Musicians: How to Sound Better Live

You’re in a band and you have live music performances.  But, like most independent bands, you’re probably wondering if you really sound good.  A simple answer to this is are people booing you off the stage?  Probably not, so how can you really tell if your band sounds good live and what can you do, or what do you need to improve your live music performances?

It is important that you are using the right equipment, which you should ensure is in proper working order and on-key and that your instruments, including your voice, are on-key.  Other essentials are the performance itself, are you really reaching your audience?

Basic Equipment

Focusing on the proper equipment is probably one of the most important concepts to ensuring your band’s live music performance is top-notch.  As you probably already know, the main pieces of equipment you need in a live band most often include:

  • Guitars
  • Bass
  • Drums
  • Keyboard

Technical Equipment

While these are all very important pieces of equipment, you should really consider some of the other technical aspects of your band’s live music performance.  For instance, are your microphones in proper working order?  Do you have the right amplifiers to best portray your sound?  Are the accessories needed up to code, such as your drummer’s drumsticks?  To go further in depth, you should also considering purchasing, if you have not already, the following:

  • Mixers
  • Full outboard equipment
  • Extra cables

Microphones and Extras

When it comes to microphones, make sure that each person who will be singing has one.  It also doesn’t hurt for those who aren’t singing to have one as well to help provide better communication between each member and the sound engineer.  Remember, however, to get mic stands as well to prevent the mics from always having to be held.

While each person should monitor and care for their own equipment, it is important to ensure that every member of your band has what they need.  For example, are the drummer’s sticks broken or cracked?  Does the guitarist need new picks?  These are essential in making your band sound great during a live music performance.

Last, but certainly not least, you need to have enough cables, and backups, in case something goes wrong.  It is better to have too many than not enough, and in most cases, you will need more than you think you do.  So, plan ahead and take extra!

Mixers/Outboard Equipment

When it comes to mixers, you need to make sure you have the proper size necessary for your performance.  Be aware of how many tracks the band will be performing, so you know the mixer you have is big enough.  Alongside this, the sound engineer will need outboard equipment to assist in the mix.  This can include a large effects rack equipped with compressors, multi-effects and gates.  Some digital mixers come with the compressors and effects installed, which makes for easy use of them during the show.  For example, the Roland M-400 already have them installed.

Live Performance Essentials

Finally, the most important step to sounding better during a live performance is the performance itself.  No matter how good your band is, if it’s terrible to watch, your audience will forget about how you sound.  Ensuring that you practice movements you will use on stage, and where each band member will be positioned can greatly affect the way your live music performance goes.  Combined with the right equipment, having a semi-choreographed performance will provide your band with the opportunity to sound better live!

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