Curriculum: Live Band Mixology
This is our curriculum for Live Band Mixing, but without the photos... Thanks to BreAna and Devin for compiling.
LIVE BAND MIXOLOGY
Table Of Contents:
Page Number Section Topic
1 COVER COVER
2 TABLE OF CONTENTS Table of Contents
3 Introduction About the Manual
4-5 Section 1 Basic Music Theory
6-14 Section 2 Setting up the Band- Preparation
15-16 Section 3 Being On Air
17-18 Section 4 After the Band Plays
19-24 Section 5 Glossary of Terms
This is a rough guide to live band mixology at KBOO Community Radio. The goal of this manual is to walk you through the basics of setting up and mixing a live band on the air. Use this guide as a reference when mixing live bands, and make your own comments/additions to it as needed. If you have questions, concerns, or comments we would love to hear them!
BreAna Loranger (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Basic Theory Behind Live Music Mixing
This section is designed to provide you with some basic theory behind how sound works before you delve into amplifying and mixing sounds.
To properly set up for bands and insure that the sound quality will be excellent, it is important to understand the basics of sound and how it works. Sound travels as a sound wave. A sound wave travels in a straight line, but also branches out into different directions. Sound is loudest closest to the straight line of sound, and gets weaker the farther away from the source of sound you are, as well as the farther from the straight line of sound you are. All sounds have different frequencies. Frequencies are why some sounds are higher or lower pitched. Higher frequencies are shorter (traveling less distance) and lower frequencies are longer (traveling farther distances).
Basic Rock Band Set Up:
A basic rock band set up typically consists of: 2 guitars (lead and rhythm), 1 bass guitar, 1 drum set, 2 vocals (lead and back up). For a basic rock band set up you will need: 3 Shure 57 microphones (for the 2 guitars and 1 bass guitar), 2 Shure 58 microphones (for the vocals), the Silver Audix Drum Mic Box, and the 2 Joesphson microphones as the drum set overheads. You will also need the monitors for the vocalists. Make sure that you gather the microphones, microphone stands, the Red Mic Cable reel so you will have all of your equipment ready when you start to set up.
All the Mics and Di Boxes you need live in the Orange Locker in Production One. The Cable Reel lives to the Left of the cabinet.
Getting Ready to Set Up the Band
This section gives you
step-by-step directions on preparing for your live band.
Though there is a lot of work you can do day of to make your live band mixing go smoother, it is necessary to also do a few things in advance. Before the day of your show, make sure that you:
1. Reserve the rooms you will be using (Production 1 and Studio 1) for the time of your show, as well as enough time before and after your show for you to appropriately set up and tear down the spaces.
2. Aquire keys. You will need keys to dead storage and to the equipment locker located in Production 1.
3. Have Contact Information: Make sure you have contact information for the band that is playing, and for any other board operators or mixologists on the same show as you. You will want this handy in case someone doesn't show up.
There are also several things you need to do before the band shows up on the day of the show. These things are explained in detail below, but the basic idea is to have both the rooms ready and organized correctly for the band BEFORE they arrive. This will help to make their setting up process smoother, and your microphone placement easier.
Before The Band:
Before the band starts to set up its important that the room is ready for them. Studio 1 needs to have enough space for all of the band mates and their equipment. Push the table against a wall, move all the chairs against walls or into a hallway, and move general clutter against walls so you have as much space as possible.
Get the Monitors out of Dead Storage. Dead Storage is located through the music library, and through the archive room. They are kept on the Left hand side. How to set up the monitors will be explained later in the “communication” section.
Before you Set Up the Board:
Check the patch bay to make sure all the cables are in their proper places: all the cables with yellow cords should be In STUDIO 1 #1-16.
Go to the Live Music Mixing Board and check BACK to make sure there are no inserts plugged in. Inserts have BLUE Cables, so all BLUE Cables should be Unplugged, and all Yellow Cables are in appropriate place. Inserts refer to the compressors in the rack that you can “Insert” into the signal path of an instruments channel.
First, turn on the Live Music Board, using Switch on the WALL (Mounted on the Effects Bay), and then turn on Monitor Power, which is the light switch on the wall behind the live music mixer board. Lastly, take off the glass cover.
When The Band Arrives:
Fill out a BAND SHEET, have the band fill out a permission slip (one permission slip signed by all band members is fine), and talk to the band and the board operator (or programmer) for the program about how long the band will play for and an approximate time they will start/stop. This will help you know how quickly you need to set up, and will help stop confusion between the band, the mixologist, and the board operator (programmer).
Let the band set up- suggest that they set up the way they “set up to practice”. When they are done setting up start setting up the microphones by plugging the cables into the microphones and the patch bay in Studio 1, and setting up the microphones on their microphone stands near the equipment they will be amplifying. When you have all the microphones on their stands and plugged into the patch bay, set up the microphones so they are appropriately amplifying the instruments they are intended for (refer to the “amplifying appendix” for appropriate microphone placement).
When plugging mics in you want to do it in some logical order.
Here’s a typical input list to use that is considered a Standard Order for Rock Type Bands:
(mic 3)Rack 2 (if there is one)
(mic 4)Floor Tom
(mic 5)Overhead (Ride Cymbal Side)
(mic 6)Overhead (Hi-hat Side)
(mic 7)Bass DI or Bass Mic
(mic 10)Other instruments (such as Keyboards, acoustic guitars, cellos, and/or glockenspiels….)
With Guitar and Vocals you may want to plug them in an order you can “see”. That is, as you are looking at them from the mixer. The one on the Left is first, and so on. Same with any “Other Instruments”.
You will also set up the Monitors. Plug in Power Chord and Red Patch Chord in to OUTPUT on the Monitor. Plug in the other end of the Red Patch Chord to EQ1 OUT on the Patch Bay. Turn ON The Monitor. Make sure the Monitor Select on the Patch Bay is to Air Room (we will set the appropriate volume in the monitors later.)
Setting Up the Board:
Before you set up microphones to the board, you need to check that the board is set correctly:
· POTS: gain is down on each pot, and each pot is muted (Purple button pushed in)
· The dials above the pots (the PAN dial), directly above the mute button, should all be at 12 o’clock
· Blue Section: All knobs should be turned to Zero (AUXILARY SEND SECTION)
· All the Pre-buttons (grey in this section) For Aux 1 and 2 should be in, for Aux 3-4 should be out
· Black and Gray section should all be turned to Zero, at 12 o’clock. The Gray EQ Buttons should be pressed IN, the purple Direct Pre buttons should be Out.
MIDDLE SECTION (where you control the monitor and mix volume) – where the mixing occurs, you want to have Monitor Volume at about 5, which is 12 o’clock, and make sure the MIX Button is selected (Pressed down) Directly above the Monitor Volume toggle. IF you are using Condensor Mics, such as the Josephsons (overheads), they require Phantom Power. The Phantom Power button is the purple button at the top next to the headphone jack.
Check that the Aux 1 through 6 dials are all turned all the way up (As far to the left as possible.)
Check the Mics:
CHECK THAT THE MICS ARE WORKING
Start with MIC ONE. Unmute the mic, make sure that the Pot is in PFL (located at the bottom of each pot) and MIX (the Second Gray button on each pot.) Then pot up the mix volume (Yellow Pot).
Now we turn the gain ALL THE WAY UP to check for mic noises. If you hear sound, you know it’s working. Now we’re ready to Set the Gain.
Set the GAIN For Each Pot:
We will need to set each gain individually, for each mic that you plan on using.
Ask the musician to play, by pressing the 1-2 Button by the Talkback Pot… As they are playing, adjust the Red Gain Dial so that the Yellow Fader Volume peaks at zero. Zero is the start of the yellow dots, and we don’t want it to go above zero.
Once Red Gain Dial is set, DO NOT TOUCH IT. You will set the Volume using the Fader on each pot. We will get to that later.
· To set Red Gain Dials for Each Additional Pot, Take the Already Set Pot out of PFL, and Mute it. Then follow all the same procedures for each additional Pot you are using.
Setting the Volume:
Now, you have to set the VOLUME, (Mic Check). To set the Volume Faders, you Unmute ALL The MICS, make sure they’re all in MIX (should be pressed in) and make sure all the Faders are down. Then ask the band to Play a song together.
While the band is playing, you slide the Faders up, until the mix sounds appropriate.
This is subjective, depending on the kind of band you are mixing, but generally, slide the Fader to Zero, and go up or down depending on how it Should Sound for the kind of music it is.
For Rock Bands, you get the drums set first, then bass, guitar, and vocals in that order.
After you have set the volume for the vocals, turn Mix One Dial up on Vocal Mic Pots until the vocalists are satisfied with the level in the monitors that are in Studio One.
Communication is key to pulling off great sounding radio. Live band mixing is a difficult task when it comes to fantastic communication because there are so many people to constantly communicate with. It is crucial that you have open communication between-
1. The band and the music mixer.
2. The music mixer and the board operator/host.
3. the board operator/host and the band.
4. Making sure the band can hear themselves!
To do this you will need to utilize some tools available to you in the different rooms of the station.
The band and the Music Mixer-
You will need to talk to the band face to face before hand to let them know what you expect of them, and how you will communicate with them. Walking into the back room and letting them know what you need of them during the set up process works best. Let them know if you will be using any hand signals to speak to them from room to room and make sure they understand what each signal means.
The Music Mixer and the board op-
Again you will need to talk face to face with the board op. having a set list and a timeline helps to keep both parties informed. Let the board op know if you are having trouble with any aspect of getting the band on air, and let the board op know when you have the band ready to go on. Once you have the band ready to go on, POT them up on the board and turn it on so that the board op can talk with the band from the air room.
The board op and the band-
Utilize the "Talk Back" in the air room for updating the band on things. To do this, put the talk back into Program 2 (by pressing down the "program 2" button located above the talk back button on the board) and put the anchor mic into program 1 and 2 (by pressing down the "program 2" button located about the volume control on the anchor mic POT.) Make sure NOTHING ELSE is in Program 2. Also, make sure the "Monitor Control" volume is turned to twelve o'clock (this dial is located underneath the Talk Back button on the board.) Then, in the back room change the monitor output to "monitor control/air room" and turn the volume almost all the way up. To talk to the band OFF AIR (for example, when letting them know they will go on in 5 minutes) simply press down the "talk back" button. If you are trying to have a conversation with the band OFF AIR (asking them a question about their band name, upcoming show, etc.) put the production 1 pot in CUE (press down the cue button.) NOTE- if the mixologist forgot to pot up and turn on the band on the board, then you will not be able to hear the band when you put the production 1 pot in cue.
To talk to the band ON AIR (if interviewing them for example) simply pot up and turn on the production 1 pot as well as the anchor mic pot and speak into the anchor mic as you normally would. MAKE SURE YOU HAVE YOUR HEADPHONES ON!
Making sure the band can hear themselves-
You will need to set up monitors in the back room so that the band can hear themselves playing. This is especially important for the vocalists. You will need to retrieve the monitors from dead storage, set them up in the back room, then set the volume for them on the mixing board in production 1.
To set up the monitors:
You will need to attach the power cord to the monitor, plug it into a power source, and press the on button. You will also need to patch the monitor into the patch bay in the back room by plugging the red cord into the output on the monitor and then into the "EQ 1 OUT" spot on the patch bay. This red cord is stored with the monitors in dead storage.
To Set the Volume:
You do not want to set the volume on the monitors until you have the gain and volume set on all of your instruments. To set the volume on the monitors turn up the "mix one" volume on the mixing board until the vocalist(s) is/are satisfied with the volume level.
A Note on Phantom Power:
Condenser microphones require additional power sources to function properly. When using condenser microphones for live bands, it is important that you remember to press down the "phantom power" button on the band mixing board (located at the top of the center section next to the head phones jack.) If you do not press down this button and activate the phantom power then your condenser microphones will not amplify sound.
Getting Ready to Be on Air:
Once your mix is set, (Once you have the fader volume set for all the instruments and vocalist) you are ready to Go On The Air! Woo hoo!
Before you patch the band through to the air room you want to make sure the Production 1 board is set up correctly. Go to the room mixing board, and on POT 28, the Farthest Pot to the Right, which is labeled LIVE, and pot it up to -25. Make sure this POT is in Program 1 assign (do this by pressing down the “program 1” button at the top of the pot.) Slide the volume of POT 22 also up to –25, but make sure that this POT is in Program Assign 2 (you can do this by pressing in “program assign 2” button located at the top of the POT.) You also want to insure that POT 22 is on Input B (do this by pressing down the input button located at the very top of the POT) so that you can hear the announcer in the air room. Turn on POT 22 to hear the air signal. Turn on POT 28 when you are ready to put the band on air. While the band is playing a song make sure the VU Meters are peaking around Zero VU an not Pegged into the Red.
Being On the Air
This section describes your expectations while the band is live on air. Although the band is already set up and ready to play, you may be needed for secondary responsibilities.
During the band you have two primary jobs: to ensure the output volume level is good, and to keep communication lines between yourself, the band and the board operator (programmer) open. To do this, refer to volume setting in the previous section. Make sure BEFORE you go on air that you (the Music Mixer), the band, and the Board Op/Host all have an outline for the sets (how many, how long, etc.) You may also be asked to document the event by taking photos of the band while they perform.
After the Band Plays
This section provides a list of things that must be accomplished before you leave the station.
After The Band:
When the band is finished you need to put everything away as well as communicate with the band. After the last set is finished, thank the band for playing and give them at least 1 CD copy of their performance on the show. Make sure that you have contact information for the band so that you can get a hold of them in the future if needed.
Now you need to tear down Production 1. Begin by setting the board back the way you found it (as explained in the “setting up the board” section.) Once the board is back to its original state, turn off the monitors first, then turn off the board itself. Place the glass cover back on the board. Make sure that everything on the room board is also turned down, including POT 28.
Next, unplug all of the microphones in Studio 1, and put them back in the cabinet carefully. Next, put all the microphone cords back on the Red Cable Reel and place the Red Cable Reel back in Production 1. Then, break down all the microphone stands (make sure the clips for the microphones are off of the stands and back in their appropriate boxes) and put them in the bottom part of the microphone cabinet so they are neatly organized. Unplug the monitors and put back in dead storage. Do a final sweep of Production 1, making sure that all of the equipment you took out has been put away, and the Orange Locker is locked. THEN put the studio room back together so its ready to be used as a meeting space. Move the table back to the center of the room and place chairs around it.
Once everything is cleaned up check in with the Host to see if there is anything they need you to do before you leave.
Appendix of Microphones and Glossary of Terms
This section provides a description of the microphones available for use at KBOO as well as definitions to terms used throughout this manual.
Back up vocals: There to help out lead vocals, some times they are in direct competition with lead vocals.
Basic rock band: A band consisting of at least a vocalist, guitarist, Bassist, and drummer.
Effects Bay: The sci-fi looking black steal box located on the south wall of Production 1.
Fader: Another form of a pot, only stretched out in a rectangular form.
Frequency: A measurement of rate, in the world of sound it refers to the speed that a pressure wave was formed.
Gain: The measurement of power, or amplitude.
Live Music Mixing Board: The mixing board located in Production 1 on east the wall.
Lead vocal: In a band they are the star of the show.
Mixing board: An electronic device for combining (also called "mixing"), routing, and changing the level, and or dynamics of audio signals.
Monitor: In the world of sound it refers to a speaker to hear one’s self, or work.
Microphone: A device that turns sound waves into electricity.
Music Mixer: An operator of the Live Music Mixing equipment, trained in the reproduction of sound in an electronic form.
Patch bay: Any where that cables are used to connect one device to another.
PFL: Solos the selected channel and does not effect the main output.
Phantom Power: Power for microphones that need it to operate, typically for condenser mics.
Pitch: A particular note.
Pot: Short for potentiometer, it is a volume control device, usually in knob/dial form.
Room mixing board: The mixing board located in Production 1 on the north wall
Sound: A vibration detected by the ear.
Shure 57 - Type – dynamic. Pickup pattern – cardioid. Great for close micing anything that makes noise, a staple in the professional audio world. Be aware that this mic works best when placed as close as possible to the source.
Shure 58 – Type – dynamic. Pickup pattern – cardioid. Vary similar to Shure 57, but optimized for vocals.
Electrovoice (EV) RE 27 - Type – dynamic. Pickup pattern – cardioid. Virtually indestructible, and vary sensitive for dynamic mic. Will deliver the best results in the low to mid range.
Audix D6 - Type – dynamic. Pickup pattern – cardioid. Especially designed to be used with a bass drum. Works only in the low frequency range.
Audix D4 - Type – dynamic. Pickup pattern – cardioid. Made for use in the low to mid range.
Audix D2 - Type – dynamic. Pickup pattern – cardioid. Designed to be used with tom drums. Good mid range response.
Audix D1 - Type – dynamic. Pickup pattern – cardioid. Designed for use with a snare drum. Good in the Upper-mid to lower-high range frequencies.
Josephon C-603 *matched pair* - Type – condenser. Pickup pattern – cardioid. Exceptionally good low-mid to high range frequency response. These mic’s were made to be used together to emulate a stereo field. Usually for drum over heads but accordion players like them too. These mics are vary fragile, so make sure they are out of reach of drum sticks, and wild accordion player antics.
Neumann U87i - Type – condenser. Pickup pattern – cardioid, omnidirectional, figure 8. These mics are incredibly sensitive to the point where they are not useful in most rock band settings. They make great room mics, are good with light vocals, and can be useful for acoustic jams. Be aware that there are many switch’s on the mic its self. Right below the grill on the mic you’ll find a window with ether an o, 8, or a ♥ like symbol. The symbols correspond to various pick up patterns, o is omnidirectional, the 8 is figure 8, and the ♥ like symbol is a cardioid pattern. The two switch’s on the bottom are frequency roll off switches.
AKG 451 o - Type – condenser. Pickup pattern – omnidirectional. Good for room micing, or huddling vocalist around. Kind of a weird mic. Not as sensitive and less frequency response than the Neumann U87i.
AKG 451 ♥ - Type – condenser. Pickup pattern – cardioid. Classic vocal mic, used extensively in live 70’s TV performances. Great mid to high-high range. You’ll use it on a small drum set or acoustic guitar.
Sony ecm 65 - Type – condenser. Pickup pattern – cardioid. Grungy old condenser mic. If you want that distorted sound try one of these.
Beyer M160 - Type – ribbon. Pickup pattern – cardioid. Vary sensitive, will add that extra sparkle to the high end of anything. Good for high hat, light vocals, and the like, not good for screamers.