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Saturday, June 6, 2015

HOW TO MIX A LIVE BAND (a guide for dummies) 4/4



Hello and welcome to this last part of our super basic tutorial about how to mix a live band in a small gig!

In the latest part we have seen basically every aspect of a mixer, every aspect but the Aux Sends one, which we are going to analyze today.
The Auxiliary Send (Aux Send) is an additional output of the mixer that lets us do another mix, different by the one that goes into the PA, and that we can use for other purposes, for example to send it to the stage monitors.

The band in the stage plan example on the first part of our article has 3 monitors: one for the drummers and 2 for the other band members, covering the left and the right side of the stage.
in the picture above we have 2 aux sends, but usually 12 channels mixers have 3 of them.
So how do we do our relative mix? If we have the aux pots on each channel at noon, the guys on stage will hear by the monitors basically the same mix that can be heard outside, but usually they will want a different mix, because there are things that they need to hear to play better, and others which are less useful and can be eliminated, plus keep in mind that usually with cheap mixers and monitors it's better to send a maximum of 3 or 4 channels per monitor, to make sure the monitor will reproduce them loud and clear without distorting.


An example of monitor mix, always referring to the band in the first part of this tutorial, could be the following:

Aux 1: Left monitor (as seen from the point of view of the drummer): Vocals, keyboards, snare, kick.

Aux 2: Drummer monitor: Vocals, guitar, keyboards, bass

Aux 3: Right monitor: Vocals, the other guitar (or the keyboard), snare, kick

in order to obtain this we will close all aux knobs on the mixer, then open just the Aux 1 pot on Vocal, Keyboard, Snare and Kick, choosing the level according to the volume they need,
then repeat the same procedure with the Aux 2 Pot and the Aux 3, sending only the requested channels to each monitor.
Usually during the soundcheck the sound engineer asks the band to play a part of a song and adjusts the aux sends accordingly, until everyone can hear everything decently.
Once the stage monitors are set in a stable way, the sound engineer can make the last touches to balance everything, keeping in mind that additional modifications will need to be made when the room will be full of people, because the venue responds differently according to the people inside.

Some last suggestion about how to mix a live band:

- If present, the High Pass Filter button is a good way to clean up the low end from unwanted resonating frequences. It can be used basically on each channel, with the exception of Bass and Kick Drum.

- Try to push each sound with the eq slighly towards its place in the mix, for example you can lower a bit the lows on a guitar track and add some grit on the highs, or carve some mids out of toms, remove some highs on a bass track or boost some mids on vocals, but don't exaggerate, and remember that a sligh cut sounds usually better than a sligh boost.



Additional ways to use an Aux Send:

- It can be used to go to external processors, such as a Compressor, or an Fx unit, and then the signal can be routed to the Aux in (sometimes called Aux Return) to be blended with the original one.

- It can be used also to go to a recording machine, like a computer, if there aren't other dedicated outs in the mixer.



Well, the tutorial is over, I hope it was helpful, leave comments below if you have some other tip to share!


CLICK HERE FOR PART 1 OF 4!

CLICK HERE FOR PART 2 OF 4!

CLICK HERE FOR PART 3 OF 4!



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