Author - Mark Ellis

What to expect from NAMM 2017

A new year brings new hope, expectation and anticipation in the world of live audio. And there’s a very simple reason for that; next week, thousands will flock to Anaheim, California, to find out what’s in store for the future of music technology. NAMM 2017 is upon us, and as much as we deeply wish we could be there, America is an awfully long way to travel for a music trade show. And anyway, we’ve got NOVA gear to promote! The [...]

Traditional PA vs Line Array: what’s best for you?

All public address (although, let’s stick with ‘PA’) systems feature a few things in common. They consist of speakers, amplifiers, a mixer and some form of input. But beyond these commonalities, they come in many different shapes, sizes and configurations. This often makes the choice of PA a tricky one for the sound engineer or venue. It isn’t always as simple as ‘big room = big PA’. Beyond output, all manner of things need to be considered; the type of [...]

Our 20 favourite musician quotes

Anyone who has worked in live music, be it from behind the mixing desk or at the front of the stage, will know just how funny a place it can be. Just like a football dressing room, the camaraderie is - usually - unbeatable and full of characters you’ll remember for a lifetime. Friendships are forged, the occasional enemy made and incidents take place that will forever be useful icebreakers during dinner table discussions. But it’s the laughs that stick out [...]

How to use compression for live vocals

Compression in the studio is an incredibly useful - if often overused - tool. But it has significant benefits on the road, too. Despite this, a compressor is often the one thing missing from a band’s toolbox; they’re all too easily dismissed as an unnecessary expense and one that requires far too much time and attention in order to fully benefit from. In reality, compression is the glue that holds any mix together, be it live or recorded within the confines [...]

5 things every band should know about the sound engineer

A slight break from tradition in this week’s blog post, as we offer some advice for bands and performers. Surprised? Don’t be. Sound engineers know exactly what’s going on from their perspective. Every fader is set ‘just so’ for a reason, EQ tweaked to quell every boom, hiss and trace of feedback and the decisions made during the performance are absolutely made for the right reason. Does this mean we can assume the band intrinsically knows why the engineer made that [...]

5 live audio myths debunked

As an audio engineer, you never stop learning. Unfortunately, you never stop hearing the same old wives’ tales, assumptions and statements of fact that are anything but, either. The gig community is a brilliant, funny and inclusive one; camaraderie is abound and it’s possible to make some brilliant friends. There are also some incredibly knowledgable people out there who will provide a better learning experience than any book or training session ever could. Unfortunately, there are countless others who have dined [...]

How to promote a live gig with zero budget

Promoting a gig isn’t easy, but doing so with next to no funds is downright impossible. Isn’t it? Good news: if you’re due to host a live music event and are fretting about how on earth to get word out when your marketing budget is nil, you’re living in an age where a bit of ingenuity, effort and use of modern technology can turn you into a gig promoter superstar. Advertising live music doesn’t need to be expensive. In fact, we think [...]

Choosing the right pro audio speakers for gigs

On this blog, we often feature in-depth advice on some of the more technical aspects of live sound. For example, how to EQ vocals, and the secrets of providing a good monitor mix will certainly be of use to audio professionals, but we appreciate not everyone reading these pages will sit within that camp. What if you’ve been asked to provide sound at a friend’s 50th birthday party or have been roped in to arrange adequate amplification for the (human) [...]

How to EQ vocals (properly)

Ask any sound engineer what the perennial problem at gigs is, and they’ll likely point to the vocal mic. Microphones are lively beasts - as are some of the singers - and taming them whilst providing a sonically accurate representation of what is being sung is incredibly difficult. As with so much in sound engineering, the key to ensuring vocals are balanced properly against the rest of the band is getting the mix right, and they key to getting the [...]

How to master stage monitoring

We’ve all seen those instances on TV where, during a live stage performance, a superstar can be seen gesticulating frantically to someone out of view. They point to their ear or at the floor, wave their hands, shrug and shout inaudibly at the poor person on the receiving end. If you work in this trade, you’ll know that they’re complaining about the fact they can’t hear themselves. But it you’re a monitor engineer or have ever been given the task [...]