Skip to main content

Sound engineers survey

Hi,

I'm currently doing scientific research on mobile devices which can tangibly mimic a mixing console interface. However, I'm not an audio engineer and thus I don't really know the work practices and needs you all face when working on a venue.

I'm looking for audio engineers to fill a small survey to help better understand some of the difficulties they face while working. Here is a link to the survey: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSfYfPWPPB-BN2Fr0w5mw-gZwUv9e5v9VVcPDku8HxMpW4U6bg/viewform

Thanks in advance for the help!

Comments

pcrecord Thu, 09/14/2017 - 05:49

We get surveys all the time and I really don't like them because while you pretend the answers will help you understand, if you don't ask the right questions you won't get half of the essential information.

Let's just talk openly about the subject instead of being trapped in a survey.

So you want to know about remote mixing apps.
As for today, there is a few independant apps that tries to controle different mixers but most of the time they fail at being effective and stable.
Apps are good is when they are made by the maker of the mixer. Yamaha makes a good one for their digital mixers and some others like midas/behringer are getting there.

Those apps can serve 2 purpose ; For the audio engineer and for the musicians.
As an audio engineer at a venue it is very time consuming to have to walk around to listen to the main speakers or the on-stage monitors and get back to the mixer all the time to make adjustments. So having an app on your phone or tablet (mostly tablet) is very handy. You go on stage and adjust the sound of the monitors, the frequencies the volume etc.
Even for the FOH (main speakers) we would walk around to hear how the speakers sounds from different angles and we can adjust the sound on the fly.

For musicians (specially those with in-ear monitors) having the control of our mix is a new thing. You get to chose what your ear in your monitor in realtime, using a simple phone.

So phone and tablet apps are welcome both from musicians and engineers when doind live work. I assume they will also get to our studio for monitoring in a near future.

jpabloxp Thu, 09/14/2017 - 06:11

pcrecord, post: 452751, member: 46460 wrote: We get surveys all the time and I really don't like them because while you pretend the answers will help you understand, if you don't ask the right questions you won't get half of the essential information.

Let's just talk openly about the subject instead of being trapped in a survey.

So you want to know about remote mixing apps.
As for today, there is a few independant apps that tries to controle different mixers but most of the time they fail at being effective and stable.
Apps are good is when they are made by the maker of the mixer. Yamaha makes a good one for their digital mixers and some others like midas/behringer are getting there.

Those apps can serve 2 purpose ; For the audio engineer and for the musicians.
As an audio engineer at a venue it is very time consuming to have to walk around to listen to the main speakers or the on-stage monitors and get back to the mixer all the time to make adjustments. So having an app on your phone or tablet (mostly tablet) is very handy. You go on stage and adjust the sound of the monitors, the frequencies the volume etc.
Even for the FOH (main speakers) we would walk around to hear how the speakers sounds from different angles and we can adjust the sound on the fly.

For musicians (specially those with in-ear monitors) having the control of our mix is a new thing. You get to chose what your ear in your monitor in realtime, using a simple phone.

So phone and tablet apps are welcome both from musicians and engineers when doind live work. I assume they will also get to our studio for monitoring in a near future.

Thank you for the feedback!

Do audio engineers need to be eyes-free while adjusting the volume or frequencies of monitors around the venue? (e.g. while you adjust a parameter you look at the person and communicate through hand signals)

pcrecord Thu, 09/14/2017 - 06:33

jpabloxp, post: 452754, member: 50821 wrote: Thank you for the feedback!

Do audio engineers need to be eyes-free while adjusting the volume or frequencies of monitors around the venue? (e.g. while you adjust a parameter you look at the person and communicate through hand signals)

There is a lot of work done before the artist arrives. Each venue / room / stage, have different sound to it and often it creates problems (like too much low frequencies)
So before hand, I will always fix those problems before the artist arrives. What's left to do is to built up a mix he/she can hear in the monitors. (ex : more guitar, less tabourine.. etc)
That can be done on stage with the artist if we have an App or it must be done from the main mixer in the assistance.
BUT on big venues we install a second mixer to control the monitors exclusively from the stage (with a second engineer that works on stage)
When it's done like this the FOH engineer will concentrate only on the full mix in the assistance. Then the monitoring engineer will do each on-stage mixes with the artist.

If I need to do both, FOH and Monitoring, I will go on stage with an app to pre-adjust the monitors and mostly do the monitor mixes from the main mixer in the assistance.
I'll then set a mic for myself in order to talk to the artist.

Hand signals are left for last resort option when the performance has started and an artist has a problem or wants to change something in his/her monitor mix.
If the soundtest is done properly and the artist is experienced we rarely need to change a thing at show time.
One thing that helps is that we can hear the monitors feed through the mixer via headphones or a speaker. So a good engineer will do spot checks of the monitor mixes.
When doing 3 different bands in an evening, a lot of success is due to preparation and the engineer cleverness.

jpabloxp Thu, 09/14/2017 - 07:39

pcrecord, post: 452755, member: 46460 wrote: There is a lot of work done before the artist arrives. Each venue / room / stage, have different sound to it and often it creates problems (like too much low frequencies)
So before hand, I will always fix those problems before the artist arrives. What's left to do is to built up a mix he/she can hear in the monitors. (ex : more guitar, less tabourine.. etc)
That can be done on stage with the artist if we have an App or it must be done from the main mixer in the assistance.
BUT on big venues we install a second mixer to control the monitors exclusively from the stage (with a second engineer that works on stage)
When it's done like this the FOH engineer will concentrate only on the full mix in the assistance. Then the monitoring engineer will do each on-stage mixes with the artist.

If I need to do both, FOH and Monitoring, I will go on stage with an app to pre-adjust the monitors and mostly do the monitor mixes from the main mixer in the assistance.
I'll then set a mic for myself in order to talk to the artist.

Hand signals are left for last resort option when the performance has started and an artist has a problem or wants to change something in his/her monitor mix.
If the soundtest is done properly and the artist is experienced we rarely need to change a thing at show time.
One thing that helps is that we can hear the monitors feed through the mixer via headphones or a speaker. So a good engineer will do spot checks of the monitor mixes.
When doing 3 different bands in an evening, a lot of success is due to preparation and the engineer cleverness.

So, when you build up a mix with the artist on stage through an app, do you need to look around (e.g. to communicate with someone in particular, to check what's going on around) while operating the app?

pcrecord Thu, 09/14/2017 - 08:49

jpabloxp, post: 452760, member: 50821 wrote: So, when you build up a mix with the artist on stage through an app, do you need to look around (e.g. to communicate with someone in particular, to check what's going on around) while operating the app?

Yes !
The mix often consists of the rest of the band (unless it's a solo act). So you need to ask everybody to play their instrument so each one of them can tell if the volume in their mix is at their taste.
Also working with them and communicate starts to build a relationship and thrust which is much needed in this field of work.

paulears Wed, 09/20/2017 - 11:41

I'm a tad confused - I've been using iPads and phones to do this for a long time. In fact, live sound wise, I've even had engineers who haven't stood behind their mixer at all - they have done all the soundcheck on the surface, and then they mix the show. This is hardly new. Me - I still like the mixer, but I really don't like doing a show without my iPad.

paulears Sat, 09/23/2017 - 00:54

I've been thinking about this - and to be honest, the only critical tool are ears. Nowadays, sound has suddenly been benefited by /inflicted with so many ways of controlling it that the old operating concepts are out of the door. Soundcheck, for example have always had the problem of distance. The performer trying to indicate their needs to somebody so far away, they can't even see them. So they raise a hand - point at the keys and point upwards, and the on the ball sound op notices and raises that monitor feed to their wedge a tad, but now the guy is on stage, standing next to them, and they say in his ear - more keys, and then the sound op can hear the keys come up in the mix. He can wander around, and if something isn't right - like maybe the bass in the monitors is all woolly - they can fix it on the spot. Trying to do this 50m distant is a pain - wandering around is so much easier. In theatre shows, the designer will walk the auditorium, tweaking delays and eq as they go. The only problem with solid pad type surfaces is tactile feedback - you slide a fader up, nothing happens, you look down and you missed the fader and it didn't move. glass feels like glass.

x

Register