They can sing and play multiple instruments but sometimes have no idea about using a PA system which is in fact the other instrument they will use on the day. So with that in mind, if you are about to launch your solo career at a local venue it pays to really learn how to set up and sound check your sound system so it enhances your performance rather than detracts from it.
Whether you have a single speaker, or have 2 speakers and foldback with a mixer, it is important to take some time to learn how to get the most out of your PA. Learning about gain structure, EQ and effects, mic and line inputs will stand you in good stead. One key thing I would encourage any solo performer to learn about is gain structure. It is the first step in mixing and the one thing to get right, after that it’s a matter of how you want the system to sound. There are plenty of articles around on gain and I will touch on this in the next blog. Mixing can get technical so at first just get used to what the faders and knobs do.
Here are four basic preparation tips for the first-time solo performer:
1. Visit the venue prior to the gig or performance to check the load in and parking, particularly if you are bumping in on your own or will be playing at a time when it will be busy with patrons
2. Check where your performance area is located and where the power outlets are – you want to make sure your power leads are long enough so that they don’t pose a safety hazard
3. Get yourself a trolley – believe me, you will need it! If you are bumping in on your own, you want to make minimal trips (preferably one!) so you don’t have to leave your gear unattended at any time
4. Look after your leads and cables. Wind them up properly at the end of each gig and always carry spares.
In our next article, we’ll talk about gain structure and provide some easy tips on how to quickly set up your mix for your performance. If you are looking for a compact sound system for your solo performance, check out our performers and bands page or contact us if you’d like some help or friendly technical advice.