We’ve learned why we need to have a soundcheck, and we’ve learned what I consider to be the difference between a line check and a soundcheck. So now it’s time to get into what else needs to happen during the soundcheck.
In Part 2 we talked about what a line check is. It is when we check all our inputs to make sure we have signal, and maybe set a little bit of gain. But today let’s start to actually get our settings proper.
My preference is after going through each input and doing a line check, and getting a bit of a gain settings going on each input, I will ask the band to play through a song. Our band at church knows that during this song their monitors will not sound great, but this song is to get a proper gain setting on each input so that we can get the monitors set properly. So for the first song I go through each input and make sure my gain setting is where I want it to be. I do this because as I said in the last article, I find I get a more accurate gain setting when the band and singers are actually playing through a song than if I just ask them to sing for me during the line check.
I can usually get my gain settings set in one song, sometimes I ask them to play the song once more. I know my settings are still not 100% after that first song, but they are pretty close. Then once I have the gain settings set I can go through each singer and ask what they need adjusted in their monitor and get a more accurate setting for them. If I try to set their monitors without having the gain settings set properly then everytime I change the gains I will affect their monitors as well, therefore basically doubling my work. All while doing this, the band can be setting their personal mixers as well, sometimes I get word from the band that one of the inputs isn’t coming through as loudly as they need, or something is way too loud, so that is something else that needs to be fixed right away so we can get the band hearing themselves properly so they can practice the songs.
Once the band has played through 3 songs, (or the same song 3 times) I find we basically have things set. Not the mix (is the mix ever really set? lol … maybe another article for some time), but getting the gain settings proper and their monitor levels set allows them to feel comfortable to really start rehearsing their songs knowing they can hear everything properly.
Once the band can hear themselves, I can start EQing things, compressing things, adding effects, basically thats when I start mixing things.
That ends the soundcheck part. The big thing that I want people to take away from this mini series on the Soundcheck and the importance of it is that we need to get the band comfortable first. If the band isn’t comfortable then they will not play properly and the mix will not come together properly. So get the band comfortable first, then start mixing and it saves all of us time and energy, especially in a church setting where our musicians are often volunteers donating their time and talents for us.