MIXING

To us mixing your song is a collaboration which merges your artistic intent with our knowledge of the tools
that can be applied to provide clarity and focus to the message.

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Contact us with the details of your mixing project along with a link to the rough Mix. We will have a listen and provide some opinions and pricing tailored to your request

Testimonials

Mike offer much more to an artist than Mixing. He will offer opinions, if you ask, relating to content, Sonic compatibility between instruments and quality of stems and whether a new take would help. Colton Brown Vocalist and Song Writer

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Colton Brown

Sound can wreak a show. I’ve seen it happen. I’ve been at the sound board and felt helpless as the sound in the theatre made the ears of some folks close to the stage throb while performers on stage were saying the music still wasn’t loud enough. I’ve seen audiences wince at feedback and bumps, crackles and pops from our microphones. No matter how good your performers or production may be, bad sound will be what an audience will remember. Proper balance of sound is absolutely essential for the success of any theatrical production. The audience must be able to hear all performers, music and sound effects clearly and in a volume that is loud enough, but not to the point of being uncomfortable. Performers must be able to hear their music adequately so they are able to stay on pitch and in rhythm. How does one find that happy medium especially when your volunteers only seem to know enough about running a sound board to be dangerous? You call for help, that’s what you do! Lucky for us, Mike Thompson was the man we called. He patiently taught our volunteers about sound and the importance of balancing the sound. He gave us the tools to measure the optimal db limit and then instructed us on how to set our board such that we wouldn’t exceed the acceptable level. With his help we were able to balance the sound such that no matter where you sat in the theatre, the level was constant and pleasant. He took our microphones and taught us how to sweeten the sounds using EQ levels so that our performers could sound their best. He taught us how feedback happens and how to avoid it. He explained to us every part of the sound system such that when someone unsuspectingly changes a setting, we know where to look to see if a volume level has been altered (as happened during the run of one of our shows- and we weren’t even aware someone had come in and set all our amps to their highest settings!). The sound board, the mics, the amps stack, the speakers, are no longer a black box to us, but tools we can manipulate to provide our audiences with crystal clear, unobtrusive, balanced sound. We can’t thank Mike enough for his help. I heartily recommend his expertise to anyone wanting to tame the sound beast! Carolyn Corsano Wong Artistic Director and Executive Producer

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STAGE RIGHT of Texas

LIVE SOUND ENHANCEMENT



With the introduction of affordable small format digital mixers the methods used by large touring shows are now available to everyone. By utilizing the "Sound check" feature on most boards we can create a custom signal chain specifically tailored to your band.

The analog input side of the mixer can be enhanced to provide the signals required, like splitting the vocals etc.

Take a look at our videos and our blog for more information.

Contact us with your boards make and model, and your typical input requirements and we will get back to you with specific recommendations and pricing. You can't afford not to do this.

Consistent quality Live Sound is a planned, documented system from instrument to FOH speakers. Each part of that system is selected to perform it's part without degrading the overall signal path. If I could offer one piece of advice it would be to stop thinking about the FOH as individual parts and pieces and start thinking about it as a system that can make or break your career. You are only as good as what your audience hears.

BLOG

18 Nov
Crash and Ride cymbals

By admin | 18/Nov/2017 | 0 Comments

By far this is the biggest problem I face when given stems for mixing. These cymbals fill the overheads with hiss, the tails are far too long and create an almost unsurmountable problem which has no good solution or "fix". Usually it forces me to turn down the overheads and room tracks which makes the kit sound one dimensional and in order to compensate I have to add more drum room reverb which is not ideal. There are several ways to solve this when recording and tracking the kit. These solutions range from changing to cymbals made for tracking, adding larger felts and not smacking them quite so hard. If you are recording a kit keep this in mind and using the "less is best" concept will go a long way. Remember that in mixing you can always add more but with these cymbals you simply cannot take away. Mike
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18 Nov
Reverb The Icing on the Cake

By admin | 18/Nov/2017 | 0 Comments

Reverb is probably the single most important tool in a Mixing Engineer's arsenal. It can be used as an effect or to place the mix in a "space". For this post I will focus on the latter. If all else is equal Reverb adds the depth and thickness to the mix which is the difference between a mix that excites the listener and a mix that doesn't. This is the first decision for the mix as it affects all other decisions. Small intimate room, clean studio, small club, concert hall etc. I personally enjoy the "live" sound, however this decision should be a collaboration between the artist and the producer. There are several types of Reverb, each with it's own "sound". The selection of what type is based on which "space" is chosen. Once the types are chosen there are three parameters that determine how effective the chosen type are: Length: The length is usually determined by the tempo of the song. This can get complicated as what "space" is chosen is a factor also. A general rule is the reverb should be audible for one measure and end on the downbeat of the next measure. Pre Delay: This setting creates the depth in the mix. Longer settings will bring things forward while shorter settings push things back in the mix. Density: I saved this for last as it is the key to have the mix sound great in the actual listening environment. All "spaces" contribute reflections to the overall "sound" that the listener "hears". This gets real complicated as there is no way to calculate this contribution as words like "depth", "width", "center" etc. exist in each listeners head which means that every listener "hears" this differently. What to do? There is no definitive answer. But there is a concept to apply. Let's say that the density parameter adjusts the "thickness" of the reverb from 0 to 100%. What is needed is a density setting that allows the reflections of the environment to "blend" with the artificial environment of the Reverb used. Think of density as thick peanut butter at 100% and a fishing net at settings less than 100%. 25% density has bigger holes than 75%. I usually start at about 50% here and check the mix in different environments and adjust if needed. Hope this helps. Onward Thru The Fog. Mike
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14 Sep
Mono Vs Stereo

By admin | 14/Sep/2017 | 0 Comments

What is the difference between Mono and Stereo?
Let's take a look at Mono first:
Mono basically means that exactly the same signal is sent to every speaker. This means that no matter where you are in any given space you will hear the same sound- not considering room reflections and frequency build up which is the subject for a different blog- as everyone else in that space.
Most systems in bars, restaurants, conferences and live sound use this system as it is simple and effective.
The down side to Mono is the actual Sonic space available to mix and balance the separate instruments into a good sounding rendering of the performance.
While true that most people will not perceive anything is missing it does have an impact to the rendering- taking the separate instruments and mixing them into a well balanced pie.
The reason I used the word Pie allows me to make the following example:
There is a pie on the counter. You are the only one in the room so you get the whole pie. All of a sudden 10 people walk into the room and want a piece. Now you just went from a whole pie to a slice equal to 1/11 of the pie.
The same applies to a performance. Say you have 1 lead vocalist, 1 backing vocalist, a guitar player, a bass player and a drummer with a modest drum kit.
Remember that there is still only one pie-Mono.
So let's start dividing up the pie. The lead vocalist gets a bigger slice than everyone else- let's say 1/4 of the pie.
That leaves 3/4 of the pie divided into 8 slices for everyone else. Why 8 slices? Because the drummer gets 5 to handle all his different instruments.
Here comes the tricky part. Everyone is competing for room in the frequency spectrum available and there is a finite amount of total frequency available. So who gets what? (I'll deliver into this more in another blog)
In order to help everyone get along we can use depth (the illusion of how close or how far away we perceive them to be ( more in another blog). This gives everyone a little more elbow room in the mix.
Recap:
Upside: every customer hears mostly the same thing.
Downside: Cramped space in the mix for each instrument - vocals are an instrument too.
Now let's take a look at Stereo.
Somewhere along the line- some think it's when vinyl records became popular as vinyl needs two signals- things changed.
Instead of ending up with one signal to be sent to a speaker       two signals of the main mix were needed. Still just two signals of the same thing.
Some really smart sound engineer came up with the idea of sending the guitar to one of those signals while sending the  piano to the other signal and Stereo was born!!
As usual, us sound guys being very clever folks, we realized that we now had 3 pies instead of one!! That's right 3 pies. How can that be? The simple answer is how we hear and use our hearing to determine where a sound is coming from- that's why we have two ears. ( more on how we hear in another blog).
Now we have a Left pie, a Right pie and a Center pie.
The signals or sounds that are unique to the Left speaker we perceive as coming from the left. The signals or sounds that are unique to the Right speaker we perceive as coming from the Right. The signals or sounds that equally come from the Left and Right speaker we perceive as coming from the center. In reality this is not perfect so a Good Stereo signal shows up on a gionmeter- the tool that visualizes the stereo signal- as a writhing, pulsating ball of goodness.
So now we have 3 pies for the band to share!! Remember we mentioned depth in Mono? This adds Width( yes another blog) to the equation.
Upside: Three pies and a writhing ball of goodness!!
Downside: the only customers who get to hear this goodness are those located at the top of an equal lateral triangle with the distance between the speakers themselves establishing the length of the sides. Everyone else hears something different- if the guitar is panned- the tool that controls where a signal is sent to- to the left and you are standing on the left you hear more guitar.
In mixing: we take advantage of the benefits of Stereo but always check to be sure it sounds good when collapsed to Mono.
In Live Sound: every good sound engineer had developed a hybrid system that grabs as much of those two extra pies available in Stereo while allowing most customers to hear a very similar sound.
That's part of what we do in our live sound enhancement offering.
That's it for this blog- thank you God.
As they used to say in Austin:
ONWARD THRU THE FOG!!
(an old saying from the Armadillo World Headquarters!!)
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14 Sep
What the Hell is a Transducer

By admin | 14/Sep/2017 | 0 Comments

There are a lot of real tecno definitions but basically there are two basic categories that are the most common in our business:
Category 1: input transducers
The first type takes a sound pressure wave and converts it into a variable voltage electric signal.  Microphones and some acoustic guitar pickups.
The second type takes a vibrating steel string and by magnetic induction converts it into a variable voltage electric signal. Electric guitar pickups.
Category 2: output transducers:
In this category there are several types but they all take a variable voltage electric signal and convert it into sound pressure waves. Speakers, headphones, in ears etc.
If you think about it the input transducer sends this variable voltage to the mixing console and is amplified by the preamp:
In Analog consoles these signals stay Analog thruout their journey thru the console and are sent out the multiple outputs.
In Digital the signal is converted to a digital representation of the soundwave (more on this in another blog), manipulated by any digital processes your mixer has and is then converted back to a variable voltage signal at the multiple outputs of the mixer- (some larger consoles send this digital signal out where it is converted at the output transducer. This digital signal can travel up to 500 feet without any degradation where an analog signal has to be boosted back to it's original voltage after 50 to 100 feet. There are digital networks made specifically to carry this digital signal and most larger venues are using these.)
The most important part of the signal chain is the transducer. So the rule of thumb is get the best ones you can afford. Depending on how old( those guys lugging around a pair of 15 year old Behringers) and how good your current transducers are you can greatly improve your sound quality so take a serious look at this. Remember YOU ARE ONLY AS GOOD AS YOU SOUND!!
As a side note most newer small format mixers (anything over $800.00) have pretty decent preamps(low THD- total harmonic distortion) and a decent signal to noise ratio.
ONWARD THRU THE FOG
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Address: Conroe, Texas 77302