Setting up the best possible live sound environment

Setting up sound is not as bad as many might think. With the proper tools, a little bit of money, and some time you can give your audience a truly enjoyable experience without the whines, pops, and major issues that comes with reproducing live sound.

The three major parts are the tools needed, how to set them up, and how to use them.

Many think you have to fork out tons of cash to get the job done but I disagree.  I found roomeq from a forum online.  I wont mention them incase they don’t want to be affiliated with any particulars of this blog.  However the software is called “roomeq”.  It’s specific design was based on a rooms tonal differences and the many problems that come with creating the best sound stage possible.  Next you will need a laptop to install it on.  Something newer with a decent sound card will do.  Next, the microphone, cables, and misc gear that makes up the entire rig.  I used a Berhringer ECM8000 mic without a cal file but you can now find these mics under a different name with the Dayton speaker company with a cal. file.  The calibration or cal. file allows the mic to be a true reproduction of the sound but I use the Behringer because it was available at the time and I found a calibration file on the web for free. The other cords needed will be a long mic cord (length is based on room size, I use 100ft for mid-sized churches) a male to male mono headphone cable (similar to what you would use to plug an iPod into a car stereo jack), 1/4 inch adapter, and a phantom mic power source, I used the Rolls mic preamp with 48 volt phantom power.  With these basic tools you should be in the 200-300 dollar range and a good mic stand wouldn’t hurt. I feel that a good mic stand will allow you to place the mic perfectly at ear level.   Substantial 31 band eq’s for each channel is a must, otherwise you can’t fix the rooms eq problems.  I used Peaveys eq’s and Behringer eq’s. PV quality is much better for eq’s than the Behringer and worth the extra money.

Second we need to set them up.  The software is loaded using the instruction that are included. Very easy to load on a laptop.  I recommend using XP for this because Vista has seen problems.  I have two laptops, one for everyday and one for sound equipment and speaker design with XP loaded. This will help simplify the process.  Roomeq is great and FREE! Get it loaded and move on.  Next you will hook up the small male to male mono jack to the input mic and output headphones to calibrate your sound card.  Again its in the roomeq instructions.  Next you will use that cable on the mic jack and hook it into an adapter for a quarter in jack.  This will then plug into the ROLLS mic preamp.  The preamp will need a power jack so don’t forget that.  The next thing is to connect the mic, mic cord, and Rolls unit up.  All very easy if you are any kind of sound tech or musician.  Position the mic on a stand and get it ear level to the audience.  If you are in a stereo environment do one side of the room at a time. If not then just set it in the center.  Do this for the platform speakers and the mains.  This will take you some time to get all positions equalized properly.

Using the equipment is the most difficult.  You will need to familiarize yourself with the software and this takes time.  Don’t get frustrated but slow down and learn how to adjust each frequency to get rid of room nodes.  I have several videos to show this process because well just reading about it is difficult.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5pLsIhrNOgw Mains Real Time Analyzer (roomeq)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oMDVZR0WIU0 Monitors Real Time Analyzer (roomeq) Shows how to adjust eq’s!

Good luck, keep practicing (even sound techs/DJ’s need it)

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