Audio Guide

Basic Outline – Full Page Coming Soon:

Other Production Guides:  LightingLED / VideoStagingBackline

Quick Jump:   MicsPA Speakers and AmplifiersConsolesExamples of PA Sizes

  • Audio Basics
    • How audio is reproduced – normal spectrum of the human ear (20 to 20).  
    • Recommended decibel levels
    • Typical audio elements at a given event or festival
      • Microphones
      • Loudspeakers (or Mains)
      • Subwoofers
      • Amplifiers
      • Mixing Consoles
        • Front of House
        • Monitor World
        • Onboard Processing
          • FOH Rack
          • Stage Rack
        • Show files
      • Monitors
      • Side and front fills
      • Delay towers
      • Power needs
    • Microphones – there are three main types:
      • R-121LGRibbon – operating on magnetic principle, a thin metal ribbon is suspended in between two poles of a magnet, which then vibrates in response to sound waves.   The most fragile type of microphone, these are also used more in the studio, and they often have a fuller and warmer sound than moving coil mics when used close up.  

        • Examples: Beyer M160 / RCA 77-DX / Royer 121

      • U89i_ZCondenser – operating on a variable capacitance principle, a metal coated piece of plastic vibrates in response to sound waves.   The most accurate type of microphone, these are the preferred mics for studio recordings; however, they are not usually ideal for live music as their flat frequency response tend to cause feedback. 

        • Examples: Shure KSM 44, SM 82 / Neumann U87, U89 / AGK 414 / Schoeps CMC 5U

      • prod_img_beta58a_lMoving Coil –  operating on magnetic principle, a copper coil moves up and down a cylinder suspended around a magnet in response to sound waves.  These are the standard for most live music situations, but they are not the best at capturing subtle changes. 

        • Examples:  Shure SM57, SM58, Beta 57, Beta 58 / Sennheiser 421 / AKG D12
    • Loudspeakers or Mains
    • Subwoofers
      • Below is a grid of some common subs:
        Coming soon
    • Monitors
      • Below is a gird of some common monitors:
        Coming soon
    •  Amplifiers
      • Below is a grid of some common amplifiers:
        Coming soon
    • Consoles
  • What level of PA should an event or festival have? 
    • When determining the amount of PA you should have, you need to take into consideration the following factors:
      • How long of a throw do you need?  In other words, how far back from the stage do you need to comfortably hear the music?
      • How many people do you expect to attend and how large of an overall crowd space will there be for the sound to be heard?
      • Are you indoors, where the sound will be reflected off the walls, or outdoors where it will freely go out until the sound wave dissipates?  
    • Small event or festival
      • Very small events  (crowds under 100 people) that aren’t on a large stage can usually get by with something simple like the below – 2 speakers on a stick, simple mixer, and a couple of monitor wedges.   Most audio rental companies will offer a package like this along with a tech, or you can purchase your own for a few hundred dollars.  
        View more about this setup from Amazon
      • Small events (crowds under 500 people) normally will need at least 2 to 4 mains per side and 2 subs to achieve the proper sound coverage
    • Medium event or festival (crowds between 500 and 5,000 people) will need anywhere from 4-8 mains per side and 4-8 subs.   
    • Large event or festival (crowds between 5,000 and 20,000 people) will need anywhere from 8-16 mains per side and 8 to 16 subs. 
    • Very large festivals (crowds in excess of 20,000 people) will likely need additional delay towers to increase the overall throw of the audio to the farthest reaches of the crowd.  
  • How to best work with artists to ensure a smooth show from an audio perspective
    • Advancing with their FOH / PM
    • Making sure everyone knows what they’re getting
    • Seeing if they can work with the PA they are given
  • How to ensure the audio company has everything they need to put on a great show
    • Proper labor
    • Parking
    • Storage
    • Power
    • Meals
    • Shade
    • Credentials
    • Schedule
    • Stage Plots / Input Lists
    • Contacts of the bands PMs/FOH people if necessary
Amp Racks from Monitor World, using an SC48 Console