Live sound mixing is the process of electrically or digitally blending together multiple sound sources at a live event by an audio engineer using a mixing console. Sounds that are mixed include those from instruments and voices which are picked up by microphones (for drum kit, lead vocals and acoustic instruments like piano or saxophone and pickups for instruments such as electric bass) and pre-recorded material, such as songs on CD or a digital audio player. Individual sources are typically equalised to adjust the bass and treble response and routed to effect processors to ultimately be amplified and reproduced via a loudspeaker system. The live sound engineer balances the various audio sources in a way that best suits the needs of the event.
As a live sound engineer you’ll control the sound at live events like theatre performances, music concerts or festivals. If you’ve got a love of music and technology then this job may offer the opportunities you’re looking for.
There are all kinds of live sound engineers out there in the world but here are some of the most notable.
With a stellar client list that now ranges from Sir Paul McCartney to AC/DC, Paul Boothroyd has risen to the top of the live sound industry. Over the last 30 years, live sound engineer Paul 'Pab' Boothroyd has worked with some of the world's greatest artists, including one of the 'fab four'. Pab continues to push the faders for his fellow native Merseysider, a length of unbroken, loyal service that few professionals have equalled, let alone surpassed.
He was born in 1960 and grew up in Birmingham, England. While an apprentice at British Steel, he studied electronics at a local technical college and also gained experience on the thriving Midlands music scene including working as a roadie for Judas Priest. In the early 1980s, working for the PA company Techserve he engineered for bands including UB40, Dennis Brown, Yellowman, and Jungle Man before becoming the touring sound engineer for The Armoury Show. The Armoury Show's management company then asked Mick to engineer a band they had just signed called Metallica starting a relationship that has lasted nearly 30 years. Big Mick has also mixed for such acts as Guns N' Roses and Nine Inch Nails.
John Cooper, front of House Engineer for The Boss himself, Bruce Springsteen, along with the 9-piece E Street Band. Mixing sound for over 25 years, Cooper has also been on tour with other great artists such as Wynonna Judd, Natalie Merchant, Ringo Starr and many others.
Jim Warren, a veteran front of house engineer has been at the helm for some of rock’s most renowned artists, including Peter Gabriel, Radiohead, Nine Inch Nails, Crowded House and Duran Duran, to name but a few, is presently on tour with recent Grammy winners Arcade Fire.