Mixing Music Live

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Tips for Mixing a Great Show.

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...

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Setting up your workflow

 

I want to talk about setting up your workflow on the console.

Once you start mixing more than a few shows, you’ll start to find that you have some preferences in how your console is laid out.  Everyone has their own particular way of doing things and it’s all a matter of what works for you.

For instance: How you do your input patch will determine where things show up on the surface.  It doesn’t have to be 1-1, you can patch inputs to come up in whatever channels you like.

If you are mixing on a digital console with a limited number of faders available on the surface, you’ll have to think about how you want your inputs to populate them.  If you have 42 inputs and only 16 input faders/layer, how do you want to build your layers?  

It’s a good idea to have all of your drums on the same layer or page so you can easily make adjustments to the overall drum mix.

Likewise, if you have numerous inputs for keyboards and tracks.

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