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Live Audio: The Art of Mixing a Show Paperback – 23 Dec 2010

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About the Author

Mixing Engineer, Live and Studio Audio Engineer, Tour Manager, Tour Consultant Toured Extensively in Europe, North America, South America, Japan Mixed & Supervised countless sessions including: Itunes, Aol, Yahoo, BBC, B-side cuts... Live TV appearances include: Jay Leno, Saturday Night Live, Dave Letterman, Austin City Limits, Conan O'Brien, Regis & Kelly, VH1, Later with Jools Holland, Brit Awards, Live at Abbey Road, BBC One Sessions, Parkinson, Friday Night Project, Album Chart Show, E4, Taratata, New Pop, Jonathan Ross, Alan Carr, Top of The Pops, CD:UK, T4, Davina, Mobo Awards

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 19 reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Mixing for Big Tours 24 Mar. 2011
By Erika Mitchell - Published on
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
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.
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
The Art of Mixing a Show?? One chapter on mixing the show... 6 Feb. 2011
By Amazon Customer - Published on
Format: Paperback
I have been looking for a book that would really explain the art of mixing live audio. I find it funny that a book that claims to teach the art of mixing a show only had 1 chapter on mixing. Everything else was about setting up equipment, tuning the system, mic placement, setlists, soundchecks, etc. Don't get me wrong, there was a lot of information in the book and I would recommend it to a beginner, but it wasn't about mixing. Mixing was only one component. I also didn't feel very satisfied with the explanations given in the book. As I read, I felt like the author was trying to explain things, while not really being able to. It comes across as very simplistic at times. I get the sense that the author knows how to do everything in the book, but he's not great at explaining it in a book. My advice is to browse through the table of contents first and read a sample chapter. Also, wait for the price to come down because for the price I would expect better quality.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Why You Don't Want to Run Audio for a Living 24 Sept. 2011
By Fly By Light - Published on
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I've run sound, I've played with bands, and I've managed finances for a touring sound guy. What I like best about this book is that the author shares a lot of unvarnished truth about touring. This is a job only for those who cannot live without it. It can take a tremendous toll on your family, your personal life and your health. Even if you are doing small jobs, you are unappreciated: if you do a good job, people that have never done it before presume that any monkey can run sound - you turn it on, you turn it up if you can't hear it, and you turn it down if it's too loud. On the other hand, if the sound is bad, you are blamed whether it's your fault or not. So, I have joined the ranks of those who know how to run sound but refuse to do so.

The author's articulate and thorough discussion of innumerable issues faced by a sound engineer demonstrates great depth of knowledge and experience. Matching impedence and wattage between amps and speakers usually gets little attention, but the author gives electricity a thorough discussion here. However, the book goes far beyond the technical and goes into valuable skills, like planning, organizing, coping and dealing with difficult people.

Live audio is a demanding job with lousy hours and pay. Apprenticing can be even worse, especially if you find that the job is not "for you". This book gives you a lot of knowlege, and the author's wisdom gained from the process, without the pain that usually accompanies the aquisition of said wisdom. Most of the book is very readable, and the rest is valuable as a technical reference. If you're one of those that MUST run live audio, it will have at least a few lessons learned that you can use. If you are not, you get some knowledge and perspective of the craft without the bumps and bruises.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
So you want to make a rock-and-roll star? 27 Jan. 2011
By Heather LaRee - Published on
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I wish this book had been around when my now older son was a teen! Dave Swallow does a fine job here laying out the basics and the groundwork for learning all about this great behind-the-scenes career (or hobby). Set up like a textbook, this book is easy-to-follow and to understand. I don't know the first thing about how music or electricity works and I really enjoyed it! I discussed this book with my musician son and he thinks this would have been a very helpful when he was learning both sides of the stage. Very cool!
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Want to learn about the sound engineering business for live musical concerts of all sizes? Then read on ... 18 Jan. 2011
By Jeff Lippincott - Published on
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I loved it. The title matched what was inside. It was well outlined, and well written. It was full of good content, and definitely informative. I wasn't exactly sure what to expect from this book until I starting digging through it. The title is only two words, and I'm no guru when it comes to audio. But after I started reading I found this book was written to fill a void. The author tells us that when he was starting out as a sound engineer for live musical performances such a book did not exist. He had to learn his trade kinda by trial and error. Apparently he remembered there was no book because he is the guy who eventually wrote the book I bet he wish existed when he started out in his line of work.

Musicians come in all shapes and sizes. Some perform classical music, some peform rock music, some perform country music, some are full orchestras, and so on. Some peform in schools, some perform in bars, some perform in civic centers, and some perform in arenas. But a musician without a sound amplifcation system that lets the audience hear some good music would not be considered good musicians. And it is the "sound engineers" who are responsible for making sure musicians have their sound amplification systems. This book is all about what a sound engineer has to know, do, and think about when making musicians sound and look good.

When I was done reading and thought about what I had read I determined this was a project management book that zeroed in on how to set up and work a rock concert stage. The leader of the project has to know how the equipment works, how to pack the equipment, how to unpack and set up the equipment, how to test the equipment, and how to tweek the equipment when the musician performs their gig. I found it all quite interesting. And I think this book definitely fills a necessary void. It was practical, technical, and artistic all in one - just the way the successful project manager/sound engineer has to be.

I loved the author's quote at the end of the book:

You can't polish a turd, but you can roll it in glitter; you're only as good as your last show; and, above all else trust yours ears!

5 stars!
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