Preparing to make Live Sounds...
As time approaches my group's live gig night, it’s been interesting to look back at the gigs my peers have put on so far that I've attended.
It’s been so cool to experience my friends and classmates presenting such enjoyable and top-quality live gigs - I’ve been a proud audience member each time! I’ve been genuinely impressed with the effort and outcomes. It has been striking how complete the live sets have been for each of them - the lights, the projections, the stage set-up, the extras (some with food, even Snapchat filters) - and the quality of sound has been unreal - professional standard!
Liam Wilkerson opening for Hounds to Houses. (Live group: Lewis Murphy, Daniel Clark, Daniel McArthur, Louis Welch, Zac Dal Santo & Caleb Chayna). One of my favourite light shows here!
Hounds to Houses [feat. Liam Wilkerson]. (Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/houndstohouses/)
Hannah Glass opening for Hey Mammoth. (Live group: Jeremy Tang, Nic Spiteri, Henry Mo, Maj Brahman, David Sawang, Pete Srimuang).
Hey Mammoth... Some of the most magnificent vocal harmonies I've ever heard.
Venetian Blinds. I absolutely LOVED the lighting and projection in this one - it set such a cool, coherent vibe, with their gothic-style, dark music... brilliantly done. (Live group: Nick Elliott, Wayde Suchodolskiy, Ben Robertson, Jordan Duggan & Mohammed Mohammed).
My group's second live session (Friday of this week) was focused on monitor set-up. I found what Tim was explaining about the importance of monitor positioning extremely interesting - there is so much involved in the arrangement of monitors that many people would not ordinarily think of or consider. The height, for example, is extremely important - to have the speakers actually projecting to the ears of the players (rather than hovering at their feet or something)... You have to at all times consider the direction of the sound coming from the cones and decide whether they are doing their job or possibly being detrimental to the overall sound!
The way monitors interact with each other is also vital to take into account. Where the high frequencies and low frequencies are directed (and their relation and cross-overs), the distances between artist and monitor/s, and the space between monitors. Something I found cool and thought-provoking was the need to add delay to certain monitors, in order that the sound from the different sources is reaching the artist at the same time. We worked out that the front monitor, for example, was around 3 metres closer to the lead singer than the side-stage monitors, so it had to have its signal delayed in order to have the sound in sync. The clarity increased straight away when a delay of 8 milliseconds was added - it suddenly brought the sounds perfectly together. It has made me extra aware now of the acoustic considerations required in setting up any sort of monitor sends and mixes, and is all very intriguing to learn about.
I really dig the console work with monitor set-ups - more so than the stage work. I made a few wrong and ‘not-great’ decisions with that - I think I get confused and sometimes even overwhelmed, for no particular reason. There are so many points to remember, and I may be focusing too hard on not making mistakes that I make mistakes anywhere I've neglected to focus on (?). It’s also a side of things I don’t do too often (or at least at that scale) - I am more so in-the-box mixing, and working consoles - so I’m less confident with the technicalities involved with on-stage equipment.
When I don't practice something often, it may as well not be considered a skill. So the more I am a part of this set-up, the more I hope I will get the hang of things and feel natural with this work, probably even enjoy it! It is a cool thing to be doing, I like the structure of it - the routines, the processes that one follows each time, the physicality and the organised-nature. As well as, and especially with, the final result.
It was challenging for me to work in and around 5 other people setting up the stage too - I feel strange constantly checking what other people are doing - what’s been done already, what needs doing next, and sometimes by the time you start something someone else goes to do it. That’s why I’m glad we’ll be each having our own roles on gig night - it’s much better to be able to focus on a particular task, and work through your own responsibilities! Always collaborating as a group, but not stepping on each others' toes.
I think overall we’re still needing to work better as a team - this is continuously improving though so I have faith it will extend for our gig. I started a Trello board too for this intensive, so I am hoping the admin side of proceedings will be taken more care of. Especially for events, it’s so vital to have WRITTEN plans of attack, and points to reference and delegate tasks.
If we can pull this off I’ll be absolutely stoked – it’ll be my first ever live experience as CREW, so I’m sure I’ll be elated!
I'm looking forward to turning this space into a live event!
Somewhat randomly here is a song I have been listening to non-stop recently - a new track from Future Islands, Aladdin. Thinking about live gigs too, and recordings of live gigs, this is a nice-sounding live recording I think - it seems like it would have been an amazing gig, and the audience are well into it which shows that the quality of the sound was up there (enough that the technicalities are inconspicuous). Thanks too to Samuel Herring’s impassioned performance - I love the way he feels the music and sings REAL. (He IS one of my favourite voices). Plus, the bass line of this song is killer. Yes.
YouTube URL: https://youtu.be/9lma5p09Pwk?t=40s
It's great to see that you're enjoying your live sound intensive, perhaps now you can see why I enjoy it so much! It's a fantastic feeling knowing that you're responsible for providing great sound in a live situation, whether it be at SAE, in a bar, or a large theatre. I've said time again that I absolutely love bringing pleasure to an audience's ears through tireless efforts to set up and provide the best sound possible. Our work as engineers often does go unnoticed, and when it seems like magic, it probably means you've done a fantastic job. I look forward to hearing Spec8 again and seeing Plotz at your live event!
Thanks Jem!! You're right, it is a cool feeling really... and live has such interesting content! I don't know why I wasn't too enthused moving into it! Cool to have a look at your world too, I understand why you're so passionate about it.
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