Bill Green — Live Sound
Call 888.410.7558 and get direct access to Bill
Okay I admit it, as a kid I was the A/V nerd. You know, the only one who could turn on the Junior High School PA system? Well, it didn't take long until I was mixing sound for local bands as well as my own band. It was exhilarating to mix front-of-house and monitors for all sorts of different festivals and touring sound companies. I excelled in systems design, which lead me to work with Allen & Heath USA. It was exciting to help engineer the "Swiss-army-knife" of consoles, the GL3. Now, I'm thrilled to have the opportunity to custom-design a system for you! The Gear Heads here at Musician's Friend can help with all your live sound needs from microphones and speaker systems to everything in-between.
Top Live Sound Tips From Bill
- A high quality audio cable will make a huge difference in your system performance.
- Keep your power amp as close to your speakers as possible, the shorter cable will allow for the best damping factor; or better yet use a powered speaker, the built in amp is custom tailored to the drivers.
- Good system gain structure can make an inexpensive system sound great, poor gain structure can make a great system sound horrible.
- Microphone placement is much more important than EQ settings.
- G.I.G.O. (Garbage in garbage out) always comes into play; a well maintained and tuned instrument will help to make your mix sound pristine.
- Don't spend too much time on sound check; everything changes when the seats are full.
- Your ears are you best audio tools, protect them!
- Don't get anchored behind the board, walk around the venue and make sure the audience is hearing what you intend.
- There is more to the audio chain than microphone, mixer, amp, and speakers; signal processing is your friend.
- Don't over tech; try to make the instrument sound the same through the speakers as it sounds to the ear, only louder.
- A mix can be powerful and driving without being LOUD! Knowing the right frequencies to cut and boost makes a much bigger difference than turning everything up to 11.
- Maintain your gear! An intermittent cable or a scratchy fader can make a Grammy winning act sound like a garage band.
- A ground loop can ruin your day. All your gear should be grounded at the same point. If you hear a 60 cycle hum, your grounding is probably wrong.
- Don't use audio cables for speaker connections or speaker cables for line connections, the result could be disaster.
- Never underestimate the impact of a quality microphone.
Bill's Must Have Gear List
602072 | Buy Now Perfect for the Mobile DJ, Club Band, or solo act, this baby really puts out! It offers thumping bass and crystal clear highs. When the gig is over, it packs up into a convenient one piece unit on casters.
270825 | Buy Now Don't get stuck in a rut! This Mic out performs the "industry standard," it sounds better out of the box than the other one does after extensive EQ adjustment. And the hardened steal grill doesn't get dented if you use it as a hammer. I'm shure you will like it better.
620494 | Buy Now Why pay a premium for racks and racks of outboard gear when this little jewel will do it all in one box? Plug in an RTA mic and press a button and this will adjust the EQ for the room you are playing. Hate feedback? The auto feedback suppressor will find the squeals and make them go away. It is even preprogramed to work with many popular speaker systems right out of the box.
485770 | Buy Now The world has gone digital and it is time that your mixing desk did too. This console is easy to mix on and sounds great! The sound quality rivals the world's best analogue desks with all the advantages of a digital console. Set up is a breeze and the built-in effects are great! You can even plug it into your laptop for great live recordings! This console also shines for fixed installations, where you can save all the settings and recall them on demand.
153902 | Buy Now Okay direct boxes aren't all that exciting, but they are essential. When it comes to a direct box this one is unrivaled. It uses a Jensen transformer for ultra-low noise operation. It is virtually indestructible. These are staple items for many professional touring companies.
360973 | Buy Now QSC established themselves as a manufacturer of solid reliable amplifiers. When the industry started looking to powered PA speakers as the best option, QSC was there with this innovative and rock solid design. The amplifiers are perfectly matched to the drivers and the boxes are solid as a rock. This system is the answer for the upscale band, or the small to medium sized sound company, or the church that takes their sound very seriously.
180073 | Buy Now Lexicon has been the standard for top studios and touring companies for years. But the price has been out of reach for many folks that need the great effects that they offer. Enter the MX300! Great sounding effects at a price that a serious band can afford, without going into debt; the best answer for champagne effects on a ginger ale budget.
630351 | Buy Now The British sound was virtually invented by Allen & Heath. Their consoles have been mixed on in thousands of clubs, and churches and studios through-out the world. Their touring consoles won over lots of the pickiest of FOH engineers and earned their place on many professional tech riders. Now you can have this legendary sound for your band, church or club with the ZED series of consoles.
Joseph Lepinski — Recording
Call 866.462.9472 and get direct access to Joseph
My passion for sound began at a very early age as a young audiophile building speakers in my parents' garage. In high school, I discovered the art of recording and made a decision to pursue a musical career path. I graduated with a diploma in Recording Engineering from Music Tech, which is now McNally Smith College of Music. Immediately after graduation, I began my career as a recording engineer in Minneapolis working in the top recording studios with some of the world's most legendary artists and producers. After more than ten years of professional studio experience, I've been given the incredible opportunity to work with Musician's Friend.
Top Recording Tips From Joseph
- Never underestimate the power of filters. Filtering unnecessary highs and lows will drastically improve the fidelity and clarity of your mix.
- Watch your levels. Unlike the analog days, digital recording is less forgiving and requires more headroom. If you're in the red, turn it down.
- Check your source. The better the instrument sounds, the better the recording will sound. Use new strings and drum heads. Most importantly, tune your instrument.
- Keyboards don't always need a direct box. More often than not, modern keyboards will sound fuller and cleaner connected directly to the line input.
- Consider distance. As you get further from a source, the sound becomes thinner and more reverberated. As you get closer, the sound becomes fuller and dryer. Applying this concept to your mix will keep it sounding natural.
- A good stereo image will increase the perceived fidelity of your mix. Try doubling guitar, harmony vocals, or other instruments and panning them to give a three dimensional sound to your mix.
- Keep the artists comfortable. Mood affects performance.
- Less is more. The listener should hear the music, not the engineering. Don't over-process.
- Cardioid microphones are subject to proximity effect. There is an increase in bass response as the microphone is placed closer to the sound source. Use this to your advantage when you are determining mic placement.
- Use good cables and keep them as short as conveniently possible. Poor cables and long cables will result in loss of tone.
- Listen to well produced commercial CD's before recording or mixing. This will keep your perspective focused and your ears honest. Try to use the same musical genre as the music you're working on.
- Musician's need a good monitor mix in order to get the best performance. If possible, give each musician "more me" control so they can turn their own instrument up in their headphone mix.
- Try to keep the instruments as isolated as possible, but allow the performers to maintain eye contact. You can use a long speaker cable to move a guitar cabinet into another room while the guitar player is with his amp head in the performance area.
- Invest in good gear. Call us today.
Joseph's Must Have Gear List
180272 | Buy Now Doug Fearn created a modern classic with this marvel. The VT-2 is simply the warmest, fattest sounding tube mic pre on the market today. From drum overheads to vocals, this preamp will breathe life into any source.
H69294 | Buy Now The Blue Spark is a no-frills design. No high-pass filter, pad, or patter selector. So what is amazing about the Spark? Its price! This is an affordable multi-use microphone that could be used in a professional application. If you're on a budget and you need a good vocal microphone, this should be your only choice.
H90408 | Buy Now In the age of digital mixing, the most beneficial piece of gear you can add to your system is a Universal Audio UAD-2 card. Not only will these cards free up computer resources for other tasks, but the wide variety of UAD plug-ins available at uaudio.com sound much better than native plug-ins. With the addition of a UAD card, your workflow will improve and your mixes will sound better.
186100 | Buy Now When a direct box is required, nothing beats the Ultra Five. It's the cleanest, warmest, most versatile direct box I've ever known. Every bass player should own one. Avalon's pristine Class A design will make any acoustic or electric instrument shine.
501578 | Buy Now I don't know what the mad scientists at Empirical Labs were thinking when they designed the Distressor, but they created a masterpiece. This chameleon of a compressor can sound aggressive or smooth, hard or soft, and edgy or clean. The unique 2nd and 3rd harmonic distortion emulation adds another dimension to your creative control.
H78178 | Buy Now When it comes to DAW's, there are a lot of mixed opinions. There are a few reason I've always preferred Pro Tools. The various edit modes allow me to edit entire sessions faster and easier than any program I've ever used. If you've worked with analog mixers, the mix interface in Pro Tools makes perfect sense. I think the best decision Avid ever made was to unlock the hardware restrictions of Pro Tools making it available for users of any audio interface.
338010 | Buy Now I won't use anything but quad microphone cables in the studio. The additional noise rejection is worth ten times the extra cost of quad technology. Mogami's technology and construction is far superior to other manufacturers. Without spending hundreds of dollars or more on a boutique XLR cable, the Mogami Gold Neglex is the cleanest, most transparent cable available.
H71075 | Buy Now An audio engineer is only as good as his ears. Good studio monitors are a critical tool in creating accurate mixes that translate. The KH 120 is quickly becoming and industry standard in near—field monitoring due to its accurate response and superior imaging. These monitors make balancing a mix easy.