FoH Tips for Studio Engineers

There are actors who, after many years in front of the camera, also want to prove themselves at the theater. The job is the same, but the conditions sometimes completely different. While you can easily repeat a failed take in front of the camera, a hang-up in the theater is a real showstopper in the worst case scenario. The same applies to the sound engineering.

Howdy SEA Fans, Welcome to another tiptuesday blog post and the topic we are discussing today will be beneficial for those studio sound engineers who are planning to do the live mixing or to become a FOH Engineer. Last week we have published an article which discussed tips on starting a career in game sound design and hope you have found it interesting as well.

Let’s continue with today’s topic,.

There are colleagues who turn the knobs exclusively in the recording studio and one day receive the offer to supervise a band not only in the studio but also at concerts on the podium.

An adventure that does not necessarily have to be profitable for both parties.

Sure, the studio sound engineer knows the sounds of the band very well and also knows which microphones and effects he has used for specific sound.

But is that enough on a live construction site to guarantee a good sound?

Here are those tips for studio sound engineers who dare to go live for the first time.

Work with the room acoustics
“The first time you will not forget”, which also applies to the studio technician who will mix for the first time a band in a concrete (modern multi-purpose hall).

“Has the reverb unit not been muted?”, Some studio co-workers may have asked themselves during the soundcheck.

In the studio, you work in acoustically optimized rooms.

Dry acoustics, a smooth decay of frequencies, absorption and diffusion make listening and precise mixing comparatively easy. At least, it’s much easier than amplifying a band over a PA in an acoustically difficult room.

You can not interfere with poor room acoustics.

You can only try to live with it.

Say: If the hall is particularly “reverberant”, then the reverbs stay off.

What good is it if the vocal hall settings of the last studio production only make the singing at the concert even more incomprehensible?

Mix in multitask mode
In the studio, the sound engineer usually only looks after a mix.

Either the headphone mix of the musician or you mix the overall result.

If the band plays live, many professional studios have their own mix systems for the musicians.

This is also legitimate because as a studio sound engineer you should always have the main focus on the performance and quality of the signals being recorded.

The live world is often different. If the monitor mix from the FoH, so you have to familiarize yourself with the idea that in addition to the front mix still some monitor mix for the musicians.

All these mixes are important and have a direct influence on the success of a concert.

Faster workflow
How do experienced live sound engineers recognize a studio colleague? If after fifteen minutes soundcheck is still screwed to the bass drum sound.

In Live there are no hours of trying out.

One should put the perfectionism out of the studio and fast. Otherwise, festival gigs could mutate into a nightmare experience with a 15-minute break.

The right volume
Incidentally, this point also applies to amateur sound engineers who are allowed to mix a big show on a fat system for the first time.

The fact is: you do not have to operate every PA at the limit.

Large systems are therefore generously dimensioned to provide comfortable headroom for sporadic peaks.

Without experience, it is difficult to properly estimate the volume of a large PA system.

Especially since professional systems have no problem with low-distortion and low-distortion reproduction at high levels.

As a studio technician is, however, the current massively compressed “In your face Sound” from the studio used and it is close to wanting to convey this listening experience on the volume.

Just look at the SPL meter now and then.

Caution with the duo “Compressor & Limiter”
The sound of modern rock and pop music is strongly influenced by the massive use of Dynamic Limiters, Compressors, Saturators, Clippers, etc.

Live can be the same mix technique but powerful backfire. Too much compression and limiting can make a mix seem ridiculous and lifeless.

The deliberate distortion of signal sources can in the worst case even end in a feedback inferno.

But the crassly distorted vocals give the song a fat extra boost?

Then it’s better to record these distorted vocals as backing tracks than to make them live with a distortion effect.

Distorted signals have a low dynamic range and are therefore particularly suitable for stage monitors without great premonitions

Hope you have found the tips which we have discussed in this post on the things to consider while a studio engineer transforms himself to a FOH Engineer has been useful for you.

Do share your perspective on the topic as a comment below and we are looking forward to hearing from you.

Happy Sound Engineering.

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