Live Streaming Is Attractive
As long as audiences are not allowed inside clubs, streaming is the most attractive option – if it is done well. Even after the pandemic, technology will continue to evolve and enhance the live experience. Already, streaming concerts from clubs is proving an attractive way for artists to perform and reach even larger audiences. Venues are also benefiting from the increasingly easy-to-use technology. Now YAMAHA has made professional streaming even easier with the TF series of digital mixing consoles. Here are 5 top mixing tips for streaming in high-quality.
5 Top Mixing Tips for Streaming
It makes a difference whether you are mixing a live concert or for a live stream: for the live sound you manage a PA system, for streaming an isolated room with studio monitors. Tom Rundle is an Application Engineer at Yamaha Professional Audio and has 5 top mixing tips for streaming from your venue.
Tip 1: Adding Delay
For a streamed live show, the user should experience both video and audio in good quality and, above all, in synchronisation on their device. Due to the higher data rate or volume and greater processing performance required, video always needs more time than audio to travel the same distance (latency). Even though most streaming platforms and programmes now have an automatic adjustment function experience has shown that these are not always accurate enough. In this case, we can easily adjust the audio output on the TF console: simply add some delay to the output matrix!
Tip 2: Output Compression & Limiting
Before we control the dynamics, let’s understand what the dynamics are. Namely, the difference between the loudest and the quietest part of the track. When we use a compressor or a limiter, we intervene in this dynamic range and thus control its extent. Downward compression attenuates the signal, upward compression boosts the signal until it gets to a certain level. So why is compression important at the output of our mix? We use it to prevent clipping and noise in the audio stream. In this way, we keep the dynamics of live performance in check.
While a compressor can also be used on individual channels, a limiter should only be used on the output mix to give the track a fuller sound.
Tip 3: Mutes vs Fades
In a normal, loud live scenario, one channel (e.g. that of an unused vocal mic) is often simply muted at the touch of a button. Because of all the ambient noise, this is not even noticed. When streaming, on the other hand, muting such a channel can be very conspicuous because it can cause a sudden lack of “ambience”. That is why we should generally fade instead of mute when mixing for streaming!
Tip 4: Room Mics
Room microphones are traditionally used to enhance live recordings or on-stage IEM (In-Ear Monitoring) sound. Now that there is no audience in front of the stage, we should use the space and position the room microphones where the crowd would otherwise be. Let’s take the atmosphere of the room with us! Without these “acoustic room responses” which we involuntarily hear at every live concert, the stream would sound dry and unnatural.
Tip 5: Quality Control/Metering
Metering, its monitoring and adjustment are the be-all and end-all for quality control – especially when mixing for live streaming. Here we have to make sure that our audio mix arrives at our video mixer/switcher at a sufficient level. To do this, we need to understand what level meters actually show us. In the digital world or in streaming, we may have to rethink from dBU, an analogue measure of voltage (analogue VU meters show “0”, which is 4 dB above 0.775 volts), to dBFS (Decibels Full Scale). In other words, on the digital mixer 0 dBFS is digital full-range distortion (clipping). If this is reached or exceeded, it creates audible noise.
When comparing analogue to digital, -18 dBFS is equivalent to 0 dBU. -18 dBFS should therefore always be our target output level! This way we reach the analogue “standard level” and still have some headroom in the overall mix before overdriving. The level display on the TF console, for example, changes from green to orange at this value. A quick look into the software of our video programme should also confirm dBFS on the level meter. This way we can be sure that the same “amount of information” arrives that we send from the audio output.
Professional Streaming Set-Up
Thanks a lot for the mixing tips for streaming in the best quality, Tom! What accessories do we need for a professional stream? He recommends the following set-up:
- 2 GoPro Hero6 digital action cams
- 1 MacBook, running software like Zoom
- 1 Vision video mixer/switcher
- Yamaha TF5 digital mixing console (RRP €4,160€)
Design meets Intuition
With its TF series, YAMAHA has developed a state-of-the-art digital mixing console that gives more freedom than ever to users’ intuition and creativity. Thanks to the newly developed TouchFlow operation for the console series, it is easier than ever for both experienced sound engineers and newcomers to create a professional mix. The YAMAHA TF series is designed primarily for use at small to medium-sized live events. It is portable, quick to set up and, thanks to its numerous features such as QuickPro(R) presets, quickly produces a great sound which is appealing to the discerning ears of the most renowned sound engineers. All the features and specifications of the YAMAHA TF series are available here.
gigmit PRO Workshop
You want to learn more about mixing and good sound? Whether it’s club, festival, home studio, live streaming, hybrid event… Tom Rundle and Chris Irvine from YAMAHA Pro Audio present, discuss and explain their pro-know-how and answer your questions in our online live panel FROM HOME TO STUDIO – MIXING TIPS FOR HQ SOUND.
The workshop is aimed at both promoters and gigmit PRO artists and took place online on April 11, 2022.
Find all information on the YAMAHA TF series HERE.
Find festivals, gigs and streaming opportunities HERE!