AF’s Weblog

May 18, 2010

7 Things You Should Never Do While Mixing Live Sound

Filed under: Live Sound, Mixing reviews — Tags: , , , , , , , — audiofanzine @ 10:40 am

Top 7 tips to learn and live by when you are behind the mixing console at a live show.

7. Just because you’ve been doing something “this way for 20 years” doesn’t make it the right way or even a good way.

True, maybe no one is complaining, and you’re getting hired plenty, so who’s the real expert here?  Hopefully we can all stand to learn new things and do a better job.  It’s my experience that many of us are still a bit shy on some of the fundamentals. Know your signal flow? How about proper gain structure? The theory of formants and how they affect your mix?

Maybe you can answer “yes” to the first two, but how about that last one? Ever wonder how some shows sound terrific, but you can’t put your finger on why that is? There’s always a “why,” and we can all benefit from learning the “what” behind the “why” more often.


6. Maybe your mix does sound good – I’m big enough to admit it. Or at least, at the console it sounds good.

But do you walk around the venue and listen to the system from various seating areas? If not, you might be fooling yourself. It’s true that measurement tools can help us a great deal in setting up, tweaking and tuning these fabulous systems at our disposal today. Yet no matter how great the tool, it still can’t tell the difference between good and bad sound. Only you can do that.

I’m not suggesting leaving the console mid-show to go out to the highest seating area in the arena. However, before the show starts, you should have a good handle on coverage and how it sounds out in the house. Your audience certainly will.

A couple of summers ago, I took my daughter to see Rush at the Journal Pavilion outside of Albuquerque. It really struck me that even from the lawn, the sound was fantastic. Hats off to whomever was mixing that show.


FOH Beck tour

5. Speaking of tools, we have tons of gadgets that have meters, blinking lights, tri-colored LEDs, plasma displays and all kind of ways to measure, indicate and extrapolate the audio information into visual data.

Do you mix with your eyes? Sure it’s great to have a clip light, since most of us have trouble hearing when our system is getting pushed over 5 percent THD.  But it’s a mistake to think that just because the meters tell us everything is O.K. that the mix sounds good.

Want to know how much compression to add to the vocals? Use the meters to get in the ballpark, but then listen to the result and determine if it might need just a skosh more or less.

It starts with reading spec sheets, doesn’t it? How many times have you decided on a piece of gear based on the technical specifications? I’m not saying that’s bad, necessarily. The specs can help us a great deal. But if we haven’t listened to that piece of gear, in context, there’s no way to know how it will really behave when we need it.

To read the rest of the article please visit Live Sound Mixing

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December 24, 2009

SSL X-Desk: Art for All?

Filed under: Mixing reviews — Tags: , , , , , , , , , — audiofanzine @ 12:29 pm

SSL X-Desk Review

2009 was a year of changes and Solid State Logic got it perfectly. More than ever, the British manufacturer wanted to perpetuate its leading position in the professional analog mixer market launching a new product, the most refined of all: the X-Desk, a compact, 16-channel, analog line mixer developed for project studios. This human-sized mixer aroused our curiosity…

Even though acronyms have changed a lot with the advent of the internet, SSL (simply think “Oxford, England”…) still remains a synonym for professional quality to any audio enthusiast – both for sound and technical aspects. After many years of having become one of the indispensable products in professional studios all over the world, the British manufacturer started to show interest in modular solutions with its X-Rack Series, allowing (almost) anybody to enjoy their legendary sound if they had the need and the budget. In 2008 they presented the Matrix, which confirmed the manufacturer’s will to win new clients over with a new analog mixer concept. Equipped with 16 inline channels, 40 inputs with digital routing and DAW control, it combines the best of both the “out-of-the-box” and the “in-the-box” worlds. Now, SSL moves even further in that direction with the X-Desk. No more jam-packed mixers: 16 line input channels, no mic preamps nor EQ, but enough mixing and connection possibilities.

SSL X-DeskAt first sight, the mixer’s extremely compact size (17.1″ x 12.2″ x 4.7″) will surprise you, considering it’s an SSL, even if the Matrix had already started with the trend… You can now have the Oxford sound directly in your home studio, even if it’s more a home than a studio – like in this review!

Nevertheless, just look at the mixer and you’ll know it’s a real SSL. First of all, you’ll notice the typical sturdy manufacturing. Reliable production, clear silkscreen and a well thought-out design that makes the workflow easier. The mixer has the same 25-pin D-Sub connectors you’ll find on most professional products. Moreover, all ten D-Sub sockets on the rear panel are recessed, ensuring an easy integration of the X-Desk in your production environment. No connector will be outwardly exposed, therefore reducing the space needed to set up the mixer. We all know that connectors can take up a lot of space and SSL dealt with that issue properly.

The small mixer looks nice and it promises a lot of flexibility and ease of use. But what about the technology inside?  Let’s take a closer look…

Conclusion

SSL struck a decisive blow with the X-Desk by offering an expandable mixer that focuses on the real needs of today’s professional music production. This compact device concentrates all the brand’s know-how and philosophy to provide all the essentials for quality mixing. It surely doesn’t have anything to envy its competitors – does it have any competitors, considering its price?

SSL fans will enjoy the typical SSL sound energy. For all the rest who always wanted to work with SSL products, the X-Desk is the best opportunity to realize their dream at an affordable price.

Advantages:

  • Clean but biting SSL SuperAnalogue sound in a compact mixer
  • SSL typical versatility and philosophy
  • Routing, summing and monitoring possibilities worthy of a large mixer
  • Precise functions that make the X-Desk a fully reliable mixer
  • Cleverly designed stereo Cue bus providing 16 summing channels
  • Expandability that allows you to link up to eight X-Desks and use all outboard combinations you wish
  • What a price!

Drawbacks:

  • Talkback sound
  • CUE ST level control without push-push switch (like on the 4000!) to cut/activate the signal without loosing the level setting
  • Cables must be bought separately…
  • No “X-Desk XPander” version without monitor and FX send/return functions to optimize X-Link chaining…

To read the full detailed review see:  SSL X-Desk Review

August 28, 2009

Behringer – Xenyx XL Series Mixers

Behringer presents their Xenyx XL series live mixers.

To see more exclusive video demos visit Audiofanzine Videos.

March 11, 2009

Video Demo: Midas Pro6 Digital Mixing System

Filed under: Mixing reviews — Tags: , , , , , , , , , — audiofanzine @ 9:55 am

Jay Easley shows us the new Midas Pro6 live digital audio networked system.

To watch all NAMM 2009 video demos visit us on Audiofanzine NAMM 2009.

December 27, 2008

Video Demo: DiGiCo SD8

Filed under: Mixing reviews — Tags: , , , , , , , , — audiofanzine @ 7:17 am

James Bradley from DigiCo introduces the brand new DiGiCo SD8 digital live mixing desk.

Source:  Audiofanzine

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