How Can I Improve Sound Quality for a Live Performance?
January 15, 20202 min read
When performing live, it can be tricky to achieve a clear and pleasing sound experience for your audience. Even if you like what you hear in your monitors, this doesn't necessarily translate as the best possible sound perception to your listeners. Read on to learn four ways to improve the sound quality of your live performances.
Curating your live sound begins with the fundamentals of using quality instruments and proper tuning. Quality instruments create clear harmonics and produce consistent sound. For example, a good guitar will be accurate and consistent anywhere you play it throughout the fretboard. Well-made professional instruments will also be easier to tune, and they'll maintain the tuning more accurately throughout your performance. This is essential when time is limited.
Preset Your EQ
It is ideal to arrive as early as possible to do a proper sound check. Whether you are using an audio engineer or handling the live sound yourself in a small environment, take the time to EQ your PA system and monitors. After you find your optimal EQ settings, save them as presets in your hardware. EQ adjustments may be required when variables are added such as the number of people who are actually in the room, but using presets will give you a great foundation.
For the best quality, you'll need an audio engineer specializing in live sound. Acoustic elements in a live performance are very different from those encountered in a music studio. The way sound reverberates and propagates will vary from venue to venue, be less controlled than in a studio environment and fluctuate throughout your performances. There are many variables that need to be addressed in real time. Audio engineers who specialize in live sound will understand this and be able to think on their feet.
Use a Supercardioid Mic for Vocals
Live performances, especially those performed in front of a large audience, can get noisy and drown out the vocals if you’re not careful. In order to prevent other sounds from bleeding into them, it is important to use a supercardioid microphone to isolate vocals in a live setting. Additionally, if you are doing a multitrack recording of your performance, this will make for a clearer mix in postproduction.
These are just a few elements that contribute to creating quality live sound. It is unrealistic for you to spend your time and effort worrying about every aspect. Do your part by being prepared on your end and hiring an expert engineer so you can focus on your performance.