This week I am off to Millennium Studios for a three-day course on speakers. Not just any old speakers, but Martin Audio’s MLA system. This line array has a comprehensive software based control system allowing you to optimise the coverage for the audience - exactly how it works I should know by next week. But do I really need to know?
Well, in practice, not as much as you may think. As a front of house sound engineer, I rarely actually set up the systems these days, leaving the job rather to a systems engineer from the sound company.
There are several reasons for this. Firstly, system techs get up very early, and spend time I would rather spend in my bunk contemplating breakfast, messing about with lasers, chains and motors. The second, more important, consideration is that my client is the band, not the sound company. I need to push for what is best for the show, not always what is easiest or even most practical. In the past I have found myself making life easier for everyone by compromising speaker positions or quantities. Having somebody to help me rig, I can stand back and take a better overview, as well as adopt a slightly more selfish viewpoint. I can then discuss this with my systems engineer and between us come up with a plan. I often agree straight away with their proposal, but every now and again I will push for a solution that may for them be a right pain, but ultimately will provide better coverage. Knowing you are not going to be the one who is going to have to carry those subs up to the top balcony helps sway the decision!
So, off to Bedfordshire on Tuesday to refresh some knowledge and hopefully gain more! Reports to follow!