Live sound

Discussion of music production, audio, equipment and any related topics, either with or without Ableton Live
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Joined: Thu Apr 12, 2012 10:35 am

Live sound

Post by Ap101 » Thu Apr 12, 2012 1:32 pm


I've used ableton to run a few live sets with two stereo out jacks as my output. However I have been recommended to give a sound man as many outputs as possible so he can balance the sound correctly as he knows the room etc. so basically I'm looking for advice on this. I would need a sound card that has at least four outputs (for the kick, for the other drums, for bass, for synths, etc) and a way so that ableton assigns different channels to different outputs. Like I say, I've only used a typical stereo out put of the master channel of ableton so I'm not even sure if this is possible or what gear I would need. Any recommendations?

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Re: Live sound

Post by luddy » Thu Apr 12, 2012 4:34 pm

This is a can of worms haha.

I have the backing tracks and live audio outputs (live vocals, keyboards, etc.) broken out into about 6 audio outputs. Ordinarily we mix them in an audio interface (RME UFX) and just send the stereo mix to the FOH, but we can send the individual channels too.

After doing this for some years, my opinion is that whether individual channel sends actually result in a better mix depends enormously on how good the engineer is, and whether he's used to dealing with music of the type you're making. If your music is very dynamic and you understand how to mix it on your own gear, you're often better off. IMO. A lot of live sound guys would bristle to hear this, but on the other hand most of them do a lot better mixing a conventional rock band than they do mixing something that has a lot of electronic sounds. It's one thing to know the room, quite another to know that there's an enormous breakdown and drop and then a thundering kick coming in or whatever. Mixing for live sound is half room and half music.

Anyway, sending individual channels is pretty easy. If you get an audio interface with say six or eight outputs, then you just need some kind of snake or cabling to connect to the console sends. Hopefully you will have worked out before the gig how many sends you'll need and make sure they have a bunch of the female connectors of the right kind on the stage for you. Sometimes you'll be sending into DI boxes, and that's always a little dicey because they're really not intended for line-level signals, and are sometimes noisy. OTOH they isolate your gear electrically, which is good. Be prepared to pull the levels of your outputs way down and also to be able to boost them a little to get the best signal level for sending to the FOH.

Finally, it's still a good idea to be able to generate a simple stereo backing track I think, even if you are prepared to send more. Sometimes it just doesn't work out to have a complicated connection to the console and it's better to just do something simple.

One more thing: be sure and think about your monitoring while you're setting all this up. If you have for example a click track, you need to blend that into the mix (well, *a* mix anyway, whether your own or from the console), so that you can hear click + mix. Anyway, point is, think about where your monitor mix is coming from and how it will get to you and how the actual levels get set in the monitor mix, if you're relying on the FOH to mix for the PA.

good luck,


Muzik 4 Machines
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Re: Live sound

Post by Muzik 4 Machines » Thu Apr 12, 2012 6:06 pm

if there is a soundman present the whole show i send 7 independent outs + reference stereo full mix to the FOH
mono kick
mono bass
mono vocal/talkbox/vocoder
stereo drum mix
stereo music mix

i monitor and record the reference mix but the FOH can adjust most important tings separately (IE kick+bass balance, drums and music balance, vocals at a decent volume, etc)

if the soundman is unreliable/absent/just a club gig, i just plug the stereo in the PA and do a soundcheck via remote(via ipod+OSCremote in the middle of the dancefloor (and come down there a couple times in the show to adjust accordingly)

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