Music That Moves You: Why Quality Sound Equipment Makes Your Wedding
by Mike Carleo
We know booking professional entertainment for your big day can be a bit out of your comfort zone. You haven’t done this before and you may not know exactly what questions to ask. Let’s put aside talent, music selection, and other service-based points for now. Today, I want to speak about something that can go unnoticed but is very important: having quality sound equipment from your entertainment company.
Why do we always love when the weather gets warmer? We absolutely love to rock out to “What a Girl Wants” and blast the music in our cars with the windows down singing along! While the volume is a super important aspect to feeling the music, killing a dance set at your wedding gets a little more involved when it comes to what venue you have chosen and how many guests you are having. TIP: Make sure you tell your entertainment provider how many guests you are having and which room you’ll be using at your venue. If your entertainment provider is a preferred vendor at your venue, then they will be familiar with all of the rooms and know exactly what type of sound equipment to bring.
Event Host Matty G’s Speakers of Choice: RCF Tops & QSC Subs – 260 person Wedding, Nanina’s In The Park
If your conversation ventures in this direction You may hear lingo you’re unfamiliar with such as:
“We will be providing two powered speakers with two powered subs.”
“We are going to provide you with two 3-Way Speakers.”
“Don’t worry we carry (insert brand), so it will be plenty of power to cover the room.”
These are just some basic examples of what you may hear from companies. So, let’s dive into these points.
Bullet one explains that the speakers and subs are powered. All this means is that they can turn on and off and they do not need an external power supply to make them work. It also explains the type of speakers, nicknamed “tops”, that usually are provided for a wedding or private event. Sometimes, you will see just the speakers on a stand with nothing else, or speakers on a stand on top of a big box-like speaker (those are subwoofers). The speakers provide most of the sound from a song – vocals, guitars, keyboards, some drums, strings, etc. These are all higher-pitched sounds that the speaker can carry. The subwoofers, or “subs”, are the big box-like speakers that sit on the ground and provide the low-end sounds of the song. Sounds from basses, kick drums, some synthesizers, and other sound effects will be heard through them. This is where we can actually “feel” the music, which provides us a much better experience. Most companies bring the combination of two speakers and two subs because they can provide the most power and sound quality to your event for up to 300 people.
Bullet two is very similar to the first one. A 3-Way speaker is one that has just that: three types of speaker cones that combine the higher-end sound, the mid-range sound, and the low-end sound all into one large speaker cabinet. These speakers are generally used in smaller venues or weddings where guest counts do not require a “full-setup”(two speakers and two subs). These 3-Way speakers can typically handle 150-180 people, depending on the size of the venue.
CityScape’s Speakers of Choice for Live Sound: LD Systems Tops & Subs – 200 person Wedding, The Ryland Inn
Finally, the last explains the brand of the sound equipment. Brands are SUPER important when it comes to sound quality.
Brands You Want to Hear: LD Systems, EV, JBL, RCF, Mackie, QSC
Brands You DON’T Want to Hear: Behringer, Fender, Yamaha
Now, not all of the “good” brands have models that can handle big events like weddings, in my opinion. However, you are almost guaranteed that you’ll be on the right side of my assessment. The brands that you do not want to hear are actually great brands for other products. NOT sound equipment. These companies focus on other product lines and speaker models are often an afterthought, so it’s best to stay away from them. Fender Guitars? You bet. Fender powered speaker? Shopper beware.
It’s not all about volume though. Tone is equally as important. The great brands are able to play music loud for the dance floor while still providing high-quality sound. This is key! You want high-energy volume with the best sound quality possible. It doesn’t make any sense to push music so loud that it becomes distorted and unbearable to listen to. The best entertainment companies get to your venue with ample time to setup and make sure to soundcheck the room so that the speakers sound great the entire night. A lot of times, you will see entertainment staff walking around the room checking for the quality of the sound and volume levels to make sure it is consistent throughout the wedding. You’ll see this a lot with bands who have a sound engineer wirelessly walk around “riding” the sound all night, or adjusting tone and volume as needed.
To conclude, it does not matter how great the entertainment is for your wedding if the equipment is not up to par with the talent. Great bands or DJs can be rendered ineffective if they don’t sound good. Both aspects—talent and sound—are equally important and go hand-in-hand in to create a great event. As entertainers, we want to make sure we provide maximum volume and tone for dancing, conversational volume for eating and mingling, and most importantly an immersive experience to celebrate your love together.
Mike Carleo is EMG’s Musical Director and holds a degree in music
Event Host Tom Gambuzza’s Speakers of Choice: EV Tops & EV Subs – 250 person Wedding, The Park Savoy