Before an event, I know what equipment I will be using and the bands or musicians I’ll be working with. I usually get the rider first, and I start to prepare. If I will be working with instruments I haven’t worked with before, I do some research; the best mics to use and how to mic it. I research the bands and listen to some of their music.
Regarding the equipment, the first thing I always do is to read the mixing console’s manual. Consoles are usually similar to one another, but I find it so helpful to set my session and just to be clear about how the console works. If needed, I watch some tutorials, and if I have any concerns, I consult my teachers. I also read about the PA system and monitors, especially the frequency response graphic (I love them!).
I like to make diagrams using paper and pen, creating an input list including the channels the microphones/DIs, sends to FX, the monitors and how many XLR lines. If it’s going to be recorded, I set up my session in Pro Tools to save some time also. This way, when the day comes, I’m as ready as possible. I always make changes, but that’s part of a live show. These diagrams save me some time and unnecessary surprises.
The day before the show or even the same day in the morning, I prepare all the equipment and get as organized as possible. I care about everything I use. When I begin to set up the stage, I also like set up in a specific order: first, the mixer. From here, I make all the necessary connections. I always have on my mind basic advice from one of my mentors: anytime you feel lost, just remember the path of the signal. And during set up the last thing to turn on is the PA system and monitors and the first thing to turn off after a show is the PA system and monitors.
Brenda Oyola is a sound engineer who was born in Colombia and now living in Spain for the last 12 years. She studied Audio Production at SAE Institute in Madrid and graduated two years ago. Though she’s happy working in recording and post-production, her true passion is Live Sound. Brenda has been working around the country as an assistant and technician. She also has a deep interest in acoustics and enjoys listening to music. Though she has a long way in front of her in this spectacular industry, she hopes to keep the same passion that took her into this business and will keep working hard to make herself a great sound engineer.