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Mixing Live Sound

Lesson 10 of 17

Line Checks and Levels


Mixing Live Sound

Lesson 10 of 17

Line Checks and Levels


Lesson Info

Line Checks and Levels

So now we have our patch everything is patched we're going to go ahead and make some sound and set up each of these instruments just coming through soloing just to make sure we're getting into the line level inputs the same and then once those air set up we'll start working on the we'll start working on the uh on each of the mixes so the first thing I want to do is I want to go through each of these and drag them so that I have all of my failures on at least one or two banks right now they're spread across all three banks across the whole festival patch so I'm gonna go ahead and um just dragged these into place so I have snare I want right after kick and then sneer bottom and then high hat and then tom one tom too and then I want overhead left and overhead right way have based e I and base mike someone jump over to base mike based the eye and notice that I'm doing this after I already patched everything because I don't want to get confused in terms of the order of the numbers so I patc...

h everything first and then I dragged them in the order that I want to see them on the console and I'll show you what the patch bay looks at the end it's crazy but it's a song as I do that last then after everything's patched that I won't get too confused. Um, that's, c after guitar, then we want guitar left and right hits are one too here's guitar, too, and that I have drum vocal something away over here in the thirties find drum vocals and then vocal on a multi select local one through four drag those over here. So if you notice now, as I'm sending this up, I've got my first bank pretty much everything I need and then just one lonely channel on the second bank, so I don't want to have to be switching back and forth the whole time, so I'm actually going to put in some blank strips at the end of here and move all of the vocals over. Um, well, actually, before I do that, I'm going to switch some of these, I think it'll work itself out, so the thing I want to do is most of these are model channels, but like things like the over drum overheads I want to treat is one unit, so I'm going to actually take the two overhead channels and combine them into a stereo channel, so I'm goingto hold down multi select click both overhead, left and overhead, right and click on make mano strips stereo, and now I could drag these over. And so now this is easy. I have my entire patch for this band on just one bank and I don't have to be switching around. I've got kick snare, snare, bottom high hat tom one to overhead left overheads based e I based mike two guitars, drum vocals um and four guitars the last thing we wanted to set up, remember was the crowd mike's so let me go find those I think they were um yeah, and once we set, these were not going to really worry about him too much, so I'm just going to put him over here on the first part of bank to so we'll get to those last, okay? So I'm gonna go ahead and play back in recording of some of this track and we're gonna go ahead and start to bring up some of these individual channels and I'll just kind of mixes I go once I have the consul set up now I've got the tracks patched incorrectly I've got my listen wedge, you've got the headphones, the talk back I've got my dog's masters. I'm pretty much got everything set, so I'm gonna go and switch the consul into show mode that way, once now we get started, I can't do anything that would stop audio from coming through the console, so show mode prevents me from doing any changes they're not going to come through actually really quick before I do that one last thing I want to bring up, I typically don't mix monitors with much reverb or delay just because I think most of the time it helps the band not tow have, um, some of that, but sometimes they asked for it and the monitor wedge, so I'm gonna go ahead and bring up, um, a couple of river bs um, just in case a couple of river plug ins and I'm choosing one in and two out, I'm not I don't have dogs offices for them right now that I can use, I'm just setting them up just so they're there in case that being asked for them, I don't have to reauthorize them and stop the show. Um okay, so I've got the reverb setup, I'm also going to go ahead. I'm not really going to use many, um, plug ins for mixing monitors, amuse plug ins, mostly for mixing front of house. I'm just going to use the onboard channel strip stuff for each of the three to the channels, going to go and switching to show mode and we'll start making some sounds, so we'll start asked the band to start playing kick drum and they'll go ahead, bring up kick drum, so I'm going to start with gain um get the kick just to about zero um next thing I'm gonna do is work on um just really quick so meek you stuff throw just a little bit of compression on there ah a little bit of a comes the kick sounding pretty good to go and move to snare and again I'm going to just high pass this night really quick will first start with gain yeah hi past the snare a little bit um we're gonna go and speak to snare bottom um for a little bit of compression on the snare and getting maybe then they cut off some of the meds in the queue yeah cool if I want to select multiple channels and can hear how they sound together I can either hold on multi selector pushed them both at the same time give me just a second here I'm gonna send this out to the house so that they can hear what you guys were hearing cool way um so I can multi select two channels on uh multiple channels I can select all free by pushing all three down um and so maybe I want to hear each of those individually I could unlatch each one of them the cool thing about the s c forty eight to is if I just want to quickly here something if I hold it down for more than a second it doesn't latch so first want to listen to the snare of course, he's not playing. When? When I do that, the kick and then let go of unlatch is okay. So let's, keep going, let's do the high hat, turn down the gain a bit high. Pass it pretty extensively. Not gonna do much to that. Let's. Listen, the toms if I couldn't find a spot when he's playing toms theo, wait, so just get in their way. Repeat that. And especially with drum mike's. I try the gate much as possible for monitors so that I avoid feedback if there's too much kicking her toms or snare coming through anyone webs that can cause a lot of feedback. So getting really helps that so that you only hear it when they're actually hitting switch back to you. You hear on tom's, I typically cut out three hundred, usually three hundred, six hundred or anywhere like there's, usually two pregnancies somewhere between there that are kind of nasty and again, I'm not gonna spend a ton of time on easy because I'm trying to get the band happy so they're just playing through a song. I'm just gonna make sure I'm getting level again and get the game for each of these once a little quiet, okay, um and then for overheads, I'm just gonna go ahead and get the game set up really quick and high pass those usually is all I do is clean up some of that and I probably wouldn't run high hat our overheads through the main mix that air through the wedge is that all right? Maybe just keep that for the years um let's go and switch to base so this is the base d I get a little more getting out of that intimately with mixing monitors for bass the bass guitarist if they want that in there whether they want to hear the definition um so I usually crank something like one k or two k on the base just for the monitor mix so that they can actually hear the notes they're playing they're good gets lost in the mix a little bit so that's kind of the helpful tricks sometimes so if they say I can't hear the bass um if it's too quiet in the mix sometimes you just crank like one to two k on the bass guitar without turning it up and that helps a little bit um just cut through the mix a little bit. I'm probably not going to bring the base mike at all unless they ask for it I'm just gonna use the die because it's cleaner let's go and look at guitars way past that ah hi passing is one of the best things you can do for monitors pretty much anything besides bass and guitars I'm sorry basic kick trump should be I passed because anything below a hundred words just becomes massive feedback problems wait drum vocal vocals are obviously we're going to spend most of your time with mixes um so really spend more time on vocals then you cannot anything else um I'm gonna go out and find where each on each of them are all singing so we can find a spot here um I'm gonna go and just high pass all the vocals it looks like the lead singer is center vocal here he uh you're never gonna you yeah yeah yeah a little more room here at the beginning seven stone but you never seen the like and you go so maybe for a compressor on the lease so don't cry about it don't cry about it he should come out way find spot one stage right is singing oh oh just game for her oh my compressor her okay on the crowd mike I'll make sure that I have the crowd mike I'm gonna actually go ahead um I should have done this before but I'm gonna make the crowd mike's actually a stereo track as well switch back to show mode okay so now we're kind of ready like I've gotten the band and with each of those were playing from recorded track but with each of those it would be a lot faster if I could just tell each of the people with the with my click track to say, hey, can you go ahead and just play, kick, drum, and, hey, can you play snare drum, you know, and we'll walk through that process. You'll see on the video when we do the same for front of house sound check, but each of those will have them each plate to those instruments and just to get a line level. So once I get all the lines ready, I've gotten all the the individual instruments ready. I haven't built any mixes yet. I've just been sort of getting that ready and getting set up. I don't really have anything going to their mixes yet. I just want to get line level on everything.

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.