How important is the sound equipment that a Performing Artist uses?

"A microphone is a microphone, right? Surely it doesn't matter which one he uses?"

Last night, I went to the London Acapella Festival. I went to see an act that once toured with Michael Bublé called Naturally 7. They were INCREDIBLE. But I couldn't hear anything for the first 75% of the show.

As you can tell from the picture, we were up in the circle seating (and the support act were on stage). Well... unfortunately the speakers for the circle seating were not working at all, for an unknown 'technical' reason. So downstairs it sounded AMAZING. Upstairs, it sounded like you were listen to your neighbours music through your bedroom wall. That is, until they fixed it (at the end of the gig).

It made me think about sound systems and how important they are in choosing a performer for your event. Naturally 7 are an internationally renowned and established act with incredible talent. But what good is that if you can't hear them properly?

"This act doesn't sound very good. I can't even hear them"

So how are YOU supposed to know, as the customer, whether the sound equipment a performer is using is good or not?

"Those speakers will be fine, won't they? They look alright?!"

Well... you're not really. The words 'HK Nano 600' and 'Yamaha Stagepas 500' may not mean anything to you. But what you can do is google it and see how much it costs to buy. Like everything in this world, you get what you pay for. So if an act is really cheap to hire, don't expect Michael Bublé to turn up. And if their equipment comes up as £500 or less in google's 'shopping' section, it's not going to sound like Wembley Stadium.

To give you some perspective, the PA System that I use (Bose L1 Model II with T-1 Tonematch mixer) cost me £2,700 when I bought it. Sure, it still doesn't sound like Wembley Stadium. But I have actually performed at Wembley Stadium...

Andrew Small Vocalist

...and I still prefer the sound quality of my Bose L1 Model II.

A x

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