When Becca said she heard everything with the 5.1 stereo mix, she sure did. That's because a mix is a dynamic thing, changing all the time. You can't capture everything, but you want to hear almost all the details you can possibly put into it. What you end up doing is filling holes. When something falls out of the mix, you find it and grab it. If something pops up you grab that, too. When the horns come in, the drums usually disappear and you have to ride the mix. We had a very dynamic vocalist on New Year's Eve, and when she got soft she fell under the mix, so I had to ride gain on her. As a matter of fact, we were riding gain on just about everything. Bass is about the only thing that didn't move, and oddly enough the rhythm guitar needed very little attention.
When it came to setting up for 5.1 broadcast, there really wasn't a big difference between the stereo mix. You just set up more mics for more audience ambience. We had three mics across the front of the stage and we put two microphones in the back of the room. We panned them that way and had audience front and back more or less. We also did a kind of coincidental pair in the back that folded down very, very nicely. We ran a total of five channels.
We listened mostly to the Neural Audio watermarked 2.0 mix. So when we occasionally switched to the Neural 5.1 broadcast, it was a lovely surprise. The Neural Surround Downmix does an exceptional job transparently, which makes one less thing you have to worry about during a production which is a great thing.
San Francisco Equipment List
- Apogee D/A 1000, PSX-100
- APT Tokyo
- Fostex 6301B
- Genelec 1031A
- Musicam CDQ PRIMA 220
- NPR custom stereo DA, NPR custom IFB
- Sennheiser MKH-40
- Shure headset mic, M267, SM-58, SM-81
- Sonosax 10-channel mixer
- Sony headphone amp, MDR-7506
Phil Edwards, mixing engineer, Yoshi's, San Francisco
Phil Edwards started a music engineering career in 1968. To date, he has recorded or mixed nearly 2000 album / CD projects, as well as hundreds of remote music dates and numerous radio, television and film projects. He has had the great fortune to have mixed Toast of the Nation on the West Coast for NPR during the last 16 years.