Mixing Live Sound

Mixing Live Sound

Postby weirimpressed » Mon Nov 23, 2009 10:44 am

Whats going on y'all,

I started helping out at a few different venues/bands around town with load ins and basic roadie stuff, but have since became interested with mixing sound for the shows. I was wondering if any of you have any experience in this field, and if you have any basic tips or pointers I should learn early that will help with the learning process. Also, any good books that could help me out as well? I have a basic understanding of gain structures, equalization, and monitor mixing, in fact went in-depth with EQ a couple days ago and learned some crazy things!

If I wanted to start my own little production side project, what would the bare essentials be? Thinking three monitors, condenser mics(already have decent supply of 57's/58's/91 for kick), a variety of mic stands, xlr cables, two speakers, sub?, board, EQ, snake, power amps...what am I missing?

Appreciate the help.
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In the strangest of places if you look at it right.
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Re: Mixing Live Sound

Postby strumminsix » Mon Nov 23, 2009 11:06 am

I have some experience. I'd say the first thing to do is decide how big of a room you want to work.

My rig is small/medium sized with most instruments coming from stage. That allows me to do 2 mains, 2 monitors. Vocals through the pa and some kick drum with a high pass engaged and at times lead guitar depending on how loud the lead is without solo'ing. All mono. This is bare bones. I've since added an additional monitor. But am still bare bones. 500W + 500W monitors.

Next step from there would be to udpate to a larger board, a few more drum mic (overhead, snare, shared toms), mic all instruments, include a drummer monitor and push about 1000W to the mains but mostly sound reinforcement for the instruments.

Next step would be for a full set of drum kit mics, stereo L&R, and unique monitor mixes.

If you look at these as 3 generic steps I'm somewhere in the novice of step 2.

From there you want to listen carefully to where folks are sitting in the mix. Too often a guitarist will have such a broad tone that he is in the bassist register all the way up and despite volume he isn't coming through clearly and then his massive volume he is cluttered the mix. Other guitarists sound so damn muddy that the interfere with lower vocals and that bassist's register. Often what a room needs and what a band wants is 2 separate things and you need to find the proper middleground since you are working for the band but responsible for the room.
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Re: Mixing Live Sound

Postby weirimpressed » Mon Nov 23, 2009 11:50 am

strumminsix wrote:My rig is small/medium sized with most instruments coming from stage. That allows me to do 2 mains, 2 monitors. Vocals through the pa and some kick drum with a high pass engaged and at times lead guitar depending on how loud the lead is without solo'ing. All mono. This is bare bones. I've since added an additional monitor. But am still bare bones. 500W + 500W monitors.

Next step from there would be to udpate to a larger board, a few more drum mic (overhead, snare, shared toms), mic all instruments, include a drummer monitor and push about 1000W to the mains but mostly sound reinforcement for the instruments.


I'm thinking about the same type of rig. Basically to help some of the bands around the area with their shows and certain bars/clubs that may not have sound.I'm in school for the music business, but they completely ignore the production side of it so I've had to rely on this for my source of education ha.

Basically, I have a 16-channel Yamaha board from the band I run sound for that I can rent out/buy in increments depending on the amount of work I can put together. What I don't have I can rent from the band as well until I have enough money saved to purchase my own, plus it can pay for some of our gas to other gigs. By next spring, I would like to have a few monitors and own the board, and be on the way to purchasing own speakers. Obviously they may be overzealous but it would set me up nicely for something I enjoy doing.

Are there other forums I should check out on this subject?
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Re: Mixing Live Sound

Postby RiverRat » Tue Nov 24, 2009 7:26 am

weirimpressed wrote:If I wanted to start my own little production side project, what would the bare essentials be? Thinking three monitors, condenser mics(already have decent supply of 57's/58's/91 for kick), a variety of mic stands, xlr cables, two speakers, sub?, board, EQ, snake, power amps...what am I missing?

Appreciate the help.


Decent SPL Meter
Pro Hearing Protection
AC Power Conditioners (15 amp)
A small AC Power Checker
Extra AC cords (computer style AC cords)
A couple of EQ's
1/4" patch cables
XLR to 1/4" (A few of every possible gender combination)
Adaptors for 1/4", 1/8", RCA. XLR
Banana Plug and Speakon adaptors
a few Direct Boxes
200' ground extension cord + a bunch of other cords of different sizes
a few power strips
Flashlights (several)
Batteries... 9V, AA and AAA most common... Lots of 9v and maybe even a couple 9V wall wart adapters
Multi-tool AND a decent small toolkit
Heavy duty hand truck
Duct Tape, Electrical Tape and Gaffers Tape
Extra Picks, Strap and Tuners (Guitarists are not always with it)
Ipod or mp3 player and the ability to run it thru the board (for in between sets... this will make you a hero!)
Aspirin, Tylenol, Bendadryl and Sudafed... Plus some band-aids and neosporin.
A sense of humor, thick skin and professional attitude
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Re: Mixing Live Sound

Postby playingdead » Tue Nov 24, 2009 10:14 am

Advil works better :-)

We've been using a Presonus StudioLive 16-channel board at our shows recently; we plug it into the mains and monitors at venues with house sound, or rent amps and speakers when they don't. We get by with 16 channels (two drum kits) although 24 would be nice. Street price is about $1650. It has four band parametric EQ, compression, limiting and high pass on every channel, as well as for the overall mix, onboard reverb and delays, six monitor mixes, and four auxes. Plus, you can save "scenes" from the various venues to recall it all instantly. Mic preamps are nice and transparent, too.

It will take all 16-tracks (plus two extra) to FIrewire so you can record your shows on a laptop and remix later. Recent results:

http://www.archive.org/details/pd2009-1 ... rocksetone

Down the road, if you have another $1650 to spare, you can pick up a second StudioLive and daisychain them, 32 channels for $3300. Hard to beat.
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Re: Mixing Live Sound

Postby Harvestwind » Sun Nov 29, 2009 2:45 pm

My band runs a small mostly vocal PA which works fine in rooms of up to about 300 people. The rig consists of:
- A Yamaha brick style 8 Channel desk with 2x400 watt power amps which can be configered as left and right out front or front and foldback;
- two trapezoidal FOH speakers with a 15 inch woofer and a horn (on stands);
- two fold back speakers with a 12 inch woofer and horn
- about half a dozen shure 58s and two 57s (We rarely use them all)
- mic stands and cables including lots of power leads and boxes;
- six par 57 lights (four on a stand and two loose

The band line up is female lead voc, bass and voc, guitar and vocal, sax, drums. We normally only mic the vocals and sax and put a 57 on the kick and snare drums at bigger gigs. The rest of the sound goes straight off the stage.

We have used this rig at around 50 gigs a year for the past ten years with no problems. If we get a bigger gig we hire a bigger PA and operator if required.

I should have mentioned that the amp has a built in graphics and various digital reverb settings you can use on the cahnnels. The big tip for getting a good sound that I swear by is that flat is usually a really good starting position for EQing. Most vocals will sound best if you don't move anything too far away from that position. I have a bass voice and like the bass to be pulled back slightly and the tops to be brought up slightly. Our sax player likes the mids to be pulled back slightly and our guitarist, when we put the guitar through likes the tops to be pulled back slightly. In all cases small is beautiful is the way to go.
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