10 Great Ways to Piss Off Your Audio Engineer

These are all things that I LOVE when people do them.

  1. Stand far away from the mic, and definitely don’t point your mouth at it.
  2. If the mic is wireless, definitely hold it like a “cool rapper” and cup the top – not only does it look great and sound great, you’ll be able to smell the breath of the last person before you. And who wouldn’t want that?
  3. Speak or sing as quietly as possible. If I don’t have the gain knob all the way up, you’re too loud.
  4. If you’re using a guitar, make sure the amp is louder than anything else on stage – who else can compete with the drums?
  5. If you’re a drummer, be sure to play much louder during the show than you did in sound check.
  6. Tell the engineer that something doesn’t sound right, but be sure to do it within the first 3 seconds of hearing it – the less of a chance they had to fix it beforehand, the better.
  7. Touch the gear. Isn’t it pretty?
  8. “Oh, that’s the old stage plot. The input list is different too.”
  9. Tell the engineer that it needs to be louder. Much louder. Despite the fact that the speakers might already be catching on fire.
  10. Give the engineer your phone to play a track. Especially if it’s playing something from YouTube, the obvious pinnacle of audio quality.

Audio Myths

To pare down a long (but great) post into something that you might actually read, here are some points about why the Hi-Fi industry is full of crap.

  1. Exotic/expensive cables, interconnects, or power cords don’t make your system sound better.
  2. Expensive CD players do not improve sound quality.
  3. Virtually all audio amplifiers/receivers sound the same (sans EQ). They do not have their own sonic signature that must be carefully paired with speakers.
  4. “Burn in” factor—the idea that speakers or electronics sound better after X hours of use—is likely a delusion.
  5. Expensive vacuum tube electronics may add character to your system, but if clarity (less distortion) and reliability is what you’re after, stick with transistors.
  6. The look and feel of CDs or computers can’t compete with vinyl, which can sound amazing for what it is. But there is no music lost “between the bits.” High quality digital formats are sonically superior to vinyl in every measurable way.
  7. Audiophile higher bit audio formats are not likely to offer audible improvements over compact disc 16 bit/44.1 kHz quality (though there are valid reasons for using these formats in recording).

And I’ll be happy to debate any of those points.

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