Mixing for Streaming: Aiming for Smooth, Consistent Broadcast Audio

If you have assembled your final mix from your FOH console or even a dedicated broadcast room, begin to study the recorded mix in as many types of listening spaces you expect your viewer to listen from.

Mixing for Streaming: Aiming for Smooth, Consistent Broadcast Audio
If you have assembled your final mix from your FOH console or even a dedicated broadcast room, begin to study the recorded mix in as many types of listening spaces you expect your viewer to listen from.
Credit: Todd Heft
Mixing for Streaming: Aiming for Smooth, Consistent Broadcast Audio
If you have assembled your final mix from your FOH console or even a dedicated broadcast room, begin to study the recorded mix in as many types of listening spaces you expect your viewer to listen from.
Credit: Todd Heft

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Technology Resource

Worship Facilities Magazine, March-April 2018
The March-April 2018 issue of Worship Facilities Magazine offers articles about how to prepare, prevent and respond to church violence, a look into what church management software can do for your church community, and a piece on how a once popular nightclub venue was transitioned to become Shoreline Church's new home.
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You might find some overall compression is too audible, or the EQ is too muddy or harsh. While the mix can’t sound perfect from every listening environment, address the bigger issues from the extremes, to meet in the middle for an average. For instance, from the car or home theater, it’s too “boomy,” so you’ll need to address the low end, sometimes applying a high pass filter up to 50-60hz can help. If it’s super shrill from small computer speakers, you may need to address a bit of the high end.

Either way, you’ll likely need to assemble a final chain of processing to the broadcast mix for some fine-tuning. For example, my broadcast chain consists of three or four Waves plug-ins, Puigchild (for a light compression, but it also does magic with warm mid-tones which are important in livestreaming), a simple overall EQ plug-in, Vitamin (which addresses tighter or wider control of the stereo image by frequency bands and also some final EQ), and L2 (a brick wall limiter).

Each piece of your final processing chain should have purpose and help you obtain the final polish. Changes here likely will be fairly subtle, amounting to overall small changes.

If you find yourself making massive EQ changes, you might need to go back and make some better decisions on the EQ of your inputs.

Getting Your Final Levels Right

Fasten your seat belt here, as we are going to get a little technical with numbers, but I’m going to keep it within reason. When it comes to final product levels, it very well can be summed up as a numbers game.

The two biggest things you’re going to strive for are consistent and clean levels. There isn’t anything more annoying than constantly having to turn the volume up or down, when the program content changes. This includes transitioning from a full band, to video playback, then to the spoken word. The goal is to have a very close average of those signals smoothly being delivered to the listener.

The other one is hearing constant crackles of distortion, because the signal along the way has been crunched too much by a compressor, to then be clipped again with the final mix running too close to 0dbFS [decibels relative to full scale]. (For the sake of the remaining article, we are going to use the dbFS scale)

In audio, there is a constant goal to strive for a consistent gain structure, and to get as hot of a signal to 0dB that doesn’t clip. But in broadcast, when it comes to our final stems and mix, we are going to be pretty far from it.


More About Debbie Keough
Debbie Keough is currently a freelance audio engineer based in the Orange County area of Southern California. She has held FOH, lighting, media and technical director positions from the largest megachurches to smaller local churches. Additionally, she is an instructor at The Recording Arts Center in San Diego, California. She loves mixing and her heart is to teach, encourage and raise up the next generation of technical artists in the church. She can be reached on Instagram and Twitter @debbiekeough.
Get in Touch: debbiekeough1@gmail.com    More by Debbie Keough

Latest Resource

Worship Facilities Magazine, March-April 2018
The March-April 2018 issue of Worship Facilities Magazine offers articles about how to prepare, prevent and respond to church violence, a look into what church management software can do for your church community, and a piece on how a once popular nightclub venue was transitioned to become Shoreline Church's new home.


Article Topics

Technology · Audio · Streaming · Team Management · Leadership · Team Development · Volunteers · Distortion · Engineers · Frequency · Livestream · Media Content · Mixers · All Topics

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