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Day 312 - March 31 - Home

I run across humans that choose a way of life of ruthless self perpetuating greed, and also those that choose selflessness to the point that it becomes cripplingly hindering to their own health, livelihood and then all those that have balance somewhere in between with strength in direction moderated by compassion and patience, for people, for the environment, for the critters and for their own selves. As long as I just keep remembering not to forget to stand mid teeter totter, all is good.

**** Sound Nerd Speak ****

I went to a few shows and once again was baffled by what I heard so I thought I would share some illusive and amazing secrets of mixing a rock show with any engineers or engineers to be out there:

1) Make it so you can hear all the instruments and vocals.

2) Make the instruments sound somewhat similar to what they actually are.

3) Have some sort of concept of either how loud the audience wants to hear it and how loud the band wants to be presented and try to make the appropriate humans happy.

For some reason, these three basic concepts escape many a sound engineer. So I have compiled a list of helpful hints:

If a high percentage of the audience is holding their ears or leaving, that is usually not so good.

  • You can typically assume that the percentage of the audience that would prefer to hear it really loud with feedback howling is lower than the percentage of the audience that will be ok with it a bit lower in volume and not feeding back.
  • Hearing the lead vocal is more important that the effects on the snare drum. Though I have no actual hard evidence of truth to this, I have noticed that if I watch the moths of the audience members, very few if any are singing along with the snare drum effect sound.
  • The kick drum may be channel #1 on most stage plots. That does not automatically mean that the kick should also be #1 in volume.
  • Make a live tape of the show with a mic in the audience, if the you can't hear all the instruments and understand the vocals on the live tape, it is highly likely that the audience had the same experience.
  • If a venue has a whole bunch of low mid boom to it, EQ it out. Don't be shy, don't just live with it, take it out. Boomy room sound = bad! The most common issue I see with sound engineers mixing in larger venues is that they do not deal effectively with the room resonances. Typically it will be between 120 and 180 hz in arena type rooms. Please, please, say bye bye to the room resonance and then be happy along with 10,000 of you new best friends.
  • Things that hurt your ears a little bit are usually excruciatingly painful to the bulk of the audience that has not been exposed to near as many shows as you have. Ouch = bad. Exception: If the audience is really drunk you can turn it up really loud and they usually don't mind
  • If you are so buried in the console that you are not watching the band or anyone else around you, then you are most likely mixing for yourself and you are most likely out of touch with the band/audience interaction. The band/audience interaction is pretty much the whole purpose of doing a live show in the first place so not paying attention to it may not be the best plan.

Ok, got, cool!

**** End Sound Nerd Speak ****

Finally I have both had the time and figured out how to convert the old video files I have and actually get them to upload properly. Here is a video of some roadie wanderings back in 2002 on the Pepper's By the Way tour. Random antics and hopefully amusing and interesting enough. This has been up for a while but the video was not working right, now it is!  At least mostly.  For some reason the video moves faster than the sound, but hey, I am not a video guy.

Sunshine in Southern California rules!

Dave Rat