Setting Up For a Production
IMPORTANT: ALWAYS, repeat ALWAYS complete at least one dry run (a 'dry tech') of the entire show at least a week before the first performance or first dress rehearsal of any show. This is to give you the opportunity to identify and fix any issues ahead of time.
The computer you are using to run SCS should be placed close to the sound board, keeping connecting cables as short as possible. This is very important if your sound card/interface has unbalanced outputs, which is the case with sound cards usually supplied with new computers. To get a sound card with balanced outputs you normally have to purchase a separate interface, and your computer dealer probably won't know what you're talking about! You could try some of the larger music stores, or search the Internet for a supplier near you.
Setup is very simple. Just connect the required line-outs from your sound card(s) to the line-ins on your sound board. If you are also using MIDI control to activate SCS cues from your sound or lighting board then you will need a MIDI cable to connect your PC to the relevant board.
Make sure that where you place your keyboard is not prone to having a script or some other item accidentally dropped on the keyboard. If you do not expect to use the keyboard, eg if you have no hotkey cues, then get the keyboard safely out of the way. If something is dropped on the keyboard during a performance then you are likely to have cues starting and/or stopping unexpectedly! That hasn't happened to me during a performance but it did happen - once - in rehearsals.
Make sure you have a suitable light for following the script.
If hum is a problem then first of all check that your computer is connected to the same power circuit as the sound system. This is to ensure that all components of the sound system have a single grounding point. Also, most sound cards only provide unbalanced output, so the unbalanced lead between the sound card and the sound system is a candidate for picking up AC line-frequency hum.
To minimize hum and other noise, make sure that the master sound level control on the computer is set to the maximum.
If hum is still a problem you may want to consider getting a professional sound interface. A professional sound interface will have a much higher output level available (eg +4dB instead of -10dB), which itself will reduce the effect of electrical interference, and may also have balanced outputs. These sound interfaces will probably connect to a USB or FireWire port on your PC or Laptop.
For more help on hum and noise, see the FAQ on our web site.