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Mixing Live Sound

Lesson 9 of 17

Mixing Monitors


Mixing Live Sound

Lesson 9 of 17

Mixing Monitors


Lesson Info

Mixing Monitors

So at this point, we've got the speaker's flown, we've got the consul's set up, we have the festival patch on both the monitor and the front of house console. We've tuned the p a we've got to the point where like it's that time of the day, we're like, ok, the band's here, it's time to actually start mixing. We've come this far, there's a lot to cover, so we're going to jump right into monitor mixing for monitors and basically mixing for monitors entails you being on stage and your dedicated job is to do the mix for the band for each of the band members, there's a couple things how you set up the console to be to be in monitor console instead of a front of house counsel is a little bit different, so we're going to walk through how to set that up. We're going to talk about using the ox and bus masters and sort of solo modes for being able to switch between those we're going to talk about setting up the inputs in the main mix first, which is kind of your first step. Well, you're going to ...

learn how to copy mixes from wedge to wedge that you have a reference point to start from ongoing talk about the difference between mixing for in your monitors and mixing for wedges. So we'll do for in your monitor mixes and four wedge mixes, which you're going to be slightly different on how we actually mix those and set those up so it's going to get started, the first thing that we're gonna do is we're going to set up the consul for monitor, so if you look at the screen, we basically have all of our inputs labeled banks one, two and three, just like that festival patch that you saw set up it's the same one we're going teo do a couple things, just global changes to the consul to get it set up. So the first thing we've got options, if you look down on the floor here, I've gotta listen wedge so most wanted and modern engineers are gonna have their own wedge that they're listening back through. So this is a qsc powered monitor wedge that I'm going to use is my reference point so that I can mimic whatever band member's on stage that's trying to hear their mics out of a four wedge. I have the same experience here, aiken solo their mics and hear what they're hearing, just like they're here bring it so that I can understand what they're saying and tryto mix it as much as like them as I can, I also have a pair of headphones, so I'll use the headphones to mix the in your monitor mixes and I'll use the floor wedge to mix the floor wedge mixes just so it's as real as possible. It's the first thing I want to do and I want to switch the console tohave my listen wedge, be on my main fader right here, andre really quick. Before I start this, I'm going to switch that so that the main feeder controls my listen wedge, because I'm not doing in front of house mix, but it doesn't mean that my main mix goes away the main mixes still there it actually switches to on this console. This is unique to the s c forty eight that actually switches to the first three rotary encoders of the master output groups. If you want to know more about how this is all set up, you should check out the avid sc forty eight fast start class, which is just a description of how to use this console and all the ins and outs of this specific digital console s o that's available right now if you want to check that out. But for right now, just the basics of it is that the main mix gets copied over to the rotary encoders of the first three on dh then the main mixes controlled is now controlling the main fainter is controlling the listen wedge, so we're going to go to buses and look at the solar monitor section down here and we're gonna turn on cue on mains fader now q and means fainter now means that this is controlling my mix to the to the q wedged down here instead of the main mix. Right now, we're not sending the mix to the monitors because I'm not worried about the main front of house mix right now. I'm worried about soloing the individual logs mixes, but I am going to turn that on a soon as I get started because the first thing we're going to do is go through and actually set up all the inputs individually before I start doing the main mixer before I start doing each with separate mixes. Um, otto, cancel this. This has to do with some solo type stuff, so most of the most of the listen solos are going to be pre fader. So if I select solo a channel it's going to listen to it before the fader comes up, which is definitely what I would suggest doing any of the dog's mixes that I sold over here going to be a f l, which is actually going to set those up to be hearing everything as they're actually mixed so their post fader so usually you're main mixes you want to listen to an nfl so that you're hearing the mix as a whole and the individual channels you want to set up his p f l s o that you're hearing the individual pfl mixes before the fader, you're just listen to one individual channel there's a couple cool options aug follows a f l and nfl follows dogs that just basically means if I, if I have the august following, if l, if I solo a channel, it automatically switches the rotary encoder to that dog, so I don't have to manually switch it. Um, and then nfl follows dogs. If I actually selected dog sent, it'll actually automatically sold out for me. So there's a kind of too cool options that just save a little bit of time, depending on your workflow? Um, okay, so I've got the q on mains fate or the second thing that this council has that unique is what's called flip to fader mode. So all of my rotary in corners up here control the amount that I'm sending teach dogs, and so I've got sent one, two, three, four all the way to send sixteen and what I can do is actually use my favors to control those sense by flip to fade er's eso if I flipped to favors now. Whatever auxerre I have selected is what the fader controls, the failures, not controlling the mix to the front of house. So those were sort of the two main things to properly get the consul, set up a monitor mode, put the cue edge on the main fader and then flip the mixes. Two failures or the aug sends two failures so that I could be using these toe mix with and then I can solo each of these and they'll switch back and forth. Um, as faras number of aug sends, I have if I go to my main system configuration, obviously every council is going to be different, but I'm going to put this and config mode, and I can actually edit and see how many input channels I have. How many graphic accuse and then there's sort of three options for my bus configuration. I can either use eight dogs and eight stereo groups, which means I have eight monologues and eight stereo groups. I can have sixteen dogs and eight mondo group's, which means I have all sixteen monologues and eight model groups, or I can have sixteen on dresses and eight variable groups, which means I have my sixteen may knox is, but I have eight variable groups that I can adjust between so stereo or mono. I typically start with the sixteen auxerre eight mondo group's we're going to keep it that way for now in case I need maur if I needed more, I might switch to the eight viable groups mode but for right now we're just going to stick with sixteen and ate um once that set up I can go to my buses any of those um ogg sends aiken linked together to be stereo hogs is and that's what I'm going to use for in your monitors if I'm mixing for stereo in your monitors I want a pair to august together so like august fifteen and sixteen, for example now become one fader and then my pan allows me to pan across fifteen and sixteen a cz if it was its own separate stereo mics, so we're going to keep dogs one through eight as eight model mixes and then we're going to make, uh for stereo aug sends the other thing I'm gonna do is once that applies I am going to make them follow the channel pan, so since I'm not mixing anything for front of house, I could just use the normal panning that I'd use for the channel two pan in between each of the dogs so the og sends have their own separate or the absence follow the main channel panning if I know that for some reason each of those stereo mixes might want different panning for different instruments, then I might not want to choose that and then each dog's mix can have its own panning but for right now I'm just going to keep it simple and have one pan control for all of them I'm so that it's following the main fader okay so I'm mostly set up the next thing I want to do um I'm going to make sure that I'm patched in my monitor which it should be right here so this is the monitor feed that feeds my um my wedge and I have it here on number three output um see we'll clear the solos um finally I want to set up my talkback mic um so what I like to do there's a couple ways to set up the talk back mic like I said if if I'm the monitor engineer right now I'm going to need to set up both the front of house guys talkback mic and my talkback mic so his talk mac mike is going to come in on let's just say let's see where I believe it wass forty five so on channel forty five his talkback mic is going to be on a switch so he's going to control turning it on and off and I'm just going to leave it open to all the floor wedges so he can talk to them at any time so I'm gonna go ahead and bring up dogs one just the unity lessons bring up dogs two dogs three four five six seven and eight now his talkback mic from front of house being fed down an analog line into my channel forty five is going to be fed to all of the monitor mixes one through eight that on stage so he can talk back to them at any time he wants it's always open and I'm not ever muting it because he's the one controlling that for my talkback mic I want to go ahead and use I don't have any pre empts on are all the pre ops on my patch list or taken for I don't want to use any of those so I've plugged my talkback mic into the talkback pre amp in the back of the consul which is its own rit thing and so right here the talkback aiken route to any output on dh use just the talkback section you can also set up in the events tab I can also set up mute buttons on each of those to feed to feed each of the channels but what I'm going to do instead is actually route the talk back mic to an input channel on my console so that I can use that to send it to different monitor mixes instead of having to try to manually send it um so I'm gonna go to the patch bay go to my channels and instead of patching from stage nobody matching from front of house and if you see here I'll just call this since I'm not john I'll call this monitor talk back I am going to patch this from the talk back mic on the back and now that talkback mic which is right here is now being fed from that individual mike so if you see I'm talking into it can here check check hello so I'm gonna go ahead and find this on the console the cool thing about the s c forty eight is that it has this thing called a flex channel and so in monitor mode that becomes really useful for the talk back mic so I'm going to select that talk that might talk back and I'm gonna go ahead and latch that to the flex channel so now this is my talkback mic I can set that however I want I'm gonna go ahead and um bring it up on each of the eggs mixes um so now I have it sent to each the odds mixes mixes if you let's see if we notice that um with this channel this is the main mix going ahead in munich um and then if I solo any of those mixes as soon as I am unit check check check check check check check um oh the other thing I want to make sure to do is I'm going to set all of my aug sends a pre fader and this is also really important so thie aug since khun come either pre fader post fader if they're seto post fader, it means that if the main phasers down than all of the auxerre will not feed to the fader at all, they'll be after the fader they will be sent to any of the dogs. Typically when you're mixing for monitors, you want all of the eggs to be pre fader because you're not using the main fader for anything, so unless you want to keep it all the way down, we're just gonna go ahead and set all of the august to be pre fader, so I'm gonna hold on multi select and click on all of these banks and then go through and set these all to pre fader and then once they're those air done, I'm gonna exit multi select go back to my monitor counsel here and make sure to activate each of these. Um so now I have my talk back being fed to all of my eight stereo wedges and this is obviously gonna be done before the bank gets here cause I want to set up my talk back to be ready to go, to talk to the band before they ever start walking on stage. Cisco hadn't solo one of these channels this is august one check check, check, check, check hello so now I know I'm coming in dogs one check, check, check, check dogs to check three check check before and so on so now my talkback mic I know is being fed to all eight of the wedges that air on stage I just checked to make sure that they were there and once we actually start to get set up tio get the bands mix we're going to go through in line check all these in usual channels but before we do that we want to make sure that we're actually getting signal at each of these channels and so the first thing that we want to do is what's called ringing out the monitors where we go around every single monitor and we find the frequencies that are feeding back and we pull those out before the band gets there so every monitor is set up individually with its own graphic you so I'm gonna go ahead and set that up now and then we're going to show a video on how we actually did that so I'm gonna go out and select that dog's master outputs um I'm gonna select dogs one and I'm going to the outputs tab and bring up um graphic e q one I'm gonna bring up a graphic e q on every one of these channels every one of these I'm sorry not channels dogs masters so I can control the graphic e q output for each of these and typically if you're working with the same set of monitors once you get like the good ik curve on one of them you can copy it to the other eight as a place to start from because they're probably gonna be pretty similar. Um okay, so now I have graphic you set up on all eight of those dogs masters he's going to be eight four wedges I'm not going to worry about graphic you on nine, three sixteen just yet, but what's gonna happen now and you'll see this on the video is it takes two people you can do it with one person but it's a lot faster with two one person walks around with just a standard vocal mike and stands in front of the speaker and tries to get it to feedback you can cut the top of it talking to it pointed at the speaker try to figure out which frequencies are going to feed back more than others and then as I'm getting it to feedback, I'm listening on what frequencies those are and telling the monitor engineer to cut those frequencies out so you'll hear me yell things like one point two and he'll grab one point two and drag it down and see if that helps or like eight hundred k u eight hundred he'll grab that bright dragon town or two k he'll grab that, drag it down so he's going to go through this whole section and kind of we're going to bring out the monitors and get him all set so that by the time the band comes on stage the talkback set up all the monitors sound good we know we're getting signal out of each of them and we're ready to actually start setting up the instruments so the first band is just a stereo keys stereo sampler one guitar mike and two locals who just want to use like keys one into sampler depending on where weather out okay, I'll wait for you to tell me whether two keys available here to keep her here two keys build over here okay? They're upstage center so they should be over here probably going five think he's five and six and seven eight yes, I'll double check focus exactly where there are yeah, just let me know everything has a place okay? Do you want um I can walk around with a mic and wring out the monitors. Yeah, lithe is up here and then forty five daughters just cast a compass and dramas six yeah, fifty eight and now I've got a vocals one teo three through four coming out of there so close to three check want to mix one mix one check check check check makes one hello check check, check, check, check check makes one check, check, check, check, check hello, hello mixed one makes one check, check, check check check check check makes one check check check check makes one check hello hello that's mixed to check makes one it's one check check check hello willow willow check makes two makes two tickets one makes one hello allo allo checked teo kept there we go cool check check pull out a little one case check check hello hello hello a little eight hundred cut it like to devi check check hello hello lo check check what is that? Is that too lou that's like okay maybe try like one and a half to k check check check check hello and there we get on much better nice much cleaner check check check check check okay okay okay there we go that's better check check check one teo check it's still that's that ring is still there hello hello new check check one two check check I think that was it a little bit more take out more check one two check check one two five yeah that's where I checked tick tick cool yeah that's the bad frequency right there check one two check okay let's try makes two yeah let's start with that check check mixed to mix two mixed too hello check check check check mix to check mix to there we g o hello hello hello check mixed two this one's a little bass here he could pull out just like one hundred hurts a little bit check check check check yeah it keeps its like the crossover keeps cutting or something just check check check check hello hello hello check check check check check check yes makes two so this is kind of an interesting thing what's actually happening is that the d s p processing on the amplifiers gets stuck every once in a while and so we unplug the speaker cable so there's no speaker sending and then we just crank the gain into dsp control sort of resets it turned the game down in plugging speaker back in and that prevents that crossover from clicking on and off it only happens like every six months or so so sometimes you just have to find out the weird quirks of that gear just to make it work check check check check check hello check check check check check check check check one two there we go much better it's back it's back check check check check one two you check e okay let's write makes three check check check mixed three mixed three hello check check check one two check check check did you copy your face from previous accu check check check hello check check check check check check check check hello hello check check yeah, that sounds pretty good to me check check check hello, hello? Check check check one two cool try makes for good, okay, because they're floaters and we'll start with ease I mean, every band's gonna have their own issues with which frequencies they want cut out so this is just to wring out the frequencies over there and we could go from there check six check the drum wedge check one to you check check check check check a loon that's a loo in check check check just a little bit of sixty hertz and that just for the drummer should yeah just like one and a half tv check check check check check check check check check check check let's think let's take out again a little more to kay was a little higher that time check check check one two check check check that's like a four hundred heads thing could you come back down a little bit check check hello? Hello? Hello? Yeah, there we go. Much better check check check cool. It should be good. Okay, so that's basic the process of setting up for the monitor council. We've got the consul configured for monitors. We've got our cue on our main fader. We've got the main mix not going to the main phasers. So weaken solo each of the individual mixes we've set up for stereo dogs masters for in ears and eight monologues masters for drum wedges you saw him go ahead and set up the curves um I'll just sort of like mimic what he had here on screen, but he had sort of set up the curves and the one point two five was really low um and so if I wanted to copy and paste that I could just right click um and, uh, copy and paste uh, the settings to each mix so that they all have sort of the same starting point, and then I could make fine tune adjustments on each of those, so once those air all set up, I've got the mix is set up, I've got my talkback mic set up with a plug in my headphones really quick so we can use those for the stereo in years, and now the first thing I'm gonna do, I'm gonna look at the festival patch that we have and figure out what band we're going to use eso when I would typically do it is work with each of the channels that I have and then slide them all too it's on the specific console, we're doing something a little different because we're sort of virtually creating this situation, so I'm using a pro tools session that recorded that was recorded from a live band, and we're going to patch each of those into channels on the council so it's not coming from the stage box because there's no stage it's coming from pro tools so that's the only day difference um so we're going to set this up we're gonna put um and I'll try to just marry this as much as possible so uh the inputs were going to come from pro tools so kick it's going to be uh kick one then there's no so it kick in michael the snare top and bottom and this is all coming from the festival patch I had rack time and for tom so they rack tom one for tom too and then we'll do overhead left and overhead right and there's no ride mike and then see we'll do uh base d I base mike and then drum vocal so drum vocal is gonna have to be uh down here on drum vocal be eleven and then stage left vocal and center vocal wait guitar wait before drum local oops eleven is actually going to be guitar stage right? So guitar wanting it's hard to our eleven and twelve so this is all the soft patching that I'm doing now from the festival patch to set it up on the console and then then guitar then drum vocal so we'll have wei have drum vocal was gonna be fifteen wait so eleven, twelve, thirteen oh yeah fifteen is going to be drum vocal um then we have four vocals and I think that's it we're not gonna worry about the crowd mike's right now um, actually, yeah, let's. Bring up crowd mike's, because we could show how you can use patch crowd mike's back into stereo in your monitors, which is really helpful sometimes. So we'll use forty one and forty two for crowd left and crowd, right, um, so a lot of times when bands have in your monitors, they want to hear the crowds. They don't feel like they're totally isolated, so you can set up crowd mikes and patched crowd mike's back from there. In your monitors, they can hear it. Obviously, you would want to do that with stage wedges would be huge feedback, nightmare, but with in your monitors, that really, really helps.

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.