By Mitch Rice
Live audio can be the biggest production challenge for any team. There are various reasons why audio quality can suffer, and there are an entire host of ways to try and make sure that this does not happen when you are streaming a live video to users or hosting a live event that is attended by people in person. There is an entire team that is associated with this task on every concert or speaking tour that professionals give due to the complexity of live audio quality creation.
Good live audio can mean the difference between happy customers or annoyed customers, particularly in a live setting where people are present in the same room with you. This is one of the hardest parts of live productions to nail down, and one of the most rewarding things to get right.
If you are ready to learn more about how to use professional tips to improve your live audio quality, read on!
Professional Tips to Improve Live Audio Quality
1. Pick the Right Microphones
There are so many mics on the market these days that there is almost no excuse for not having the right mics on hand for any kind of environment or use. Music and spoken styles of entertainment require different mics that balance sounds for different purposes more effectively.
You should never scrimp on the microphones that you are using for live events and you should do thorough sound checks and tests before you clear any mic to be used during the live event. While you can help balance out poor-quality mic sound, you will always struggle to get the right audio experience for your guests and ticket holders if you are not using a quality set of mics.
2. Boost Only When it Adds to the Experience
It can be tempting to just boost lead vocals and call it a day. After all, people have come to this event to see the star of the band and you might be thinking that their voice will generate enough attention and enjoyment that you can boost them for the entire event. This is a mistake, however, because music offers a full spectrum of sounds that you can use to improve the overall audio quality of the experience.
You might choose to boost only at a certain moment, or maybe you will focus on the high-end spectrum at certain times. Making sure that the right parts of the song are being boosted at the right moments will improve your audio quality overall.
3. Make Sure Your Mix is Right
For live audio to sound really good and not at all muddy, you need to make sure that your live mix is balanced correctly. Each person at the event should experience the bass as punchy and clear in tone and the vocals should feel like they are being delivered right to that person.
This means that you need to test the mix in all corners of the space to make sure that the sound is not being affected in certain parts of the space or that you are not losing fidelity in your clarity as you move away from the stage. People need to feel like the sound from the action onstage is all around them for the audio to feel high-quality.
4. Prevent Feedback
This is a common complaint from people enjoying live audio. Everyone hates that screechy and shocking intrusion into an otherwise enjoyable moment, and you should prevent this from happening at all costs. Make sure that you are proactive about microphone management and that your high levels are set right.
Your sound system needs to allow you to turn up the gain too high as soon as there is a chance of feedback ruining the moment. Ideally, you will not have these issues because you have tested extensively before the actual live event, but you need to have a plan for the moments where feedback chooses to make itself known.
5. Amp Position
Make sure that your amp position is perfect before you hold the event in question. The volume of the amp does not matter as much as its location and its focus. Part of the optimization of your live audio requires that you take into consideration the people that play extra loud on your team.
Angling the amps will help provide a well-rounded mix and you will be able to adjust for someone who plays excessively loudly by angling their amp in the right direction. There is an art to knowing how each person on stage needs their sound to be tuned, but you can sort out all of this during sound checks.
6. Attend to Your LPF
HPF gets all the attention in most live mixes. You want to be sure that you also attend to LPF when mixing. If you don’t need high hertz from some channels, use the LPF to create better sound authenticity. You can play with this during sound checks to find the right balance and add some additional depth and fidelity to your mix.
The same applies to taking over the house EQ during your event. Being able to control the mix in real-time as you are delivering it to the space requires that you think of the whole spectrum in your mix and not just the most noticeable sounds.
Creating Great Live Audio Requires Attention to Detail
If you take the time to consider all of the channels and the avenues that you are delivering sound with during a live event, you will be sure to get a really good audio mix for your listeners. You cannot ignore your soundcheck process and you need to make sure that you always work with quality mics and sound equipment for the best results.
Taking the time to create the right mix in advance of the event will avoid issues with incorrect mix and improper balancing of sound during the live event itself. Some attention to detail can help save a live event from being hindered by poor audio quality.