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Mixing Live Sound

Lesson 1 of 17

Class Introduction


Mixing Live Sound

Lesson 1 of 17

Class Introduction


Lesson Info

Class Introduction

Well, welcome everybody to creative live. My name is zak varnell, and I'm here to talk to us today about mixing live sound. We've got a tremendous amount of stuff to cover really, really excited. We're able, teo put together this class in partnership with the very project and capitol hill block party, and we actually shot a majority of the footage today that we're going to talk about at a real festival right here in seattle, you're going get to see some clips from everything from setting up our and distribution flying speakers up on cable trusses, mixing front of house mixing monitors, all in actual real world environment at a music festival here in seattle. So stay tuned throughout the day as we show some of those segments to illustrate some of these topics. What we're going to be covering this morning just real quickly to kind of jump into it, we're going to start off by getting into sort of the basics of electrical power. The most important thing when you're talking about mixing lif...

e sound first is you need electricity, electricity is a complicated thing and understanding how it works, how it's measured in how we can use it to amplify sound in the sound system, is the first topic going to get into we're going to go over all the basics, all the nerdy stuff from, you know, understanding electrical current all the way to how you physically actually plug everything into a power destro and feed it to all of your amplifiers, mixing consoles on dh speakers in that whole workflow. So we'll spend a good amount of time talking about power this morning. Next, we're going to jump straight into io, which is all about snakes and actual signal distribution. We're going to show how you can use both an analog split snake and a digital snake to send signals from the stage anywhere you need either, whether it's, the monitor counselor, back to front of house, and then we'll show a typical wiring diagram and what's called a festival patch, which we'll get into. When we talked about that section after that, we're going to jump straight into loudspeakers. We're going over every major type of speaker that you need to know. Loudspeakers air obviously one of the most important parts of a sound system, as they are actually transducer all of the electricity, electrical signal into audio that you've been here, so we'll go over different types and how to use those and how to set them up. Um, and then later this afternoon, we're actually gonna jump onto the consul and actually talk about mixing, we're going to set up the consul specifically for monitors and show how you can walk through ah, typical monitor set up setting up multiple mixes both for stage wedges and for stereo in your monitors were actually going to use a session that we recorded live well, pipe that back through the console and actually mix and create a number of different mixes for bandas if they're on stage after that, we're going to talk about mixing front of house, which is what the audience here, so when you're standing out in front of house, we're gonna talk about how toe sort of go with, go through sound check and actually mixed the entire show on and set up the consul for a live sound mixing environment. We're also going to get a really cool interview was a good buddy of mine, adam jackson, who is a front of house engineer on tour this summer with christina perri and colby calais, and he's actually backstage and interviewed earlier this week, his whole crew to talk about his setup eso he's actually going to go through his front of house, set up his monitor engineer there set up and his stage manager and they're set up and they're going to talk about show you how a big festival like that is actually run or a big touring show is actually run and how that differs from a local crew running sound for four bands that like a festival like we did at the capitol block party and then finally we're gonna wrap up the day and talk about your training and helpful tools you can use your training is really helpful to really understand, just like a musician has to train their ear to hear notes and scales front of house sound engineer should train their ear to understand frequencies and gain structure so that they can troubleshoot items on their troubleshoot problems on the fly and be able teo roll with the punches and keep the show going, which is the whole goal. So before we get started, let's, just talk really briefly about who this class is for. So you may be wondering, I have a little bit of experience what should I know? What I need to know? This is basically an intro class on larger format digital consoles, so if you've ever mixed on, eh sixteen channel like maki board or you've done some sort of audio, you know, and you're ready to sort of take it to the next level and actually start mixing in a venue and a big, you know, a festival or at a bigger venue in your city. This is the class for you. This is helping you to get from that first beginning stage, you know, a little bit about microphones and and mixers, and you're ready to actually see how it's done at a more professional scale um ugh, we sort of assumed that you have a basic understanding of what microphones mixing consoles and cables are. We're not going to dive into the specifics of how microphones were built, the difference between different types of microphones, but we are going to talk about microphone placement and some mixing techniques that are a little more intermediate to advanced so that you can actually take the concepts that you already know and build on them to create better, live sounding or better sounding live mix is, um, anyone looking to brush up on some basic core concepts, even if you are an experienced engineer and you already mix at venues and you want to go back and just cover some of these basics to make sure that you have everything, this is a great class just to give you a heads up and some of kind of a shout out to some of the people and companies that we're working with here we're going to mixing on avid consuls. We used meyer melody, front of house and main speakers que es t powered stage monitors and mostly sure microphones. So those are some of the really helpful products that we've worked with and that we prefer to work with that we've used for this class.

Class Description

Mixing Live Sound can be one of the most daunting tasks for any engineer. In this class, Zach Varnell will walk you through the entire live sound production workflow, from loading in a PA and rigging and flying speakers to soundcheck and mixing on the fly.

In this class, you will get to see an entire day of load-in from Seattle's Capitol Hill Block Party along with a complete breakdown of a live sound production workflow and interviews with some of the country's top touring live sound engineers. 

You will learn:

  • Scaleable components of a live sound PA
  • Power distribution and management
  • Tuning speakers with a SMART system and FFT analysis
  • Mic Placement and tips for an effective soundcheck
  • Mixing front of house
  • Mixing for stage monitors and in-ears

We'll also walk through a live mix setup and interview with two touring engineers from their FOH mix position: Adam Jackson and Andy Frost (FOH and Monitor engineers for Christina Perri) and Shane Bardiau (Twenty One Pilots).

Whether you are a working live sound engineer and just want to brush up on some core concepts or you are a new engineer looking to get into live sound production, this is the place to learn all about live sound in one location.


user ee67bf

A very good overview of live sound presented by a professional sound technician. Good supporting video of a real event that Zach worked. He explained everything very well and I enjoyed the split screen views of his console work. Good job.

Navinder Gill

Zach has been Amazing ! He made it so simple to glide through the entire course ... Learnt Quite a bit .. Specially when I have an Avid Sc48 Board to work with.. Cheers !


Was fortunate to watch this live. Zach clearly is a master of his craft. I am a home studio drummer but learned allot about mixing and sound. Thank you Creative Live and Zach Varnell.