4 min read

D8 Skills #8 | Unit E | Roles for the Gig

Mix Engineer: the mix engineer is responsible for controlling the mix (volume, balance, EQ) using a mixing desk.

Key qualities the Mix Engineer must have include:

  • Good communication skills - the mix engineer will be in charge of a crew of technicians who will be connecting cables and setting up microphones. They will therefore need to communicate clearly and concisely will their team mates to achieve the desired outcome.
  • Able to keep calm under pressure - at a live gig, the atmosphere could be noisy, chaotic and cramped for space, therefore the mix engineer must be able to remain clear headed and calm so that they can make the right decisions and act on them quickly and precisely.
  • Organised - there'll be a lot of inputs and outputs the mix engineer will be in charge of and have to keep track of, therefore they must be organised. This would include being neat with cable management, and being clear with the input list.
  • Competency with the equipment - the mix engineer must understand the equipment they're using, and be able to use it confidently so they can be sure they'll be able to achieve the desired outcome.

Measures of Success:

  • All the instruments are clearly audible, and the band + audience are left happy.
  • There are no audible technical issues during the performance (e.g. feedback, clipping etc...).

Sound Engineer: since things going wrong at a live gig is more of a norm than an exception, the sound engineer is there to fix them.

Key qualities the Sound Engineer must have include:

  • Fast thinking/decision making - the sound engineer must be of the first to identify problems and decide how to resolve them fast.
  • Good listening skills - the mix engineer may give many commands to the sound engineer, and they must be able to comprehend what they're saying so they can act quickly and precisely.
  • Competency with the equipment - since a big part of the sound engineer's role involves fixing problems, they'll need to understand why the problems are occurring and how they could go about fixing them. They'll also need to understand all the different microphones being used, and why they should use which ones when capturing particular sound sources.
  • Patience - when moments of conflict occur, the sound engineer must be patient and listen to the opposing point of view. The gig is not about the sound engineer, therefore they must make their decisions based on what's best for the gig as a whole, not just on what's going to reinforce their sense of self the most.
  • Able to keep calm under pressure - just like the mix engineer [explained above].

Measures of Success:

  • All problems are solved quickly, and by the time the live performance takes place, the issues have all been corrected.

Monitor Engineer: the monitor engineer is responsible for setting up and connecting all the monitors, which include the two PRs, two stage monitors, and one sub.

Key qualities the Monitor Engineer must have include:

  • Neat organisation - to ensure the stage is safe, all cables must be neat and out of the way from potential feet.
  • Understanding of the Equipment - the monitor engineer must understand the equipment so that everything is set up correctly. For example, knowing what the difference between 'HIGH PASS' and 'FULL RANGE' on the back of the sub is, and knowing which one to use in which circumstance.

Measures of Success:

  • All monitors are set up and connected correctly resulting in a stress-free experience for everyone else.

Photographer: the photographer is responsible for capturing the event in visual imagery.

Key qualities the Photographer/Videographer must have include:

  • Good eye for lighting (probably finding good natural light) and framing and an image.
  • Able to nicely edit the photos after the event.

Measures of Success:

  • Great photos have been taken so that they can be used for things such as promotion for future events and so forth.

Drum Technician: the drum technician is responsible for looking after all the drum equipment which includes the setup and maintenance of the kit, and miking up the kit. They should have a good relationship with the drummer they're working with.

Key qualities the Drum Technician must have include:

  • Understanding of how a drum kit is set up (specifically for the drummer they're working with), and how to maintain it. This would include adjusting the heights/positions of the drums, tuning the skins and basic repairs if necessary.
  • Understanding of the microphones used to mic up the kit, and when to use which ones for what things.
  • Polite communication skills - the drum technician must be polite when working with the drummer since they are working for the drummer, not the other way round. This helps the drummer go into the performance with a positive mindset.

Measures of Success:

  • The drummer is happy with the way the kit has been set up and maintained, and are left confident performing for the audience.

Guitar Technician: the guitar technician is responsible for setting up the guitars, amps, and effect pedals for the gig.

Key qualities the Guitar Technician must have include:

  • Competency with the equipment - the guitar technician must fully understand the equipment they're working with so that the guitarist is confident playing, the audience is happy listening, and the mixing engineer / sound engineer can rely on you to properly set up the equipment. The guitar technician should also be able to respond to any technical needs during the performance.
  • Able to play the guitar - the guitar technician should carry out the sound check, therefore should be able to play basic guitar.
  • Have a good ear - the guitar technician must be able to accurately tune a guitar, and be able to carry out a sound check.
  • Able to repair a guitar - this could include replacing a broken string for example.

Measures of Success:

  • The guitarists are confident playing, and the end result sounds pleasing to the audience (e.g. the pedals have been set up well).