Working in the Live Sound Industry
With a shift into the technology and information age, it has become overwhelmingly easy for an artist or musician to produce, record and distribute their music. You no longer require anything more than a microphone,audio interface and a laptop with audio and music editing software to produce or record your own music. So where does this leave the sound engineer that would have spent hours in the studio to get that perfect take?
Start out small:
If you’re thinking of getting out of the studio environment and into the live event or nightlife scene, you will need live sound equipment. Professional audio visual equipment generally has high price tags due to being on the road and taking punishment from the environment or outdoor events, so rather invest in a small professional sound system and upgrade your equipment as the company grows. You can start out with two full range cabinet speakers, an amplifier suitable to drive the speakers, a good quality microphone, sound mixing board and cabling, plenty of cabling.....
Don't over extend yourself :
Your first event should be small, but will offer the biggest learning curve such as dealing with attendees of the events, reading the crowd,and communicating with artists or client. Offer to do the sound for a friend's birthday party or gathering, rather than taking full responsibility for bridezilla's wedding.
Requesting a technical rider from the client will always be in your best interest. The technical rider specifies the equipment needed for the event and not supplying the correct equipment could result in artists not performing or sound not being efficient for the area or a request for a refund.
You're the light guy for the job:
As a sound engineer, you will most likely double as the lighting engineer for smaller events, lighting being a specialised field.Invest in lighting, smoke machines and DMX controllers. Offer the client the full package and increase your sources of income.
Understand it’s not just about the live events and parties; there is a business side as well. Site inspections,booking of events, quotations, invoices, bookkeeping and repairs all come with running a live sound company. Make use of short educational courses to increase your all round business related knowledge. Once the business is turning a profit, employ a staff member to handle the bookings and client relations.
Upgrade and expand:
Investing in professional audio equipment will result in equipment lasting much longer, but it’s in your best interest to keep up with current technology and trends. Increasing and upgrading the size of your live sound rig will improve audio and visual appeal and turn over a bigger profit,but should be done moderately and only when needed.
All about a good mix:
To manage your own company takes a lot of responsibility. It takes time, determination and patience to run a company successfully. Having a good attitude and being punctual and professional will help you retain your existing customers and producing great live mixes will help expand your client base.
It's 2am - you have just got home and your ears are ringing. You are still humming the chorus of that awesome band that you engineered; you're tired,but in a few hours you're up and at it again. I guess you run a live sound and events company?