People around me know that I have been saying that I hate live sound. HAHA. Ok to clarify, I don’t exactly hate it, I just don’t like how imperfect it sounds.
However, live sound does keep me on my feet. Without the luxury of time and expensive plugins, I have to watch a lot of things. When you are not in a studio, you cannot control how someone points his mic to his mouth. Even after teaching and reminding them to hold their microphone properly, most people don’t correct their bad habits and fall right back into it.
I was really working with what I have. I tried compressing everything to kinda replicate the mastering process of audio mixing. Somehow or another, it just doesn’t seem to work for live sound.
HAHA! There is something about seeing the person live in person that makes the sound a bit different. My live mix will definitely not be usable for studio stuff. However, my studio stuff does not work for live either. It doesn’t sound natural when everything is compressed like that. The mix needed to breathe.
However, because of that, my mix had to change on the fly too. I must have shifted more faders today than I ever had. Therefore, routing signal and customising the board to my preference was VERY helpful. I set up DCA groups, User Defined Keys, Custom Faders, effects return etc etc. All to my liking. I wanted to try an Amp simulation effect today, however, the guitar sound I had was just too noisy. I couldn’t use it.
I approached live sound in a very studio manner. I zeroed the board. Have one person sing, set gain, do EQ to solve problems, have them tell me what they want on the monitors. Then once everyone was done and they were rehearsing, off house, go on stage with the Ipad to listen to each monitor mix and edit accordingly. Put the speaker to where they should be. Mix for them without the house so that their monitor mix will be accurate. Then, once everything is settled, do you go back to the board and start mixing.
Set custom faders for the inputs that you are using. Today I went even further, separating faders 1-8 to be voices and faders 9-16 to be the band. Then, set DCAs, one for vocals and another for band. This will ensure that you will have quick control for the band, for in cases when the emcees comes up.
Then set another custom fader bank for the output, put DCA and all the effects returns in that bank. Now you won’t have to flip to any other pages to mix.
I will also set user defined keys beforehand. 1-4 are always my sends on faders for the monitors. 5-8 are my effects sends on faders. 15 is home button, 16 is clear cue. 13 is tap tempo for any delay I use.
I have set delay a bit different from before. I used to put my return at 0 and control my send from sends on faders with my user defined keys. Now, I put the send at 0 and control the return, which is rightfully the way to do things. Then I put both send and return in my output custom fader bank. Then I will control the send. Switching it on only for certain parts for artistic flair.
Overall, I was quite pleased with my mix today. Though not perfect of course, but it was really the best I could do in live sound. Studio is trying to get the sound consistent throughout so that you don’t have to do any automation. Live sound mixing is practically faders only. Of course I still do compress and all, but compressing too much is going to make the sound a bit dull. No life you know. So yeah. Trying certain stuff out. Can’t wait to hear my recording, good to always learn from mistakes!