Sounds good to Steve

Sounds good to Steve
Sounds good to Steve
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Obviously, bands want to sound good when they play. Audiences want them to sound good, too. In the early days, monitors (used by onstage musicians to hear their selected parts) were non-existent and vocals often ran through the guitar amps. Results were spotty at best. Sound eventually evolved when bands started buying their own sound systems and independent sound companies offered a more professional sound.

 

Richmond is home to a number of these good companies. You’ll see a big one like Soundworks at Friday Cheers, the Richmond Folk Festival, the Churchill Irish Festival and on the road. You hear Backstage’s work at Innsbrook, The Old Dominion Barn Dance and many of the street festivals around town. There are also smaller, owner-operator companies that do a lot of small gigs.

 

Steve 1“We’re not ankle biters” laughs Steve Payne who runs Super Sonic Sound, which he calls a mid-level company. As a drummer, his kit required multiple mics, so he started acquiring gear. The next thing he knew, he was a sound company, “I have way more equipment than I could ever dream of having!” That’s not to say he doesn’t sometimes need additional gear. Steve says the beauty of the Richmond sound community is that they help each other out, “We’re an interwoven network. We’re all friends.”

 

Super Sonic got its start in the 80’s and Steve took it over in 2000. Over those 15 years he’s done some great shows, many outdoors often at the mercy of the weather.

 

 

 

Steve remembers a particular show at Tredeger Iron Works, where a torrential downpour formed a river running down a driveway towards his $80,000 system. He had visions of his life’s investment being literally washed away. “It scares me to death sometimes.”

 

Steve averages 150 shows a year, many as the house sound engineer for several venues. He makes the point that running another person’s system is a vote of confidence in his ability. He adds that it’s not just a pile of equipment that makes good sound. There has to be a “good set of ears” running it.

 

Beyond sound, Super Sonic takes an active involvement in ensuring a show’s success, “We manage the stage and at the end of it. all the shows start on time and run smoothly.” And sound good.

 Sonic 1

Steve did the sound for this show. Click here to read more and hear the band.
 

 

 

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