Industry Loop: Sound Engineers at live shows

According to the smart people, a sound engineer is a technician dealing with acoustics for a broadcast or musical performance.

But as I have been preaching for the past two years, it has always been essential to look to “Namibianise” these terms. In Namibia the sound engineer is Mr Dj! Which is unfortunate because the very people that are supposed to understand what the core job of a sound engineer is, do not know what the cores are of a sound engineer. The 99.9% of upcoming artists do the grave mistake of thinking that the sound engineer is a Dj. The sound engineer is not a Dj. A sound engineer is a well…a sound engineer.

The sound engineer is not stationed at the controls to skip to the next song for you. That’s the task of a Dj. Established entertainers have their own Djs or insist on a Dj being present when getting booked for gigs. What makes it worse is that 99.9% of upcoming artists do not take sound checks serious. Had these upcoming entertainers made the professional effort to not only attend a sound check but also to insist for a sound check to a gig?

This helps you get a feeling of the acoustics for your set. The person whom you will discuss acoustics with will be the stationed sound engineer. It is during sound check that you will notice that the sound engineer is not your Mr Dj! The sound engineer will make this pretty clear to you during sound check. But nooooooo, you were too cool for sound check mos. Than you decided to rock up with a scratched CD that will interrupt your set. Who to blame? The sound engineer.

Which should not be the case because YOU missed out on sound check. Had you attended sound check, the sound engineer could’ve picked up that your CD is scratched and made plans to remedy the situation.

You know what sound engineers really hate? When entertainers miss sound check and pitch a few minutes before their set with a USB with thousands of files. Mem. Not only are you forced to abandon a security scan on the USB because, well, it will naturally take too long because your set is a few minutes away. Putting their highly fragile but essential PC’s at risk of crazy viruses.

Event’s organisers are also guilty of mistaking sound engineers for Djs. This is because when booking sound, event organisers assume that sound comes with a Dj. No. Sound will come with someone that controls the sound. That’s the sound engineer. Do not expect the sound engineer to have music to the satisfaction of your target market for the show. At best…just to get the flow going…a sound engineer will play what they like from their laptop. Because that’s a sound engineer. They do not need to care about audience gute. That’s the role of a Dj. Let’s get it right.

Until the next Loop, we say #GMTM
Song of the week: N.I.A ft. Monique English: Change
Flop of the week: Alcovibe – Don’t Panic
Its year-end function time! Book NSK to MC or provide sound for your company/organization/firm’s year-end function. Contact NSK for a quote at
@naobebsekind (twitter)

November 2016
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