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

Mixing for Streaming News

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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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Learn to leverage your brick wall limiter to not only cap your final volume, but also shorten your dynamic range. The brick wall limiter will keep your final mix from clipping, but you can adjust the threshold to push the perceived loudness in the final mix up into the limiter a bit.

Unlike a compressor that just pushes down volume by a ratio when it reaches its threshold, the limiter isn’t a compressor, it simply doesn’t allow audible transients over the given ceiling.

The compressor actually does subtly the same thing, if it’s also in your final processing chain, but I recommend one use it softly enough, where you won’t hear hard pumping when music content is going full tilt. I use it just to tickle the audio signal at its peak volume. Also of note, using a compressor at 100:1 ratio effectively is a limiter, however, most live sound consoles using this setting with their onboard compressors will hear drastic pumping. I highly recommend using studio limiters (analog or plug-in) in all cases, for a final broadcast limiter.

So how much dynamic range should remain between music and spoken word? I look for a 3db difference, meaning spoken word will land about 3db quieter on average. It does mean some soft moments in the music may fall below even spoken word levels, but it shouldn’t by much. TV standards often say they don’t want instantaneous peaks great than +2db. But if your levels are drifting more than 10db, you have too much dynamic range in your mix. Try to tighten it up, to less than 6db.

Now that we have consistent average levels between all of our incoming content, we need to send our final mix to the broadcast room for distribution. This final level can vary based on your needs, but the key thing you will want to know is never send a final level at 0db because it’ll clip down the road, when it meets up with its video counterpart. The same holds true with any stems being sub mixed along the way.

The broadcast brick wall limiter standard is -2db, but most of the time, it will be set far lower. If your final mix is going through additional mixers, getting your gain structure lower ensures headroom throughout the audio chain. For example, many TV stations have minimum requirements from -24db to -10db of final delivered levels. Whereas radio deliverable content will target -6db.

What do all these numbers mean for the average church that is just broadcasting to livestream or archiving to YouTube and Vimeo?


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 · Engineers · Frequency · Livestream · Media Content · Mixers · Mixing for Streaming · All Topics

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