Soundcheck Guide: What To Check First?

For this article a rough guide on soundchecks mainly aimed for those of you who need to set up the sound of their own band during gigs (and rehearsals) without the help of an additional soundengineer.

Start off with your vocals, get the lead vocalist the sing on their own. Once sound is there, get the lead vocalist to sing along with the drums (either whole kit of just the parts you are miking up) Because all the various sounds need to be in balance with the drumkit’s volume level, it is important to spend the time on getting the levels of the kit right, next to all the other sounds.

Once vocals and drums are in balance, get the bass to play along with the vocals and drums.
Once these three are in balance add guitars. Guitars are the easiest, you will always hear them, because they sound bright, regardless how loud the guitar player plays. Try to match the guitars with all the other sounds. Check for the moments when guitar will play solos usings single notes, this level may need to be a bit higher compared to playing chords. The guitarist should get a good, balanced sound from his/her amp, once this is in place, the overal sound of guitars through the P.A should be fairly easy.

Once all instruments are in the mix, play a few songs, or just parts of songs, look for the loudest parts to get the levels of the P.A in place. Every song does have different dynamics, and you need to set the master volume of the P.A in such a way that it can handle the different dynamics, since you cannot correct once you start playing during the gig.

All of this can be rehearsed during rehearsals, the sound may not be the same, as the rehearsal room is probably smaller than the gig venue. The procedure will be the same, and once people get into the routine it will make life easier, and you will get your sound much quicker.

Happy Sound Checking.
Hope to catch you soon again,