Live Sound with Connor Roberts 9/10/19

From studio engineering today we entered another important segment of my course that is live sound with Connor Roberts. I did recognise him when he introduced himself as he took assessed me the mic & cable rolling technique in trimester one. He is an interesting guy with funny stories of his life which really inspired me but also very serious with his job.

The idea of live sound truly is a very intense process which I had never taken into consideration of how much work is involved in it. Connor broke it down from the beginning with a hierarchy of the important people who make a festival become one and it goes as it follows:

Promo company-Red bull, Coca cola etc – These are companies that splash the big money for a festival to take place.

Production company- These are companies that provide the live sound gear to be used at a festival such as

  • Audio Tech rider( input list, stage plot, ) Iggy pop
  • Lights
  • Pyro 1ft/M’S D and J series, L Acoustic K1, V-dosc, Clair 1-5 PA systems

One interesting thing Connor mentioned is that, a selection of a sound system is determined mainly by the main guest artist. I found that very interesting as they actually do run the show. The main artist also does move around with his or her sound engineer who also may want carry their mixing consoles to wherever festival they are to perform. The next part I learnt was the roles that are governed by the amount of money they earn or paid which I found to be interesting with a hierarchy are as follows:

  1. Production Manager: provides supervision and operations in all areas of production. That is to me a huge role as they oversee that everything falls in place. It does not look as easy at all as everything is on their shoulders. if anything goes wrong that means they have to take responsibility. Big money paid to these guys. $$$$$$ signs according to Connor
  2. System tech- mostly responsible for time delays so sound does not affect the stage, quality sound sound placement $$$$$
  3. Front of House-main house mix, reverb, delays Assistant if a band brings its own engineer $$$$
  4. Monitor engineer/tech( foldback,wedges,monitors)$$$$
  5. Patch Guy/girl$$

The dollars signs are according to the money that is paid as per ranking.All this I do believe that they are possible jobs in future for me. But that does need diligence and hard work to be able to match up these positions. the money looks good but great responsibility is greatly required. Therefore i would want to take every chance and moment i am learning in every class i do attend as there is vital information that needs to be grasped.

Live Sound with Connor Roberts 16/10/19

Signal flow is one skill that needs concrete understanding which a live sound engineer must have from mixing console to the speakers. Connor mentioned that one must know where the signal is travelling from, where it needs to go and how to get there at all times and to do that we need to know all the gadgets of PA system work together.

At big festivals expect big consoles says Connor. Some may run 48 to 100 plus channels running across and with new consoles emerging to be digitalised. The mixer has all the inputs for mics, instruments, effects which are regulated to suitable outputs. The interesting part is that at big festivals the main or FOH console deals with FOH, reverbs, delays, gates, compressors only and has nothing to do with monitoring as there will be an assigned console that is located on the side of the main stage. Once the signal is processed all the channels are channelled to stereo outputs and send to the PA system.

On the stage there is a particular language that needs to be know at all times. There some acronyms that Connor taught us like DSC ( downstage centre) meaning that position is were the main artist will be located and so his or her microphone must be placed. Other words are USC ( up stage centre), OSL ( off stage left), OHSL (overhead stage left). These acronyms once they become part of my DNA I believe the workflow will be creative, fast and efficient.

Phantom power a very important unit during live sound and can easily mess things up. Both main and monitor consoles do have phantom power option and it is wise to have only one console assigned to have phantom power on as it carries 48 volts. If both consoles are assigned then they will send 96 volts which will damage the gear such as Di and Condenser mics. i found that to be a very important take home. Meaning to say both sound engineers must discuss who to assign the task to turn on phantom power.

It is absolutely of great importance that I grasp every knowledge being give during tutorials as there is so much information regarding live sound. I would have not imagined how busy a festival can be and requires much diligence.

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