mixing a band, but they might not really understand the technical components that make a sound system work properly.
Other sound geeks have a great mind for the technology, but they may lack some of the artistic skills that can help make a mix sound great.
When it comes to running live sound, it’s important to have a solid grasp on the fundamentals of what makes a mix and a system sound good.
I’ve spent the past 20 years running sound, designing and installing sound systems, and helping others learn how to use them properly.
What started out as just a fun hobby running sound for my alternative rock band in the 90’s turned into a professional career where I’ve been able to work with sound and video systems in schools, churches, theaters, performing arts centers, and stadiums.
And I even got to design a live video system for the band Radiohead!
But here’s the thing…
It doesn’t matter how big or small your system is, you still need to know a lot of the same basic principals – whether it’s setting up for a garage band gig at a small venue or a big stadium show.
That’s why I’m thrilled to team up with Björgvin and Audio Issues to deliver this new new training course.
This course contains some of the most important concepts and information that will help you get better sound, regardless of the size of your sound system or how fancy your gear is.
There are a lot of things you’ll learn in this course, like how to set your gain properly, the real difference between XLR and ¼” cables, how to stop feedback fast, EQ tips to sweeten up your sound, and how you can know where to put your speakers so they sound great.
I’m excited to share some of the professional tricks and tips I’ve learned over the years, and I think you’ll really enjoy the training videos and other resources.
If you’ve been struggling to understand how all this live sound gear works or just need some pointers on how to improve the sound of your mix, it’s time to get started.
I’ll see you soon!
How To Understand the Components of What Makes a Sound System Work
Why Your Cables are So Important For Success (and Why Using the Right Cable is Critical)
How To Use Microphones in a Live Sound Situation
How To Know When and Why to Use "Phantom Power"
How to Use the Most Important Knob on Your Mixing Console
Easy EQ Tricks and What NOT to Do When EQ'ing a Live Band
How To Make a Good Monitor Mix So End Up With a Happy Band and a Fun Show
How To Soundcheck and Set Up Your Mix for Maximum Clarity
Really appreciated the tips regarding both equipment and set-ups. Also liked the tips on using EQ’s and what to take into consideration when doing both FOH and monitor mix. This book is perfect to let you get a grip of what you really needs to get your job done.
Introduction to Live Sound Acoustics and How to Make Your Room Work With You, Not Against You
How to Place Your Speakers So You Get the Best Sound Possible in Your Venue
How Audio Frequencies Interacts With Your Room and How to Get a Great Frequency Balance
Common Issues With Live Sound Installations That Can Negatively Affects Your Mix
How To Find the Optimal Crossover Band For Your Loudspeakers
How to Use Audio Delay Effectively for Your Show
How to Mix for Mono, Stereo and Left-Center-Right Sound Systems
Unique Sound Design Ideas and Tips For Greater Live Sound
This is an excellent training video with great information for anyone who wants to learn about sound.
Thanks for the videos, I'll be recommending them all to those I meet!
The training videos and bonus guides provide a solid introduction to live sound and teach you the most important concepts so you can start getting better quality sound - fast. You’ll learn some pro tips of what to do (and what not to do), as well as some important tricks to help sweeten up your sound.
No. This is not a course on physics or the calculus of sound. You won’t have to memorize any equations or learn any fancy jargon. Sure, you should know that dB stands for decibel, but you don’t need a calculator to take this course. You’ll be learning real-world, application-based concepts for all live sound applications.
This is the perfect course for new sound techs and those that want to work in live sound production. Stage hands, volunteers, lighting techs, stage managers, and venue operators will even learn a thing or two that can help them better understand live sound and what it’s like to actually pull off a good mix.
The two training videos are designed to deliver the maximum amount of information in the shortest time possible. The bonus training material is easy to skim and can be used as a reference when you need it. As with skill, it is important to dedicate time to learning and practicing - but you don’t need to waste time listening to boring physics or geek-speak with this course.
This is not a course about specific equipment or electronics. However, the concepts we cover in the course are useful for every live sound application. It doesn’t matter if you run an analog or a digital mixing console - you’ll learn the most important information that can make your mix sound great.
The two training videos and bonus material is the result of over 20 years of experience setting up, mixing, and teaching others how to use live sound systems. This isn’t a “talking head” video with a bunch of boring stories or tangents that don’t make sense. You’ll quickly learn the most important concepts that will help make your mix sound great.
As with most things, it’s the simple things that can make or break the quality of your sound. The problem is that there can be a lot of little things when you run live sound.Because “the show must go on”, you don’t always have a lot of time to search online and research answers all day. This course teaches you the most important “little things” that will make a difference in the sound quality of your mix. You’ll learn how to use the right cable for the right job, how to properly set gain, two techniques to dial in your EQ (even if you don’t know what you’re really doing), and several other pro tips that sound engineers use to get professional sounding mixes.
You can use the tools in this course to get great sound at just about any live sound venue. The fundamentals of getting great sound don’t change. Sure, there are different techniques and tricks to use for mixing different styles of music or other acts like drama, musicals, and other special events. But you’ll learn the practical info you need for any live sound event in this course.
If you’re in a leadership position or manage one or more sound techs, this course will be very helpful for you and will provide you with great information to pass along to others. And remember, no one knows everything. Even “experts" can learn new tricks and tips!
Mixing for the studio and mixing for the stage are two different things. Many of the concepts about sound and crafting a mix are the same, but live sound requires more immediate attention to detail before and during the event. There is no “fix it in the mix” for live sound. It works, or it doesn’t. You get one shot. This course will even help you if you want to do more live on-location recordings.
This course is definitely not for you IF you think you already know everything you need to know about live sound and you already know how to pass along that info to someone else.
The live sound tip about EQ that is included in this course is priceless. Really. If you learn and practice that one thing, it has the power to completely turn your mix around. This tip will help you find the perfect “sweet spot” for difficult instruments and it will help you stop feedback super fast. There are many other great tips about loudspeaker placement, sound design, and building a solid mix. If you apply this information properly (don’t worry, it’s pretty easy), you should be able to hear the results of this training material in your next mix.
How to Make Your Gig a Success Before it Even Starts
Step By Step Instructions to Run a Great Soundcheck, Even if You're Doing it for the First Time
How to Soundcheck Specific Instruments and the All-Important Vocal
How to Build Your Mix During Soundcheck So You Can Sit Back and Enjoy the Show
The Easy Way to Look Like a Pro During Soundcheck, Even If You Have No Idea What You're Doing
Feedback is the biggest enemy of the live sound engineer.
With the Feedback-Killer Battle Plan you'll get clean and clear FOH and monitor mixes without loud and painful feedback killing your ears and the band's mood.
Learn to fix cables fast with the Sound-Tech's Guide to Soldering.
Whether you want to save money by creating your own cables or save the show by fixing a crucial cable to make the show go on, this guide will teach you how to solder cables like a pro.
If you learn these basic live sound principles you can do any gig, from the smallest bar to the largest arenas.
The invaluable checklist for your gig. Don’t leave home without these things.
5 quick-start steps for setting up a successful live show.
How to make a business out of your live sound skills.
You’ll never need to buy all the equipment you need for a live show. Use this little technique to save money while still sounding good.
The unusual way you can work your way into the live sound industry.
The awesome benefits of having a small sound system.
Exactly what to pack when a rock band rolls into town.
The one thing you’ll always need, but never remember to bring enough of.
How to set up for the 3 most common live sound scenarios.
The vintage way of running an open mic performance.
The only time you should ever use just one mic on stage.
Sneaky psychological tactics to making the band sound good.
Why you live and die by your cables.
A special way to mic up your bluegrass band.
The biggest – and maybe most common – sound-tech mistake you
The big difference between mixing a techno group and a rock band.
How to create a no-stress show, even when there are 5 different bands and 5,000 things to remember.
The honest truth about the tough life of a sound engineer.
Never get intimidated by a mixing board again. Learn one channel and you’ll learn them all.
How the lack of a simple mic stand can turn a wedding into a complete disaster
"Benediktsson's Live Sound Survival eBook is hundreds of dollars (and many hours) of classroom instruction packed into 59 easy to understand pages. Read this, go out and do it, read it again, rinse, repeat, and you'll be proficient in live sound mixing in no time. Thanks for a wonderfully written guidebook!"
I think your book is excellent, and a real help for someone like me who is just starting to be involved with sound reinforcement (previously I have looked at it from the other side i.e. the stage as a bass player). I have found it an excellent introduction to the craft.
The Big Sounds Out of Small Systems most applies to me (I have a Mackie ProFX16, powered FOH, powered monitors, dbx 31 graphics, dbx compressor/limiters).
The EQ section has helped me the most though the positioning of mikes was helpful too. And I found the interview with Chris Huff most interesting.
The 3 instantly-effective live sound mics for any gig.
Why I swear by this swiss-army knife of a microphone. The one that works for anything from drum overheads to presidential speeches.
A “real-life” insight into turning any bar into a concert venue.
The single most important solution for avoiding feedback.
The #1 rule of signal flow
The simple 10 step solution for bringing your show to life
How to mix both monitors and front of
Why it’s so important to use a graphic equalizer for your monitor mix, and how to get it as loud as possible.
How to produce an awesome stage sound, one that’ll make any band love and remember you.
A complete description of all the equipment you’ll need for a successful live show.
A quick cure for feedback: Make your frequency response flat for a louder sound.
The surprising way to eliminate feedback is to actually make your speakers scream with feedback. Weird but true.
How to test if your sound system sounds good, by using your own favorite music.
The 4 things to keep in mind when you’re testing your P.A.
The stupid, idiot mistake people do when listening to their speakers.
7 live mixing tips you can use at your next gig.
The #1 instrument to mix right and you’ll win the crowd over.
Exactly where to put the monitors
The best way to deal with loud guitar amplifiers and over-zealous guitarists.
Know when to let the band mix itself.
Why monitor mixing can be just as much fun, if not more, than
Why making the band happy should be your first priority
The difference between delay and reverb, and when you should use which.
The simple 80/20 rule on breaking into the live sound industry.
How to keep calm and carry on, even when nothing’s working.
Why harassment is the best way to get noticed in this industry.
The truth behind your last gig, and why it’s the only thing that matters in your career.
The real reason you will never forget a feedback frequency.
Learn how to experience music from a perspective no one else gets.
The difference between EQ'ing instrument on stage and in the studio.
Which frequencies are more prone to feedback.
An in-depth overview of the frequency spectrum and where to EQ to get the most out of your concert.
How to deal with the most annoying killer of good live sound, that awful muddiness.
How to make DI'd acoustic guitars sound natural.
How to bring a dull P.A. back to life.
How to stop the vocal from being drowned out by other instruments.
How to mic the stage (it's simpler than you think)
And what to do with an echo-y venue.
The small rock band tips helped a lot. I feel starting small will only help me and I already mix live for a rock band that provides their own stuff. It's always fun working with multiple genres and I feel a small concert area will do that.
Chris has been mixing live sound for 20 years and is a pool of knowledge when it comes to live sound, with a particular expertise in church sound.
In the interview we discuss such live sound situations as:
How to break into the live sound industry
How to stroke a band's ego(or NOT!)
How to get a good monitor sound
How to avoid all the most common live sound mistakes
The interview is both in audio and written format so you can listen or read, according to your own preference.
I'm 100% confident that you'll learn a ton of stuff from all the materials inside Live Sound Basics. I'm so confident it will teach you everything you need to know on how to set up and run a live show that I stand behind that confidence with a 100% Money-Back Guarantee.
As with all of the Audio Issues products, if Live Sound Basics doesn't live up to your standards I will happily refund your money, no questions asked.
See what some more of our customers have to say:
Excellent resource for beginners. Easy to understand with simple definitions and explanations.
Lots of info for both the beginner and electronics geeks!
If you want to get bigger and better paying gigs as a live sound engineer you need to be easy to work with and competent in your abilities. The easiest way to impress other live sound engineers and the sound reinforcement companies that employ them is to know exactly what to do during a live sound situation.
You might have only done small rock clubs or open mics so far, but the training inside Live Sound Basics will prepare you to level up your game and take your live sound career out of the open mics and onto the arenas.
Now Is Your Chance to Become the Engineer the Live Bands Love
When a band walks into your venue, do you want them to feel annoyed at dealing with the amateur sound you are known for?
Or do you want them to feel excited for the opportunity to play at your venue and tell all their friends about how good your sound is?
Here's What's Included With Your Training:
Live Sound Basics - 2 Part Video Training
Free: Soundcheck Checklist
Free: Instant Feedback Killer Battle Plan eBook
Free: The Sound Tech's Guide to Soldering
Free: Live Sound Survival - Big Sounds Out of Small Systems eBook
Free: Quick Solutions to Common Live Sound Problems Guide