Getting into the Industry

I receive e-mails and phone calls regularly from people looking to get into the live audio industry. Some of them are nearing the end of an education program while some have just decided it’s what they want to do but don’t have the first idea of where to start. There’s certainly no definitive path in this industry to becoming a superstar mix engineer, and luck will play a substantial part without doubt, but I will attempt to lay down some of the possible paths of getting where you want to be. Read the rest of Getting into the Industry »

How to Improve your Board Recording

Although mixing the show for the house is our primary concern, there are many times when it is necessary to record it as well. This could vary from a copy of the PA output for posterity or post-show evaluation to a full-scale multi-track recording for commercial release. There are many ways to accomplish this depending on the purpose and a few ways to increase the quality within the imposed limitations. Read the rest of How to Improve your Board Recording »

Console Gain Structure

Back in the olden days, when high-quality audio equipment wasn’t nearly as readily available as it is today, gain structure could make or break the sound quality of a show. Good gain structure was necessary to ensure that the audio signal voltage did not reach the console voltage rails and clip, while at the same time keeping it as high as possible above the noise floor, maximising the signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) and keeping it clean and free from distortion. Now that you can buy an off-the-shelf audio console on the high street with better than 100dB SNR, minimal THD+n and full-bandwidth frequency response, gain structure may not seem to be so important, but it can still ruin your day. Read the rest of Console Gain Structure »

Aux-Fed Subs

This can be a slightly controversial subject with opinion split between those who love it and those who really don’t care for it much at all. Running a system in an aux-fed sub configuration can help to clean up and enhance the clarity of a live mix. There are significant advantages, but a little thought about routing and alignment is necessary to implement them properly. Read the rest of Aux-Fed Subs »

Console System Control

The rise of digital consoles has seen a huge increase in features available at a much lower price point than ever before. It almost doesn’t matter what level of show you’re doing these days, the chance of seeing a digital console complete with all the toys is high, even at the lowest level. While this gives us great opportunities to dramatically improve sound quality on a tight budget, I firmly believe it’s important that the distinction still be made between mix engine and system alignment. Read the rest of Console System Control »

Working with Monitor Wedges

Mixing monitors can be hugely rewarding, and working with a stage full of monitor wedges is really fun! However, if you are not in complete control at all times, it can very quickly become a nightmare.

I put forward my own procedure and techniques for mixing wedges, although as with all types of mixing, it is hugely subjective and down to personal opinion. Everyone who reads this article will develop or will already have their own unique method that works for them, and as long as you can operate efficiently, retain control and keep the band happy, no one can say that one technique is better than another. Read the rest of Working with Monitor Wedges »

Phase or Polarity?

The use of the term ‘flipping the phase’ or ‘inverting the phase’ is a common misnomer that I see time and time again by professional and amateur alike. The problem is that to invert the phase of an electrical signal simply does not make sense, and what is most commonly meant is actually a polarity inversion. But what’s the difference and why is the terminology wrong? To explain this, it is necessary to clarify what each of these terms mean. Read the rest of Phase or Polarity? »

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How to Write a Band Technical Specification

As a sound technician, I have come across countless channel lists, stage plots and technical riders, some of them excellent and some of them good only for scrap paper. As a band engineer, I’ve also written plenty. I have a good idea of what information is necessary in order to convey a band’s technical requirements with a minimum of fuss and maximum clarity. Read the rest of How to Write a Band Technical Specification »