Live sound mixing is quite different from studio mixing. The former is more stressful. However, it can be highly fulfilling and rewarding if everything turns out well. Audio engineers are saddled with the responsibility of mixing sounds to perfection before it gets to the audience’s ears. Meanwhile, what is sound mixing?

The term can be defined as the blending of instrumentals, vocals, with pre-recorded material in real time. As an audio engineer, you must be able to mix these sounds with the use of a console or software program. To avoid things getting inevitably wrong at any of your presentations, you will find the live sound tips in this article helpful.

Guide to Masterful Live Sound Mixing


Feedback is neither an exactly good ally of the sound tech nor the rest of the crowd. Therefore, always ensure that your microphones and system can handle the high level you will be offering them. Likewise, do not turn every gain knob to the point of feedback, as it will leave no headroom, in case you need to turn up things later on.

Get the Right Drum Sound

Live drums are one of the most essential elements of sound. This means getting the right sound of the drum can sometimes determine the quality of the rest of the show. Hence, ensure they are punchy and tight, so you can win the artists and crowd over.

Compressed Vocals

In a live setting, some love to over-compress vocals. They ensure that the singer can be listened to at every time, which is an acceptable technique. Nevertheless, it can de-emphasize both the feel and natural quality of the vocal, depending on the genre.

Positioning of the Monitor

To avoid feedback and ensure that the band can hear themselves, great monitor positioning is crucial. If there is close nearness to the artist, the soundwaves will tend to only travel around their feet, never getting to the ears. On the other hand, if there is too much distance, the sound of the monitors could get buried and masked by the stage sound.


Having the guitarists, in a small to medium concert venue, turn up their amplifiers so loud will have an awesome live sound compromised. Great positioning of the monitor and semi-quiet amplifiers will help to fix whatever problems artists have with their stage sound.

However, if a guitarist does not desist from cranking his amplifier up to eleven, only due to the fact that it sounds good that way, endeavor to turn them away from the audience. That way, they wouldn’t bleed as much into the P. A.

Do Not Ride the Faders

If you had a wonderful sound check and everything sounds perfect together, do not think you should be moving faders and changing. Rather, you should be on the lookout for strange things that require fixing here and there in the process of the songs.

Likewise, when you have a band that sounds great, then you will be able to concentrate on the creative part of the show, using delays, reverbs, and effects. You can become a main influence in how the band sound live, particularly if you know them and their material. You can join an online live sound mixing course to get training from professionals.

Know the Script

If you are running around for a theatrical performance, particularly if it is a musical performance, you will need to master the lines of the show. Note that you should not only master the cues for each song or scene, but you should be able to speak along with the performance.

This will help you take cognizance of missed cues and solve problems (by adjusting a level and communicating with your stage hand), while still knowing your position. Thus, you should endeavor to annotate your script without being afraid to fill it with notes.

Remain at Alert

Irrespective of your level of preparedness when going into a show, you still need to be ready to make changes on the fly. The mixture of live theatrical performances usually needs updating settings for every song and scene. Note that no two performances are the same, as monitors tend to get kicked and microphones slide around.

Therefore, get set to increase someone’s levels or reduce the volume for a microphone that is not giving desirable feedback.

Communicate Effectively

You should not be scared to delegate tasks. Moreover, always reach stage hands as and when due, most preferably via a headset or walky-talky, considering the fact that they are there to offer assistance.

Use the Tools at Your Disposal

If your system has preset effects such as filters and fades, you should make use of them. However, there will be a need for you to monitor the sound levels like a hawk and frequently adjust to suit the performers.

Equipment for Live Sound Mixing

Input Transducers

They include microphones, direct input (DI) boxes which connect tools to mixing boards without creating undesirable sound, as well as pickups which transform mechanical vibrations from tools into electrical signals that capture audio from performers.

Mixing Consoles

The desk, mixing console, or board, gives room for engineers to adjust and blend audio from several sources.

Mixing Board Equipment

Tablets and laptops are usually used to mix sounds on the board.


Stage monitors or foldback give performers mixed audio, enabling them to listen to what they sound like to the audience.

Speakers and Amplifiers

Speakers create the kind of audio that the audience desires to hear. Meanwhile, amplifiers increase the power of the sound.


Mixer cables are useful in connecting different pieces of equipment.

Soundcheck Success

From this article, it is glaring that there is a lot to put into consideration when mixing live sound. However, bear in mind that it is quite impossible for you to control everything, as in a live scenario, you cannot eliminate all problems.

Yet, mistakes can be minimized to the barest minimum, which is what you can aim at. You should not give room for any gaff to disrupt the flow of a performance.