Mixing For Streaming: Finding The Right Levels For Music, Speech

One of the bigger challenges is finding the right mix in the venue live, but then a much different one for streaming.

Mixing For Streaming: Finding The Right Levels For Music, Speech
The next best thing would be to have a separate small mixer, which may or may not need to be operated by an engineer all of the time. You’ll send a stereo mix of the band and vocals as the “music stem” to this mixer (by utilizing either audio subgroups or, better yet, a stereo auxiliary send on your FOH console).

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Mixing For Streaming: Finding The Right Levels For Music, Speech

Technology Resource

Worship Facilities Magazine, March-April 2018
The March-April 2018 issue of Worship Facilities Magazine offers articles about how to prepare, prevent and respond to church violence, a look into what church management software can do for your church community, and a piece on how a once popular nightclub venue was transitioned to become Shoreline Church's new home.
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Mixing for live streaming doesn’t have to be difficult, but there are a few key things to keep in perspective, in order to get great results. I’m going to point out the big ones here, like speech vs. music levels and the use of audience mics, and then talk briefly about the typical ways people manage their broadcast mixes. And notice that I’m referring to this as broadcasting, as that’s exactly what a web stream is.

In fact, the way you mix for a web stream is no different than mixing for television. Either way, there’s someone watching or listening in their home or at work. They want to hear the same qualities in the mix regardless of how it gets to them.

Remember that remote viewers/listeners will have a significantly different experience than those in the room during worship.

One of the biggest challenges is that the blend we want to hear live in a venue is often quite different than what we’d want to hear somewhere else. For example, in a small room, you may not have a lot of drums in your mix, because they might already be plenty loud acoustically. However, a broadcast listener will certainly want to hear them. In addition, you might have the vocals “on top” of the mix quite a bit live, because the congregation likes that, but that may not sound good on a broadcast. You also may like to have a really dynamic mix live, because it’s exciting and sounds more “open” than one which is heavily compressed. However, the better broadcast mixes tend to have a more restricted dynamic range, to give the listener a more consistent experience.

Another common issue is that we tend to enjoy quite different levels for music and speech in a live setting, with there often being as much as a 20 dB difference in what feels right live. For example, let’s say you mix your music at an average level of 95 dBA.

That might be nice and energetic, and gets everyone on their feet worshiping, but speech that loud would probably send people running for the exits.

On a broadcast, though, those segments need to be roughly at the same level, or viewers will constantly have to adjust their volume to chase the drastically changing mix levels.

Depending on your room, you may or may not add a lot of effects like reverb and delay to your FOH mix. You might add a lot of reverb, because it could be hard to notice in your room, and so it takes a lot before you get the desired effect. Or you might not add any, because the room is already reverberant, and you don’t feel like you need any.


More About Brad Duryea
Brad Duryea is an audio engineer based in Houston, Texas, where he is the director of audio technology for Lakewood Church. He can be reached via Twitter: @bradduryea.
Get in Touch: brad.duryea@gmail.com    More by Brad Duryea

Latest Resource

Worship Facilities Magazine, March-April 2018
The March-April 2018 issue of Worship Facilities Magazine offers articles about how to prepare, prevent and respond to church violence, a look into what church management software can do for your church community, and a piece on how a once popular nightclub venue was transitioned to become Shoreline Church's new home.


Article Topics

Technology · Audio · Streaming · Broadcast · Console · Live · Microphones · Mixers · Mixing For Streaming · All Topics

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