I'm thinking of ways to ensure my band sounds great at every gig. I found a digital mixer called Behringer XR18, which is capable of setting up, saving, and restoring stage presets at a click of a button. My assumption is that if we hired a proper sound engineer to set us up once and save it as a preset (or a number of presets in case we need more), we would be able to go to gigs and sound great, giving the sound guys a stereo out only, and ask them to handle the drums.

I know that different stages require different sound. As far as I know, stage sound engineers traditionally handle this mostly with the channel eq controls of their mixers as well as lowering the volume on the bass if the room is bass-heavy, or making the vocals / sologuitar louder if the room diminishes highs. This is a very simplistic generalisation of course, and I may be wrong in these assumptions. I would be happy to learn where I'm mistaken.

I would think that if I gave them a stereo out, EQing that stereo signal would achieve a similar EQ envelope that sounds good in that room without messing up the balance between the instruments / vocals.

This would also fasten the setup process, as this particular hardware has 6 buses, so we would be able to pre-mix our monitors as well. In this scenario, we would take our own guitar amps, and they would go directly to the sound card without a mic set up.

Do you think this is a reasonable assumption, or are there nuances that I haven't taken into account?

2 Answers 2


It's going to get you close, but will still need tweaking for each gig - it might be better to get it right at some of the regular gigs you do, and save those. The sound guys will be able to give a general nudge eq-wise, to the sound you have from the mixer, so you'll generally be in the right ball park, more with balance between mics, instruments,etc. Although that will need tweaking during the gig. Sound checks are o.k., but usually done in an empty room, the acoustics of which will change, sometimes drastically, once it fills with audience.

On the occasions I've had to use the in-house p.a. and operator, quite a few have not been happy ones, as the sound guy seemed to have his own agenda. When I worked as sound guy, my preference for sound was always second to that of the performers. Some were happy to let me get on, others very exacting - and rightly so!

So, it's not as simple as setting it all up somewhere and thinking the job's done for ever, and handing the sound guys two leads! You'll still need to get that radio mic, or remote plug for guitar, and wander round the venue, and show the sound guys that you know exactly what you want. Also, don't forget that speaker configuration, amp placing, monitor siting, will all have a sometimes drastic effect on the sound - both on stage and auditorium, necessitating fiddling with your mixer...


This assumes that your band will sound the same every time, and throughout the entire performance.

In practice, on every gig I start out with a slightly different setup, and I keep having to adjust the mix throughout a performance. These are subtle changes, but sometimes 2 dB is the difference between having a guitar nicely embedded in the mix or not audible at all.

You'd have to be very careful with instrument presets (synth sounds vary massively in volume, guitar effects too, for instance), but you may be able to arrive at a set of presets you can use without changing the mix.

Voices would be the most difficult to accommodate, as they're the most prone to variation.

The sound engineer will also want to finetune the EQ for each channel to rule out feedback (which depends on the room characteristics, microphones and loudspeakers used, etc.

As an engineer, I wouldn't be a happy camper if a band pitched up at my venue and gave me a stereo mix from their XR18.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.