The Basics of Testing Audio For Speaking Events

If you google search high and low, you will find tons of material on Testing Audio, Audio set-up and how-to guides and tip videos on specific gear. But you will not find anything specific to testing and setting up audio for a Speaking Event.

Everything out there is mainly focused on setting up for bands, music, performances stuff like that. There's nothing specific to Speaking Events. In mid-size to large venues that will have 2-8 JBL speakers spanning across the room with 1-4 microphones set up for a speaking panel, or a key-note speaker.

This post will be a very basic overview of what to do to test Audio for a Speaking Event such as the one I mentioned above. Hopefully this will help you understand on a low level, what you'll need, what gear to take, and what/how to test what you have. IMG_3413

Checklists

Always have procedures, it's time consuming, but you only have to make the procedure the one time, then it's done and made for the rest of the runs, and you re-use that one procedure, so it's worth the efforts in the end.

What do you need checklists for?

  1. Which gear you need to for the event/practice
  2. The procedure for setup/breakdown
  3. Use and how to use the different gear

For Checklist #1

you can check off the list as you pack up the van and get ready to head to the event/practice. Take all gear that is going to be used at the actual event, like a rehearsal dry run of the actual.IMG_3419-Edit

For Checklist #2

you take notes as you set up and teardown and create a procedure and step by step process of the most efficient and practical way to set up, conveniently and professional.. and speedy. Most of the time the venue will give you allotted time for set-up and breakdown. So make sure you practice setting up at practice it takes a lot longer than you'd think.

For Checklist #3

Anything that has to do with audio MUST be tested, it's a lot of hard work, some may thing it's extra work, but it needs to be done. Take every piece of equiptment, gear and back-ups that you would need for the actual event day.

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Make sure as you're practicing audio not to forget to test the audio on the camera you'll be filming with (if doing so). Make sure to run the AUX cables from the Mixer directly to the camera, plug your headphones to make sure the audio is coming through and that it sounds crisp, and clean. If there's any hiss or pink noise you'll have to trouble shoot, play with the different cables to find out which is causing the noise. It could be as simple as a bad connection or a crossed wire, or cord in the incorrect input or output.

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Double Check

Make sure when you're testing everything, if it's your first practice or run through to have the whole team there to see how things get done ro should be done. Everyone on the team should understand and know the procedures. Even if the audio guy already practiced the mic check, have the back-up audio person start over, and double check the audio for themselves. It doesn't hurt to start over return the gains and audios to the starting point and do the entire process over your self.

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Microphone Check 1,2 1,2

The most important part of the audio check is the microphone check. Without this check you're screwed. When you get to the main event and you have the speakers ask you "aren't we going to do a mic-check?" You should never be thinking "oh, crap how do I instruct and provide a mic-check!?"

As the speakers arrive, go get them, if they don't come to your headquarters, and mic them up. After you mic them up give them clear instructions on what time the mic check will begin and what it will look like for them.

How to Properly Perform a Mic Check

  1. Each speaker who will be speaking at the actual event should have a chance to run through a mic check
  2. Have each speaker talk at the volume they'll use during the actual speech, talk, performance
  3. Try to make them laugh, laughs are usually very loud and may cause

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