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Lazy Mixing Technique

Discussion in 'Sound, Music, and Intercom' started by BNBSound, Mar 19, 2008.

  1. BNBSound

    BNBSound Active Member

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    I know this is primarily a theatre oriented site, but I've also read a lot of threads from theatre techs who get stuck mixing a battle of the bands or some such thing, and I wanted to throw a cool trick their way and also see if anyone can use this technique in other areas.

    When I added some mics to my box last year, I got a couple of Senheiser 609s for micing guitar cabs. A lot of the events I do involve three or more bands a night and I wanted the option to tackle everything from the little practice amps the openers bring, up to the stacks and customs the headliners use.

    The first night I had them out I put an SM-57 and a 609 on each side of the stage and cabled them all up so as to be ready for whatever showed up. On a whim I put them all up for the first act so I could A/B them a little during sound check. I've known about multiple micing cabs as a studio trick, and the bigger tours do it all the time, but I had never considered it for my own use. Boy was I missing out!

    A 57 on the angle (about an inch in from the edge of the cone and angled toward the center) gets a more bighting tone, with less of the chunk chunk because it's off axis. A 609 draped over the top and hanging flat in front of the cone gets a very warm, full sound, but also is less suceptible to the chunk chunk as well. I set the gains for the same output from each mic and started working them back and forth, and once I got the hang of it, I could get a great sound without even touching the EQ in most cases (some guitar players just crank the highs and lows so much that intervention can't be avoided). This is a huge help when mixing festival style when every minute counts. I'm already known as the 5 minute sound check guy, and this little trick shaves at least a minute off my time. In terms of quality it's a much better technique too. Instead of using the EQ to chop out frequencies that are too hot or muddying up the sound, you're getting the sound to actually play against istelf, and in addition to canceling interactions, you also get additive ones. While each mic might sound OK by itself, together, with the slight phase differences and sonic qualities you get something that's greater than the sum of the parts.

    I've also found it to be extremely useful for people who aren't schooled in the ways of the EQ. My assistant is just getting his chops and he mastered the technique in just a few tries. Instead of having to get familiar with the entire audio spectrum and train his ear to spot problem frequencies or even just sweep the mids back and forth until it sounds better, he can just play up the "full" mic against the "sharp" mic until he has something that sounds appealing. Now that he's got that down, he has a basis for understanding EQ that he can apply when he does have to reach for the knobs.

    Another aspect is bumping for solos. Even when a guitar player steps on his lead channel, in a tough room he still might not be punching through. In that case I can run up the 57 for a little more bight and pull the 609 back a little. That way the solo appears to jump out of the mix without actually being louder. In small rooms, every little bit helps.

    One last thing. If you haven't got a very extensive mic package, you can even do it with two of the same mic. I've tried it with pairs of 57s on other peoples' systems with good results. Just put one straight on and the other on the slant and you'll be getting two different sounds back at the mix.

    So there it is, a time tested technique re-discovered and making my life easier every time I go out to mix. Hope you can make some use of it as well.
     
    Last edited: Mar 19, 2008
  2. Pip

    Pip Active Member

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    Interesting trick. I'll definitely have to remember to try that sometime- I look forward to it. :)

    Thanks for sharing!
     
  3. mixmaster

    mixmaster Active Member

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    I've done what you're talking about. It's not Lazy, you just found a different way to get the sound you want. If you want to go to the extra effort to double mic things, I'm not going to call you lazy.
    Take it a step further sometime. Try micing an open back cabinet with one mic behind the amp, or flip the phase (polarity) on your console for the 57 channel. The same concepts also apply to taking a direct line from the Bass and also micing the amp (or the bass itself if you are dealing with an upright).

    Have fun
     
  4. BNBSound

    BNBSound Active Member

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    I completely forgot to mention flipping polarity. Not only does it give you some more permutations to play with in a double mic situation, but it it can get you out of a jam when using a single mic as well. When you get one of those guitar players that's already tuned down to B-drop-C or something ridiculous like that, and additionally doesn't seem to realize that there's a bass player in the band, you can drop a lot of the un-needed bottom end out of his signal just by hitting the polarity button.
     
  5. TimmyP1955

    TimmyP1955 Active Member

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    I find the 609 and the Audix D4 make a very nice combination.

    Instead of just having polarity normal or reversed, you can actually tweak it to any setting with a Radial Phazer. You can also use a cab-sim DI. http://www.radialeng.com/re-jdx.htm
     
  6. Raktor

    Raktor Active Member

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    Cheers.

    *Puts on the 'To Order' list*
     

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