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How Live Sound Engineering Works


Other Skills Needed in Live Sound Engineering
The Jonas Brothers play to a crowd during the annual Wango Tango concert.
The Jonas Brothers play to a crowd during the annual Wango Tango concert.
© Charley Galley/Getty Images

Live sound engineering requires solid knowledge of sound engineering equipment, such as microphones, amplifiers, monitors and audio lines. But that's only part of the job. Engineering live audio also requires strong people and communication skills.

It takes a team to stage live concerts, and a live audio engineer is part of that team. But a team must communicate and cooperate to be effective. Live sound engineers need to be well versed in spoken and written communications and have a cooperative attitude to be effective. Spoken communications are important during the face-to-face meetings among all the parties, both before, during and after the live concert. Written communications are important in reading contracts, set-up instructions and requirements and other documents.

A live sound engineer will cross paths with many different jobs in the course of putting on a single event. Venue managers, for instance, make their stages, facilities and employees available to the sound crew and have a vested interest in ensuring the event runs smoothly. But a live sound engineer must treat the premises with respect and acknowledge its ownership.

Musicians, artists and music managers often have strong ideas about how their groups should sound and what they need to be successful. A live audio engineer needs the talent to translate the idea of a sound into an actual sound. He needs patience and perseverance to work with such professionals under sometimes stressful circumstances.

Another party live sound engineers must work well with is the final consumer of their product -- the audience. In the end, the audience's opinion of the sound engineer's work might be the most important -- no matter how well the band plays it doesn't matter if the audience can't hear it to appreciate it. Sound engineers must strive to make every seat in the venue the best seat in the house, at least from an audio standpoint.

For lots more information about sound engineering and related topics, check out the links on the next page.