Posts belonging to Category Live Sound



Tom Mic Shootout Revisited

A few years ago, I blogged about a tom mic shootout that I conducted between two very popular mics for toms: the Sennheiser e604 and the CAD M179. At that time, I had been using the e604’s for recording my tom tracks and really wasn’t too thrilled with them. Meanwhile, I had been reading many positive reviews about what a great tom mic the CAD M179 made, so I ordered a pair to try them out. (more…)

Yamaha CBR12 Passive Speaker Review

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The Yamaha CBR series of loudspeakers are passive versions of Yamaha’s powered DBR series. It uses the same cabinets and (presumably) the same drivers as the DBR, minus the built-in mixer and power amp, and (being passive) include a passive internal crossover network. The DBR12 generally gets very good reviews from owners, so my expectations for the passive CBR12 were high when I purchased 4 of them to use primarily for monitor wedges. I wasn’t disappointed. (more…)

Behringer P16 Personal In Ear Monitoring System

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The P16 is Behringer’s personal in-ear monitoring system. The features and performance of this system rival that of competing systems (e.g. Aviom, Allen & Heath) that cost 4 or 5 times as much as the Behringer. After using the P16 at church twice a week for over a year now, I thought it was time for a comprehensive review of this system for others who may be interested, but may be unsure of exactly what components they need to integrate it into their own existing sound system. (more…)

In Ear Monitoring with the Behringer X-Air XR18

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As I’ve written about previously, I’m the proud owner of a Behringer X-Air XR18 digital Wi-fi mixer. I love this thing. After using it for about a year now, I could never imagine going back to an analog mixer and a huge rack full of heavy analog gear for my live sound system. One of the things I like about the XR18 is its flexibility. When I recently decided to go to a wired in-ear monitor system for myself (I’m the drummer in the band), I discovered there are no fewer than 3 options for doing so with the XR18. The other guys in the band will continue to use floor wedges, but after getting accustomed to using in-ear monitors at church for several months now (and abusing my own ears mercilessly for over 25 years playing drums), I decided to do the same thing with my own PA system. (more…)

A Better Way to Record the Audio for Your Church Services

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I’ve been using a Tascam DR-40 portable recorder for over a year now to record our band reharsals and services each week at church. After each rehearsal, I import the recorded audio into my DAW, export each song as an MP3, and e-mail those MP3’s to the other members of the band so we can evaluate our parts, practice them, and listen to the songs to help commit any new ones to memory. I’ll often do the same thing after our services, just so we can listen back and hear how everything sounded out front during the service. I also want to begin posting the pastor’s sermon each week on the church website, but recording the sermon with the DR-40 has brought some challenges (more on that in just a moment). (more…)

Why My Church Needed the Behringer X32 (and Yours May Too)

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The church where I attend (and play the drums in the worship band) recently remodeled our sanctuary. This included new lights, paint, carpet, and expanding the size of our stage. As part of this project, we also installed an all new sound system. Like many churches of our size, we’ve undergone a fairly recent transition from more traditional piano and organ-based music to a live band with guitars, bass, keyboard, and drums, so the old sound system was woefully inadequate for our current needs. For the new mixing console, we ultimately chose the Behringer X32. And boy, am I glad that we did. It’s been a real answer to our prayers (pun intended)–solving many of the problems and overcoming the limitations of our old analog system. For those of you who might be facing similar issues with the sound system in your church, I’d like to highlight some of the stellar features of the X32 which we have found to be a real God-send (again, pun intended). (more…)

Behringer X-Air XR18: the Future of Live Mixing

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A few months ago, my trusty old analog mixer that I had used since 2008 developed an intermittent short in one of the aux sends. Unfortunately, this was one of only two pre-fader aux sends on this mixer, so I was using it for one of two monitor sends for band rehearsals and live gigs. This board had a total of 4 aux sends, but two of them are post-fader, and are therefore unsuitable for use as a monitor send. (more…)

The Best Microphone for Live Vocals on a Budget


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Over the course of the last several decades, the Shure SM58 has become the de-facto standard vocal microphone for live performances. And for good reason: it’s built tough, reasonably priced, and generally sounds great on just about any voice. With a price tag of around $100, the SM58 may still seem out of the price range of some musicians, tempting them to look for other cheaper alternatives. But in the remainder of this article, I’ll attempt to persuade such frugal buyers to think twice before compromising, and why you should definitely buy the SM58 if you are able. (more…)

Squeeze Play – Compression Demystified

When discussing modern recording techniques, you can’t get far without someone bringing up the topic of compression. If you’ve seen a compressor in the mail-order music catalogs or online music store, but never understood what it was or why you might need it on your recordings, sit tight. (more…)

Using an Insert Jack as a Direct Out

When connecting a mixer to a digital audio interface or multi-track recorder, you normally connect the Direct Out jack of each mixer channel to a track’s input on the interface. For example, let’s say your kick drum mic is connected to channel 1 of the mixer. If you wanted to record the kick drum to track 1, you would connect the channel 1 Direct Out to the track 1 input of the interface. You would then connect the channel 2 Direct Out to the track 2 input of the interface, etc. Using the Direct Outs in such a way takes each channel’s signal post-fader and post-EQ and sends it straight to the recording device. This allows you to record that one instrument (and only that instrument) to its corresponding track on the recorder or in your DAW software.

But what if your mixer doesn’t come equipped with Direct Outs? (more…)