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eclecto-acoustic

Coal-hating feral hippie
Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
10,643
Hey guys,

Small conundrum. I'm looking for a (gentle) way of introducing my FOH tech to the world of mixing with a right-brain focus. The guy is mathematical and logical to the core (which helps) and usually mixes everything "correctly". What it is often missing, though, is musicality. The mix tends to sound "safe" and has no teeth to it.

What resources can I point him to in order to broaden his mixing horizons? I was thinking "Mixing With Your Mind", but I am afraid that it is SO right brain that it'll turn him off.

Thoughts?
 

loudboy

Member
Messages
27,316
When you get to the point where you can actually put a mix together, which sounds like this guy can, you either have "ears" or you don't...

Kind of like guys who can play every scale/mode and practice obsessively, but get smoked by a guy like BB King w/one note.

Also, sound guys tend to mix like they want to hear it - it's very hard to change that.
 

eclecto-acoustic

Coal-hating feral hippie
Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
10,643
That is my point...he doesn't approach mixing from what he wants it to sound like. He approaches it based on what the numbers should look like. It isn't that the mix is horrible...it is just fairly uninteresting to listen to. Like muzak, not RAWK.

No offense to the muzak guys.
 

mixwiz

Member
Messages
2,371
Take him outside his comfort zone a little. Have him mix at low volumes and in mono. It cuts down on some variables and makes you concentrate on the fundamentals. It's also kind of fun and you're giving him a challenge instead of telling him he is a muzak generator (which could possibly be insulting).
 

Rex Anderson

Member
Messages
5,079
Play CD's of the tunes your band is playing on the PA.

Get a decent CD player (no iPods-line out and mp3's suck) and hook it up to 2 line input channels on the mixing console. Set gains, pans etc.

Play at appropriate volume -loud as the band will be.

Tell him you want the mix to sound like the CD. Balanced and punchy.

The guy is smart, he needs some direction. Good language skills (descriptive terminology) helps.

Not like this, more like this.... More kick, less snare, snare needs less bottom end, more midrange presence etc.

The better you can tell him what you are looking for, if he's open to suggestion, the better he can train his ears to get it.
 

rob2001

Member
Messages
16,928
I don't know if you can change what someone thinks is right in a mix. I'm thinking even though he's mixing mathematically, he still must be turning knobs based on what he's hearing.

Maybe just try being specific about what you feel is lacking.

But I know soundguys have different philosophies on mixing. Some want to achieve transparency and some want to take what you give them and add to it.

How long have you been working with him?
 

KidArchitect

Member
Messages
405
I recently ordered Mixing with your Mind.

Stav personally wrote me emails - thanking me for the order, and saying if i have any questions, i can personally ask him, etc. How awesome is that?

Unfortunately, it hasnt arrived yet, so i dont have any real input haha.

Yeah - how long have you been working with him?
 

eclecto-acoustic

Coal-hating feral hippie
Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
10,643
Been working with the guy coming up on 2 years now, though we've known each other for longer.

Part of the reason I want to give him a resource is because I think he'll receive it better that way.
 

speakerjones

Member
Messages
2,299
I'd really have to hear what it is he's doing. Do you have any video? If it lacks "teeth" and is somewhat sterile sounding though, I would tend to place the blame at least partially on the band. If he's mixing by the numbers, so to speak, he's pretty much going to put out what you give him only louder. With good bands, that know how to get great sounds, have good mic technique, and can more or less mix themselves onstage, this can sound great. Not so much if the band itself lacks teeth and dynamics.

I can't help but notice that your rig is a POD. I know one of my least favorite things to mix is a band that is going all, or almost all direct. Without the energy coming off of the stage from amps and drums, the mixes usually end up sounding contrived, sterile, and the focus of the image is all off. Of course it's a fine line, and the amps can get too loud very quickly, but back to the being able to mix yourself on stage thing...

Otherwise, he may just not be comfortable yet as an engineer, and is playing it safe. It takes time. Encourage experimentation. Tell him it's OK if there are red lights on the console sometimes (as long as they aren't on the amps, LOL). It's OK if you actually hear the compression or reverb sometimes. I'd suggest you study up on some sound yourself, so you can speak intelligently to him about it.
 

Griz

Member
Messages
2,833
The guy is mathematical and logical to the core (which helps) and usually mixes everything "correctly". What it is often missing, though, is musicality. The mix tends to sound "safe" and has no teeth to it. Thoughts?
This is what's missing in the way many engineers are trained, IMHO. I'm not even sure to what extent musicality can be taught. But I've heard so many "safe" mixes that I figure it's got to be an unintended side-effect of the training.

Best of luck.
 




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