10 golden rules for dealing with sound technicians

10 golden rules for dealing with sound technicians

Congratulations! You and your band have gotten yourself a gig, and the organizer also booked a PA and sound technician. This doesn’t mean you can just sit back and put your feet up, but instead you should consider what you as a band can do, so that your upcoming collaboration with the local sound technician runs as smoothly as possible. Other than that sound technicians have an affinity towards coffee, cable clutter and ponytails, here are 10 golden tips to consider.


  1. Out of respect you should first and foremost show up at the venue on time to load and setup your equipment. Nobody likes to wait, and neither do sound technicians 😛
  1. The “grumpy sound guy (or gal)” is more the exception than the rule. A good sound technician basically herds your band’s sound together, and much like a good sheepdog is a social being who would react positively to a personal approach, such as “Hello, my name is .., nice to meet you”. I know: sounds crass, but just give it a go.
  1. This leads us directly to the next point. Try to remember the sound technician’s name after your official introduction, so instead of addressing them by “hey sound guy!” during sound checks, you can address them respectfully by their first name.
  1. Prior to this, you, your manager or agent should provide the venue and sound technician with a technical rider. Make sure that it has all the information and is up to date? Nobody likes to do unnecessary work, not even sound technicians.
  1.  Sound check time is not rehearsal time. If you still need to work on a song, complete the sound checks first. The sound technician is there to readjust individual signal levels, check monitors and adjust the FoH sound. Then, if there is time, you could perhaps in consultation with the sound technician, use that time to rehearse.
  1. An essential action to take during the sound check is to play the opening song of the gig! This way the sound technician will know exactly what to expect. Do you have an intro? Then now is the time to check the sound and volume.
  1. Even if the sound technician knows all your songs, it is preferable to give them a setlist. And it also can’t hurt to include small notes to point out solos, desired effects or other song specifications.
  1. Try to maintain visual contact with the sound technician during your gig, especially for monitor requests. Every experienced sound technician is a specialist in nonverbal communication. Hand gestures will generally suffice.
  1. When the gig is over and the sound technician and venue have treated you well, then it certainly can’t hurt to offer some assistance in dismantling cables and stands etc. The live scene is smaller than you think and cooperative gestures are definitely remembered among sound technicians and organizers, and may very well have a positive effect on re-booking.
  1. After you cleared the stage of your backline, you can certainly ask the sound technician for their opinion on how to improve the sound of your band, the backline or song arrangement. After all, a good live sound is still the band’s best business card.
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Lawrence started playing the electric guitar because of his passion for rock music. Back in the day he played in a metal band, but now plays more for himself.

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