Sunday, June 7, 2015

Are You Hearing Me?

For many years, I have had the good fortune to be a live sound engineer - mixing bands that can play actual musical instruments ... so that I, as any actual live "sound engineer" should be able to do, can discern between the varied sounds and tones of each instrument (the human "vox" included) ... as opposed to, say, sitting behind a computer (a digital sound console) and lazily babysitting "presets" (watching the faders zoom up and down together).
writes Mr. Nice Legz
As any self-respecting musician (or opinionated windbag in the business) will tell you, there is nothing worse than a lazy sound guy.

That said, there are clearly advantages to going digital in a live sound environment.  Because digital processing is self-contained -- that is, all of the effects, equalization, compression, etc., can be accessed from within the sound console itself -- there is no longer any need for racks, and stacks of "outboard" gear cluttering the tech. table or mixing area ... so when babysitting digital presets myself, I can at least put my feet up.

Once I was doing this hotel gig, and we started discussing the lunch that was going to be served that day.  As we were finishing breakfast, waiting for the morning's first presentation ... the in-house sound guy I was working with blurted, "Salmon!  Never been much of a salmon guy.  Just give me a nice piece of friggin' swordfish!"

And then he fell mountainously asleep at the sound board.

See, that's what I'm talking about!

That's the main difference between analog and digital audio mixing.  It's apples and oranges ... salmon and swordfish!