Sound system set up is important for soloists

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.


The restack is over but don't get caught out with wireless frequency blackspots.

Visit the  wireless mic hub  on the ACMA website for info on the frequency ranges

Visit the wireless mic hub on the ACMA website for info on the frequency ranges

All performers love to work with wireless mics. It’s just an automatic request these days, especially if they are a lead vocalist in a band who doesn’t play an instrument, or a performing artist.

We invested heavily, as with many other sound hire companies, in updating all of our wireless gear last year to ensure we were compliant with the new frequencies available in south-east Queensland after the Federal Government’s decision to sell off certain bandwidths. However, it’s important to note that there are still pockets where only the high-end wireless systems are guaranteed to be safe to use without potential interruption from other wireless users, and the Gold Coast is one of those areas.

The integrity of the sound system and quality of the level of service we provide is paramount to us and so we make sure that we get it right every time for our clients. Doing your research on wireless frequencies before an event is extremely important. 

There are other similar areas around Brisbane and the Sunshine Coast which can cause issues for wireless users. Having worked in these areas we have found it vitally important to ensure we had the right wireless microphones available for the event. ACMA provide fact sheets on their site explaining the spectrums that are now available since the January 2015 change and also provide more detailed information at the suburb level for all capital cities including Brisbane in a downloadable spreadsheet here.

If you are planning an event of any kind and need a sound system, give us a call or email, we would be very happy to chat to you about your requirements and provide advice regarding the technical aspects you may need to consider.     


Planning an outdoor festival with performing artists? Here are 7 tips to help with your planning.

Sound check for 'Latin Mafia' at the Italian Festival, Broadbeach, Gold Coast in March 2016

Sound check for 'Latin Mafia' at the Italian Festival, Broadbeach, Gold Coast in March 2016

We have provided the sound hire and audio production for many outdoor events involving live music and performers through to MCs with roving microphones and many other requirements. From our experience, there are some key points that make these events run smoothly and that make our job of providing exactly the right equipment and a first class mix easy.

1.       Start planning early. Contact your sound hire provider early to provide a preliminary quotation and confirm with them as soon as possible so they can lock in the crew and equipment for your event, especially if it is to be held on a holiday weekend such as Easter when both crew and equipment may be in high demand.

2.       Appoint a ‘live music coordinator’. It is much easier to liaise with one person who can be the single point of contact for both performers and your sound hire company providing the sound and engineering. If you have a very tight program and a multitude of artists with differing requirements, this simplifies the communication process extremely well not only during the planning but during the event.

3.       Request technical specs or riders from the artists in advance. Whilst a preliminary quotation can be provided, inevitably until it’s known exactly what the artists or performers will be using in terms or instruments and what they will require regarding vocal microphones, it’s not possible to provide a firm quotation. This is where the Coordinator comes into their own – there may be some careful and diplomatic negotiation with the artists required at this stage if not all of their requirements can be met due to budget or programming. However, the sooner this can be finalised the better so that not only microphones, but foldback, Dis, and lighting can be decided and confirmed. One rider request that has become famous in the industry is the one by Van Halen which you can read about here … there was more to their request than just being fussy! It’s a lesson well learned.  

4.       Lock in a runsheet for the program as soon as possible. The number of artists and change over times will dictate how many stage crew will be needed to ensure all acts are up and running on time and that there are no technical problems. Therefore, firming up the artists and performance times as soon as possible is important so that crew can be contracted and locked in and any adjustments to the original quotation can be negotiated in advance.

5.       Ensure there is adequate and safe power supply. We will always provide you with the power we require to safely run the sound system we have quoted on. It is imperative that there is safe access to the required level of power, whether it be a generator or other power source.

6.       Prepare a safety plan or appoint a safety supervisor. Outdoor events always look like disorganised chaos. However, it is important that a key person knows what is happening and when and provides the necessary direction and coordination to ensure the ‘work safe, home safe’ motto is observed. 

7.       Communicate with your sound engineer on the day. This seems like a no-brainer, but it is equally as important as the previous points. With live performance, things will always change. The unexpected will happen – a performer may be sick, someone goes much longer than their allotted time, the weather changes during the program, and so on. Regular and ongoing communication before and during the festival is paramount.

If you are planning an outdoor event of any kind, give us a call or email. We are very happy to discuss your requirements with you.   


Want crystal clear sound for your special day? This is how we do it …



We have all been to a wedding ceremony where the bride looks a picture and the setting is beautiful but we can’t hear a thing that is said. Or worse still, there is squealing or feedback from the microphone that is being used – everyone jumps a mile or covers their ears, waiting for the next bout! You may be surprised to know that it won’t break the bank to have a simple sound system that can be either DIY or professionally operated to ensure all of the ceremony can be heard by all of your guests, and any special songs or music can be played at the right times in your ceremony – and no nasty feedback!

Here are two options you can consider. If your budget is limited, or you have a small intimate ceremony planned, then our celebrant or do-it-yourself sound system may be all you need. With a light-weight speaker which can be either battery-operated or mains power, and your choice of either skin-tone headset microphone or hand-held wireless microphone, this system can be easily set up and operated by one of the bridal party or your celebrant. It comes with an iPod connection so you can also play your special songs. A delivery and pick up service from your ceremony location is included in the price.

If you are planning a larger ceremony – say upwards of 50 guests – or there may be some background noise at your ceremony venue making it hard to hear, then our larger fully-operated system is the perfect option. Our operator sets up the speakers in the best location so that your vows and special songs can be heard by all, and will look after the placement and operation of microphones for you and your celebrant, and also for any readings. We will also play ambient music before and after your ceremony for the enjoyment of your guests.

Read what some of our happy couples have said about our service. Visit our website, Ceremony Sound, that is dedicated to our special wedding sound system services. Ring or email us – we are more than happy to talk to you about your needs.       


PA or sound system?

‘PA’ is a very common term used when hiring speakers for an event or show. But ‘P.A.’ is actually short for ‘public address’ which refers to a system that is usually used for speech only. So 'sound reinforcement system’ is better although ‘PA’ is now widely accepted. Just remember to describe what you want to use it for.

So with that in mind, if you wanted a PA system to use for announcements at a fete, an outdoor sporting event, or public rally, for instance, you would more than likely need speakers specifically designed for that use. The good old 100 volt line system would be best to use for these situations.

If you want to play music as well as make announcements then you would more than likely require a different type of speaker which could handle both.

With regards to sound reinforcement for bands, DJs and live music, this requires a lot more power and will usually involve sub woofers which are added to enhance the bass frequencies that this music requires.

We'll go into each of these systems in our coming series of blogs - next one will be on band sound reinforcement. In the meantime, if you are planning an event and need some help in deciding what you need, contact us and we will be only too happy to help you!