Live Event Sound Engineering and Concert Production 101


Authored by Toby Francis


Course Code: OMPRD-185

Next semester starts September 23

12 Weeks

Level 1

Level 1

3-Credit Tuition


Non-Credit Tuition


Live Event Sound Engineering and Concert Production 101 is for anyone who has the desire to work as a live sound engineer. You’ll learn all the basics needed to run a live sound event in 100-1,000-capacity venues. This course examines the craft of live audio when applied to musical performances, helping you develop an empirical approach that encourages you to try out different configurations, while empowering you to research and make informed decisions for your setup. We’ll cover the basics of acoustics and sound, moving on to how power works in a system. Next, we’ll discuss all the aspects of a sound system, including speakers, mixers, monitors, and how to troubleshoot and take care of equipment properly. We’ll also discuss analog vs. digital systems and the pros and cons of using wireless systems. Additionally, we’ll touch on mixing a live show. You’ll be able to put everything you’ve learned into practice and design your optimum system. Finally, you’ll reflect on your professional goals and develop a career plan.

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By the end of the course, you will be able to:

  • Recognize how sound in a venue is affected by acoustics and other variables
  • Identify how power is properly used in a PA system
  • Build a sound system for a specific event, making well-informed choices based on budget and sound needs
  • Identify the various components of a system and describe how they work together
  • Set up a simple to mid-level PA system
  • Employ basic mixing skills in a live setting
  • Develop a career plan and identify potential professional paths in the live audio industry
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Lesson 1: The Fundamentals

  • The Science of Sound
  • Phase Coherence
  • What is Sound Reinforcement?
  • The Relationship Between Music and Audio
  • Who Does What?
  • The Mindset of Troubleshooting
  • Assignment 1: Research Front-of-House Engineers

Lesson 2: Room Acoustics

  • The Live Environment and Your Ears
  • When Sound Hits Things
  • Why Rooms Sound How They Do
  • Types of Rooms and Problems
  • What Do We Do When a Room Sounds Bad?
  • Dealing with Excessive Ambience
  • Assignment 2: Review the Venue, Not the Performance

Lesson 3: Power: Power Amplifiers and Cables

  • Basics of Electricity
  • Grounding
  • Power Amplifiers
  • Crossover Systems
  • Cables: Input Cables
  • Speaker Cables
  • Multi Cables/Snakes
  • Power and Computer Cables
  • Digital Audio Cables
  • Assignment 3: Dante: Research and Applications

Lesson 4: Speakers

  • How Speakers and Speaker Systems Work
  • Simple Systems
  • Mid-Level Systems
  • Big Systems
  • Time Alignment and Phase Coherence
  • Software Involved in Deploying PA Systems
  • Picking the Right Option
  • Assignment 4: Speaker Specifications

Lesson 5: Inputs

  • Microphones
  • Dynamic Microphones
  • Condenser Microphones
  • Specialized Microphones
  • Direct Boxes
  • How to Mic a Band: The Drum Set
  • How to Mic a Band: Other Instruments
  • How to Mic a Band: Vocals
  • Assignment 5: Determine Microphones and Inputs

Lesson 6: Mixers

  • The Mixer
  • Main Sections
  • Analog vs. Digital Consoles
  • Offline Console Software
  • Remote Control of Consoles
  • Assignment 6: Create a Show File

Lesson 7: Digital and Analog

  • Understanding Digital Audio
  • A/D and D/A Converters
  • Analog Outboard Gear
  • Digital Outboard Gear
  • Multitrack Recording
  • Assignment 7: Compressor and Noise Gate

Lesson 8: Wireless

  • Basics of Wireless
  • The Hardware: Wireless Microphones
  • The Hardware: In-Ear Systems
  • Setting Up the Hardware
  • Frequency Coordination
  • Assignment 8: Research and Submit a Gear List

Lesson 9: Monitors

  • The Role of the Monitoring Engineer
  • Stage Monitoring
  • Hardware Used in Stage Monitoring
  • Types of Stage Monitors: Floor Monitors
  • Types of Stage Monitors: Drum Fills
  • Types of Stage Monitors: Side Fills
  • Controlling Feedback
  • In-Ear Monitoring
  • Assignment 9: Monitor Mix Visualization

Lesson 10: Designing the System

  • Advancing the Show
  • PA Options
  • Stage Plots
  • Input Lists
  • Reading Between the Lines
  • Assignment 10: Create Documentation for a Live Show

Lesson 11: Mixing a Show

  • The Call Sheet
  • Mixing FOH and Monitors on the Same Console
  • Mixing FOH
  • Basic Effects
  • Mixing Monitors
  • The Politics of Mixing
  • Building a Mix
  • Assignment 11: Mix a Set of Pre-Recorded Tracks

Lesson 12: Employment Options

  • How to Find Work
  • Your Band, Local Bands, and Local Clubs
  • Touring Sound Engineer
  • Houses of Worship
  • Sound Companies, Corporate Audio, and Broadcast
  • Sporting Events
  • Advice from the Pros
  • Assignment 12: Apply for a Job


Prerequisites and Course-Specific Requirements 

Prerequisite Courses, Knowledge, and/or Skills
Students should have:

  • Experience working with a full-featured DAW
  • Desire to be a sound engineer


  • Introduction To Live Sound Reinforcement by Teddy Boyce (FriesenPress, 2014)
  • The Sound Reinforcement Handbook by Gary Davis and Ralph Jones for Yamaha (free PDF download provided within the course)



  • Audio interface
  • XLR microphone and cable
  • Professional closed back, over-ear studio headphones, such as Audio-Technica ATH-M50x, beyerdynamic DT 770 PRO, etc.

Student Deals
After enrolling, be sure to check out our Student Deals page for various offers on software, hardware, and more. Please contact with any questions.

General Course Requirements

Below are the minimum requirements to access the course environment and participate in Live Classes. Please make sure to also check the Prerequisites and Course-Specific Requirements section above, and ensure your computer meets or exceeds the minimum system requirements for all software needed for your course. 

Mac Users

PC Users

All Users

  • Latest version of Google Chrome
  • Zoom meeting software
  • Webcam
  • Speakers or headphones
  • External or internal microphone
  • Broadband Internet connection


Toby Francis

Author & Instructor

Toby Francis is a front of house engineer with more than 45 years of touring experience. He has worked with numerous artists including Red Hot Chili Peppers, Ariana Grande, Katy Perry, Kanye West, Travis Scott, Aerosmith, and many more. While he spends most of his time touring, he is also a sales consultant for Clair Global, one of the world’s premier sound companies.


Contact our Academic Advisors by phone at 1-866-BERKLEE (U.S.), 1-617-747-2146 (INT'L), or by email at

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