What is the role of a Sound Engineer at an event?
A sound engineer is responsible for ensuring that the sound during live performances is of the highest possible quality. During larger events, they are usually assisted by audio technicians.
Sound engineers normally specialize in operating either on-stage sound for the performers to hear themselves or in managing the sound the audience hears, known as front of house.
Before the event takes place, the sound engineer might work with the director, sound designer and producer to plan the sound for an event, to include music and sometimes sound effects. They also assist with the preparation of the “Sound Plot” or script. This is a detailed plan that ensures that everything happens at the right time during a performance. Sound engineers may also collate additional recorded segments to be played during the event. They also ensure that all the equipment is in good working order, and attend rehearsals with the artists to plan the set-up and changes required for the performance, and prepare cue-sheets.
On the day of the event, a sound engineers oversees the installation and setup of the sound reinforcement and mixing equipment, including the sound mixers, processors and any playback equipment. They also participate in sound checks with the artists before the performance; and work as part of a wider team, which includes lighting technicians and the director/producer.
During the event, the sound engineer works from the mixing desk to control and balance sound levels, adding processing as needed to microphone and instrument feeds, such as equalization, echo and other effects. They also implement the changes to the mix as detailed in the Sound Plot throughout the show/event. Sound engineers also work around any problems that may arise during the performance.