This book is a description of tasks and advice for people mixing the sound for major acts on big tours. Swallow was the sound engineer for La Roux on a recent international tours. In this book, he presents an overview of his approach to mixing sound for live performances, covering such topics as power and electricity, setting up equipment, PA systems, mixing boards, soundchecks, and packing gear.
Although the blurb on the back cover suggests that the material in the book might be equally useful for mixing a small band in a cozy club or a stadium show, virtually all of Swallow's discussion is geared towards shows in halls that hold at least several hundred people--he terms a hall that holds 900 people "relatively small". Towards the beginning of the book, there is an informative chapter on acoustics and audiology, but the material there is never directly connected to the remainder of the book. Swallow certainly includes a great deal of information about dealing with microphones, monitors, PAs and giant mixing boards for large shows. But it's hard to see the direct relevance for a sound engineer who is just starting out, mixing for friends in a 25 seat club. And experienced engineers who mix for big-name groups in large venues would hopefully know much of the material presented here anyway. There are a few proof-reading issues that escaped the editor, as for example, on page 162 where an illustration labeled "a 3-D image of how the cardioid polar patterns work" looks rather omni-directional. Perhaps the best bit of advice to aspiring sound engineers is to "spend a week locked in a room with a graphic EQ, playing your favorite track through, and using the graphic to mix the track" to learn "where certain instruments sit in the frequency spectrum and how they can interact with each other". If the book had more useful suggestions such as this, rather than details about flying speakers for stadium shows, it would be a very valuable contribution indeed. Overall, the book relates quite a bit of Swallow's experience as a professional sound engineer, but the information is not geared to the intended audiences of novices and engineers who haven't yet developed the experience needed to find work in large venues.