October 21, 2015
People love being outdoors and it’s a part of our natural heritage, from camping trips and family BBQs to large sporting events held under open skies. A concert in the great outdoors offers a unique experience to the crowd, but represents many challenges for the organizers. Sound in the open air needs particular attention. Otherwise, the entire experience can be ruined. High frequencies can be ripped away by the wind and sound needs to reach the whole crowd, but not bother the neighbors. Luckily, there are an abundance of strategies and technologies that can be used nowadays to ensure you consistently get fantastic sound at your outdoor venues.
Account for Mother Nature
Atmospheric conditions make their greatest impact on mid to high frequencies, so ensure you have read the forecast before tuning your equalization settings. If it’s going to be a really windy day, consider that the wind can blow away your high frequencies. If the speakers are directed one way and the wind is coming across that path, there will be a lot of lost high frequencies that won’t reach the crowd so it may be a good idea to have your speakers aligned with the wind direction.
Humidity is another factor that needs to be taken into account as it affects frequencies at 2 kHz and above. The higher the frequency beyond this point, the greater the effect will be. If you don’t have the budget to hire professional staff, contemplate using processor presets. These can be used by less technical employees (of course, with at least a basic understanding of sound) who can press a few keys depending on the weather.
A small outdoor concert doesn’t represent the same sound challenges compared to a large open air stadium or amphitheater. The more sound equipment you have, the higher the chances something is going to fail. You cannot have your employees or worse, an audience member alert you to a misfiring piece of hardware.
If you have the budget for it, consider getting a telemetry system. This equipment will supply to you information for all your remote gear. It will let you know things like a loudspeaker’s temperature, output level and impedance and can go a long way to pinpoint where a problem may occur and resolve the issue before it causes any disruption to your live event.
Mind the Neighbor
When planning an outdoor event, your venue will be rarely surrounded by large open fields, so you need to ensure your sound system does not disturb the surrounding houses, business and other institutions.
First you need to consider who your neighbors are. For instance, are there a lot of historical buildings in adjacent area? In this case, you have to think about the sound effect on insulation-less, single pane windows. You cannot in this case simply crank up the noise, but rather would need to use sound modeling and perhaps loudspeakers on trusses to direct the sound exactly where it needs to be heard.
Another piece of acoustic strategy that will be helpful is using line arrays or column arrays, which basically allow you to direct the sound from your loudspeakers to a more specific area. The output from a line array or column array is very wide and may be even controlled width with a very narrow vertical dispersion pattern. When used with trusses they can be lifted and directed at the audience with very little sound going beyond the last rows of the venue. Line arrays also have increased numbers of high frequency drivers, so this can help over come the high frequency loses do to the wind and weather.
At an outdoor concert, you cannot always accurately predict the weather conditions or stop all sound from reaching the neighbors, but there is a great deal of equipment out there to help you minimize weather-related disturbances to your sound and to direct the sound where you need it to go. Plan ahead as much as you can and direct your sound so the audience can hear it really well but no one else can.
October 13, 2021
Let’s face it, feedback is a nightmare. No one likes a squealing mic stealing the show in the middle of an intimate ballad or a heart-felt anthem. When you first start out on stage, feedback can seem mysterious, but once you’ve got a handle on what causes it, it’s not rocket science to prevent it.
Here we’ll go over a few basic, common-sense mistakes that cause feedback on stage.
October 07, 2021
For some, which gear to power up first is common sense. Others couldn’t be bothered to pay attention to such trivial details. Some may know which gear to power up first but not why, and for some, this may be the first you’ve heard of this question.
Whatever the case, we’ll go over the proper power up sequence here and explain why it’s important.
September 29, 2021
The WM5 Wireless Microphone System will transform your existing wired microphone into a wireless microphone, giving you the freedom and the simplicity you are looking for. The 5GHz frequency band offers excellent range up to 200 ft and is less crowded than the 2GHz band, reducing your chances of interference from other wireless audio gear. The extremely low noise design and compact size coupled with an intuitive set up makes going wireless an easy process.
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"Make a joyful noise unto the Lord all of the earth; make a loud noise and rejoice and sing praises. Sing to the Lord with the harp and the voice of the psalm." - Psalm 98:4-5