Lecturers - Mark Lindsay and Andy Wardle
The Sound Re-Inforcement module is delivered in three learning outcomes, which are as follows
LO1: Prepare for a live sound event.
LO2: Assemble, test, fault-find and soundcheck a sound reinforcement system.
LO3: Operate a sound re-inforcement system for a live sound event.
This module was truly fascinating. As well as the core elements, we also had the opportunity to help run sound for a drum clinic, set-up the stage and microphones for Music department events, and had a visit from BlackBox Pro Audio who brought along their new D&B J-series rig, alongside desks such as the Allen & Heath DLive s7000, Avid S6L and Midas PRO2. Photographs can be found at the bottom of the page.
LO1 - Event Specification
We were given two events, with budgets for each, and tasked to source a full FOH PA system, mixing desk (and periphery), microphones (as well as stands and XLRs) and monitoring system.
The two events I was asked to do were a Traditional Music gig (Event 1), with a £42000 budget, and a Rock Music gig (event 4), with a budget of £12000.
At time of submission for the Graded Unit, I have only done the specification for Event One, which can be found at the bottom of the page.
LO2 - Live Analogue Ticket
We started LO2 by looking at signal path in a simple PA system, which is the following:
Voice -> Microphone -> Wave -> Process (amplification) -> Amplified Wave -> Speaker.
Amplification takes place in two locations;
In the mixing desk when the signal goes through the pre-amp, taking it from mic level to line level
In the power amplifier, where the signal goes from being at line level to high level.
Moving on, we began to go through the way a live mixing desk works (specifically the Yamaha MG166CX analogue desk). We then moved onto the cabling system, looking at the Stereo outputs, plugging them into the multicore, and into the processor on the stage.
We then looked at, and discussed the purpose of the processor (sends Mid and high frequency to the 'tops' amplifier, and low mid and low frequency to the 'subs' amplifier.) The PA system used was a Yamaha club system PA.
Once we had a firm understanding of the system, we carried out our tickets, ensuring we complied with correct procedures:
Turn desk on.
Establish signal at unity gain.
Turn processor on.
Turn amps output down, then turn amps on.
Turn each output up to a reasonable level, check each driver/horn in all speakers.
Bring channel fader on the desk down, keeping the master at 0.
Turn amplifiers up.
Bring channel fader up to reasonable level.
I passed my ticket on the 14th November, 2018.
LO3 - Run a live sound event
For this learning outcome, we moved onto working with digital mixing desks - mainly Midas M32, Behringer X32 and X32 Compact.
We covered how to setup these desks, route the channels (either local or AES50 A/B), how to access the effects units and send signal to them, as well as learning how to use the gain, EQ, compressors and limiters.
We then learned how to label the scribble strip, assign colours and assign channels to DCA (essentially groups). We then learned how to select and load scenes, as well as saving them.
Once we were confident with this, we then sat our LO3 Assessment, which was a band in a box, which we had to mix using appropriate effects, then send the vocal to the vocal monitor. We then did a second run, with a changed element (in my case, one of the guitars on stage was far louder than it had previously been) and we had to adapt to this new scenario, ensuring the mix was still good.
Ouside of class time, I engage in sound re-inforcement contracts of my own. A showreel of my work for one client (The Berwickshire High School) can be found here. As well as musicals, I have also undertaken work with bands such as The Coostie Folk, Elephant Sessions, The Sensational David Bowie Tribute Band and Nick Harper. Further details on my previous work can be found here.
On Saturday, May 18th I will be in Glasgow at the O2 Academy with indie heroes, 'Fatherson', which will be my biggest job to date. I will upload a blog post about this event afterwards.