The difference between mixing in studio and mixing live sound

Mixing live sound

A week ago, a client called me and asked me to come to his bar because he got stuck without a sound man for the band he was hosting in his place.

30 minutes later i arrived at the the bar ready to start mixing his live sound band.

When I got there i found out that most of the wiring already been done for me, except of some mistakes like connecting a PL plug into the  keyboard headphones socket instead of the L/Mono socket, so i just fixed these mistakes and got ready for balance.

While looking at the channels the owner connected to the mixer (analog mixer) i found the following channels.

  • 2 Vocal mics
  • 2 acoustic guitars
  • 1 keyboard (connected in mono)
  • 1 cajon drum

The most annoying part was that it was not connected in any chronological order, i guess it was made this way because the lack of time. so i leaved it this way.

Actually it wasn’t the most annoying thing, they placed the mixer near the left speaker, because they were out of long XLR cables, so i had to run around the bar the whole show so i can hear the sound right.

I must say that mixing live with analog mixers with limited functionality is not fun , but its doable, it have been done this way for many years and can still work nowadays.

If you ask me i will always prefer mixing with a digital mixer, it makes your life lot easier and the end result is much better.

studio nixing and live sound Differences: 

  1. First difference between mixing in studio and live is that when you mix live you usually don’t have enough time for anything, especially if there are other bands waiting in line for their balance session, so you need to be fast. While you in your comfortable studio, you usually have more time for preparations and having that cup of coffee you need to open your eyes.
  2. difference number two relays on the acoustics and working space. while in your studio you know your space and its acoustic behavior. When you mix live you mix in different spaces with different acoustic behaviors, what can lead to many problems with returnes from surfaces like walls and windows, wrong placement of the speakers and etc…
  3. Difference number three is the fact that in the studio you can record everything before your mixing session while when the band is on stage you have to actually mix it on the fly while there is no room for mistakes.
  4. Difference number 4 is monitoring, you have to actually create 2 different mixes while on stage, one is for the audience and the second is the monitor mix for the band. Lately it is became easier because many times the band will be given in ear monitors and they won’t need stage monitors, so less feedback from the monitors.


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