Live Stream Mixing
Mixing live sound on full range speakers in our church buildings is an art that many of our sound technicians have mastered. Working on streamed audio is completely different. The most challenging aspect of streamed audio is that we don’t know how people are listening to the audio we send. Maybe it is on a phone with limited frequency range or it may be on a home theatre system. The options are varied but here are three tips that can help you improve your streamed audio.
manage the peaks
Sometimes a snare drum or a loud strum on an acoustic guitar can peak and often these peaks are perceived differently when the listener is in a live room as opposed to through a digital signal. We don’t want to reduce the overall level of the recording to accommodate these peaks and make our signal significantly quieter.
Add a compressor to the whole mix. This is not the same as adding a compressor to individual channels or instruments. You can’t be as severe with the amount of compression you use. Gentle compression with a fast attack time will smooth out some of the transients that stand out.
Vocals will stand out
Phones, tablets and even televisions that people use to watch services will optimize any vocals on your recording. Make sure that your vocal level is closer to the level of the band. This will help the discrepancy with devices that are limited in terms of frequency. This is different to live sound where we would want the vocals to stand out. We must adjust our traditional mixing practice in this case.
Try mixing in mono. If the vocals are just in front, it should fit well. If you are mixing in stereo, the vocals need to be closer to the level of the band. You can also try panning instruments in your stream mix to give more room in the middle of the sound so vocals can have their own space to be heard.
Remember that your mix needs to sound optimal on a variety of different types of speakers. People use phones, tablets, and televisions to listen. Some of these use frequencies that aren’t optimal for instruments such as kick drum or bass guitar.
For drums, you can boost the low-end frequency at 75hz or 80hz rather than 50hz for the kick drum. Focus the attack of the kick (2-5kzh) so that rather than the bass you will hear the beater noise and still have the kick represented.
For bass guitar, focus on the overtones. Speakers that can’t produce the lower sounds will still get a sense for what the bass is doing if you work on the overtones. Try it in the 200-500hz range until you find the sound you need