Lectures and practical work. Students will work alongside the instructor with a small portable PA to gain experience of the basic principles and to learn how to deal with sound reinforcement in a range of small-to-medium size acoustic environments and for diverse applications.
1. Equipment set up
- FOH mixer, power amplifiers specification (e.g., power rating, impedance; matching with loudspeakers), speaker systems (including line arrays), monitor sends, wedges, balanced and unbalanced cables.
- The decibel and signal levels, voltage and current, signal levels and impedance, balanced and unbalanced connections, grounding, transformers, AC safety, power requirements.
- Speaker alignment and placement, feedback elimination, monitor positioning, amplifier levels.
- Instrument specific, hand-held, headset, lapel, boundary, radio microphones.
- Direct Injection (D/I).
- Room acoustics, standing waves, phase summation and cancellation, absorption, reverberation, critical distance, inverse square law,
- The effect of audience on acoustics, seated and non-seated events, sound pressure levels and howl-round. Room modes.
4. Assessing a Space
- Loudness requirements, feedback and potential system gain, acoustic/amplified hybrid situations, frequency response, time delay, speech legibility, critical distance, health and safety.
- Signal flow, gain structure, line levels, mic levels, pan, routing, EQ, DI, microphone choice and position for different instruments, aesthetics, styles and levels. Working quickly to create a mix and adapting to different genres of music.
6. Sound checks
- Sound-check procedures, musician psychology, setting monitor levels. Monitor position and spill, controlling feedback. Adapting between the sound-check and the live event with audience.
- Diagnosing and dealing with common faults. Soldering, tinning, ground loops and lifting.
8. Recording Live performances.
- Taking a feed from the FOH console, interfacing with a laptop computer
Students will understand and be able to source and set up equipment appropriate to a range of small venues (e.g. small club, coffee shop, town hall, worship space) taking into consideration the different acoustic, musical and social parameters involved in each case.
They will be able to set up and test a sound system for a range of small venue applications showing due regard for health and safety procedure (SPL, lifting, electricity and crowd safety). They will understand the basic signal flow of a FOH (Front of House) and fold back audio systems and be able to diagnose and respond to technical faults quickly.
Students will understand and operate a small vocal PA to create viable sound reinforcement over a range of contrasting material (e.g., string quartet, solo performer, band, small jazz ensemble, choir, spoken word).
They will be able run a sound check with consideration for the performers’ needs and use both musical and sonic criteria to set up viable FOH and monitor mixes using audio processing, as required.
Tests/Quizzes (minimum of 2) 30%
Midterm practical exam and written paper 30%
Final practical exam and written paper 40%
Textbooks will be assigned at the discretion of the instructor. The following texts serve as examples:
Yamaha Sound Reinforcement Handbook (Hal Leonard Publishing, current edition)
White, P., Live Sound for the Performing Musician (Sanctuary Publishing, current edition)
MUSC 1270 or permission of instructor