Earlier this week I went to see Rush for the first time. I’ve found it’s always good to see legendary musical acts play live whenever possible, and since this is likely Rush’s final tour I figured I better do it now. Overall I enjoyed the show a bunch, but I want to point something out from the show because it illustrates something I’ve talked about before.
Take a look at this picture from our seats at the show and note where the PA is in relation to where we’re sitting.
Our seats were pretty far off to the side. Notice in this picture how far away we are from the house left array. Do you think we were hearing any of it that night?
I can pretty much guarantee that the majority of what we heard was only coming from the house right array. What do you think would happen if the FOH engineer started panning things to the left? Do you think we would have heard them where we were sitting?
I’ve talked about this before, but I think this photo illustrates quite nicely the challenge in panning things in live sound. If you’re going to pan things, you have to understand how your system is configured and how the coverage works or else a large portion of your audience might not be hearing things.
We didn’t choose to sit way off on the side. I was there with one of the guys on our crew, and we would have most definitely preferred to be in the middle. However, these were the seats we were handed when we got the tickets. Fortunately, we could hear everything we needed to in the mix.
Don’t forget about the folks in less than optimal seats. And don’t think just because you’re in a smaller venue that your system works a certain way. Get out from behind the console and walk around so that you KNOW your system and how its coverage works when you’re mixing.