Live Streaming: Fix the Mix on a Shoestring Budget

Broadcast audio is a different animal from live audio, with ambient sound all around you being a key difference during service, versus listening at home.

Live Streaming: Fix the Mix on a Shoestring Budget
Two quick ways to overcome the varying dynamics of a mix for broadcast are adjusting the mix itself and the use of compression. Hopefully, in our “hypothetical” situation, you are feeding the broadcast mix with a matrix or an aux send. If you are using a matrix, you can simply increase the level of the inputs that are softer in the mix, like speaking mics or maybe even some instruments.
Live Streaming: Fix the Mix on a Shoestring Budget
Two quick ways to overcome the varying dynamics of a mix for broadcast are adjusting the mix itself and the use of compression. Hopefully, in our “hypothetical” situation, you are feeding the broadcast mix with a matrix or an aux send. If you are using a matrix, you can simply increase the level of the inputs that are softer in the mix, like speaking mics or maybe even some instruments.

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Imagine with me for a moment about a “hypothetical” scenario.

One seemingly calm Thursday morning, you receive an email from your pastor relaying to you that he would like to start live streaming your worship services. The technical gear-house that is your mind immediately starts thinking, “We need another console. We need an isolated split for all the inputs. We need a broadcast audio room. We need, we need, we need…”

Then, all of a sudden, your daydream of the perfect broadcast audio setup is interrupted by a follow-up email from your pastor with two additional criteria: “We need to start this weekend. And there is no budget.”

Immediately, the planning daydream for the ultimate broadcast suite turns to shear mayhem and panic. Being the technical MacGyver that you are, you quickly pull together the string of 17 different adapters and random cables needed to make it happen by Sunday.

Then, life moves on because Sunday is always coming, right?

To start chiseling away at the difficulties plaguing your streaming mix, you must first understand a few principles about broadcast audio vs. live audio.

A few weeks, maybe even months, down the road you get another email from your pastor. A friend of his was watching the live stream and commented on how hard it was to hear the pastor teaching, and the drums and acoustic were the only things he could hear during music.

Your new charge: Fix the mix … still without any budget.

Where do you go from here? To start chiseling away at the difficulties plaguing your streaming mix, you must first understand a few principles about broadcast audio vs. live audio.

Broadcast audio (which is the term I most often use, because streaming is a broadcast) is an entirely different animal than live audio. In the worship center, during a service, you have the luxury of experiencing the energy (ambient sound) coming from the stage as well as the congregation singing around you. A person watching your broadcast only receives the energy coming through their earbuds or computer speakers.

The most common practice for overcoming this is using room mics. Place a microphone somewhere toward the front of the stage, pointed back toward the congregation to give the online viewer the feeling of really being there. This will allow for the pickup of the voices of people singing, as well as the ambience of the room, without too much direct interaction from the PA. This room mic (or two if you are doing stereo) can be added to your broadcast mix via an aux send or matrix, depending on your signal flow and console type.


More About Michael Scott
Michael Scott serves as the Director of Media Arts for Henderson Hills Baptist Church in Edmond, Okla. He has a passion for serving the church and helping the Body connect through worship. Michael oversees all aspects of live production in multiple venues with a team of more than 50 volunteers. Ask any of his volunteers and they will tell you that Michael's main goal for his team is to serve without distractions and with excellence. Throughout the course of Michael's career he has had opportunities to work with many churches of varying sizes as a full-time employee, contractor, or consultant. Michael has been married to his wife Kristi for 12 years and they have two sons, ages 8 and 6.
Get in Touch: mscott@hhbc.com    More by Michael Scott

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Article Topics

Technology · Audio · Streaming · Broadcast Audio · Budget · Dynamics · Live Audio · Mixing · Streaming · All Topics

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