Seven Steps for Cleaning Up Your Music Mix

Mixing board faders

Saturday, I was conducting an audio training session and I was given the opportunity to work on their mix with the worship band.  The mix was pretty good so instead of re-building their full mix, I focused on cleaning up the mix.

There are seven areas to consider when cleaning up a mix.  Mind you, like I said, this assumes you have a pretty good mix to start.  For the sake of this article, let’s say you’re in the middle of your sound check, you like the mix, but you think it could be better. This is a great time to focus on cleaning up the mix. …keep reading »

Gating | Open the Gate and Let the Good Sound Out.

The problem with mixing music is sometimes you get too much sound coming through your system.  I’m not talking about sound volume, I’m talking about unwanted sound, sound that’s not beneficial to your mix.  But how can you eliminate unwanted sound?  This is where gating comes into play.  Audio gating enables you to control when sound enters your system and when it leaves.

Two Primary Benefits of Gating

Benefits in your mix can be gained using gating in two areas;

  1. Removing secondary sounds from a microphone.  You might think of this as spill or leakage.  Breakout the hazmat suits, we have a spill on the stage!  I’m talking about a microphone that picks up the sounds of another instrument other than the one which is intended.  For example, when the drum toms aren’t being played, they will likely pick up the sounds of other drum kit pieces.  Of course, it wouldn’t be as loud of a sound that’s broadcast but it is an additional sound source adding in an unnecessary sound, a sound that can even negatively affect your mix because of the added volume and frequencies. …keep reading »

Doing Great Production Work (in a Not-So-Great Environment)

Todd Elliott, Technical Coordinator at Willow Creek Community Church

[Gurus 2013 in Review: Todd Elliott]

Do you feel limited in your capabilities because your church doesn’t have the latest, greatest, biggest, newest, best WHATEVER?

Todd Elliott, the Willow Creek Community Church Technical Coordinator, told his story of when he was first working at a smaller church and would attend Willow Creek events.  He said it would make him feel depressed because he saw all the great production work and all he could think was “we don’t have those resources [to do that]“  Recently, he read an article in Fast Company magazine called “Five Paths to Doing Great Work at a Terrible Company” and he saw a direct correlation to his past situation at his old church.  It wasn’t that it was a terrible church; it was the ideas behind the Five Paths that caught his attention. …keep reading »

How to EQ Vocals in Six Easy Steps

EQ'ing vocals starts with the right microphone.

Vocal EQ work can make or break your mix. A solid vocal mix will capture the listener’s ear. Don’t think vocal mixing is hard. EQ vocals using these six easy steps. Oh, you might have one particular singer that has a difficult tone to perfect but as long as you follow these six steps, EQ’ing even the hardest vocal will become much easier.

EQ Vocals with these Six Steps

1. Select the Right Microphone

Properly EQ’ing vocals begins before you ever touch the EQ knob. It begins before you turn on your first microphone. It starts on the stage. Microphones differ in many ways, from type (ribbon / dynamic / condenser) to sensitivity to polar pattern to where I’m focusing this first part; microphone frequency response. …keep reading »

Stop Playing Those Video Clips | Video Copyright Myths and Licensing

Before you play that video, make sure you have the rights to do so.  Photo provided by Sarej

[Guest post from Aaron West] “I paid for the movie, so I can show it whenever and wherever I want.”  If only video licensing was that easy!  A few days ago, music and copyright infringement was covered in detail.  As mentioned, this has been something that’s been going on for years and unfortunately the copyright laws continue to modify as new technologies come out.  More recently, public playing of videos has emerged with the help of the internet and digital devices.  It’s no longer limited to theaters and movie rental stores (does anybody remember those days of renting a VHS tape and the VHS PLAYER too???).  So, what are the rules for videos, especially in the church?  Well, like before, let’s look at a couple of myths first. …keep reading »