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Mixing Live Sound – Career Survival from the Experts at NAMM

Hani Gadallah, an expert from Expression College had a very interesting lecture about mixing live sound at the NAMM 2011 convention. He had a funny way of talking about the various aspects of live sound and stressed how passionate you must be if you want to survive in the business.

This particular lecture was  about career survival and how you must act in the industry if you want any measure of success. It’s hard work, the hours are long and the pay isn’t great. But if you are passionate about it and can’t think of doing anything else then you just might have a chance.

Read on for a few of the tips he had on mixing live sound.

  • Mixing live sound is 20% technical skills and 80% attitude. It’s a service industry. Serve the artist.
  • If an artist wants something, give it to them. If he needs more vocals in the monitor, give it to them. Don’t hold the signal hostage in the mixer if you have sound to spare.
  • Go from A to Z in order to figure out what’s wrong. When you have a technical problem in the system make sure you troubleshoot every variable.
  • Stay calm when things go wrong. Problems only take a few minutes to solve if you just keep your head straight and think things through.
  • Listen to what others say about your sound. Especially if you are starting out make a note to what others say and how you can improve on that.
  • Persistence is key – Call, call, call. And then call again. Make sure established sound engineers know you and make sure you are the first thing that pops into their head when they need someone to fill in for them.
  • “You are good as your last gig.” If you screwed it up, you are screwed. Make every gig better than the last one.
  • Knowledge is to be shared. Hell, that’s the whole point of this website. If you have a mixing trick or know of a better way to do a particular job, share the wisdom.
  • You will never forget a specific feedback frequency. Looking at a parametric graphic equalizer the first time you might be baffled, but as soon as some of those frequencies start giving you feedback you will never forget what they sound like again.
  • Use what you got. If your venue only has a Shure Sm58, then I guess , bass or snare.
  • Give artists the outstanding service that they deserve. They are up there playing their hearts out, help them out and give them your absolute best.
  • A happy band on stage shines through to the crowd. If you are doing FOH mixing, help your monitor engineer out so that the band is happy.
  • If you are running out of sound-check time just tell the band to play a complete song instead of mixing individual instruments. It will make you work faster and you’ll get more done with the limited time you have.
  • Make your mix sound good to you. If you don’t think it sounds good and if you aren’t passionate about it who else is going to be?

What about you, any tips on mixing live sound you want to share for the budding live engineer or are you maybe having trouble breaking into the industry?

Image by: DefKreationz

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About me

About Björgvin Benediktsson

I’m Björgvin Benediktsson. I’m a musician, audio engineer and best-selling author. I help musicians and producers make a greater impact with their music by teaching them how to produce and engineer themselves. I’ve taught thousands of up and coming home studio producers such as yourself how to make an impact with their music through Audio Issues since 2011.

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