So, you’ve scheduled your event… Got your lists reviewed…Got your boxes checked.
- Production, Schedule reservations etc.
- Marketing, Logistics, Promotions.
- Ensure all attendees are welcome, and safe to enjoy your event.
You and your company are ready for the big day. Awesome, Congratulations. All things equal, if you’ve planned well, and had the correct assistance you are on your way to having a good event, and for your attendees to enjoy themselves. Sounds good to me…but what things might make take this event from good-to-great? Or even more important, what things should you constantly monitor to make sure things don’t go from good-to-bad? One often overlooked part of a well-planned great event is the performance of your audio. Really, it’s the audio experience (that’s what I like to call it). There are some pretty important reasons to hold your audio performance in high regard, and an audio engineer is the person who is trained to make sure those aspects remain “out of your hair”, and taken care of. Keep these things in mind:
- The relationship between the performer (music or on-stage act) and the audience.
- The recording of the event, and reproduction of that recording as a marketing tool.
- Ensuring your event goes off without problems.
1. The size of your event heavily impacts the ease with which your on-stage acts react with your audience. The larger the event, the larger the delay from the PA back to the onstage act’s ears. A really basic description of this is: if you have a large event and your speakers are far away from the stage then by the time it gets to the performer’s ears they will hear the audio delayed from when it was produced in the microphone. For this reason, you will always see P.A wedges the front of the stage to give the performer a shorter distance to “monitor” what is coming from the stage. In addition, most large events consist of “in-ear monitors”. These devices are inside the ears of the onstage performers to give them specialized mixes, i.e. often a drummer will want a heavy mix of bass guitar and metronome in his/her ear to stay with the tempo. With all of these different playback speakers, you need professionals who understand the science and physics of the way music travels, and the way the human ear reacts to that stimulus. You won’t even notice this is going on when professionals are at the helm.
2. Recording of the Event- It’s amazing that in any reproduction of video with audio in a combined medium, experienced professionals will tell you, “Your audience will excuse simple mishaps in video, but they will never forgive the slightest inconsistencies in audio”. I’ve found this statement to be true in my own personal experience. Just think about the last event video you watched on YouTube, or the last live broadcast you watched on your favorite TV station. It is immediately disturbing to the viewing audience when you can’t hear the performer properly. If you are going to record your live event for future reproduction it’s essential to employ a dedicated audio feed, and take that recorded audio and have it optimized in post-production. Many times there are inconsistencies in timing and noise, or edits that need to be made, and a dedicated professional in audio editing techniques is essential to make your production of the highest professional quality.
3. Getting canceled is never cool, you lose time and money, both of which, we never have enough of to begin with. In almost all locations you may consider renting for your large event, be it a concert, theatrical show, or sports event, you will need to purchase a permit. That permit is going to cover certain guidelines and at its most basic level, will afford use of the venue for a given time frame, and you will be required to abide by certain rules and regulations. Your professional audio team will help monitor noise levels throughout the event to ensure you are staying within those guidelines, and to make sure you don’t exceed your time allotment for those levels. In most cases noise levels vary by area, and time of day. With consultation with your audio team you will be able to better schedule your event so that your audience gets the best experience possible, and you get the least fines possible…and when I say least fines, I mean ZERO.
About the Author: Ivan Walker is a classically trained bassist, Audio Mix Engineer, and owner of the web’s newest most incredible Audio Mix Contest website mixrevu.com. His site features, contests, forums, and merchandise along with articles on in-depth audio techniques for the home studio engineer.