Live Sound Reinforcement (LSR)

Welcome to the Training & Tutorials page for Live Sound Reinforcement!

We pray that this page will be suitable as a valuable resource for those of us who wish to learn more about Live Sound Reinforcement ("LSR"). 
There is something for everyone, from the very basics to the very complex, as well as advice regarding paths of learning.

This page is intended to be a collection of links to free educational information for the LSR technicians and engineers of the WELS. ...except the textbooks do cost money, as they are hard copies. ...but it is a good idea to own and read at least one textbook. There is absolutely not enough room on this page to explain everything, so this page is limited to supplying links to externally hosted information.


Please commence usage of this page in the "ORIENTATION" section below. Expected total duration for beginners is about 3 hours (two sessions, 1.5 hours each). Expected duration for those who already have a basic understanding and decide to skip to the "Introduction & Prerequisite Skills" session is 1.5 hours. The content is very similar to a textbook experience, but it is free! This carefully-designed Orientation process establishes a solid foundation upon which beginners can build knowledge and upon which experienced techs can sharpen their focus for ministry. FYI, many topics throughout the Live Sound Reinforcement area of the wiki that have proven to be especially helpful to new audio technicians arehighlighted in red text.

Happy reading! Not to us, but to God be the glory!

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TABLE of CONTENTS

ORIENTATION
Session 1: Introduction & Prerequisite Skills
Session 2: Foundation
Next Steps
REFERENCE
Textbooks
Online Libraries
FORUMS
BLOGS
TUTORIALS & ARTICLES on Specific Topics
Acoustics
Amplifiers
Assistive Listening Systems
Audio Electronics Theory
Cables, Interfaces & Transformers
Custom Equipment
Electric Power & Grounding (120 Volts AC, etc.)
Maintenance & Repair
Microphones & Pickups
Mix Console Signal Flows
Mix Engineering
Signal Processing
Speakers & Loudspeaker Arrays

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ORIENTATION (Start here!) - Grand total expected duration: 3 hours.

Session 1: Introduction & Prerequisite Skills
 - Session expected duration: 1.5 hours.
This session is intended for beginners, but may be a fun review for experienced techs too.

  • On the Importance of Reading
LSR can seem like a very complex field because almost everything that we deal with is invisible or abstract. Anyone who has worked successfully in the LSR field will tell you that reading is an important way to learn operations and theory. You are reading this website, so thank you for already having made some commitment to learning! This wiki contains links to videos and audio files. Hands-on experience during rehearsals and events is also extremely important, but it sure helps if the LSR tech already knows what to do before things happen, before walking in to setup for the event or worship service.

  • Free Church Sound Training, by Pro Audio DVDs - Expected duration: 50 minutes.
Please sign up for the video series via email. The author deserves at least that from his viewers, since these videos are free. However, it may take a couple days before receiving a link to each next video in your email. To speed things along, links to all videos are listed here.

Video 0
 (4:03) Meet the Teacher & Intro to Live Sound http://www.proaudiodvds.com/free-church-sound-training/
Video 1
 (10:51) Signal Flow http://proaudiodvds.com/church-sound-in/
Video 2
 (13:57) Feedback, Gates & Compressors http://proaudiodvds.com/church-sound-fc/
Note: It is important to set your input gain ("trim") before setting any gates or compressors! Also, gates & compressors belong to the realm of signal processors that are called "dynamics processors", because their purpose is to affect how loud the signal gets ("dynamics", just like in music theory).
Video 3 (12:46) EQ (equalization) http://proaudiodvds.com/church-sound-eq/

  • Wrapping Cables - Expected duration: 15 minutes.
    • It is important and urgent that you learn how to do this. This is a prerequisite skill. Actually, this is the only Tutorial on a specific topic that is listed in this Orientation section instead of in the Tutorials section below. A common rule in the professional industry: Anyone who does not know how to wrap cables properly is not allowed to touch an audio mixer.
    • It is important to use industry-standard methods to wrap your cables because otherwise...
      • Short version of a long story: Your cables' internal organs will get damaged and they will die prematurely. Sad face. Funeral.
      • Setup at the next event will take twice as long because somebody has to spend so much time detangling the cables that you wrapped incorrectly, especially if it is the snake. Appalled face. Then several minutes of frustrated face. ...on the person who has to deal with the cables that you wrapped incorrectly.
      • If the cables have not been wrapped correctly and you setup without fully detangling your cables, then they will not lay flat and will become trip hazards...
        • If someone trips over your cables, then the cables may be ripped right out of your equipment and the connectors could get damaged. Do you have extra cables to substitute for the damaged ones? If not, then how are you going to get audio signal from point A to point B? And do you have spare parts, a soldering iron + other tools, enough time to repair or install new connectors into your damaged equipment, and the knowledge to do it all correctly? If not, then think about the possible equipment downtime. How are you going to limp through your event?
        • Worse yet, the cables may not detach from the equipment and then your equipment may come crashing to the floor and get smashed. Think about the possible equipment downtime and the costs of repair or replacement. Possibly thousands of dollars. How are you going to limp through your event?
        • Worst of all, someone could get seriously injured. Not merely limping. Medical bills. Lawsuit. Possibly hundreds of thousands of dollars. Public relations disaster for you and/or your organization.
      • If you cannot learn how to wrap cables correctly, then do you really have what it takes to be a live sound reinforcement technician? Stern face. This is not a joke, my friend. At least there are other fun things to do in life besides audio...
    • Wrapping Method #1: "Over-Under", used for most cables. This is the method that all live sound reinforcement technicians need to master.
Video link coming soon. Until then, you can check out these videos...
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-74OEVUOKOw
http://www.productionapprentice.com/tutorials/lighting-grip/the-art-of-wrapping-cable/

    • Wrapping Method #2: "Figure-8", used for very large, very heavy or very long cables that cannot be efficiently wrapped via over-under method. Not an efficient way to wrap most cables. Not everyone needs to learn this, although it is actually much easier than over-under. Also used by video cameraman helpers. Very rare in most church and school situations. Great for wrapping the 5 individual cables of 3-phase electrical power mains ('cuz dey be huge) onto palettes. ...and for garden hoses!
Video link coming soon...
    • You will be able to practice wrapping cables at your next event setup. (Feel free to practice on cables in your home!)
Thank you for becoming a hardcore wrapper. :o)

  • Overview of Event Setup, Operation & Strike - Expected duration: 5 minutes.
Video link coming soon...

Session 2: Foundation - Session expected duration: 1.5 hours.
This session is intended for techs who already have a basic understanding.
At minimum, a "basic understanding" meangoing through th"Basics" session, above.


  • Applying Sound Audio Principles in Ministry (PDF), by Craig Basten - Expected duration: 1 hour.
Document link coming soon...
...as presented at the 2012 “Hearts & Hands of David” Workshop, sponsored by WELS members including the Koine band.
Craig has served as the sound engineer for the Koine band. http://www.koinemusic.com

  • Textbooks - Expected duration: 20 minutes. 
    • It cannot be expressed enough how important it is to receive an education that follows a well-thought-out, logical progression. Experienced techs may find in a basic textbook excellent ways of explaining things to the people they teach.
    • Please check out the list of textbooks in the REFERENCE section below. There may be different books that work better for you than these. You can find these books at most books stores and on most book-selling websites. Textbooks for beginners are often only $10 or less.
    • Please obtain a hard copy LSR textbook, unless you already have one that meets your needs.
  • Forums - Expected duration: 10 minutes.
    • Please consider the Forums listed in the "FORUMS" section below.
  • Using this Wiki - Expected duration: 1 minute.

Next Steps
  • Equipment Manuals - Expected duration: depends upon what gear you have.
    • If you have any piece of audio equipment, then please read its manual. You will be glad that you did! Reading manuals gives you an enormous advantage toward full exploitation of the features and abilities of your equipment to facilitate sharing of the Gospel. You can download the PDF versions of manuals from the manufacturers' websites and save them to your computer, iPad, tablet PC, etc. Also, you can make your own library of all audio information that pertains to your situation, both files on your computer and bookmarks/favorites in your web browser.
  • If you are a beginner and you do not have a textbook yet and you wish to read more, then you can try this logical order of progression for your reading:
  1. Acoustics
  2. Audio Electronics Theory
  3. Microphones & Pickups
  4. Speakers
  5. Amplifiers
  6. Cables & Interfaces
  7. Troubleshooting
  8. Mix Console Signal Flows
  9. Signal Processing
  10. Mix Engineering
That concludes our Orientation sessions, but you are free to continue learning. See you at setup!

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REFERENCE 

Industry-Acclaimed Hardcopy Textbooks
  • Textbooks - Beginner
    • Live Sound Basics (Ultimate Beginner Tech Start Series), by Tony Marvuglio
  • Textbooks - Novice
    • Yamaha - Guide to Sound Systems for Worship, by Jon F. Eiche
  • Textbooks - Intermediate to Advanced
    • Yamaha - The Sound Reinforcement Handbook, by Gary Davis, Ralph Jones [still the "gold standard" of the industry]
    • Live Sound Reinforcement (Mix Pro Audio Series), by Scott Hunter Stark
    • The Ultimate Live Sound Operators Handbook, 2nd Edition (Music Pro Guides), by Bill Gibson
Online Libraries and other Collections of Extremely Reliable Information (alphabetical order)
  • Bill Whitlock of Jensen Transformers (and his colleagues at Jensen)
Overview: Detailed technical information about cables, interfaces & transformers, i.e. "transmission lines".
http://www.jensen-transformers.com/apps_wp.html
  • Electro-Voice
http://www.electro-voice.com/downloads.php?type=PA%20Bible - "The P.A. Bible".
  • Rane
Overview: Technical "white papers" for learning detailed information about specific topics.
http://www.rane.com/library.html - The venerable "Rane Notes", i.e. white papers.
http://www.rane.com/digi-dic.html - Searchable dictionary/glossary.
  • Shure
Overview: Specialists in microphones and IEMs (In-Ear-Monitors).
http://www.shure.com/americas/support/downloads/publications
http://www.shure.com/americas/support/training/materials


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FORUMS
In a forum, you can discuss and explore solutions with other people. These are good places where you can ask questions to experienced audio engineers who care (not that the authors of this wiki don't care - we simply are not as available as the forum participants).

No matter your type of question, it is expected that you first give the situation your best effort before consulting a forum. People who answer your questions are volunteering their time to help you, so please respect their time. Forums are especially helpful if you don't know where or how to look for particular answers.

It is probably not a good idea to use this WELStech wiki as a forum to fix problems, due to the small amount of traffic here. The forums listed below will get your questions answered much more quickly than your fellow viewers of this WELStech wiki (possibly infinitely faster...). These websites also have some good blog-like or magazine-like articles.

http://soundforums.net (respectful & reliable)
http://forums.prosoundweb.com/ (respectful)
http://www.soundonsound.com/forum (website is mainly geared toward recording & musicians)

(This is the same Forums info as printed on the Troubleshooting page.)

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BLOGS
Dave Rat
http://www.ratsound.com/cblog/ (older site)
http://www.daverat.blogspot.com/ (current site)


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TUTORIALS & ARTICLES on Specific Topics

Acoustics


  • Basic Theory
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Acoustics

  • Psycho-Acoustics
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Psychoacoustics
http://avgenius.com/
  • Instrument Acoustics

  • Venue Acoustics (room, outdoor, etc.)
"Your P.A. is RUINING your Sound"
http://avgenius.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=category&id=48&Itemid=61
  • Feedback (basic explanation - see Troubleshooting section, below, for details)

Amplifiers
 


Audio Electronics Theory


Cables & Interfaces
(i.e. Path of the electrons as they happily carry The Word from your microphones to your loudspeakers)


  • Signal Flow (from beginning to end of the entire system)
    • Basic Systems
The classic "Mackie Hookup Guide": http://www.mackie.com/pdf/vlzproseries_hu.pdf
    • Advanced Systems

  • Signal Types
    • Digital vs Analog

    • Balanced vs Unbalanced

    • Levels of Analog Signal (mic, pickup, line, speaker, etc.)

  • Cable & Connector Types, Methods & Pinouts (XLR, 1/4"TRS, 1/4"TS, 1/8"TRS, Speakon, RJ45, shielded, twisted, Firewire, etc.)
See page 3: http://www.mackie.com/pdf/vlzproseries_hu.pdf
  • Interfacing Methodology (where probably 90% of signal problems occur)
    • General
      • Articles by Bill Whitlock of Jensen Transformers. Bill is a trusted industry leader in regard to transmission lines.
http://www.prosoundweb.com/tags/tag/bill+whitlock
http://www.tfwm.com/TFWM-Audio-Newsletter-Articles-070412-Choosing-Cables-by-Bill-Whitlock
    • AES Video Tutorial: Audio System Grounding & Interfacing, by Bill Whitlock
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g9M45U87ybg

    • Microphones

    • Pickups (active, passive, guitar, contact, etc.)

    • Line Level Signals

    • Speakers

    • Details on Signal Grounding and Transformers: "More that meets the ear." 
      (More important than most people realize... who, what, where, when, why, how to use them.)

  • Wireless / RF (Radio Frequency)
    • Are your wireless systems legal?
2010 USA Federal Law: FCC re-allocation of RF bands!
FCC = Federal Communications Commission. The advent of digital television broadcast, plus growing need for other wireless communications, led the FCC to re-allocate some portions of the RF spectrum for different types of use. Especially if any of your wireless systems operate at 698 MHz or higher, you need to learn more about these issues. Also, check out Todd A. Boettcher's PDF "Is Your Church or School Legal?" (attached, below) and Martin Sprigg's WELStech blog post regarding this: Is the FCC coming after your church?

Custom Equipment


Electrical Power & Grounding (120 Volts AC, etc.)

(i.e. "Mains power", electrical power from the wall outlets, what powers all your equipment, 120 V AC, etc.)

  • Important Routines to execute at every new venue, as well as periodically at the venues you use the most.
Confucius say, "Make sure there is enough toilet paper before you sit down."


Maintenance, Repair & Assembling New Cables

  • Wrapping Cables Properly
    Please see the ORIENTATION section of this page, near the top.
  • Protecting & Cleaning Equipment

  • Testing & Inspecting Equipment

  • Assembling new cables
Some experienced techs prefer to purchase a 1000' reel of mic cable and make all their own cables. Jimmy Holub of CrossWalk Church, Phoenix, AZ, did this in year 2000 and, as of year 2013, still has never had a single problem with any of those cables.
  • Soldering


6. The Mix Console
(mixer, board, desk, etc.)

  • Overviews
If you are interested in learning how to work with a worship band, but you do not have a mixer with at least 12 mic inputs, then it would be a good idea to download and read this manual for the Mackie 1604VLZ Pro compact mixer. This manual has been used as a textbook by thousands of people all around the world. The authors of the manual keep it entertaining. ;-)
http://www.mackie.com/pdf/1604vlzpro_om.pdf

  • Inputs & Outputs

  • Controls & Meters

  • Digital Consoles

7. Mix Engineering

  • Sound Check & Gain Structure
http://www.prosoundweb.com/article/backstage_class_alternative_effective_approaches_to_sound_check/P1/
  • Mixing: FOH (Front-of-House, what the audience hears)
    • Basic Mixing Techniques

    • Measuring & Assessing SPL (sound pressure levels, how loud it sounds)

    • Advanced Techniques
http://www.prosoundweb.com/article/a_vocal_effects_process_to_enhance_presence_without_making_the_mix_louder/church/P1/
  • Mixing: Stage Monitors (floor wedges, IEM/In-Ear-Monitors, etc.)
http://www.prosoundweb.com/article/monitors_for_a_singer/live/P1/
  • Signal Processing: EQ (Equalization)

  • Signal Processing: Dynamics (Compressors, Gates)
http://www.audiocourses.com/2012/02/10/audio-compression-tutorial-made-easy-by-producer-karen-kane/
  • Signal Processing: Effects

  • Listening Skills: Software, Lessons & Techniques


9. Basic Mathematics & Electrical Theory for Audio Technicians


  • The Decibel: a way of expressing a ratio

  • DC Electricity: Voltage, Current, Resistance, Power, Ohm's Law

  • AC Electricity: Voltage, Current, Impedance (the combination of Resistance & Reactance)

  • Phase vs Polarity

  • The Audio Spectrum
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Audio_frequency


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