Monday, May 18, 2009

Live Sound vs. Studio

This weeks Podcast and interview with live sound engineer Trevor Young will take a look at the world of live and touring sound. I don't like typing, so I'm going to get this over with asap. No backspacing or editing. Being mostly a studio guy myself, I wanted to get a professional viewpoint on how live sound issues are different from the studio. One point often brought up by live guys is that they only have a few minutes to get a good mix, whereas in the studio, one can take a week just getting the drums to sound killer. Does this make the live guy better at mixing? Does it make the studio engineer slower? How does the fast pace of the live sound world affect the quality of sound coming from the speakers for the brief moment in time during the concert? To help answer some of these questions, I talked with live sound engineer Trevor Young. He helps dispel some myths and rumors about live sound, as well as emphasizing one of my mantras: "Use Your Ears!"

What do I mean, use your ears. Well, as technology advances and there is more and more gear available to the pro engineer and consumer musician, there seems to be less emphasis on talent and more emphasis on a particular piece of gear or software plugin. We've all seen the ads that basically say, "If you get this equipment, your songs will be better". Right? What people most often forget is that unless they know how to use the equipment and use their ears to tweak it and make it sound like they want, it is useless. many of the best engineers and musicians I know survive with minimal gear. The key is, they know what they want, they know how to use the gear they have, and they are constantly listening.

This rule applies in all aspects of music, including and especially live sound. In a live situation there seems to be less control of each instrument, the audience, the room, hall, venue, arena, etc. In the Podcast, Trevor hits on this point very well. It doesn't matter what the graphic EQ says. It matters what it sounds like. Each band is different, each venue is different, and each engineer has his or her own way of getting the sounds they want.

Stay tuned next week when we'll hear from Russ Hughes of the Digidesign A.I.R. user's blog. Then after that we'll talk with on of the biggest session and touring drummers today, Russ Miller. See ya next week.

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