Sound person as part of the band

ncc

Silver Member
There has been a lot of discussion about volumes, mik'ing, and so forth.

Is there any kind of trend today for bands, even small clubbing bands, for using a dedicated sound person/engineer (who owns their own gear) that is a true part of the band (as opposed to hiring someone when needed). With all the new innovation around boards, connectivity, recording, and other technologies, seems like doing sound is as much as art as playing bass, guitar, drums...

Add that to the fact that number of boards today that are affordable, high end, low end, analog, digital, monitoring, etc and that there is a significant learning curve to being proficient. Not to mention the sound person really can make or break a band in a live setting.

Thoughts?
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
Absolutely. Worth their weight in gold. A good sound man is a beautiful thing, the crowning touch to a band. A good light man and you got it going on.
 

Dr_Watso

Platinum Member
I've even met a few small bands who have a dedicated guy. He usually helps setup the lights and banners as well, and is typically a good friend of the band as well... Maybe that counts more as a roadie than a sound guy, then?
 

Pocket-full-of-gold

Platinum Member
We've often used the same sound guys over the years and many times their role has been not only sound, but all the other cartage and stage hand jobs too. At other times we've also had band member run the sound for smaller gigs et al.

Never considered making a dedicated sound guy "a part of the band" as such, though. What does that entail? Is he required to show up to rehearsals when the band does? Does he chip in money for studio/rehearsal rooms or promotion or any other band expenses? Personally, I'd find it easier to keep musicians and crew in defined roles. Pay 'em the agreed rate and walk away when the job's done. Use the same guy as often as possible, by all means. But if it were me I wouldn't over complicate the relationship.
 
Last edited:

ncc

Silver Member
What does that entail? Is he required to show up to rehearsals when the band does? Does he chip in money for studio/rehearsal rooms or promotion or any other band expenses?
I guess that is was my question. I'm just curious on what others are thinking. Is this going to be a wave of the future and is anyone doing anything like this yet? Or is it the expectation that a sound person is a hired gun and is expected to have read the 100+ page manual that came with the board, knows all about effects, compression, ...

If the person goes to school and learns his trade, owns the board, set up wireless controls, shares all expenses, records all practices, etc., it's more like the studio engineer who has that trained ear and technical know how, rather than the guy that just turns up this or that.

It seems to be good in their role as the rest of the band they would need to invest in gear, practice and rehearse as much as the band, and ultimately be part of the band. There is no right or wrong answer here, just something to think about next time you sit the guy hauling in your equipment behind a 2 or 3 thousand dollar board (which we all have done) with the power to make you or break you. ;-)
 

JimFiore

Silver Member
This brings up some bad (and some good) memories. In the 1980s I ran a sound company with a friend. We had a very nice PA, I had designed the loudspeaker system, we had it down to a science. We were professionals. We were hired to do a job and we took it seriously. We might have been friends of certain players but we never considered ourselves part of a band. Around that time many bands had a "sound guy" who was usually a friend of the players and knew a little about hi-fi gear. Generally, they knew squat about PA, mixing or engineering although they often called themselves a "sound engineer". They were a huge headache for us. Sometimes we would get called in to fix existing problems or just mix with existing equipment. The stories I could tell...

Like the guy who insisted that the house graphic EQ had to be set up so the sliders looked like a sine wave because "sound travels in a sine wave".

Or the guy who kept the main FoH power amp at the mix position and fed the loudspeaker signals back down the mic snake.

Or the guy who fed the output of the monitor amp into a graphic EQ and then into the floor wedges. And this was a large regional act, people who should know better (we were called in to mix a supporting act we knew).
 

Blisco

Senior Member
We have a dedicated sound guy. It's really great to know you can count on him and the product he/we deliver. He is also a roadie. The singer owns the PA and we all act as roadies lol.

Now, there is a time when he will have other commitments and we have to use a sub. Not a problem. Our system is 95% dialed in and requires little to function and tune.

As the '5th' member of the band, he is compenstated equally with a slight bump for doing most of the heavy lifting. I'm fine with that because I have a kit to set up and mic.
 
Top