Your ears are the most important tool you have as a sound engineer, producer, or musician. And the best thing about them is they are FREE! They don’t require any software, measuring microphones, or computers. They are with you wherever you go.
I’m not saying that computer based tools and other measurement devices are not worthwhile, but they are just tools and should only be used as such. The problem comes when you start relying on those tools to tell you how things sound. After a while you just stop using your ears or simply forget to ‘listen’.
When I was very young I learned how to play piano by ear. I was actually pretty good at it until I started taking piano lessons. Once I learned how to read music somehow my ability to pick things up by ear got lost. It seemed much easier to get the sheet music for whatever song I wanted to learn rather than spend the time plunking away at the keyboard to...
Whether you are going on tour with a new artist, running sound for a local venue, or working for a sound company there's a lot more to mixing a great sounding show than just turning knobs and pushing faders.
Step 1- Do your homework-what kind of music will you be mixing? Learn the artist's songs and get familiar with the style of music. If you are going tour with them as their sound engineer you'll want to deconstruct the songs and make lots of notes.
Step 2- Communicate with the artist, band, or client on what their needs are. What ideas do they have for their sound? How many inputs do they have? What are they? What do they need in the way of monitor mixes? What songs have solos or instrument changes, go through the set list so you know what to expect for each song- different vocalists? BGVs? Solos? Are there any specific cues?
Step 3- Show up prepared. Have an input list, stage plot, and audio spec. Advance the gig so...