The process is usually the same. We communicate with the venue, and the artist, and we try to get a complete list of the instruments that will be used during the show. This includes the rhythm section, percussion, brass, vocalists, as well as special guests, and any other last-minute surprises that always seem to come up.
We then choose the best mics for the job, and give the House (PA) a split of each instrument or just the instruments that they way to put through their system. We then work to make sure that the signals are clean and free from hum/buzz.
For a typical small club event we try to arrive at least 2 hours before any musicians arrive with their equipment. This allows us to set everything up, run the splitter and snakes, and generally get prepared for the instruments to be set up. Then we catch a sound-check as best we can as the musicians set up their equipment. We also try to run the audience mics at this point.
Often there is a break before the first set, and if we’re lucky we actually get a quick sound-check as the PA mixer is working with the house sound and the monitors.
If the event is a live broadcast, then we are usually adding a host mic, backstage announce mic, as well as running PL between us and the host so that we can communicate during the live broadcast. Of course the bigger events such as concert halls, arenas, require much more prep and longer cable runs and power considerations.
If the show is also being shot for video or broadcast/streamed, then we need video feeds so we can follow the show, as well as us feeding the video truck with a stereo mix, and checking the uplink speed/stability if it is streamed live. Larger events begin to require additional crew members on-stage as well as back at the mixing position.
There are as many variables as you could possibly imagine in a live event as they are all different. Whether it’s a Red-Carpet pre-show broadcast, a live awards show broadcast, or just recording a live concert – each aspect of the show must be evaluated to ensure that all of the audio that takes place is recorded clean.
A typical live audio recording can require anywhere from a 12 to 16-hour day, so we are prepared for these conditions.