Getting The Whole
What many musicians and vocalists don’t understand is that there are a great many subtle adjustments that the tech crew can do as well with the mix that will accent and enhance what the musicians and vocalists are doing on stage.
That cool guitar line should be heard in proper perspective in the mix. That one bass guitar riff that only happens once, coming out of the bridge, needs to be heard.
Adding a slight flanging effect to the backing vocals only during the chorus can really make the parts jump out.
Fitting a single-repeat echo on the worship leader’s part in just a couple parts of the song, or even just a couple of words in the song, works incredibly well if it’s placed right in the same tempo as the song.
The only way that the sound mixer is going to know that those parts exist, understand how those refinements can and should fit in his mix, and be prepared to pull off whatever is necessary to make it work each time the song is played, is through careful listening and time – lots of it.
There have been many times when the players and singers decide they’re confident that they know the song and move on to the next, or decide to take a break, and I’m left there hanging, only partly done creating the sound that I was going for. Understand that this is a two way street.
I can’t expect someone playing an electronic keyboard, for example, to play for me so I can work with the front of house sound, without them being able to hear some of that keyboard sound in the monitors.
Yet I can’t properly set the gain structure for that instrument without having them play the instrument.
A question I often get asked is which do I set first – the front of house mix or the monitor mix?
And the answer, of course, is both. The problem is when the player expects the sound of the keyboard to be perfect in level and sound character from the first note.
Perhaps shock therapy would work in these cases!