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Hi everyone!

I'm a TD at my local theater, and I've been the only one working with any of the audio equpment (nice system) for the last two years. I've just been accepted to a perfroming arts school, and am leaving this theater I've been working at.

I've found a person that "wants" to replace me. But I guess my question is, how should I train her? I don't want to just show her certain processes. I want her to get the whole picture.

I don't even know where to start. She has no expiernece whats so ever in the performing arts, and frankly she's all I have to work with.

I was going to go over board fuctions first, but don't want to confuse with out showing her what I'm talking about.

Any advice would be wonderful!


Thanks a ton!

Andy, TD LSC

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Start from scratch.


Does this replacement know basic audio structure? If not, that is the place to start. If they cannot understand things like gain structure, then they will never be a decent audio 'person'.


If they know the basics (and the intermediates) and it is just "venue based" knowledge that needs to be imparted, start from the desk, and explain how and why everything is patched in the manner it is - ie why you used a matrix for X and an aux for Y, and how matrix X goes into a speaker management system which runs the delay speakers etc etc etc.

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I'm in exactly the same position - got somebody who wants the job, but they know 'nothing'. What I do not understand is why they know nothing at all about their 'dream' job. I think that for the majority of my life, practically all of my training in anything was down to good groundwork by me, so I knew the basics = certainly enough for me to understand the kit, the jargon, the basic processes - and then I just got the specific info on the stuff unique to that particular venue/job. In their position, I'd not want to arrive and say, kind of, "Here I am, ready for work - now train me!". I'm not talking about complex stuff. I yelled "while you're there, can you stick that dangling speakon into that sub - I forgot". Blank look. Or, "shove up the Grand Master" - it stayed dark. This kind of stuff doesn't need a years training at college, or even a days training on the job. It just needs reading skills - and the net, or simply a trip to the library!


If there are any budding sound ops who fancy an easy gig - 8th March, in Gt. Yarmouth - let me know (training is NOT supplied).

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Whereas to be a good mix engineer you need only to understand the art of mixing, to be a great sound engineer you have to actually understand the engineering principles of audio. If you don't it works by luck, rather than skill, and as such, one day you will get caught out.
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I've always started with some audio basics. Oscilloscope, sig gen and show them some waveforms. Not a case of baffling with science, but I feel it's really important to have a feel for what's going on. Then balanced Vs unbalanced. It's tempting to get somebody onto a desk and start them mixing, but a lot of the time when you're talking about EQ, balanced outputs and the like, it's good to already have that feel for what the desk is actually doing.



The channel strip isn't a bad place to start whenh it comes to a desk. Once they get the idea of busses it gets a lot easier.

Are they musical? That could at least be helpful.


Some idea of how feedback works, what it is and how to stop it is always helpful!


Mic types, placement and reasons why. Even the names of cables and connectors!


And the one thing you can never teach; tact when working with musicians!

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I've always started with some audio basics. Oscilloscope, sig gen and show them some waveforms.




Sorry, I fell asleep at that point.


Why on earth would you want to start with the most boring part of the job?


Get them behind the desk and let them mix something. Anything. If all else fails get a piece of instrumental music on CD and a reading of a poem (plenty of CDs available) on another CD and get her to set a level between the 2 with the music in the background of the poem. Pick a piece of music with lots of dynamics (classical is best for this) and show her how she may have to ride the fader to keep the music at a level where it can be heard but isn't too overpowering.


That should get her excited about the job. THEN you can hit her with the theory. Like mac, I'd start with what gain is all about then set up a mic, talk into it and get her to set the gain. Theory then practical working together all the time. Then EQ can be done the same way.


There's nothing worse than taking someone with an intreest in something and teaching something that's so dull you lose them for ever.

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Point taken, playing with equipment is a good way to start, it's what I did anyway!


And gain is a good place to start as well, but surely being able to see the output from a mic, versus a 0dB source would be useful at this point? Just have a scope to hand and every now and again get a feel for what the waveform's actually looking like.

I spent a long while teaching a sound op only to then be asked how the sound got down the wire then the ends of the "pipes" (the male pins in an XLR) were closed off. I wish I was joking as well!

I just feel it's an idea to know you're dealing with an electronic phenomena rather than just "press this and this happens".


Maybe a bit of playing with a desk, tweaking eq and setting up an effects send would be a good way to whet their appetite, then go for the electronics stuff!

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I'd start with basic sound principles with a hands on approach as you can train anyone who has the right attitude. I'm an old git compared to a lot of ppl on this forum and was training ppl in the late 80's for Bass and Greenalls as installers / service engineers on sound/lighting and video wall installation.The main thing is to gauge how much knowlege they have and how much they can soak up. Blinding them with theory bores ppl silly, a pratical approach is the way to inject curiousity and passion, try de-eqing your system after you have explained basic freq theory then ask them to eq it. Praticallity with theory always works.Theory and no praticallity does'nt.

I bet we all know ppl who can spout facts,figures and theories but give them a large system and put the pressure on and they fall to pieces.

my old apprentice now is my business partner!!

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