Volume is one of the most important aspects to consider when setting up a live sound system. Volume can be used to create dynamics, control feedback, and generally make your show sound better. Volume is also important for safety reasons - it's crucial that you set levels so that attendees aren't at risk of hearing damage or permanent loss of hearing. This article will cover everything you need to know about volume in live sound, including how to set gain levels on stage monitors and amplifiers!
When setting gain levels, always start by finding the sweet spot for your mics. The sweet spot is the level at which the mic produces the most consistent sound quality without introducing too much noise or distortion. You can find the sweet spot by slowly increasing the gain until you reach the point where noise and distortion become noticeable. Once you've found the sweet spot, back the gain down a few dB to give yourself some room to work with.
Next, set the levels for your monitors. You'll want to set each monitor at a different level so that you can find the right balance for your show. Start by setting the main monitors (the ones closest to the audience) at a moderate level (slightly louder than the sweet spot). Then set your wedges at a moderate-to-loud volume, and then your in-ear monitors to be slightly softer. You can increase or decrease individual monitor levels as needed throughout the show to maintain proper balance with the rest of the system.
For amplifier gain levels, you'll want to start by setting the master volume to a moderate level. From there, you can increase or decrease the gain as needed to get the desired sound. Always be sure to monitor your levels closely, and make adjustments as necessary to avoid feedback or distortion.
With a little practice, you'll be able to set your levels like a pro!