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Mixing Live Sound

Lesson 11 of 17

Mixing for the Band


Mixing Live Sound

Lesson 11 of 17

Mixing for the Band


Lesson Info

Mixing for the Band

The next thing that I do is I walk through, I say, okay, like let's. Start with your mix and I'll usually point to the lead singer so let's she let's say she's on dogs to somebody with a f l ogg stew and asked her what she wants in her mix on dh maybe she says, I want a lot of vocals gonna bring up a lot. Well, fader, um um we're gonna go ahead and select dogs to, um let's say, let me make sure, um so I'm going to select mix too and she's going to go and say, okay, I want a lot of my vocal I'm gonna want some guitars I want a little bit of kick and snare and, um, some base die so let's, start with that and see how it goes. Um oh, yeah, I have to go in actually turn off let's start at the beginning of the song here. And the key thing is I'm listening to her mix so I know what it sounds like as she's listening to it. I always want to have my makes solid when she's working on it keep in mind to a lot of times the bend will say things like, I want more vocals and if you're listening there ...

makes you think maybe I could just turn down the guitars and turn up the overall level. You want to kind of balance that their requests to help them get what they want instead of just turning things up, so so wait, she says, could I get a little bit high hat to wear? She said, she's cool with that makes let's go ahead and move to the next one. I'm gonna go out and select makes three now and from here I have nothing assigned to this mix, but what I can do this really cool eyes go down here on the lower right hand corner and cool replace mix from dogs, too. So I can start off with the same mix as the other singer immediately pulls up her mix that saves me a little bit of time and maybe she's like, okay, yeah, that's good. I just maybe need more guitar don't really leaves much vocal. Okay, so let's say we go to the drummer's, makes he's on logs for, and he just wants to your kicks and aaron base, we're gonna go ahead and kick snare and base and maybe a little bit of guitars, a little bit of lead vocal ah, okay, so now I've got, um most of my wedges done let's see oh let's say we have let's say dogs one is the bass player we got to the bass player's makes the bass player just wants to hear bass guitar vocals and guitars so going bass guitar booth it is good and throughout the whole show another thing that really helps to communicating with the band I teach them hand signals a lot of people know this already, but it sucks to have them be on stage and say, hey, mister sound guy, can I get maur guitar? So typically what I teach them is threat anytime throughout the set they could just pointed an instrument and go up or down so either my vocal up or down or drums up or down in that way I could be constantly watching and it's key to to remember always be paying attention to what they're doing don't be ignoring them or on your phone the worst is like the bands playing they're unhappy with the mix and you're sitting over here on your phone like not even listening, so make sure that you're always paying attention to them and seeing what they need. We've mixed the four wedges let's go ahead now talk about mixing stereo wedges so I'm going to seoul of these I'm gonna turn off my listen q and I'm just going to actually listen to headphones um I'm gonna put on my headphones and here uh one of their stereo mixes so I'm gonna pull up stereo nine and remember I have dogs follows channel pants when I switched to pan, the panic is actually going to follow um for the channel so let's go ahead and say that the lead singer has, um, her own stereo mics. Ah, wait and see saul, but your heart is racing cool, so if you guys could hear that at home, the mix is going to be very different for webs and it's going to be for a stereo city in years for the wedge. I want one instrument to punch through that they could hear and get enough the other instruments because it's one speaker on the floor when it's stereo in years you could mix it almost like you're mixing a recording at home, you can mix it and have it be very musical so you can actually turn things into more of an interactive experience. Okay, so we have these mixes set up. We've got mix is one, two, three and four all on separate vader's. The next thing that I'm gonna do when they finish sound check is I'm to go up two snapshots and I'm going to say new snapshot and I'm gonna call this this band is called tangerine right hand seattle um someone say that is as a as a snapshot. So the next band, when they come up to sound check, I could go ahead and recall now the festival and then go ahead and recall tangerine and I have everything back how they wanted it. So for the most part, everything on the console is completely recall a ble and they're mixes are going to be saved for each of the separate each of the separate mixes. So if you guys in this studio audience here want to come up and you guys want to give a shot, I'm gonna pretend that I'm the band asking you to bring up different mixes and and try different things in the console, so we'll do this for a little bit and then close out a segment with an interview. You go first, okay? So nice. Okay, so these are your four mixes? I've already set it up so that, um, your mix gets queued by the dogs, so it'll also switch between what you're listening to. I'm gonna go ahead and turn the wedge back on and then hit play so let's say that I'm the drummer, I'm on august four and I tell you that I would like mohr kick drum in my mix and bring up your listen wedge, bring up more kick drum, absolutely and so you could actually use the fader because I haven't flipped favors mode so the fader zehr actually the ox ends and they switch to whatever augustine you're clicking on um okay, so let's pretend now that I am the singer I'm on dogs too and I asked for, uh less guitar and more vocals which guitar eso just both guitars equally less both guitars so first gramps you can hear what you're doing feels see saul but your highest racing you yes, I would. Okay, nice. Um okay, so let's say now that I'm the bass player I'm on aug cz one switch dogs one and I'm actually decided that I want some of the, um snare and my mic too in my monitor too wait no he's not really playing right now since coming our way turn it up even more e way so there's something I didn't say so bring down the snare fader so if you notice that snare you were bringing up the fader but it's actually not on you khun turn the snare on and off so you'd push the button yep there you now try bringing it up again wait let's pretend I am the keyboard player on dogs for and I actually don't want to hear kickin snare can you bring kicking sand out of my mix that's great nice job so each one of these mixes good job guys you consider you could sort of get practice setting those up once you set it up so that the monitor sends around the failures and the nfl follows dogs it's super og follows a f l it's really, really simple it's hard even mess up you have just your odds masters and your channels and once everything is set up you could barely have to leave your main page obviously getting to that point takes a little more work but once you get there you're able to sort of like, set everything up and just kind of go with it okay? So we're gonna watch this next segment this is actually a really cool segment this is adam jackson good friend of mine who's the front of house engineer for christina perri he's on tour right now with them and colby calais it's a big summer tour and he actually recorded the whole interview with himself at his concert on his monitor engineer talking about they're both their front of house set up and then their monitor and talk back set up and then they even talk to their stage manager so um we're super excited to have him and um yeah, check it out hello how's it going my name's adam jackson, tour manager front house for christina perri way are working on a mighty ce pro nine system for this tour in front of house and thiss consul just really the pre amps the on board coms and gates and effects everything is really top notch and really is one of those things that you can use soon as you start turning things up on the pre empts that really reacts how you how you need it to so really warm sound it's works really well for a lot of bands there's a lot of artists that I'm sure could benefit from any you know digital sound are the sort of thing so but I've really found that kind of making that switch with christina has has really been great so the other thing I really like about this council is that when you're when you've got a pretty big loud mix going on if you just need to kind of kick the master feeders down teo just get things a little bit quieter and a little bit less just smashing in the room. You can really take these things and bring them down and when they're down they they you don't lose the kind of quality that you tend to lose in in some of the avid stuff that of been using for a while you really just keeps keeps the totality of everything exactly where where you need it keeps that strength behind your mix so yeah and and all in all it's a very great board, teo, to lay out everything how you want there's color schemes, there's. You know you've got your pop groups in your v c s and, um, there's having ten bcs on this board is he's a really great too, and I tend to just mix off of off of him. All right, we're back here. I just wanted to go over how just channel structure and what I'm kind of doing on my on my channel is here. Uh, and if you want to come in and see, I am mainly I've got these pop groups set up on the consul hear drums, bass instruments, the small amount of tracks that we have vocals and talk backs. But I really am using mostly these vcs for for mixing purposes on the tour, but obviously, this consul makes it very easy with one all your drums. Here you go. I want my base there's my two bass channels. Uh, nga's emily, our keyboard player who she has a few different channels here that she uses. So I kind of split it out, and then from there I'm able to kind of mix on the fly tow, you know, keeps it keeps it easier, I've got for johnny, our guitar player, he has his electric channel and he has this acoustic channel and I'll tend to set both of those that kind of unity gain and failures and unity and then all kind of mix off the because he's never playing both at the same time obviously so um try to basically do that with all of my with with everything as you can see when everything pops up here it's all basically a unity um and uh after that the structure of everything just kind of go through and you know, I'm using almost everything is onboard whether it's ah compressor or a gate or effects all the cues for every channel or all on board and you know it's just another reason why we love this consul so much everything built right into it is, um you know, there's no need for extra plug ins there's no need for just adding layers of dsp and all this stuff there's just it's like, you know, you buy a ferrari, it runs like a ferrari, so but not at the cost of ferrari, which is amazing um and then let me see just I'm sure the most important things with christina's vocal just kind of do some very basic queuing here and, you know, around four hundred hertz I've kind of taken that a little way away from her voice something that's kind of inherent in her vocals and uh and you know, just kind of scooping out some low mids and um she has a little bit of kind of a horny nous to her vocal around you know, two and a half three k that I kind of I kind of try to pull out of her changes so it's not affecting everything else and I don't have toe uh go crazy on the house but yeah compressor on board using all that getting some makeup gained from it just pretty standard stuff but again, something that I normally wouldn't do on an avid console or some other console just is using me is trusting the onboard you know, processing as muchas you can on a concert like this so so that's really important and the only other thing that we go through on christina's vocal if you come down here you can see we go into this to the empirical abs fatso and both paul from colby's campaign and I both use he puts colby's vocal through channel one and I put kristina's vocal through channel too and we can kind of use this as our final stage of makeup gain and anything like that to try to get, you know, get a little bit more out of a lot of one of the girls and and really kind of work with the harmonics and things like that that you khun khun really dice with with this guy another thing that paul honorable sharing is this broadcast. E, reverb, it's, super nice, super friendly and, uh, and just a just a great river processor. And, you know, again, I trust everything onboard the consul with the lexicon stuff and all that fur effects. But this is a really nice treat to be able to use on this tour. So so, thanks, paul. Um, and then, uh, a ce faras outboard with with christina perri show, I mean, that's, that's, pretty much it. I mean, it's way. Don't go too crazy, you know, trusting the console, trusting the electronics trust in the design and, uh, what it's made to be there for me again, just the fact that you can, uh, you can really use the pre amps on this, hit him into the red. And just things. Just sounds, has analog as they ever have. And crossed the production manager and monitor engineer for kristina you got running here uh reason the mighty pro nine what do you like about it uh I loved all the minuses just uh sounds straight out of the desk uh prince alone or what what do you most the work used to use an avid desk for a couple of years with christina on and uh when switching over band and instantly knew notice a difference just so much clear so much definition from every channel is just amazing difference nice um uh let's run through your in iraq here your how many mixes are you runnin with what units were using way have five musicians on stage that tech so with mikey or six musicians for this tour so we're running eight units of the peace and one thousands were sharing some here with kobe kelly this tour so we're kind of using their in years but I remember when you proceeded scared with way sure units they sound great headroom everything needed so easily use they scan frequencies just like a spectrum analyzer right from the back it's amazing she's probably easy scene it's an overused so yeah six band there's one tack myself yeah it's it's pretty pretty magical to take awesome um anything specific mixed wise that people like us faras uh effects that you run or everything's onboard and and all that but you you're running band and kristina are both they're all very low maintenance which is which is very easy to work for uh say ninety percent time on christina's mix er it's really a fun mix to do uh she likes like a front house mix er just her vocal much very good places as if you were a front house engineer and then she plays acoustic guitar and keys those were probably a little heavy but other than that like I mix it like I'd mix a show counts out front so it's really fun amusing just mainly reverb snow kind of like delays racing like that but uh lenny an audience mike's yeah I really have a lot of fun mixing hers the rest of the band it's kind of a set forget there's a few things that are automated but uh kind of what you'd imagine just like a pretty basic mix with their stuff on top uh um talkers through just the talkback systems for the band I know we've got some talk back mike's on stage and yes switch thinking this tour we have one two three four five six talkback mikes on stage and they're all either myself in our tech we just have a switch fifty eight but like our drummer he is like a momentary switch uh our bass player keys player momentary switches well so that they could be playing and just stopped the box and they could talk to me in front of house through their same vocal mike yeah through the vulcan like wayne and emily they have a uh a box where their vocal mike is used as talk bacchus well so as soon as they push the mike pushed the box routes that mike threw out a separate output no noise, no props or anything like that so that works really well wayne are empty uh probably most important if anything happens he's they're ready to make you called shots if you could change him like that but the rail plus for us is that we don't have to use that extra microphones just to do a talk back exactly yeah just one mike at every station anyone who wants it it's really easy to use and very reliable it helps us all communicate with each other and like all our talk backs like front of house runners and our guitar tech they're all in everyone's ears including christina's the whole show it's kind of one cool thing about it is like if there's something going wrong cristina loves hearing about it you know in that moment she she puts on her her game face and just kind of came to know about everything continues to show like nothing's ever happening but nice even crazy um can you just describe the patching world over here and there for everyone to our um this's our first two are using to minus console so I have fun house and waters so we have uh, two uh twenty four channel. Uh mike pretty splitters and each unit so this is one to twenty four this has three preempts for every channel uh modern front house each have their own print within the unit and then there's the record output that can be controlled as well so way lily patch it once and it goes to all jess and then big key is that we each have control of our game still there's forty taels of that and then each console has uh come dsp processing three seventy one changes all of that away years deal for fifty one is just twenty four outputs on that handles there actually twelve channels of your monitors are all straight from this way have some guest mixes and stuff like that is well out of front house there is another io box that handles all the high over that council weigh all on each council realized the front house inputs and outputs on the back as well so like audience mikes and a couple talk backs like a click from the tracks that goes straight to my console it doesn't touch the funhouse desk just kind of free up some channels that wouldn't need to go to both counsels awesome thanks andy yeah kevin you know I am the stage manager for kayla and I also do you'il hearing brutal stuff for um talk walk me through your just your your initial set up in the morning after load in after getting our glorious video wall hung on the content flowing yeah what's your how do you what do you kind of start with kind of getting getting set up basically when we get in in the morning way worked as a team for the most part but my job is you know, getting things to where it's supposed to go getting people where they're supposed to go uh on getting everybody going on starting up their their day basically so so if you got monitor world in front of house staging back line all that stuff get all the help that they need to get them up going and then I go to the video wall and basically build the video wall why everybody else's building their world and hopefully I get done in time but now you're laptop situation in your video playback can you just describe the software that we use and all kind of works yeah the locked up here in the back this is a wind vision so basically what this does is when you turn on the ball in the morning it addresses all of the panels that are up there to make it one particular resolution one size and then we have control of brightness and then as you can see here you have you know red creams blues of color balance um and it's it's very simple I mean it does a bunch of complicated stuff but for us we turn it on we connected and it doesn't for you exactly this next one this programme uh gj grand b j so way dump our videos here into these and what this does is this makes it so that we have the ability to go in here and then you can put the green one and you can actually tell many notes so if you look over here way got stuff to q video with by hitting a keyboard little looks up so that you can go okay I want to see the video for this you hit the key it triggers a video um the other thing it does too is going to keyboard mapping you can tell it to do all that same stuff with the keys on the computer as well so way do that for like these little cookies up here so we're going through rehearsals we can clear the thing started stop it and you guys have a system basically of when when video if you know if things you know things happen during shows you know systems don't work things get out of sync here in their their computers there it's just way obviously operate a lot of them and but you you have some things mapped out they're as you said that they can stop video and that can that can do all that so yeah, just quickies exactly must be helpful it's yeah it's like a basically we try to make a fail safe so that if our current system doesn't do what we tell it to do, then we have a way of doing it quickly enough so that we don't have a bunch of people watching a show going yeah isn't that working? Yeah. What is what's going on? Cool awesome. So this can you just describe this wall a little bit? Sure. Uh this particular it's kind of thirty inch panels I believe is what we're going with out there and they consist of four smaller cubes that you can take in and out there eight mil panels um we're running believe are sizing on this is ten twenty four by two fifty six but it's at ten eighty so we're getting full full rescue no hd resolution up there and then they come in like blocks. So if you if you see the way you look up there and you see the bars that go across the top every four bars is one section of video wall so you're gonna have actually I'm sorry every two bars is one section that video wall and then in the middle, it split in half, so we basically have so wherever it points hanging is one section exactly. We have those two that's, one section, those to those to those two so there's signal sent to each every four things, and it all loops together, and you have power and signal from the windows. It computer, which takes, uh, signal from our laptop in hd, my awesome way. Use a, uh, use a fulsome in image pro over there to get the resolution right. So arson has a certain sizing that we use it does the ten twenty four. They're so awesome.

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.