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Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Simple and Solid Tips to Improve Your Sound During a Live Performance

While it isn’t difficult to control the way in which your music sounds on a recording, live performances are a completely different story.

When you record music you have to opportunity to manipulate and clean up sound that isn’t clear or of a low quality.

Live performers on the other hand do not have the luxury of editing and fine-tuning their sound quality. These performances require musical artists to make adjustments for different venues and to coordinate the sounds of different instruments.

For musicians looking to improve their live performances and to overcome these challenges here are five tips for better sound.

Relative Instrument Volume

One of the most basic and critical aspects of live performance quality is relative instrument volume. Ensuring that no single instrument overpowers the other elements of a band is key to having a clear, unified sound.

Often times drums and guitar amplifiers overpower vocals, making them sound scratchy and drowned out. This is especially true within small venues as drums tend to be the loudest instrument on the stage. Practicing your performances and having your drummer learn to play at lower volumes will keep your vocals from becoming secondary and unheard.

In terms of guitar amplifiers, advise your guitarists to keep them at a medium level to avoid sacrificing the sound of the other instruments. If the high volume is an integral part of the guitar’s sound, Audio Issues suggests pointing the amplifiers away from the audience to lessen their impact on the rest of the band.

Microphone Positioning

The way in which vocalists utilize and manage a microphone onstage greatly impacts the sound it produces.

One mistake that many vocalists make is choking up, or positioning their hand too far up the microphone. If your hand is wrapped around the microphone covers up its rejection feedback system, making it difficult for sound technicians to manage the volume.

Essentially, doing this will either make your mic screech with feedback, or make you sound muffled. Neither of these things are desirable.

Inadvertently pointing the microphone at a monitor is another source of unwanted feedback. Avoid relaxing your arm or gesturing with the microphone near a monitor; otherwise you’ll deafen your audience with feedback.


The way in which you adjust the levels of your equipment will depend upon the size, shape and acoustics of the venue.

In particular, pay attention to bass during sound checks. If the room you’re performing in swallows up bass you may need to turn the bass amplifier up a few levels. On the other hand, a room with loud bass may require that you turn down bass amplifiers to find a clearer sound, one interment you won’t have to worry about is the Solinst model 122.

The same goes for adjusting the treble, altering the pitches of vocals and drums and eliminating microphone feedback. Using an equalizer to find the proper levels for these settings will help your performances to have a more consistent sound regardless of the shape or size of the venue in which you are performing.

It can often be difficult to generate a clear and quality sound while performing live. For musicians looking improve their sound, the aforementioned tips will make your live performances much better. You want your fans to get the most of your performance, so be sure to follow these tips to always keep them coming back for more!

Courtney Gordner is a journalist/blogger with a passion for music! 

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