Audio Mixing for Broadcast

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Audio Mixing for Broadcast

Whether you are mixing for your church or ministry broadcast or a youtube video – the quality of your sound mix is very important to the viewers experience.

An average viewer will watch but if the audio mix is badly done they will become dis-interested very quickly and not watch or simply leave.

When mixing there are many variables to take int account. Although I know you would love a clear and concise list of things, the fact is we cannot provide and and be weary of anyone who does because ALL environments are different in one way or another. The variable of how a drum is “mic’d up” compared to another which may have electronic drums is just an example of the variables involved.

However there are KEY tips to keep in mind when mixing for broadcast. (we will use that word no matter where you are distributing your content to).

  • Remember your mix can be adjusted NOT corrected in post production.
    • The mix you create in your environment is the “benchmark” for the production when it goes to post (video editing). Camera shots are more forgiving than sound. There is some noise and items that can be digitally removed however that just creates more process in the task flow.
    • IF AT ALL possible we recommend keeping the mix for broadcast CLEAN. try not to add effects if you dont have to. Why? Because effects sound different in the digital realm versus the live experience – which leads me to —
  • Remember DO NOT use how it sounds live to gauge how it sounds to the viewer.
    • Get a GREAT pair of noise-canceling headphones (NOT EARBUDS) and have a computer or monitor setup where you can see and hear the experience that will go out as the final product. If you are streaming live then this is SUPER important.
    • Your live environment takes so many things into account. How many people are present; the type of materials on the walls; the air temperature; how far you are from the speakers versus someone sitting under them. The broadcast mix usually stays in a sterile environment called the digital realm. There is no echo (unless you add it). There is no resistance or loss based on distance. It is the most sterile audio environment ever. This is why they discovered CD (back some years ago)
  • Remember that it is NEVER a set it and forget it scenario.
    • Most places I see this mentality is in small to medium churches. The audio person is a GREAT and loyal volunteer but does not understand the true dynamics of sound. It is every changing and since it is ever changing then the sound board settings have to change. If I have $1.50 (inflation) for every time I heard the sound guy say – “well the feedback did not happen last sunday” I still won’t be super wealthy but you get the point.
    • I always encourage volunteers to get to know what they volunteered for. I volunteered at one time to be on video camera at a large mega-church and I took my own time to learn the camera, and learn what I can do to provide the best I can with what I have and know. There are many resources for you to learn the “trade”. It does not mean that you will get a job at a huge recording studio – but at least you are faithful with what your are trusted to manage.

The most optimal configuration is that your digital audio board is able to send it’s output to another audio board that is solely for broadcast. However we know that – this idea although ideal is probably not going to happen in most budget constrained locations. Most digital boards though allow to configure seperate MIXES and send them to aux outs in which case you can take that output and use for broadcast. The challenge then is to work with your audio person and collaborate or find ways to collaborate quickly so what when issues arise (because they will) you can resolve.

Hope this has helped you!