5 Mixer Tips for the Best Open Mic Night is a quick rundown of best practices for a great open mic experience for the emcee, audience, and performers.
Show Up Early
You may wonder what showing up early has to do with mixing an open mic. Arriving early allows me the time to test the room’s acoustics before it’s filled with people. This eliminates feeling rushed which can lead to mistakes that can ruin an otherwise pleasant mix. Planning the time to make adjustments and eliminate any unwanted sounds is worth the time it takes.
Serve Your Hosts First – 5 Mixer Tips
One of 5 Mixer Tips this can get overlooked in our efforts to deliver a technically solid mix. But primarily pleasing the hosts keeps us coming back and the open mic remaining on the calendar. Don’t forget to ask the hosts how they think it sounds: too loud, More bass, vocals, guitar?
Use phantom-powered mics
Wondering why I would suggest this? I know it’s not for everybody. There’s nothing like the tough and trustworthy Shure SM58 for the default open-mic microphone. This is one of 5 Mixer Tips for the Best Open Mic Night
I recommend a phantom-powered condenser mic. This is especially good for performers who don’t sing quite loud enough to be heard well through the mix. I’ve heard “I can’t hear the vocals” many times. The obvious answer is the use of a condenser phantom-powered mic simply so the audience hears them.
Favor the vocals – 5 Mixer Tips
Always. This is my biggest pet peeve. If you favor anything else in your mix, you have missed the whole point of whatever song is being performed. I know most performers practice their instruments more than their vocals. I have done the same. But from the perspective of mixing it is the vocal that should be the focus. Most songs tell a story through the lyrics and the vocal. The instrument performs the accompaniment. I would prefer to have the vocal out front as a best practice.
Mix the equalization for each performer
This is the best point about mixing live sound. Each performer can be mixed to fit their needs. This is your main job as the mixer. Listen. What’s good? What’s missing? What do you need to adjust? Back off the bass is a good place to start. Can you hear the consonants? If not, maybe you can bump up the treble just a little bit. This is one of 5 mixer tips for the best open mic.
Are you new to mixing? Did someone just ask you to emcee an open mic? Check this post for some more detailed information! I suggest this handy guide for additional information “Great Live Sound: A practical guide for every sound tech“