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Sound Advice

Achieving Consistent Live Sound by Bruce Drysdale

“One way to solve extreme volume and equalization problems concerning P.A. systems is to disperse the volume in the building more evenly by trimming the volume on each amplifier for individual loudspeaker cabinets.

Each cabinet should have its components – horn, mid, bass – adjusted concerning volume, and aimed/positioned (possibly rigged from ceiling) to suit the audience in that specific direction. For example, if you have a stack of 3 cabinets, the lowest cabinet closest to the audience would be trimmed in volume, the next cabinet higher would be louder so that the audience further back could hear the sound equally like the closer cabinet volume effect on the closer audience, etc… One way to adjust this kind of set-up would be to walk around the arena while a CD or cassette is playing, adjusting the system accordingly.

Please keep in mind that the overall volume could change once the audience is in place. (one way to refine adjustments during the show is to ask the P.A. company assistant to walk around the building confirming earlier adjustments and to relay any changes that may be needed.)

The above process of trimming amplifiers for individual cabinets should be done in combination with mixing and adjusting the E.Q. on instruments. The goal that is achieved in this process is to make the sound consistent at the console (mix position) as it is in the rest of the room, and for the audience.”

Bruce Drysdale – Drysdale Production Services, live sound engineer for Anne Murray and Roberta Flack.

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