Being a good sound professional on a local level is a lonely endeavor. There seems to be no end to self-proclaimed experts and a similar string of bands who “do our own sound”. Rare is the local guy (more rare lady) who really knows their stuff and applies it to the benefit of talented local acts and venues. There are many colleges offering degrees or certificates in the field and some are certainly quite good. However, what’s a local band to do? It seems years in the business is no guarantee of quality. They could ask for one of those degrees or certificates but that’s not always going to exist outside major entertainment centers. A good sound pro is like any other sideman for a band. Best is solid recommendations by trusted colleagues. Second is the audition. Why shouldn’t a band ask for a trial run either at a practice setup or one-off job that’s not critical? At a minimum, a good, all-around sound pro for a local band should be able to:
1. Mix the music in the style the band wants. Not everything is rock n roll.
2. Get the sounds, vocal and instruments the band likes. If you’ve got a crap amp, a good sound pro should tell you.
3. Find and either fix or patch around several common problems
4. Get a good, feedback free, monitor mix (mixes). Within reason.
For bands that say “we do our own…” I absolutely defy them to accomplish those 4 fundamentals with any consistency/quality.