LIVE SOUND 101: The Basic Set-Up
A good sound system is essential for all those who either throw events or those who go to events. I can remember all the best sound systems I ever heard because the people who throw the event really knew how to dial in their system into what type of music was playing according to space they were in. A few examples I can give you is the funktion sound system at the Vanguard in Hollywood,CA, the sound system at the Electric Daisy Carnival when they were at the Hanson Dam here in the San Fernando Valley, Southern California, and the Smog L.A. sound system by SamXL, big ups. The reason why I love hearing these sound systems was not because they were the loudest, the biggest or most expensive, but because they where the clearest most detail sounding systems that did not hurt my ears and all the bass levels hit so hard yet did not take any of the detail away from the mids and highs.
For anyone who loves music and loves a good sound system, good sound is not as easy to produce at super high SPL. There are so many factors going into designing a good sound system. You first need equipment, the basic but necessary gear you need for live sound are:
1. Tops and Subwoofers
2. Two amplifiers
6. Cables, speakers and equipment
7. Mixer or Mixing Board
8. Power Conditioner
9. Speaker monitors for your performers
10. Equipment rack and cases
This may sound like a lot, and it is, but without these necessary components, it will be difficult to maximize your sound system. Many people have gotten away with not having all this equipment, but usually that is for smaller events that does not require serious sound pressure levels, such as bars, house parties, etc…. The first thing to do is decide how much are you willing to spend on gear now,and in the long run, what type of music will you be doing sound for, how loud do you want it (SPL), will it be in doors or outdoors, and how will I transport it. Once you answered these questions, you can begin tailoring your sound system. I personally have two sound systems, one for small events and one for larger events. The smaller one, I can fit in my little SUV, while the larger one needs a trailer or so.
A proper sound system has to have dedicated tops to play the mids and highs and a subwoofer to play the 80hz and below. Especially if you play any type of EDM, in particular Drum&Bass, Jungle, Breaks, Dubstep, Glitch, etc… Most topes won’t play below 60hz very well. We will discuss that in our next segment on proper live sound.