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EM Editor's Note: Own Your Stage Sound

July 1, 2011

Who doesn''t love summer? Not only can you finally shake off that studio tan that you''ve been cultivating all winter, it''s also a great time to pick up extra gigs, from club shows to outdoor concerts.

It''s funny . . . onstage, unlike in the studio, musicians tend to take it for granted that sound is being handled by someone else. Granted, running sound in concert venues requires a certain level of experience and specialized equipment that isn''t accessible to many musicians. But just because you might not be hands-on with a P.A. like you are with a DAW, doesn''t mean you''re not responsible for learning your role the sound-reinforcement process, and how becoming a more active participant will not only improve your relationship with the sound engineer, it will actually make you sound better.

This month, we approached veteran club engineers with decades of experience mixing thousands of bands, to learn how musicians can get more informed and involved. (“Is This Thing On?”) They had plenty to say, but the gist was this: Come prepared, and show respect for the process, and for others. Remember that their goal is the same as yours: for you to sound your best onstage. So learn what you can do, to do your part. In the end, everyone benefits.

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