Live mix ?

Discussion in 'Recording/Live Sound' started by maddface, Feb 15, 2012.

  1. maddface

    maddface Member

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    Does a live band typically get mixed like a studio mix? As in panning so everything is not on top of each other?
     
  2. MK50H

    MK50H Member

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    FWIW I always run live sound in mono, I believe that's what most live sound guys do.
     
  3. twotoneguitars

    twotoneguitars Member

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    You will get many people touting both sides of this. But here's my approach I learned from talking with lots of pros. For live mixing use stereo, panning, and the 80/20 rule. If you can make 80% of the audience hear things better and clearer by panning, then yes definitely. It's not worth it to have a bad mix for everyone just so people in the 20% area can hear the guitar that is on the opposite side of the stage. Alot of it is guitars if you have 2 or more. Guitars are the easiest instruments to have phase and sound wave cancellations when they are going through the same speaker.

    Guitars usually get panned hard to their respective place on stage. Then drums are panned slightly to their respective placement, (ie, snare is right and floor tom is left). This makes the drums fill the room with swirling goodness. Sometimes I will pan the keys and accoustic slightly to opposites if they are clashing. As well as vocals. But the bigger improvements come from guitars and drums.
     
  4. mthomps

    mthomps Member

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    Pardon my ignorance, I've never ran a stereo PA and have minimal experience even with mono systems, but why pan the guitar to the side of the stage the amplifier is on? Why not pan the guitar mic opposite it's stage position in order to evenly distribute the sound?
     
  5. GCDEF

    GCDEF Supporting Member

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    That would be disconcerting as the sound wouldn't be coming from where the instrument was positioned on stage.

    In my experience, running mono is by far the norm and panning everything hard to either side is something I've never run into. In fact, I don't think I've ever played anywhere where the PA was run in stereo.
     
  6. mthomps

    mthomps Member

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    I see. That would defeat the point of stereo in the first place. Thank you.
     
  7. Rex Anderson

    Rex Anderson Member

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    I hate mono PA. It makes everything sound so flat (not pitch) and makes it much harder to EQ so it doesn't get muddy.

    Running stereo with subtle panning opens up the mix, avoids build up in the middle and just generally is much more interesting especially with the use of reverb and delay effects in stereo.

    Kick, snare, bass and vocals center and most everything else panned a bit in the direction they exist on stage. Even with wide panning, depending on the venue and how things are set up, most everyone in the audience can hear what's in the mix and it doesn't all sound the same.

    God gave us 2 ears. We hear the world in stereo. The stage is not mono-it's wide spread and you notice the location of the instruments visually and aurally.

    Try it, you'll like it.
     
    Last edited: Feb 15, 2012
  8. jmoose

    jmoose Member

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    This is garbage... how do two independent guitars, originating from separate sources have any sorta phase relationship? Especially one that results in "cancellations" ?? Discrete sources have no phase relationship to other instruments in the mix.

    Most big SR systems are mono, especially true of big concert systems where its impossible to maintain any sort of coherency in downfills and delay towers. Stereo makes a bit more sense and is more common in smaller clubs, but even then I'll typically mix mono and only spread out a handful of things like reverb and toms/overheads... Leslie cabinets etc.
     
  9. rokpunk

    rokpunk Member

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    ^^ i'd have to disagree with this. most systems that are run in pavilions, arenas, stadiums, etc. for major acts are most certainly run in stereo. the subwoofers, fill speakers, etc. may be in mono, but the main left/right line arrays/clusters are most likely in stereo. that being said, may engineers mix everything in mono, but many others will pan instruments to make for a stereo image. in small clubs, it's pretty much pointless to mix in stereo because you don't have the space to create a real stereo image, but in larger concert halls, auditoriums, etc. when the seating is a wide pattern, mixing in stereo makes perfect sense. you can't just pan guitars hard left and right and expect it to sound correct, you have to create an image of how the instruments on stage sit. for example, floor tom might be panned slightly left, and the 1st rack tom might get panned slightly right. i generally leave guitars and bass at 12 o'clock (mono), an same for vocals. keyboards in stereo can get panned hard left and right, as can overheads (although i generally go 45 degrees on overheads). you get the idea...
     
  10. rickenbackerkid

    rickenbackerkid Member

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    I like panning in live setups, but never more than about 50%. Even a CD I won't pan hard L&R.
     
  11. Somniferous

    Somniferous Member

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    If I pan anything live it's only by a little bit mostly to get a tad of separation. I usually keep things in the area where they can still form a V, this way not many people in the audience will notice missing information. Most of the time the things that get panned are things that come in stereo pairs (like OH and keys, sometimes guitars)

    Keep in mind there really are no rules in mixing. If something has a good reason to only be coming from one side of the stage I will hard pan. This mostly happens in things like theater productions were directionality of a sound can focus where the audience looks.
     
  12. walterw

    walterw Gold Supporting Member

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    stereo is probably mostly pointless in bar/club world, where you're hearing half PA and half stage volume anyway.
     
  13. rokpunk

    rokpunk Member

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    people always wonder why recordings straight off of the soundboard sound so lifeless and flat....well, a mono mix is part of the reason.

    here's another reason to mix in stereo....your lead singer is on a wireless mic and decides (s)he needs to strut out into the audience. the steps going back up to the stage are on stage left.....about 3' from the speaker stack. (s)he goes to step back up to the stage, and the mains go into feedback. in mono, you have one choice...turn down the mic until (s)he is back on stage, behind the mains, but in stereo, you can pan that vocal mic from both stacks for the few seconds it takes to get back on stage to just the far stack. you don't even have to pan hard to fix this issue....just 45 degrees or so will make a big difference between feedback from the stacks to no feedback.
     
  14. rob2001

    rob2001 Member

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    Another reason (probably a bigger reason) is because gear meant to play CD's is totally different than live PA gear. I don't think a live mix and a studio mix have very much in common. And I think thats why lots of soundguys get into trouble....trying to make a live mix sound like a recording. Sonically they couldn't be more different.

    I suppose if you are the soundguy for Pink Floyd and you know how to operate 3 million dollars worth of gear, obtaining a studio sound/mix is possible. Otherwise, most bands on a local level won't benefit much from running stereo.....IMO.
     
  15. GCDEF

    GCDEF Supporting Member

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    It's mostly because a board on its own is a pretty bad mix. Live sound is a combination of the stage sound and the PA reinforcement. In a board mix, you don't get the stage sound at all, so usually the instruments are way low in the mix compared to the vocals, and there's usually a serious lack of low end.
     
  16. hackenfort

    hackenfort Supporting Member

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    For what it's worth, I have been doing live sound in Bars/Clubs for 35 years now, I have had the PA system setup in Stereo, but the front mix is almost always mono for most of the clubs I have done. Once in a while I run the effects in Stereo as it sounds better ie more dynamic. But unless I have a special room or special effect needed, I see no reason to run stereo in most bar/club settings.

    One of band I'm working for has 4 monitor mixes all different, but often the monitors (and stage volume) are so loud they are hurting the front end sound. This is why board mixes are quite often bad, they don't include the stage volume/monitors.
     
  17. MartinCliffe

    MartinCliffe Member

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    I have never run a sound system in mono. Why make life hard for yourself? Subtle panning gives you so much more room to play with, sonically. Even if you never pan beyond 10:00 to 2:00, it sounds 100x better than running everything central.
     
  18. strumminsix

    strumminsix Member

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    My experience is in live sound and I like running it stereo with guitars and keys panned more to their respective sides a bit, bass just a smidge panned. Drums center. Vocals a smidge to their respective sides.

    Not a huge stereo pan but just enough to give it separation and clarity.
     
  19. Somniferous

    Somniferous Member

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    Actually the reason is that all the really good sounding live mixes are multitrack at the venue and either mixed by someone else (not FOH) in a van outside the show with studio type gear, or mixed later in a studio.
     
  20. MK50H

    MK50H Member

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    For me, that's a big reason for mono. Most of the people I work with just don't care about the FOH sound that much. Sound checks barely exist, they just want to turn up, plug in and play. I am currently working with a great band that really get the importance of sound checks, but then it's really only for the monitor mixes, FOH is very much an afterthought.

    I appreciate there are pros and cons to both ways, and I think the few times I ran stereo, I preferred it, but these days I see my job as primarily getting the band heard.

    I feel it depends a lot on the band, the material, the venue, the engineer and the relationship between the engineer & the band. For rock music, bar bands I will stay mono.
     

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