Professional Sound - Indepth

Mixing For Television by David Norman

Mixing a musician for live television can be quite different than mixing for a concert. I’ve done the David Letterman show (twice), The Gordon Elliot Show, The Conan O’Brien show and the Jay Leno show. I’ve also advanced Sesame Street and other shows.

The best thing is to make sure for the particular song that the group will be playing on TV, is to get the studio an ACCURATE input list, stage plot and a tape of just that song. Many touring acts send their usual touring list not realizing that one person may or may not be singing, or playing several keyboards or whatever. Anything the studio doesn’t have to wire or set up is more time for your setup, soundcheck and camera blocks.

As far as mic bleed, usually the monitor mixer and the broadcast engineer work together to keep the stage volume down so the broadcast mix will come out silky smooth. For most of the acts that I’ve done on television, I’ve also made sure that there is plexiglass around the drums to keep the stage volume and mic bleed down even more.

Last, but not least. Most of the television studios are kept cool to cold so that the host doesn’t sweat on TV (and to keep the audience alert), so remember that no matter what time of year it is to bring a jacket!

David Norman has mixed such acts as The Neville Brothers featuring Aaron Neville, Peabo Bryson, Michael Hedges, Lisa Germano, Susanna Hoffs (The Bangles), Diana King and many others. He can be reached online at

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About Andrew King
Andrew King is the Editor-in-Chief at Professional Sound. He is also a co-host of Canadian Musician Radio and NWC Webinars’ series of free music and entertainment industry webinars.
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