live sound assessment blog

We have been learning to set up, sound check and mix a live band this has included front of house and a monitor mix, one of the main things to understand before actually mixing is the signal path of audio, for the monitor desk it goes from the mic, through the XLR and into the audio interface from the interface it then goes to a spliter allowing the signal to be sent to both desks, one feed of the signal goes through an xlr into the desk and then down the channel strip, on the monitor desk the channel strip goes in order of the on button (which is above the channel fader) then gain and then the sends to the monitors. there is also a channel EQ allowing you to equalize the source to give the artist a a realistic sound for example removing high end from the kick drum. on the desk you want to make sure that the mix channel faders are up to 0 and the volume of what you are sending is controlled with the sends from the channels. the difference on the front of house (FOH) desk is that there is no channel “on” button but mute buttons instead and also the main difference is that you aren’t working with groups in the same way, each channel is sent to the master output and the groups will mainly be used to boost volume of a channel or collection of channels for example if the vocals aren’t loud enough just from output of the channel then sending them to a group as well as the master mix will boost levels.

when mixing the band, the levels are not the only important thing the EQ of each channel is also very important because without EQ the instruments can just sound wrong and it will be a poor listening experience for example in a live environment a bass guitar can sound like rhythm guitar making the mid frequencies very busy when the bass should be positioned lower in the frequency spectrum via EQ, this opens up the mix and makes each instrument more defined.

when setting up a live band close micing is normally the preferred method, this is to reduce spill from other instruments, the crowd or even the play back systems which could cause feedback issues to occur. also when setting up you have to think about health and safety, making sure wires are out of the way to avoid tripping hazards.

 

For my live sound assesment I had to set up and mix for a 4 piece band (drums, bass, guitar and vocals) the drums were close mic’ed with 1 overhead however as the venue wasn’t huge the drums didn’t have to be boosted in a group after normal gain, when doing the EQ for the drums i boosted the low end and cut the high end, cutting the high end will help with any spill, the toms were EQed a similar way to the kick but with the frequencies shifted up a bit with the top end tweaked to ear, similar with the bass DI, the guitarist had issues hearing himself in the monitor mix after trying to adjust it on the desk for a bit i soon realised that he was very far away from his monitor wedge so i moved it closer to his guitar pedal which forced him to be closer to it, this fixed the issue and he was able to hear himself fine after that. when mixing FOH I was mostly happy with the mix although i was having issues with the vocals they sounded lost in the mix and i think this was because i had boosted or cut at the wrong frequencies on the vocals which put them in the same frequency band as the other instruments which results in a muddy sound. If I did the assesment again i would have spent more time on cable management as it was poor with cables across the stage or hanging from high mic stands this causes tripping hazards and more confusing if there is an issue with whatever is on the end of the cable.

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