TIPS on… soundchecking…
Turn up on time! It’s really important to use ALL the available time given to you to soundcheck. If you have never visited the venue before, make sure you arrive earlier than expected (or even visit the venue beforehand so you know exactly where to go on the day of the performance). Generally soundchecks go in reverse order so the last band to soundcheck is the first band to perform (and has the bonus of leaving all their equipment on stage!). If you are going to be late, PHONE the organiser to tell them and also your new expected time of arrival. Do NOT expect to still sound check if you are late, sometimes there just is no time to spare.
Supply a simple spec sheet of your band This will save time at your soundcheck and make your band seem more professional. Just need to supply a simple basic description of how much equipment your band needs, eg 2 x vocals, 1 x drums, 2 x guitars, 1 x bass.
Be polite and assertive about your sound Do not be afraid to make suggestions with regards to levels, EQs and reverb/delays. The sound engineer or team will be responsive as long as you know what you are talking about. DO NOT say “I want my guitar to sound like its flying to the moon”, the sound engineers will be unable to help you!
Stage Monitors Remember to check stage monitors during your sound check. However in smaller venues , monitors can be a pain as they are a source of feedback. Sometimes, there is only a small level that can go through the monitor and if the engineer says it cannot go any louder, he’s probably right.
It’s a soundcheck NOT a rehearsal The important part of soundcheck is to ensure, you can hear your instrument and your band mates instruments and the vocals on stage during your performance. It is not time to perform entire songs and write a new chorus hahaha. Do your soundcheck promptly and then get off stage at your allotted end time.
Respect the sound engineer & be polite Ask his/her name before you soundcheck. Listen to his/her suggestions and ask about your volume settings if you are unsure. If you are polite & respectful to the soundman or crew, they will work harder to make sure your live performance sounds good. . Thank him/her/them AFTER the performance with words and a hand shake (if possible!).
Article written by Chris B (15 July 2010)
Translated into Chinese by Erik Piece