When preparing for a show, there are certain things you need to do to have a stress free gig. One of them is to carry out a sound check. When done properly, it gives you confidence that things will run as planned. In this article, we have compiled a long list of sound check items to give you an idea of what you can add to your pre-show routine in order to get things running as smoothly as possible.
Sound Check Checklist
• Power up all the equipment gear in the correct order. The power amps should be powered on last.
• Check the power lights on your equipment to ensure they are on.
• Check instrument microphone if they are placed or set properly. These include drum microphone, guitar amp microphone, speaker microphone and much more.
• Have spare microphones in your place in case the one you plan to use malfunctions during the show.
• If you are using wireless batteries mike, check them to make sure they are working properly.
• Check direct box connections including, output jack to output cable and input cable to input jack.
• Check the volume on bass guitar to make sure it is balanced with other instruments.
• Check monitor master volumes to make sure they are working properly.
• With mains turned down, set the channel gains and monitor mix levels.
• Check mute groups to make sure channels are assigned to correctly and for easy volume control.
• Check Subgroups to make sure correct channels are assigned to correct sub-group.
• Set house mix and overall volume.
• Check and adjust equalization for each channel.
• Make sure the channel layout on house mixing console is in order. For example, you can place drum microphones channels together, vocals next to each other etc.
• Conduct a rough volume balance. Make sure lead vocals appear on top and other channels fall in place.
• Blend and contrast channels which involve backing singers blend, making sure lead guitar stands out over rhythm, etc.
• Confirm musician roster and song list.
• Place your mic and transmitter pack at front.
• Place your handheld mike up front in the correct mike stand.
• Place floor monitors close and in-line to musicians. Make sure the personal mixer channels are correctly labeled and routed if you plan to use in-ear personal mixing systems.
• Setup CD or DVD recorder if you plan to record your gig. You can use the CD recording instructions sheet for details on how to handle that.
• Perform safety check while you are on stage. Ensure walking paths are clear of any obstacle that may cause accident or injury during your performance.
• Go around the room to ensure sounding mix is distributed evenly. If it is not, make mix adjustments if appropriate.
• Tidy the stage where your gig is going to take place after sound check. This involves removing cables, cases and other unused components from the site.
• Also, when the sound check is complete, play any background music on CD to test if your sound is working properly.
While we don't expect every band or musician to incorporate everything on this list (or even half of it), it has hopefully given you an idea of what sort of things can be done before your own show in order to better prepare. While spontaneity might be cool once the show starts, no one wants their time wasted by an unprepared band!
For more tips, check out our Musician Resources page!
Your Turn to Sound Off!
What are some of your own pre-show sound check items that you would add to our list?