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National Association of Live Sound Engineers (NALSE) Requirements

NALSE is a nation-wide, word-of-mouth based certification course intended to show proficiency or
advanced knowledge of modern live sound (otherwise known as sound reinforcement or Front-of
house) engineering. There are no dues or formal certification process (save for the demonstrating of
knowledge to a higher certification when applying); they should not be necessary: the privileges and
responsibility that goes with the certification would be undesirable (and embarrassing) to be without
when a higher power assumes you have them.
Standard engineer certification must be attained before attempting Master; at least one year of active
mixing (or 50 hours of mixing events, whichever comes first) must pass between Standard certification
and Master attempts. Concepts may by taught and certifications will be granted only by an instructor of
a higher level than yourself: Standard engineers may claim NALSE certification after being passed by a
master; once a year of active mixing (or 50 hours) has passed, that Standard engineer may be certified
as Master by another Master who has had 5 years of paid experience in the live sound engineering
industry and is over 21, after demonstrating concept knowledge. Standard engineers must recertify with
a Master every two years if a Master certification is not attempted; Masters do not need to recertify
unless they take a hiatus of more than six months from any kind of sound mixing.
The responsibilities that come along with the certification are to upkeep your knowledge of these
mentioned concepts, as well as abreast of trends and new audio technology through news services and
the Internet. You should also be aware of the different models and brands of hardware on the market,
and maximize exposure and use so as to be the most valuable resource to people desiring your services.
Also, as a Certificate Holder of NALSE, engineers must show up to events on time, appropriately dressed,
well cleaned, and with any necessary equipment or documentation. You are now representing a
National program; your reputation is NALSE’s reputation.
Below are the necessary skill sets for the two tiers of certification.
Standard

Control Surface Management
o 16+ channels
o Faders, panners
o Aux groups and concepts
o Channel grouping
o Basic Maintenance
Mic Concepts
o Electret, Condenser, Ribbon, etc.
o Cardioid, hypercardiod, omni, etc.
Effective EQ
o Familiarity with both Graphic and Parametric EQ’s
o Understand concept of Q and how it relates to curve tightness
o De-essing

thump. crunch. clarity. sibilance. Dead Space o Room layout Basic Wireless Theory o As pertaining to In-Ear-Monitors o Wireless communication systems o Interference o Bandwidth management (on older systems) Monitor techniques o In-Ear. whack. DSP Management o Reverb o Delay o Pass/Gate Filters o Noise Filters Feedback Response o Knowledge of EQ setup. Soft knee o Vocal compression o Symptoms of over-compression Amplifier Technology o Function of an amplifier o Ground loops/hum elimination o Clipping Decibel Concepts o Logarithmic scales o dBFR concept o Read monitor scales o Acceptable audio range Acoustic Theory o Live vs. identifying ringing frequencies o Ear response. etc. squeal. wean off of frequency detector Cable Management o Snakes o Proper cable wrapping/coiling o Cable storage o Signal degradation  Cable quality  Distance  Interference  Type of cable Compression and Dynamic Range Management o Hard vs.Basic memorization of various EQ points:  Oomph. as well as wedge o Ringing out only by ear o • • • • • • • • • .

knowledge of component testing  Remote troubleshooting  Soldering On-the-Fly Feedback Mitigation o Auditory Isolation o Sidechaining EQ’s to DSP compressors Induction/Crosstalk Theory and Mitigation Resistance/Impedance math o Choosing the right amp Advanced EQ o De-vocalizing o Overtone boosts o NO SMILEY FACES! Power Systems o Phantom Power o Surge/Sag protection Room Acoustics o Basic acoustical math o Room Architecture o Lining speakers Rack Management o Top-down design o Portability .• • o Basic ear training Balanced vs. Unbalanced Inputs o How badly things will go wrong if mistaken Effects Bus o Concept of effects ordering Master • • • • • • • • • • All “Standard.” Requirements Finalizing using Logic or ProTools o Basic mastering o Board-to-computer interfaces o Mixer-as-controller o Midi Concepts Control Surface Management o 64+ channels o Built in DSP functionality o Advanced maintenance  Circuit diagram reading  Proficient with multimeter.