Live Sound: Mixing and Recording

Author: Bill Gibson | Course Code: OMPRD-287

Every seasoned performer knows the importance of an excellent sound engineer. No matter what the genre of the music, if the sound engineer doesn't build a mix that sounds good, the creativity, passion, and brilliance of the performance will be tarnished. A sound engineer who knows how to create a mix that sounds great and can build and deploy a high-quality sound system is highly coveted throughout the music industry.

This course explores the acoustical, musical, and technical aspects of the live performance, in order to learn how to present the best possible sound to the audience. You will study, evaluate, and compare several different live and studio recordings in order to establish a point of reference for your own mix choices. The course emphasizes instrument sounds, microphones, equalization, and dynamics processing. These tools are presented in a manner that places a high value on the creative and technical influences they impose on the individual sounds, as well as the control they can offer for multiple sounds, channels, and tracks.

The goal of the course is to enable you to build your own mixes and use what you've learned to conform to a high standard for sonic quality, blend, and authenticity. When properly equipped with the tools, techniques, and insights needed to build an excellent mix, you will be the musicians' closest and most trusted ally.

By the end of the course, you will be able to:

Identify important considerations regarding music, including the identification of the types of sounds that work well in a professional mixApply logistical and managerial techniques to help manage equipment, setup teams, and road crewsAchieve excellent vocal sounds for various styles, genres, and acoustical environmentsUse microphone technique, equalization, effects, and dynamics processing to build excellent piano, acoustic guitar, electric guitar, keyboard, bass guitar, drums, and percussion sounds so they function well togetherBuild a high-quality mix that is appropriate for a wide variety of age groups, stylistic preferences, and acoustical environmentsIdentify special considerations for recording the live show

Lesson 1: The Sound Operator and Musical Considerations

Qualifications of a Sound OperatorDuties of the Sound OperatorPreventing CatastropheThe Musical Function of the Band MembersSong Form and the Contemporary Pop SongArrangement FormatSong StructureCommon Song Form SectionsCommon ABC Song Forms

Lesson 2: Sound Theory and Acoustic Considerations

Your Sound SystemSound TheoryWavesAmplitudePhaseFrequency and WavelengthVelocityHarmonic ContentEnvelopeAcousticsHearingDocumenting Your Sound SystemAnalyzing the Acoustic SpaceAcoustic Treatment Options

Lesson 3: Interconnect and Mixer Basics

Interconnect BasicsIntroduction to The MixerMixer BasicsGain StructureOperating LevelConnecting a Recorder to Your Mixer

Lesson 4: Microphones

Microphone DesignDirectional CharacteristicsAdditional Mic Characteristics and ApplicationsWireless SystemsLavaliere and Headset MicrophonesKeep it Real

Lesson 5: Equalization and Dynamics

Equalizers: Building Puzzle PiecesEQ TypesFiltersDynamicsUsing EffectsDelay EffectsParameters

Lesson 6: Speakers, Amplifiers, and System Processors

Loud SpeakersSpeaker CableAmplifiersSystem ProcessorsBasic Analysis: Setting the System UpWhite and Pink NoiseReal-Time Analyzer (RTA)Ringing Out the SystemVoicing the SystemLeakageWedge MonitorsIn-Ear Monitors

Lesson 7: How to Get Great Drum and Percussion Sounds

Getting the Acoustic Drums to Sound GoodMiking the DrumsProcessors for DrumsBlending the DrumsIsolationElectronic Drums

Lesson 8: Getting Great Acoustic, Electric, and Bass Guitar Sounds

Acoustic GuitarRunning DirectEqualizationMiking the Acoustic GuitarBuilding the Electric Guitar SoundRunning Direct vs. Miking the Speaker CabinetThe Bass GuitarAcquiring the Bass Sound

Lesson 9: Getting Great Vocal Sounds

Choosing a Vocal MicMic TechniqueSong Leaders at ChurchVocal MikingLead VocalistBacking VocalsChoirCovering the GroupUsing Processing in Your Vocal MixBlending Vocals in the Mix

Lesson 10: Keyboard Sounds, Sound Check, and Setting Up the Mix

Keyboard SoundsElectric Pianos and SynthsRunning an Efficient Setup and Sound CheckSound Check ChecklistSetup RoutineFloor Monitor LevelIn-Ear MonitorsStage Map and Channel ListFront of House System FunctionalityConsiderations when using a Digital MixerCreating a Mix PlanPutting the Pieces TogetherVolume Issues

Lesson 11: Putting it All Together

Fundamentals of Building Great Sounds for the Core InstrumentsEstablishing the FoundationUsing Dynamics and Effects AppropriatelyEstablishing a Baseline Volume and Keeping It There

Lesson 12: Recording the Gig and More Mixing Techniques

Creating a MixBlendingDynamicsHighlighting Certain IngredientsKeeping the Focal PointThe Board RecordingSetting Up a Multitrack Recorder to Record the Music Team

Bill Gibson

Author & Instructor

Bill Gibson is president of Northwest Music and Recording and has spent the last 25 years writing, recording, producing, and teaching music. As an audio professional and active sound operator, Bill has developed unique insight into the techniques and procedures that produce extremely high quality audio, both in the recording studio and in live performances. He is the author of 30 books and videos, and his writings are acclaimed for their straightforward and understandable explanations of audio concepts and applications. He is an instructor at Green River College in Auburn, WA, and holds degrees in composition, arranging, and recording.

As a music pastor and technical director for 15 years at a large contemporary-music oriented church in the Seattle area, Bill gained a unique insight into the integration of ministry, technical and musical considerations, and a quest for excellence. He approaches technical considerations from a musical vantage point, which explains his straightforward and easy-to-understand teaching style.

Desktop Music Production or equivalent knowledge and experience. You should be actively involved with a performance group of some type, whether club band, church music team, or other performance entity. You must be minimally proficient with basic DAW functions and must be able to download, upload, receive, and send audio files across the Internet. You must also have an audio connection from the main FOH mixer in a performance venue to a CD recorder, DAW, or some other audio recording device, and the ability to save the audio data in a format suitable for email or uploading.

The Ultimate Live Sound Operator's Handbook, 2nd Edition by Bill Gibson

The Ultimate Sound Operator's Handbook is written to specifically address the concerns and needs of sound operators of all types. High-quality audio is imperative, whether you're running sound for a rock, country, punk, or jazz band performing in clubs, arenas, or outdoor parks. With the advent and implementation of large-budget multimedia presentations, high-resolution multichannel audio for movies, television, and downloads, any live act must sound great to be well received by today's increasingly savvy audience members.

Live Sound Reinforcement by Scott Hunter Stark

Get ready to learn live sound reinforcement using the best-selling title on the subject available! The simple language, detailed illustrations, and concrete examples in this book are suitable for novice to intermediate-level users. This book outlines all aspects of P.A. system operation and commonly encountered sound system design concerns. Topics include microphones, speaker systems, equalizers, mixers, signal processors, amplifiers, system wiring and interfaces, indoor and outdoor sound considerations and psychoacoustics.

Audio Practice Tracks DVD by Bill Gibson

DVD contains audio files used to practice many of the examples and exercises referenced in Live Sound: Mixing and Recording online course from Berklee Online.

A DAW, such as Pro Tools, Digital Performer, Cubase, Nuendo, GarageBand, Logic Studio, Logic Express, Sound Forge, or similar program, with the ability to save to MP3 formatAn iTunes (or equivalent) account to download the music examples or the CDs from which the examples are takenPC Web Browser: Firefox (Recommended), Chrome, Internet Explorer 10 or higherMac Web Browser: Firefox (Recommended), Chrome, SafariFlash Player: current versionQuickTime: current versionAdobe Reader: current version
A simple decibel meter. For example: Radio Shack Model 33-2055OPTIONAL: Cable Tester. For example: Behringer CT 100
Windows Vista SP2 or higherIntel / AMD 1 GHz processor or faster1 GB RAM1024 x 768 screen resolutionDVD-ROM drive for book-DVD playback and DAW installationAudio interfaceMIDI or USB interface for your MIDI controllerNOTE: Make sure your PC meets the minimum system requirements for your DAW software
Mac OS X 10.5 or higherIntel 1 GHz processor or faster1 GB RAMDVD-ROM for book-DVD playback and DAW installationAudio interfaceMIDI or USB interface for your MIDI controllerNOTE: Make sure your Mac meets the minimum system requirements for your DAW software.
  • Level
  • Duration
    12 weeks
  • 3-Credit Tuition
    $1,449
  • or
  • Non-Credit Tuition Add 6 CEUs
    $1,200 + $25

Fall Term Starts September 29 for Courses and Multi-Course Certificates


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