November 13, 2019
I usually tell my artists to use their IEMs as earplugs first and then to just bring the volume up until they hear themselves clearly — not loudly. I tell them that if they start low, they can always turn it up a bit and that they’ll feel the difference. But if they start off loud, the will only go louder! And that’s not good.
Here’s the thing with isolation. I have the control to give my artists a more balanced mix. I like using perceived loudness. I try to make it almost like having a mastered record being played in their ears — it feels loud but it really isn’t.
When I mix like that, they feel good and excited with what they hear. I throw in some EQ, stereo imagers, compression and limiting as their Masterbus processing. I do this all in broad but subtle strokes. It’s very effective.
On the vocal channel, it is a known fact that most Singers like their vocal brighter that we would want to hear it. I believe that the main reasons for this is the occlusion effect. They’re sealed up. So cutting lows and / or low-mids and adding some air and hi-mids is a formula that has work for me 99% of the time. This really comes across at low volume.
More tips like this can be found in a recent article I wrote for Live Sound International and ProsoundWeb. Please take a look.
This post was written by IEMITO member Eddie “El Brujo" Caipo. Eddie is a veteran touring engineer who's credits include Enrique Iglesias, Gwen Stefani, Christina Aguilera and Tears for Fears.