In preparing for any event, the unexpected will inevitable occur. Therefore, it is always good to have a back-up plan. We have prepared a few of the most common “unexpected tragedies” to help you become more aware and equipped to deal with the unexpected next time you are planning an event… Because you never know!
With any outside venue or event there is a chance you may have to deal with wind noise. When using a portable sound system of any sort, wind can be a main source of disturbance. Wind noise holds low frequency bass content, often being described as a “rumble” sound. If wind is something you may find yourself up against, it may be a good idea to come prepared. Placing a windscreen tightly over the head of the microphone will ensure a clearer sound, eliminating large gusts of wind, and diffusing the air more evenly. The mesh of the windscreen helps to minimize “popping” and other sounds that can derive from wind, while not affecting the actual speech or voice being projected into the microphone.
Interference is an unexpected challenge you may encounter when holding an event in an area populated with any wireless technology. Simplified, interference is the audible result of two or more wireless waveforms conflicting between the same signal. Large cities with numerous television stations, or radio broadcasting companies, can take up a large percentage of wireless channels in your geographic location. If you experience interference, we first suggest you change the wireless channel (on both your unit and mic), to try and find a clear signal. One of the 16 channels is almost always clear, so be sure to try them all. In the event all channels have competing signals, we always suggest you carry at least one wired microphone that can be plugged directly into your system. Plugging the microphone straight into your portable sound system or PA system will avoid relying on a wireless connection, removing all chances of the interference happening.
How to Have the Best Acoustical Coverage / Speaker Set Up
Acoustics, speaker set up, and live sound can vary immensely depending on the individual event being hosted, as well as the size of the venue, the amount of sound equipment you have, and audience size. Generally, with most events you’re going to want to make sure sound is distributed evenly wherever audience members are present, allowing everyone the same hearing abilities. Traditionally, this would exist of your main sound source or sound system being placed at the front of the event or venue. Speakers are usually placed at an elevated level, allowing them to project sound from above down into the crowd, rather than at ground level. The acoustics can vary depending on if the venue is inside or outside, so this could affect where you place your speakers as well. We do recommend that all of your systems face in the same general direction, because facing systems directly at each other can result in feedback or a distortion of proper sound.
Insist on sound checks! Sound checks ensure all microphones and sound systems are connected and working properly. If you do a sound check before your event you can be confident in knowing you will not have to worry about the levels and balance between your inputs, voice, music, and speech. When performing a sound check, make sure that you not only test the microphones, but test them from the distance and place you will be using them for your event. Using wireless microphones too close to their amplifier or speakers can result in feedback. Checking the microphone placement is one of the most important things in a sound check, followed by placement of speakers, and checking of live instruments. Sound checks only take a moment, are certainly worth it!
Besides feedback and interference, the next most common issue event planners encounter is a low battery. Making sure all of your sound equipment is fully charged the night before your event is crucial. That sounds obvious, right? Believe us when we say, many people forget. How long you can expect your batteries to last is dependent upon which system you have, where you store your system, and how often your system is used. Although we recommend to always keep your battery powered portable sound systems fully charged, we also suggest you always have extra batteries on hand for microphones, beltpacks, and any other accessories. The last thing you want is a microphone to cut out in the middle of someone speaking because the batteries are out of juice.
Assistive Listening / Hearing Impaired Audience
Assistive Listening Devices (ALD’s) are worn by hearing impaired individuals and function by capturing a specific source of desired sound and transmitting it to a receiver. The receiver of that unit then directly in-turn sends it right back to the user’s ear without including any distortion, interference, or background noise. As a public speaker, you should be aware of the possibility of hearing-impaired audience members, and should have a solution readily available. By being prepared and having assistive listening devices available, you can encompass your entire audience and rest assured that everyone has the best experience possible. Anchor Audio manufactures assistive listening devices that can be wirelessly paired with the AIR transmitting units, a transmitter beltpack, or a base station to establish a seamless connection to a sound system or PA system. Compatibility wit the AIR wireless transmitting units is simple, reliable, and easy to use.
Having a Playlist Pre-Selected
Whether your entire event itself is centered around music, or if you are just planning on playing small clips of music in between to fill certain blocks of time, it is always best to have a pre-selected playlist of music on a USB drive or smart phone. This allows you to easily connect your device to your sound system. Knowing your audience, and trying your best to identify with your guests tastes, can set the right tone for your event. A good playlist is absolutely vital and will fill in any unexpected downtime.
With every step you take to make sure you are fully prepared, the less you will have to worry about at the actual time of the event. After all, you should be able to enjoy an event you are hosting, not be stressing about everything working properly or not.