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Fader riding or mostly static?
Old 27th February 2014
  #1
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🎧 10 years
Fader riding or mostly static?

When mixing live sound do you generally move all faders a bit or keep them mostly static at good levels of course with the exception of vocal rides?
Old 27th February 2014
  #2
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🎧 5 years
Depends on a lot of things, but mostly the band. A good band will play with good dynamics and generally "mix themselves" to a certain extent.

However, I am still very very involved in my mix. One finger is almost always on the main vocal/VCA. If there are 3+ vocals, I usually have hands on those faders to mix harmonies.
I've watched a lot of guys mix, and I'm surprised at the number of people who will go an entire song without even touching the board. It's not that they don't have things already dialed in, but it usually comes across that they don't really care that much. Leaving channels open and allowing guitars to pop when unplugged or leaving FX up between songs is incredibly lazy IMO.
Old 27th February 2014
  #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lucasmusic ➡️
When mixing live sound do you generally move all faders a bit or keep them mostly static at good levels of course with the exception of vocal rides?
Yes...
Old 27th February 2014
  #4
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edva's Avatar
 
26 Reviews written
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A great mix is not a static thing. The amount of mixing required will depend on several factors, but ultimately, the mix should be dynamic, which requires moving the faders.
Just don't fall into the trap of only pushing them up, and never pulling anything back down!
Old 27th February 2014
  #5
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Aisle 6's Avatar
 
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A song is a dynamic thing, or at least a good one and those dynamics assist with creating the interest and excitement for the listeners. As Jhana said, a very good band will have a good handle on how to deliver this directly from the stage, but even then they will require a little finesse from the FOH. However, for the most part I am riding faders all night to assist the artist in delivering the great dynamics and excitement of their records to the audience.
Old 28th February 2014
  #6
Here for the gear
 
🎧 5 years
New here but thought I'd chime in. I work with a band that has been together
for 43 years, yeah none of us are spring chickens, and as such you might think
these guys could basically mix themselves, but... In this case I have 5 guys who sing, 4 of which will do lead vocals, so I'm constantly managing lead and backup
vocals that change every song just about. Guitar leads come up in the mix and then back down and I won't even get into the keyboards. Throw in the fact a lot of guys will get amped up for certain songs and lay back on others so IMHO
you need to work the faders! See too many shows where the FOH guy or gal gets a basic mix and then it's off to never never land. Not good to my ears. So yeah, it depends but my vote is for being an active part of the show. What Jhana said above is spot on.
Old 28th February 2014
  #7
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🎧 10 years
A well rehearsed band will definitely make it easier to do things but Ive found that a good singer doesn't need much help, guitar players going for a solo will most likely need a bit of a push on level in the mains. The same thing may go for any one taking a solo as there level will drop, some players use a volume peddle and/or pre-set's with great accuracy.
Old 28th February 2014
  #8
S21
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If something I should hear is getting burried, it is my job to make some space for it.
Old 28th February 2014
  #9
113568
Guest
sometimes I do a lot, sometimes not so much.

my philosophy is generally "you should do as much or as little as you need to to make it sound good"
Old 28th February 2014
  #10
Gear Head
 
🎧 10 years
I like to ride the guitars, keys, midrange instruments up a touch in places where there are no vocals, obviously helps when you are familiar with the bands music. Great for keeping vocal clarity whilst retaining dynamics and adding power to the mix.

Also quite like to have a tempo tap delay or fast slap send from the vocal that can be turned up dub reggae style at appropriate points... held notes, the end phrase of a chorus, maybe ahhs or ooohs etc. it's a nice touch (in moderation and dependent on genre being mixed;-).
Old 28th February 2014
  #11
Gear Head
 
🎧 10 years
Sometimes I'll pull the bass and drums up in the final chorus, or take the low cut off electric guitars, nothing drastic, but just to add some subliminal 'beef' to the finale, especially if it's an epic track, or the 'hit'!
Old 28th February 2014 | Show parent
  #12
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🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jhana ➡️
I've watched a lot of guys mix, and I'm surprised at the number of people who will go an entire song without even touching the board.
And then there are those of us who are constantly mixing…constantly adjusting something…usually flattening out the musicians every note and not allowing them to breathe and injecting too much of ourselves into the performance.

GOOD mixing is also knowing when not to touch or change things. There is no rule that says something has to be 'adjusted' every song. there's a fine balance between helping to keep things interesting and emotional and smothering the performance. It really helps if you know the band and their music and how they want to be heard.

I would personally prefer an engineer not touch anything during an entire song than have him meddle too much with the song just so he can claim to be mixing. I believe that anything we do must be musical and should be a reflection of what the band wants…not every solo needs to be pushed up and sometimes ghost notes should just be…ghost notes.

Knowing what to do and when to do it requires a lot of experience…performing it well with intuition requires an abundance of both experience and skill.

I've heard a singer tell the engineer (mid concert) to stop 'mixing' so much and let him and the band do their thing.
Old 28th February 2014
  #13
113568
Guest
Exactly. Especially if you haven't worked with the band before as a misjudged fader push or delay send can ruin things
Old 28th February 2014
  #14
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Wyllys's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
If the band knows their business, then you don't have to do much if anything at all once you get the basic balance set.

If the band is c***, no amount of fiddling with the knobs will really help.
Old 28th February 2014
  #15
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Rautio's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
I usually have one finger on the lead vocal and one on the lead guitar. And I rarely do a static mix, things change, songs are different and require changes in the mix as well. And, especially with metal shows, there´s the delay return fader that keeps going up and down and up and down....
Old 28th February 2014 | Show parent
  #16
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🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Samc ➡️
And then there are those of us...
Yes, it can go both ways
But I've seen far more "lazy" mixing (missed cues/solos, leaving FX on, ect)

The other side of it is being "too involved", which usually translates to the engi staring at the screen all night rather than watching the band (10 years ago it would be looking over your shoulder at the FX rack all night). I'd say it's nearly/just as important for FOH to keep eyes on the band as it is at Monitors.
Old 28th February 2014
  #17
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🎧 5 years
I posted a neat trick on its own thread a while back, nobody seemed to appreciate its value so I'll mention it here where it's pertinent.

I call it bus-triggered effects muters. On each effects send I set an expander with slow attack/release to be triggered with a bus that only has instruments on it, no vocals. When the instruments play, the sends are open. When they stop playing, the sends are attenuated. The cool part is that if you set it right, it turns the effects half off when the instruments are half volume etc. It's really only practical on a digital mixer, but hey, might have finally found a good use for an Alesis 3630

Another similar trick I've started using is a bus-triggered lead booster. If there is only one lead instrument, it can help to set a compressor again with slow attack/release triggered by a bus with only vocals on it, set to attenuate the lead instrument about 6-9dB whenever there are vocals, with make-up gain applied accordingly. It's especially effective for lead guitar that doesn't self-boost, y'know when they go from playing six strings to only one and somehow expect it to get louder on its own...

So I guess you could say I mix hands-off and ride faders at the same time

P.S. These work great on an X32, did not work on an LS9 for some reason (didn't seem to accept sidechain as configured), can't be done on a DL1608, haven't tried it on anything else yet.
Old 28th February 2014 | Show parent
  #18
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edva's Avatar
 
26 Reviews written
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jhana ➡️
(10 years ago it would be looking over your shoulder at the FX rack all night). I'd say it's nearly/just as important for FOH to keep eyes on the band as it is at Monitors.
I definitely agree with the second sentence. However, you touched on a good point in the first sentence, but IMHO this type of visual distraction is much, much worse now, with digital consoles, than it was in the analogue days. Digital consoles, IMHO, force the engineer to watch the screen, and demand more attention for page flips etc., whereas with an analogue board, it is much easier to watch the performers, and to operate the console by ear and by touch. IMHO.
Old 28th February 2014 | Show parent
  #19
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Rautio's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by edva ➡️
Digital consoles, IMHO, force the engineer to watch the screen, and demand more attention for page flips etc., whereas with an analogue board, it is much easier to watch the performers, and to operate the console by ear and by touch. IMHO.
Some consoles you can learn to operate mainly by feel, but I confess that too much of my time on a gig I spend staring at a screen if it is not a M7CL I´m using.
Old 28th February 2014 | Show parent
  #20
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🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jhana ➡️
Yes, it can go both ways
But I've seen far more "lazy" mixing (missed cues/solos, leaving FX on, ect)
I see more of the opposite; engineers mixing as if they're a band member, but that could just be because we're in different places…or mixing different types of gigs.

In any case, my point is that good mixing is also knowing when NOT to touch and adjust the mix. There is no rule that dictates how often we should touch and adjust the mix. A song change does not automatically mean a mix change and it would be a serious disservice to over-fiddle when mixing genres like jazz for example.

Quote:
The other side of it is being "too involved", which usually translates to the engi staring at the screen all night rather than watching the band (10 years ago it would be looking over your shoulder at the FX rack all night).
This is him being distracted, not "too involved". But yeah, looking at Smaart on the computer screen and an RTA is in vogue since sound guys can't identify frequencies by ear.
Old 1st March 2014
  #21
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🎧 5 years
There is a technique to listening as you look, it's an important skill for digital consoles and RTA's
Old 2nd March 2014 | Show parent
  #22
Gear Addict
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Samc ➡️
I see more of the opposite; engineers mixing as if they're a band member, but that could just be because we're in different places…or mixing different types of gigs.

In any case, my point is that good mixing is also knowing when NOT to touch and adjust the mix. There is no rule that dictates how often we should touch and adjust the mix. A song change does not automatically mean a mix change and it would be a serious disservice to over-fiddle when mixing genres like jazz for example.


This is him being distracted, not "too involved". But yeah, looking at Smaart on the computer screen and an RTA is in vogue since sound guys can't identify frequencies by ear.
This kind of all assumes that the mixer is not really good at his job. Like most skills, those that know more will do more when it is appropriate. A great chef will use spices to enhance the dish they are preparing. Most mixing 'chefs' know about salt and pepper and that's it. I never think the band...on stage...behind the system, can accurately access what I...the mixer...am doing. The musicians perspective is limited and biased... And usually based on a reference developed in a rehearsal room. That's why they hire guys to mix. This assumes a room big enough that stage volume cannot consume the mixed sound in the room. Most guys I see have no idea what their target mix is...meaning having little or no reference that they are working toward, so they do less because they know less. Real mixing is not a skill that just happens, it requires skills that need to be researched, learned and practiced. For most sound companies, if the head guy doesn't have polished mixing chops, he cannot teach others...so the 'trickle down' perpetuates bad skill sets....partially because no one ever speaks up. This is the same with a lot of bands....no one willing to say 'you are not good enough.'...go home and practice.
I say.."Mix is a verb, not a noun."
Old 2nd March 2014
  #23
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🎧 15 years
My statement does not assume anything...it's easy to hear when a mixer is 'over mixing'.

Engineers who really know what they're doing won't do 'more'. They'll only do what's necessary.

We always get into trouble when we presume to know better than the band what they need.....
Old 2nd March 2014
  #24
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🎧 5 years
Sam...

I wish your answers were as clear to me as they are to you. I'm never quite certain about your intent in spite of your bountiful experience. I think part of it is that there are just so many different levels and niches of work in what we do. Someone else mentioned that we all tend to frame the questions in light of our own place in the business...and we know that there are so many different levels even under the heading of "mixing bands".

Bands at different levels may well require more or less "help" in getting their act together. It sure would be nice if they were all at a high level of performance.

And sometimes I DO know better than the band...but that's usually when the sum total of years of experience of the band members only comes up to half the number of years I put in as a professional musician...

W
Old 3rd March 2014
  #25
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1 Review written
🎧 5 years
My goal is to try to set it right, but then make adjustments as necessary.

The point that the faders shouldn't be always adjusted up---I love it.
Old 3rd March 2014
  #26
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luizdepalma's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
Depends on the program, some really work static, I'll be riding the faders seriously to get a strong build anyway. Some need a more dynamic aproach and a real 'fader performance' .... but we should really ask Mike Brauer about it ... :-0
Old 3rd March 2014 | Show parent
  #27
Gear Addict
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Samc ➡️
My statement does not assume anything...it's easy to hear when a mixer is 'over mixing'.

Engineers who really know what they're doing won't do 'more'. They'll only do what's necessary.

We always get into trouble when we presume to know better than the band what they need.....
Sam, can you clarify what kind of scenarios you are referring to? I can NEVER think of a situation where I would think someone is doing too much. How would you quantify that? And in my experience...again...the musicians on stage have a totally biased listening position. What kind of 'stuff' should I let them get away with? Playing the guitar too loud? Hitting the snare with a rim shot on every hit?
If everyone is a pro and listens and balances themselves...I saw a show like that last night....I can sit back and enjoy.
Old 3rd March 2014 | Show parent
  #28
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🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by blindjoni ➡️
Sam, can you clarify what kind of scenarios you are referring to? I can NEVER think of a situation where I would think someone is doing too much. How would you quantify that? And in my experience...again...the musicians on stage have a totally biased listening position. What kind of 'stuff' should I let them get away with? Playing the guitar too loud? Hitting the snare with a rim shot on every hit?
If everyone is a pro and listens and balances themselves...I saw a show like that last night....I can sit back and enjoy.
Anytime the mixer gets in the way of the musicians and/or the music they're doing too much. Constantly riding faders unnecessarily or in an unmusical way is one scenario I'm reffering to.

I've seen an excellent jazz/blues singer working the mic with some idiot who didn't even know the song performing finger gymnastics with the vocal fader....that, is doing too much!

Contrary to popular belief, not only famous musicians know how their music should sound and it's very presumptuous of us to assume we always know better than younger, less experienced musicians. Not every solo needs to be pushed up and not every loud note or phrase need to be attenuated.
Old 3rd March 2014 | Show parent
  #29
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🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Wyllys ➡️
Sam...

I wish your answers were as clear to me as they are to you. I'm never quite certain about your intent in spite of your bountiful experience. I think part of it is that there are just so many different levels and niches of work in what we do. Someone else mentioned that we all tend to frame the questions in light of our own place in the business...and we know that there are so many different levels even under the heading of "mixing bands".

Bands at different levels may well require more or less "help" in getting their act together. It sure would be nice if they were all at a high level of performance.

And sometimes I DO know better than the band...but that's usually when the sum total of years of experience of the band members only comes up to half the number of years I put in as a professional musician...

W
Yes, not all bands are full to the brim with experience and talent but we cross the line into presumptuous when we automatically start thinking we know better than younger, inexperienced musicians and we should dictate 'terms an conditions' to them when they set foot on stage.
Old 3rd March 2014 | Show parent
  #30
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🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by vinvanda ➡️
sometimes I do a lot, sometimes not so much.

my philosophy is generally "you should do as much or as little as you need to to make it sound good"
Great, simple philosophy
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