Tuesday, February 14, 2012

The Search For

A Better Mix

On Sunday, in between some graphic design projects, CD burning, iPod Touch experiments, and shepherds pie, I took the time to watch some of the Grammys show.

There were nice performances by some of rock ‘n roll’s legendary bands whose members are clearly past their prime. It was good to see Paul McCartney having some fun. It was amazing to listen to the latest technical advancements in computerized vocal processing when the Beach boys did their songs.

The sound wasn’t too bad except when something was live. Thankfully most of the things were lip-synched to pre-produced recordings.

One of my accomplishments that I’m particularly proud of, was the sound for a weekly TV show that I hosted, in 1968, which was an hour-long, musical variety show, directed by Mims Wright.

Fred Mitchell and I would set up the microphones for the band before the show, and use an auxiliary control room to do the mix. That way we could send a signal to just one knob in the main control room so that the regular engineers could turn the sound up and down, but never tamper with the mix.

We got a lot of compliments from people in the industry as well as from regular viewers who were surprised to hear drums sounding like drums, and guitars sounding like guitars, on their television sets.

Live television band mixes tend to make the guitars sound like they’re made of cardboard, while the drums sound like soup cans with the soup still inside.

Some improvements have been made over the years, but award shows continue to make the usual mistakes. The camera will focus on a guitar player while the sax player is taking a solo, and at the same time, the sound engineer will have turned up the level on the keyboard. 

For the rest of the song, the engineers frantically turn every knob, slider, and switch to try and correct their mistake. It can be quite comical to listen to, (or very annoying).

It rained Sunday night, but by Monday morning it had cleared up with mostly cloudy skies and mild temperatures.

Peggy Richardson, and I, played music at today’s Treehouse Cabaret and Poetry Hour. We all had a good time. Margaret Mitchell read another one of her poems from days gone by. The music was lively, entertaining and mostly in tune.

I recorded what we did today but haven’ t had a chance to listen to it yet. Once I do, maybe there will be something to share with you in a future post.

Snow can be seen highlighting the clear-cut sections of the forest on the distant hills as fading sunlight colored the clouds pink. This was the view from the dining room after the music was over and I was packing up the equipment.

Today’s Somewhat Appropriate Video;

Getting Better

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