5 Tips to Help Solve Your Live Sound Challenges

My recent article for CincyMusic.com covers 5 Tips to Help Solve Your Live Sound Challenges! Great for musicians, performers, band leaders and sound engineers!

I quickly cover:

  • How to reduce feedback,
  • Why the back of the microphone is just as important as the front
  • Where to put your monitor wedges
  • How to know what frequency ranges to adjust
  • How to set up your wireless mics for no interference
  • How to prepare a stage plot and input list

Start solving your sound challenges so you can have a better show tonight! Check out the article “5 Tips to Help Solve Your Live Sound Challenges” at CincyMusic.com

Looking for more live sound tips?

Sound Nerd Gift Guide!

Do you have a “sound nerd” in your life and need to find a few perfect nerdy gifts? I’m here to help!

All of these recommendations I’ve personally used with great success. In fact, many of these items remain on my own Amazon wish list! I can’t tell you how often I needed a sharpie and some board tape! My post “What’s in my Live Sound Bag” also has some additional ideas, too!

I’ve linked to Amazon to make it easy! (let me know if you ordered from this list and I’ll mail you a free sticker of your choice!)

One-on-one workshop with me!

SoundNerdsUnite Live Sound Workshop--Cincinnati
SoundNerdsUnite Live Sound Workshop–Cincinnati

I started Sound Nerds Unite as resource of live sound tips and techniques I’ve gathered over my career. Teaching and mentoring via group and one-on-one workshops is one of my passions! Maybe your Sound Nerd would benefit!

Stickers!

Sound Nerds Unite Sticker

Why didn’t I think of this sooner? Just $3 each. Order 3 or more and I’ll throw in a free sticker of your choice! Order now for FREE Christmas delivery.

 

A proper case!

The Pelican 1510.  Small yet roomy enough for all of these goodies. Plus it has wheels and perfect for that extra step needed to get on that drum riser. Opt for the lid organizer to keep your kit tight!

 

It’s MINE!

I can’t tell you how many items I’ve lost along the way. Give yourself a better chance! Try the P-Touch labeler.

Ear plugs.

I always have a handful of good ole’ 3M "foamies" for myself and friends, yet this set stays with you at all times and sounds quite a bit better!

Headphones

Simply essential. Two types to consider: Over-the-Ear and In-Ears (IEM). In-Ears are great for loud environments or a step up from Apple buds. I’ve gone through many over-the-ear models and have settled on two: The Sony MDR7506 or Shure SH840. For IEMS’s, try the Shure SE-215 or less expensive MEE audio M6 PRO.

Microphones!

If you spend any time with your sound nerd, the discussion on microphones can run deep! I’ll keep it simple here and recommend a few workhorses: Shure SM58 and for easy home recording, the Rode NT-USB.

Sharpies!

Essential. Although once loaned to another, human, the Sharpie will magically disappear. Save money and buy your Sharpies in the 12-count boxes. Using the “twin tip” is pretty helpful, too.

Tape!

Four varieties that find endless uses! Gaff tape, spike tape, console tape and electrical tape. (And no, Duct-Tape will never be on this list!)

Audio Problem Solvers!

Adapters, adapters, adapters! I won’t go into detail why turnarounds, y-cables, ground lift / pads , “ipod cable” and a cable tester are essential. Just trust me!

Tools!

Screwdriver, pliers and a soldering iron will handle many challenges!

Shirts!

Yes, I know. You may assume we only wear black YET we’re quite fashion conscious. Here’s a few fun ideas.

Magazine Subscriptions!

I grew up reading all things sound nerdy via magazines. Mix Magazine, Recording Magazine and Electronic Musician were some of my favorites (and not available on Kindle!). There are also some wonderful FREE subscriptions from Tape-Op and Live Sound International!

Need more ideas?

Just a taste into the world of “gear”! If you need some more ideas, check out this post!

Nicholas Radina’s essential live sound gear that goes to every gig.

 


 

 

Affordable Wireless Microphones

Taking the plunge to free yourself of wires and enjoy the freedom of wireless microphones is quite tempting. Although if you’re not careful, the wireless path can bring about challenges not seen before.

The wireless landscape for our entertainment world has some twists and turns. The “chunk” of bandwidth allotted for wireless microphones and wireless in-ear systems shrinks every year. Tip: Be sure to double check the range of the unit. Stay within the 470Mhz – 614Mhz. Avoid anything in the 700 Mhz range.

Although I’ve written more complex articles tacking the wireless beast, this short article aims to recommend some quick wireless microphone best practices and affordable recommendations for the wedding DJ, singer or simple corporate gig.

Static and Drop Outs!

The two most common complaints I hear when helping troubleshoot budget friendly wireless is “static” and “drop outs“.  Both problems are closely related to poor reception from transmitter to receiver and channel selection.

How to make it better!

  1. Line Of Sight – keep the receiver off the ground and high enough to “see” over people.
  2. Antenna Orientation – Orient the antennas in a 45 degree “V” shape.
  3. Fresh Batteries — wireless transmission needs proper power — low batteries are no help. I recommend quality alkaline batteries like Duracell ProCell or Energizer Industrial.
  4. Scan – If available, use the scan function every time you set up and use your microphone.

My Recommendations

(Tip: Be Sure to check out Amazon’s used options to save some $$!)

Waves F6 review re-cap

Recently I wrote a quick review of the Waves F6 plugin for ProSoundWeb/LiveSound International Magazine.

This plugin seems to quite easily marry both fully parametric eq and frequency dependent compression in one nice, easy to use interface.

Waves F6 Nicholas Radina ProSoundWeb
Waves F6 Plugin Interface

Some key features:

  • M/S band mode for mid/side processing
  • Compression and expansion
  • Split/Wide side chain modes for processing flexibility
  • Internal and external side chain h Low CPU consumption
  • Zero latency
  • Parallel processing
  • Side chain solo

Waves F6 Screenshot Nicholas Radina

Check out the thorough user manual.

A great walkthrough of some key features of the Waves F6 by mix engineer Brad Divens.

Have you tried the Waves F6? Let me know what you think!

Watch my wireless coordination steps!

Do your wireless microphones, wireless guitars or IEM’s dropout unexpectedly or make strange sounds or static? Proper scanning and frequency choice (coordination) is key!

Watch my quick 2 minute video explaining my workflow using Shure’s free Wireless Workbench software, PSM1000 and UR4D’s.

A few quick tips for wireless success:

  • Antennas have line of sight and away from walls and metal
  • IEM antennas are in front of receiving (wireless mics and packs) antennas.
  • If unable to use coordination software, be sure to stay within the coordinated “GROUPS” of your respective wireless unit(s).

Cleanfeed Workflow

Streaming High-Quality Live Audio Over The Web & Remote Mixing!

In the June 2017 issue of Live Sound International/ProSoundWeb, I wrote a brief article reviewing an exciting tool to send high quality audio over the internet within the Chrome browser — CleanFeed. I promised in the article to go into a bit more detail on my own workflow and uses for Cleanfeed.

This post aims to share my workflow for using Cleanfeed to teach, troubleshoot and take control of a console and “mix” the show — remotely. I’ll be adding more content daily, so stay close.

What is Cleanfeed?

Cleanfeed is low-latency, 2-way audio streaming software that, supported by the “cloud,” runs seamlessly on the Google Chrome browser with Windows, Mac, Android and Linux platforms. (No iOS support yet.) Simply launch Google Chrome, go to Cleanfeed.net, create an account, and off you go – send, receive and record superior live audio using only a browser.

Check out the article for a nice overview of Cleanfeed.

Cleanfeed Home Page - - Nicholas Radina

Cleanfeed Screen Studio - Nicholas Radina
Cleanfeed interface

A fun test!

Here are some screen shots of a fun test using Cleanfeed, TeamViewer and X-Edit to remotely listen to and control a friends X32 console.

I was in my New Orleans hotel room, my friend and fellow sound nerd, Mike Ingram, was at his studio in Cincinnati. He initiated a Cleanfeed session and sent me an invite. I joined the session and could hear the output of his X32 Producer which was connected to his audio interface and Macbook, respectively. Mike then sent along a Teamviewer invite so I could remotely control his Macbook and in turn, control his console.

The same can be done with other consoles that have companion software. As mentioned in the article, also having a stereo mic setup can give you a gentle representation of the room/environment.

TeamViewer Nicholas Radina Cleanfeed
TeamViewer Logging In…
CleanFeed X32 Nicholas Radina
TeamViewer window of remote macbook connected to X32
Loopback / Cleanfeed Nicholas Radina
Loopback example

My Basic Tools

  • Macbook (2010 2.4 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo)
  • USB Audio Interface
  • Headphones
  • Microphone with switch (I use the affordable and reliable Sennheiser e825s)

Quick Tips

  • Choose audio device before launching chrome.
  • Use Loopback (Mac) to route audio to and from the browser and other audio applications. Tip: Loopback is offering a special $10 discount to the Sound Nerds Unite family by using the discount code: SNURADINA.
  • “Speech Optimized” mode seems to be a great starting point in regards to sound quality and data. Yet, moving to “Music Optimized” is a great choice, too. Just see what works best for you.
Radina Filming Cleanfeed Ice Bucket
My hotel ice bucket tripod.

 

Questions? Happy to help! Just drop me a line.


New live sound classes!

By popular demand, I’m developing a series of smaller hands-on classes covering one specific topic such as:

  • Wireless/RF
  • Monitor mixing
  • FOH mixing
  • Live Sound for Musicians
  • Digital and analog console training.

If helpful to you, fill out the short form below and I’ll keep you in the loop on when registration will be open!

RF Explorer to manage wireless!

Nicholas Radina Red Rocks

This summer I’m headed out again to spend a few months turing knobs for my O.A.R. friends playing a ton of shows here in the U.S. Yet this time around, we will be joining big talents Train as well as Natasha Beddingfield — a great line up!

A bit different this summer

Usually I’m coordinating around 30+ channels of wireless daily. This breaks down to around 20 or so inputs (instruments and vocals) and 12 channels of IEM’s/ears plus spare packs as well as backup frequencies.

Nicholas Radina Guitar Straps

When O.A.R. is the headliner, much more control can be realized in regards to wireless. I often will coordinate wireless for the opening/support act also.

I’ll write a detailed post soon of how I generally coordinate using Shure’s Wireless Workbench, yet in the meantime this video briefly explains my workflow.

Working together

One difference this summer and this format is O.A.R. will be performing after Natasha and before Train which means there will be plenty of wireless to navigate each day.

A common courtesy with multiple band bills is acts will turn off their respective wireless when another act is on. This practice is quite helpful, and many times, essential.

Yet time is never on our side and being able to get a jump start on wireless coordination earlier in the day can be a huge help. In addition, often changeover times are brief and much can happen in those sacred minutes leading up to showtime. Being able to confirm your wireless is good ahead of time without stepping on another act is crucial.

Get to work early

I’ve found that being able to scan in realtime during an acts sound check can be quite reveling and helpful for my own coordination. Often my own gear will not be in place quite yet to perform a proper hardware scan. Using a tool such as the  the affordable RF Explorer can be quite a powerful compromise.

Nicholas Radina RF Explorer

Using this hardware scanner along with the free (PC only) and very powerful RF Explorer Software gives you the ability to see the RF environment in realtime plus export the data into Wireless Workbench!

Here is a wonderful tutorial by fellow sound nerd, Diogo Nunes Pereira on how to properly load RF Explorer data into Wireless Workbench.

In the weeks ahead, I’ll detail a bit more of my process in an effort to help you be more comfortable tuning in Tokyo! In the meantime, check out the RF Explorer!


New live sound classes!

By popular demand, I’m developing a series of smaller hands-on classes covering one specific topic such as:

  • Wireless/RF
  • Monitor mixing
  • FOH mixing
  • Live Sound for Musicians
  • Digital and analog console training.

If helpful to you, fill out the short form below and I’ll keep you in the loop on when registration will be open!

 

Take control of your multiple keyboards on stage!

If you play multiple keyboards, a common challenge is not having enough control over your monitor levels and the FOH mix. My solution may just help you!

I want control!

It can be quite challenging having to rely on changing your monitor levels at the PA mixer usually on the other side of the stage or relying on your busy sound engineer. (if  you even get your own monitor mix!)

The big, heavy keyboard amp

Often multiple keyboards may be going into a keyboard amp such as the Roland KC350. The KC350, and the like,  allows you to mix your keyboard levels, provide one “mix” to a line output and speaker in one convenient package. YET, if you would like to have control over the volume of each keyboard in your monitor, you need to find another solution.

Your own tiny mixer!

This solution simply submixes all keyboards using a small, inexpensive mixer, such as the Behringer Xenyx 1002b. This solution would combine each of your keyboards and send one mono (or a stereo) line to the FOH mixer and a separate line to a powered speaker for the your individual mix. This monitor mix is independent of the levels going to FOH — excellent! Just be sure whichever mixer you choose has at least one prefader aux send and as many line-inputs as you need. (tip: depending on your keyboards, you may be able to simply add a little velcro to the mixer and keyboard to keep the mixer handy and secure!)

Hear yourself!

Add a nice powered speaker like the Electro-Voice ZLX12P  or the smaller powerhouse, Electro-Voice ZXA1 and you have a powerful, small and lightweight solution to keep you in control of your mix! Hear even better by using a simple speaker/amp stand like the Gator Combo Amp Stand.

Tip, you could also add your own vocal microphone line to your mixer but throw a simple XLR "y-cable" (one side to the FOH mixer, the other to your mixer!)


New live sound classes!

By popular demand, I’m developing a series of smaller hands-on classes covering one specific topic such as:

  • Wireless/RF
  • Monitor mixing
  • FOH mixing
  • Live Sound for Musicians
  • Digital and analog console training.

If helpful to you, fill out the short form below and I’ll keep you in the loop on when registration will be open!

Small Portable Sound System Recommendations!

A common scenario: You need to perform, talk or play music outside and need a sound system to help everyone hear but there is no power outlet in sight! I have a solution for you!

Batteries to the rescue!

Battery powered speakers of the past were never loud enough, weighted a ton due to the battery, and hardly lasted very long. With advances is battery technologies and power amplifier design, you now have many more robust, lighter, longer lasting and louder solutions! Plus, you can plug them in when power ins’t an issue!

For the musician, DJ or public event speaker, this little  package can be an easy turn-key solution for your situation!

 

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New live sound classes!

By popular demand, I’m developing a series of smaller hands-on classes covering one specific topic such as:

  • Wireless/RF
  • Monitor mixing
  • FOH mixing
  • Live Sound for Musicians
  • Digital and analog console training.

If helpful to you, fill out the short form below and I’ll keep you in the loop on when registration will be open!