Live Audio – The Art of Mixing a Show

Live Audio – The Art of Mixing a Show

A Review

By Stephen Dean

Recently I came across this book after seeing the author, Dave Swallow, do a presentation at the 2011 ENTECH trade show in Sydney. This book is published by Focal Press, who have a very extensive array of books that relate to the entertainment industry.

Dave Swallow is an audio professional with extensive experience in the live audio scene. In fact there is a good possibility that you may have heard some of his work. He has worked with artists such as: La Roux, Amy Winehouse and many more. He has also mixed or supervised the audio on such TV shows like Jay Leno, Dave Letterman, Conan and many more. So as you can see he is amply experienced to pass on his knowledge, and what knowledge he has.

This is a very interesting book and one that is worthwhile picking up and reading. It is great for the novice sound person who is keen on going further in the industry. It is a very much a “hands on” guide to mixing and live audio.  That is not to say that the professional audio person is not going to like it. There is also a companion website which has even more up to date information.

The book takes you through the equipment and also the process of live audio. The book is divided into two sections – pre show and show day.  In the Pre-show section Dave covers the audio engineering basics like waveforms, electronics, power and electricity. This is before leaping in to what process he goes through to put a show together. Everything from rehearsals, bump in and making it happen on the stage.  He is a person that believes in planning and practise to improve your audio skills.

In the show section he covers a wide gamut of topics that are relevant to process of making it all happen. Such topics covered include bump in’s, acoustics of the venue, types of PA’s, tuning, sound checks and The Mix. He covers so many areas and topics too numerous to mention here.

As you read this book you will find many hints and also tips on how he has approached certain problems and overcome them. All very useful no matter how small or large your next gig is. One of his best tips is “keep it simple”. Another great tip from him that we should all follow is “When something sounds right, it is right – no matter how you got there”. There is plenty of easy to read information to help you get the best out of you equipment, and the best out of the musicians.

I found the book and easy and pleasant read, Dave’s writing style is great and he knows how to impart knowledge with the written word. If you are starting out in the industry this would be a book that I recommend that you read. I would recommend that you get your hands on this text and read it cover to cover.

Live Audio –The Art of Mixing a Show by Dave Swallow
ISBN: 978-0-240-81604-3
RRP $39.95
Focal Press


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