How audio can make or break your event

How audio can make or break your event

The right sound is evidently important in the event industry. However, audio is not always something event organisers think of at the beginning of the event production process. Audio can actually make or break your event.

Imagine organising or attending a conference where the audience in the back of the room cannot hear the keynote speaker clearly. In this case, the goal of the event (transferring information) is not met because of a “failing” sound system. Or imagine a live music event where the music is not loud enough and therefore not inviting enough for the guests to hit the dance floor. Or if the sound is not clear in the back of the venue, people will move to the front of the hall with a possible catastrophic crowd crush as a result.

Good sound is often taken for granted, but bad sound is something people will definitely remember. You can lose a lot of audience engagement on something ‘simple’ like audio. Let’s take a closer look at the importance of audio at events.

What are the most common mistakes in audio at events?
Sound is not as simple as one would think. The most common mistakes made when organizing an event are:

  • Using the wrong audio system for the type of venue
  • Not enough sound pressure for the type of event
  • Wrong sound coverage
  • Not taking the inns & outs of the location into account
  • Not taking the local rules & restrictions into account

What can you do to avoid these mistakes?
In order to achieve the desired effect on your audience it is most important to make an audio plan at the start of your event production. In this plan you determine the number and the position of the speakers needed to create the right sound pressure, the right coverage and audience experience. An audio plan simulates the actual event, to give you a good idea of the audio necessities.

Important elements to incorporate in an audio plan are:

  • location/surroundings
  • regulations or restrictions
  • type of music or style and artist line-up
  • set design: determines the height of the set
  • set layout: are there VIP/sky decks to be taken into account?
  • what is your target group?

How can you increase audience engagement?
Audience engagement is key for a successful event. To achieve this, contracting an experienced audio designer together with the event production manager is essential. Together they have all the necessary knowledge of the audio equipment, coverage, newest technology, regulations and restrictions and all technical input to create the perfect event.

Why do you need professionals with the right knowledge?
Nowadays the impact of noise on our hearing ability is a hot topic. Exposure to excessive noise levels can cause serious damage to your ears. Therefore safety, health and environment regulations and restrictions are becoming increasingly important. In The Netherlands there is a covenant on Prevention of Hearing Impairment, which has been revised on the 6thof December 2018. In this covenant the maximum exposure to noise for an adult is determined at an average of 103dB(A) measured per 15 minutes.

Good sound designers have the knowledge of these restrictions and can simulate when noise maximums are met. They are also essential for the health and safety of the crowd, artists and staff behind the stage. Professionals can provide noise cancellation systems by incorporating cardioid sound solutions, for example subs to the front and to the back. This requires extensive knowledge on audio equipment, regulations and the effect of sound.

Unlimited Productions houses experienced production managers and works with experienced sound designers, to make sure your event meets official requirements, but most important: your goals and maximum audience engagement.

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