**The following is an article contributed by High Notezz, a free-lance writer based on our shores. High Notezz has spent a large part of his life delving in music, and spends an equally significant part of his time writing articles ranging from letters to the press, to feedback to government bodies, to car reviews, to inspirational notes etc. He also renders his non-music related professional services to people who are in need of his help. High Notezz speaks from his own interpretation of life, music and love; and any resemblance to people, persons or events past or present is purely coincidental. High Notezz welcomes all feedback or correspondence and is happy to answer any questions. He can be reached at Highnotezz@gmail.com.
SOUND CREW – Myth or necessity?
Music only sounds as good as it should be if it has the right vehicle to deliver it. Picture this: you buy a Ferrari and it sits in your garage, raring and eager to go. The engine is highly tuned with 490 horses under the bonnet. But if you don’t have a driver who can drive it, and drive it well, the Ferrari is as good as a display toy car on your living room shelf. In the same vein, if you buy a lovely Louis Vuitton bag but keep it in your closet, its probably a big waste. The LV bag is better off on your shoulder, glittering in the lights of cosmopolitan Singapore.
That’s the way High Notezz looks at sound systems and sound crews. Imagine attending a concert with feeble sound? Or remember those times when all you heard was the guitar strumming away and drowning the poor singer? Of when those feedbacks made you cringe and put your palm to your ear? That is what can potentially be the end result if “sound” is not treated with the correct respect.
Music uses sounds to bring pleasure to our ears, and its no wonder then that the best concerts always spend hours and days doing up the sound setup for maximum enjoyment for the audience as well as the performers.
Most hotels are not set up properly to support a “live” performing group. One could possibly get by with it if the set up was small – say just one vocalist and one musician. But any bigger, it will become a compromise however way we look at it.
The components of a sound set-up broadly consist of:
1. Sound engineer
2. Stage monitors
3. Individual instrument amplifiers
4. House monitors
5. Sound Control console
You may then wonder – “wah.. why do I need such an elaborate set-up for my wedding? Why spend the extra money?”
High Notezz will tell you if you prefer not to spend on sound crew, you could either:
1. Choose a small set-up like a 2-piece
2. Play CD
So it sounds all good that a 2 piece could get away without a sound crew. But how would a 2 piece sound in real life?
Well, High Notezz was at a friend’s wedding and we were privileged to watch 2 very talented people on stage – a female vocalist and a guitarist. It was nice and good for the first 15, 20 minutes. But before long, it became obvious the audience was getting tired of hearing the same voice and the same instrument and the same style. High Notezz was still enjoying the music but a friend on my table suddenly looked on stage, eyes blank and said “ When are those guys stopping huh?”
You see, as human beings, our ears are a window to the world. We listen, concentrate, absorb and decide if what we hear is music to our ears. Too much of a good thing becomes bad, hence a 2 piece group’s greatest Achilles’ heel is its inherent lack of variety and vibrancy, the essential elements to a sustainable and entertaining music performance.
Hence, High Notezz always encourages wedding couples to choose performance groups with a variety of members – the most basic is to have 2 vocalists – male and female – so at least our ears can be treated to different voices and tonality, as well as duets.
Better still if there could be more musicians to back up the group – you get more punch, better delivery and better entertainment.
So then, sound crews become crucial the bigger the set-up.
The sound engineer’s primary aim is to ensure a balanced stage mix – that is to say everybody on stage can hear everyone else clearly and at the right volume so performance is optimised. The engineer then concentrates on sending a good sound mix to the house speakers, which is the sound the audience eventually hears. The bigger the ballroom, the more house speakers are needed. The engineer also adjusts the individual volume levels, EQ and reverb settings for each vocalist and musician so that the best sound possible is delivered to the house.
Top class players perform and sound best by working synergistically with professional and experienced sound crews.
It is an essential element of any concert set-up and all good bands take to the stage with some form or another of sound crew. And High Notezz always recommends good bands for your wedding.
Your wedding is once in a life time. Let good music be a part of your wonderful memories!