I’ve played live music. I’ve recorded live music. I’ve engineered live music. I’ve mixed recorded music. I’ve recorded and mixed audio for film and television.
I’ve never mixed live music. (Not anymore than a 8 channel rehearsal PA, anyway.)
Since I’m spending most of the 2013 in Buffalo, NY this year, I reached out to a production company in the area that does all the big shows in town, Indigo Productions. Since I’ve never mixed stage monitors nor FOH (front of house), I’m genuinely excited to get involved.
A cool tool used by most live production companies, Indigo included, is the Smaart system. It’s an audio acoustic measuring application, mostly for indoor spaces, though a lot of what we do is outside all Summer. When I mix in my studio, I’m in a treated room that I have gotten quite familiar with. The reflection times and frequency response are not a mystery to me there. When moving around from live space to live space, you have to learn the room and make adjustments as necessary without having to send a signal sweep or test tone. Real time linear tweaks! Humans don’t hear the frequency spectrum equally, (Fetcher Munson Curve), and while using your ears is essential, having a visual display while mixing allows us to make those adjustments on the fly. Nerdy, but fun stuff to play with.
There are few concerts this season I hope I get on. Flaming Lips, Primus, Counting Crows, Black Keys, Tragically Hip, Chicago, MGMT, The Trews, Calexico, and so on. Even the GNR, Billy Idol, and ZZ Top shows would sort of rock. I’m pretty excited to find out what the main differences and challenges are mixing live versus producing and mixing in studio.
So far the only studio session I have booked in June is an R&B artist for 2 songs. I’m still trying to fill my schedule with freelance work online via Odesk and Elance and working on my own productions in the open times. It’d be helpful if I got some of those wrapped up. (Like “Ariel” and “Never Wrong” which are well into production now.)