What do you think it is aesthetic of live mixing?

Discussion in 'Mixing & Song Critique' started by noteloh, Mar 12, 2008.

  1. noteloh

    noteloh Guest

    Hi guys,
    I'm doing my course project about live vs studio. Please help me out by answering these questions.
    1. What do you think it is aesthetic of live mixing?
    2. What are things you must do in order to get great live sound?
    3. Live VS Studio

    Thank you everyone who help me answering these question. You don't have to answer everything, I know that's a lot. And please introduce me something about you... What do you do? Artist, FOH engineer, roadie?? I need to know about it to analyse your aspect. Thanks again
  2. moonbaby

    moonbaby Mmmmmm Well-Known Member

    Feb 23, 2005
    Question #1...From a grammatical standpoint...Huh?
    Do you mean "What are the aesthetics of 'good sound' ?"
    Personally, whether in live OR recorded sound, "good sound" is the absence of "bad sound". Hums, pops, feedback, thumps, boominess, extensive hiss, resonances, clipping, etc., all contribute to "bad sound".
    And nothing pisses me off more than to watch a band playing and SEE a player taking his/her solo, but not HEARING it because the sound mixer isn't on top of the mix. I do FOH, and BTW, the term "roadie" is derrogatory in many circles.
  3. donthaveone

    donthaveone Guest

    Just my 2cent on question #3
    What I do. Bassist, On Stage live recordings and/or room recordings as a hooby not a living.

    I Love to record live music, I don't care much at all about recording in a "studio setting" I have zero experience doing it and don't really care to.(although I do sometimes evny those who do it for a living.)

    This also comes from my viewpoint of being a musician.

    When it's live it is either put up or shut up.

    Like moonbaby says, if the FOH house guy isn't up to snuff and the moment passes, the moment is lost forever. No matter how awesome the solo, if it wasn't coming from the house PA then it didn't hit my microphones.

    Live: If the guitar player screws his solo and it sounds like crap, guess what he will hear it on the recording and so will everyone else.

    Studio: Guitar player screws his solo: do it again..and again...and again untill he gets it right or you replace him.

    To ME, nothing beats a great sounding audience recording. It's like a dance between the musicians and the sound guy.

    Good Room+Good Band+Good Sound Guy = heaven to my ears.
  4. Discrete

    Discrete Active Member

    Mar 13, 2008
    I'm a student studying sound design from multiple perspectives. This semester I had the opportunity to record live performances, usually put on by students from the arts and performance section of the school.

    From my viewpoint, what makes a good live recording is, first of all, what moonbaby said, no blatant screw-ups and minimal noise, no clipping. And then the goal is to have a recording that sounds like it did when you were there listening to it live. This means getting the sound of the instrument, the performer, the room, and (to a lesser degree) the audience. I've only had to record a PA once and I did not prefer it. I could have just stayed home and played the guys cd and recorded the speakers. I don't like being at the mercy of the sound reinforcement. Plus, there was no room left for me to record any acoustics straight from the instrument (solo guitar) as the PA speakers were position at the back of the stage. Like I said, I do not prefer this.

    But, a good acoustic live recording is a thing of beauty.
  5. sheet

    sheet Well-Known Member

    May 28, 2003
    Kansas City, KS
    Home Page:
    Wow. What a bad time to be studying music and engineering eh?

    I would say no matter what, the basics must be covered. I don't need the latest and greatest gear. I just need to have something that works, is reliable, and fits the context of the venue. The rest is all on the players and their instruments. If you do not have the players with great instruments, then you are screwed no matter what. Some of the best musical records have been made on stuff that was technically beneath what beginners start with today. Some of the best performances have been all acoustic in a real music hall. The technology gets in the way, allows for too many choices, and takes up too much time from concept to delivery.
  6. Discrete

    Discrete Active Member

    Mar 13, 2008
    I'm not sure what you mean by this. How is it a bad time? Do you just mean the state of the music industry?
  7. sheet

    sheet Well-Known Member

    May 28, 2003
    Kansas City, KS
    Home Page:
    The state of things. It's all up in the air.
  8. Kapt.Krunch

    Kapt.Krunch Well-Known Member

    Nov 21, 2005
    I'm mainly a hobbyist, (haven't made any REAL money from playing, mixing or recording...so can't call myself a pro) but have done some live stuff, both monitor mixing and FOH, and have done some recording. I'm no complete expert, but here are some common-sense things.

    Live, you have to be on top of everything, and make quick decisions.
    It helps to know the music, so you can highlight leads, or kick in any effects, if necessary. Have to mix on the fly, and keep an eye on what the performers are doing with their equipment. For instance, if you see Pete reaching for his amp's volume knob, probably best to know, quickly, which fader will probably need attention. A live act requires much more real-time hands-on manipulation of the mixer than a multi-track studio recording, because that studio recording usually has levels set to achieve a good level on it's own recorded track, and left fairly well alone. The mixing of the tracks together on a multi-track is most often done afterward, where a live mix is done on-the-spot.

    You have to mix according to the type of music. A rap act is probably not going to be mixed much like a country act. It helps to have a good ear, an understanding of what frequencies reside in which instruments, ability to quickly recognize which frequencies may need attention, an understanding of how to avoid frequency trainwrecks, and knowledge of what that particular type of music demands to be pleasing to the intended audience.

    A soundcheck in an empty hall won't sound the same as when it's filled with people absorbing sound. You have to be ready to make good decisions on what may need changed, and know how to do it quickly, but delicately, so it doesn't freak out everyone. A soundcheck in a studio stays pretty much what it is. You find the right mic, the right distance, the right room sound, the right amp, etc...tweak it in, and record. Unless the player manipulates things on the instrument or amp, you are just there to ensure that it's being recorded at a good level. And when all the tracks have been recorded, then you mix. (Of course, yes, I know mixing monitors is done while recording, but it's pretty much independant of the main mix with all the levels up, which would make a horrible mix because nothing is actually "mixed").

    In a studio, it's more likely that more tracks may be devoted to one instrument. For instance, it may desireable to run a guitar through a direct box for an unaffected signal, while simultaneously running it through mic'ed amp(s), or even PODs, etc. This gives lots of choices for the final product mix. That direct-recorded sound may even be run back through an amp or POD...whatever...to tweak the sound later. Of course, the same thing COULD be done live, but it starts getting impractical with too much stuff. Also, effects are sure to be used and run though amps through the FOH live...and either way...there are no do-overs. Once you've recorded a live signal, or sent it out the PA, it's done. In a studio, you can just do it again.

    There may be more signal bleed from live instruments into other mic's. Of course, this can happen in studios also, if the band likes to record "live to tape", but it may be easier to manage in a studio. Once one instrument bleeds into another's mic, it makes it more difficult to mix because if you change something...say the bassist goes from a low, deep growl to a more toppy, poppy sound, any other mic'ed channel picking up that change is going to affect its own channel sound to reinforce it.

    In a live situation, you have to be ready for "Whatever CAN go wrong, may", and have the temperament for stressful things, and be able to fix it quickly...there is absolutely NO time for head-scratching. In the studio, it may mean lost dollars...in a concert, it might cause a riot! The very nature of connecting things differently for different purposes for different music in different venues in different environments almost makes perfect impossible, right off the bat. A studio is usually a more controlled environment where the majority of stuff is proven to work, maintained, and the potential for disasters is less. When something does happen in a studio, it may be easier and quicker to diagnose, because these guys know their equipment, how it's connected, and can pretty much tell if the sound of something has changed for the worse.

    A live concert recording has to add another level of stress and danger to the mix, I would imagine. You have even another set of connections to consider to get a seperate mix from the FOH. You have guys on the stage who may be twiddling knobs, and you have to make sure that track is staying at a good level. And you may be stuck in an isolated spot where you may not have the best view of what's happening at any one spot on the stage. I imagine it's a combination of studio recording technique and live reaction.

    Like I said, this is all pretty much common sense stuff that may help. Just throwing stuff at the wall...open to debate, as always :shock:

    Hope some of it helped. :wink:


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