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.
If you have a mixer that accepts audio via a USB connection, then please use that! You may have to install a supplied USB driver, but supplying audio via USB to your mixer avoids any issues regarding hum, noise, etc.
If you cannot send audio to your mixer via USB then your computer 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 once again it is likely that MIDI can be sent via a USB connection. If your board does not support that 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.