You might be guerrilla mixing, if …

From my own experience, and that of fellow engineers, this perfect world is about as common as a unicorn dancing on a pot of gold underneath a rainbow. In the real world we have the exact opposite - wrong or no information and everything needs to happen 5 minutes ago. Mixing in such an environment, where you are forced to react rather than prepare, is what I call “guerrilla mixing”. And chances are you are fighting the same petty warfare as well ...

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Microphone Placement for Drum Overhead Mics

Placing overhead microphones is almost a separate artform, as it involves making an informed decision depending on the type of music, the sound of the drum on its own, the way a musician hits those drums, the physical properties of the venue, and what you are trying to achieve sonically in your mix. So right off the bat - I don’t believe there is one proper way of placing overhead microphones. Learning about different techniques and how they sound allows the sound engineer to respond to a number of variables, helping him to shape the sound of the drum along the way.

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Growing Pains

When people ask me about advice on how to become live audio engineers they expect me to tell them to learn about microphones and consoles. They do not realise that all of that is second to your personal approach to sound, which might be much more instrumental in ensuring that your career is successful than really nailing down the attack and release times for a particular compressor on a particular vocal.

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Sound Check Priorities - Should the Least Used Instruments Get The Most of Your Attention?

But once in a while, think about that glanced-over second rack tom, quietly sobbing in the corner while being neatly tucked away in the depths of the mix. If you can help that sad fellow shine and stand proud with the rest of the gang of usually untouched channels, it will show the world that you care about every single detail of your mix.

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Stance on Substance

Being of a constantly sober constitution gives me an opportunity to ponder on what it means to be a working cog in the rock’n’roll industry with its notoriously bad reputation of substance abuse. It is my strong belief that if you want to be considered an audio professional (or a professional in any field for that matter), there is no place for any type of substance abuse while you are working. Let me explain why.

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Less channels does not an easier mix make

“It is going to be an easy gig, we only have 3 vocal microphones and an acoustic guitar.” A sentence I’ve heard many times from PA providers who hired me to mix was surely meant to comfort me, but it had the exact opposite effect. Let me tell you why I still dread intimate acoustic events to this day and what techniques I have developed for dealing with them.

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Live Mixing Or Mastering?

The focus of live mixing for major shows turned from focusing on single channels to the master channel. Sure, you have to be a mixing engineer during the preproduction stages, and you might still go back and tweak some channels on various cues and snapshots during setup, but when show time comes, you are zeroed in on the master bus, mostly taking care of snapshots being fired at proper moments. From a studio point of view, you are not a mixing engineer anymore, you are tweaking the summed results of a mix - you are now a live mastering engineer.

 

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