You're Going to Have Problems
My framework for troubleshooting console issues
Today, I wanted to walk you through my process for troubleshooting issues on your console.
We have all been in this spot at one time or another: You turn on all of your audio systems, plug everything in, the musician goes to play their instrument, and then nothing happens. I can feel the stress déjà vu already from this situation - it’s happened to me so many times!
Follow these simple steps to calmly approach this and move from a no-sound situation to a solution:
Make sure the speakers are turned on and that the channel isn't muted. I will always listen to a familiar track of music through the PA as part of my turn on checklist. While this track is playing through the PA, walk through the room and listen to make sure all of the speakers are working.
Verify whether the mic/source in question requires +48V Phantom power. Most active DI boxes and condenser microphones require phantom power and will not work unless it is active on that input.
Double check that your patching of the input to the channel is correct. A simple mis-patch is quickly solved in the console.
Mute the channel and walk up to the microphone or source. Trace the cable all the way back to your console or stage box. Cables can sometimes be crushed during load in, or even accidentally cut. Sometimes it is as easy as one of the cables wasn't plugged in!
If there is still no sound coming from the source, I suggest having a Whirlwind Q-Box or Sound Bullet to plug that source into and give it a listen. Both of those products have speakers built-in allowing you to listen to the source. At this point you will know if the problem is on the instrument side or the console side.
If I really make it through the entire list without finding the problem, I’ll grab another XLR and plug it into a different channel so that I can continue on and avoid wasting a lot of time during sound check. I’ll mark that channel on a note on my phone to follow up with more intense troubleshooting at a later time.
I hope you find these steps handy the next time you run into trouble! I find that 90% of the time, I can find the source before I get to the bottom of my list.
Over the past few months, I’ve been expanding my work with corporate events and working with churches all around the United States. It’s been such a joy to connect with churches and their staff members, and learn new consoles from time to time.
I’ve also been working tirelessly on building out a couple of courses on the X32, Wing, and more general audio topics. I’m excited to get these finished up and ready for everyone in the next couple of months and I hope they’ll prove helpful to you or someone you know. Stay tuned for more information as the courses become available!
In the meantime, it would be so helpful to me if you could answer this quick question below. Knowing where our community feels like they’re at experience-wise helps me to continue making content that feels relevant to you.
How would you describe your experience level in the audio industry?
Thank you so much for your help!
Until next time,
Whenever you're ready, there are two ways I can help you: