DISCLAIMER: I don't regard the touring sound industry as any part
of the problem of bad audio at tiny, local venues. Large national
and international touring sound owners and operators react to market
forces, client requests, managers, and a lot of other pressures,
sometimes from people unqualified to be making artistic decisions, but
all large touring sound companies
share the common desire and directive of providing the most excellent
possible, given the combination of circumstances they face. By
time sound operators get to work in the larger touring sound companies,
usually trained and capable. Some big shows are great, some are
and some are bad, but usually not because of the issues addressed on
THIS RANT is directed at unqualified amateur sound operators
who victimize art and artists by dabbling in a technical field for the
wrong reasons, and who in my opinion, should seek other ways to meet
performers, such as in the autograph cue.
Live performance sound is definitely NOT a glamour
profession. It pays insulting wages, requires hard physical labor
and long hours, and is highly technical. Nerd heaven in fact.
To be even half-way decent at live sound, operators MUST have
college level study of physics, acoustics and electronics, AND
comprehensive knowledge of hundreds of types of music, along with
appreciation of all those types. It also requires the operator to
selflessly subjugate ego and defer to the task of supporting the art
and making the artist comfortable. People who can not or will not
see the job in this framework, are NOT QUALIFIED to be live sound
operators, and should do performers and public alike the favor of
seeking a non-destructive occupation.
THIS RANT is not directed at any person, individual or
entity, but at the people who forever dabble instead of actually
learning their craft
and who are part of the reason the House Of Blues can get all the sound
they need for $10 an hour, and part of the reason I've measured sound
several HOB venues at 1000 times the acoustical power needed to produce
permanent hearing loss.
Contained in the following page are suggestions that define
and clarify the job of live sound operator, and are intended to help
produce better live performance sound everywhere.