Live Sound / Live Music
Course 14: The Rack – Processing Your Sound

Although a good live sound engineer should always strive to deliver the best possible sound no matter the scale of the gig, it is understandable that high-profile gigs will require a little bit extra in quality and equipment. The small mixer and one PA speaker you got away with for an acoustic open mic won’t be quite enough for a stadium date. To aid in the best possible sound for an event, a series of outboard gear, organized into racks, is implemented into the live rig to process the sound the audience hears.

You’ll learn about the drive rack and all of the components that go into it, including compression, equalization, crossovers, and delays. You’ll also see how the effects rack is used to process individual channels by using mic preamps, EQ, dynamic processors, and other effects. Learning how the amp rack works (and the amount of peak and continuous power it has) will help you take control of how loud the music sounds to the audience.

Patchbays, recorders, and playback should all have a home on your rack as well. Quality is an important thing to remember with every rack component–the better the gear, the better the sound and higher power constraints. Course 14 will show you how a well-organized rack will improve the quality of your live sets.