Red means bad, not good!

Never red line your mixerSo last night we had the “pleasure” of providing sound engineering and stage duties for a well known boy band in our local venue. Now when you think boy band, you think guys jumping around on stage singing, which they did. However, one of them was performing the role of DJ. 

Now, considering the profile of these guys, you would think that they would be aiming for a high quality sound. Well, the vocals sounded great and were cutting through the screams of the all the young ladies in the audience quite nicely. However, the tunes from the DJ were going all over the place! When we set up the system, the DJ’s tunes were sounding loud, clear and banging, but when the DJ from the boy band was playing, it started to sound distorted and horrible!

This was happening for one reason and one reason only. The “DJ” was constantly turning up the mixer master, the channel gains and the output from his computer based DJ system.  Unfortunately, despite the best efforts of our staff, we could not persuade their tour manager to get him to do otherwise. The manager stepped out on stage a few times and turned things down, which allowed us to turn up the main system. But it was too much for the “DJ”. He simply wanted to turn it all up!

This brings me on to the very important point – RED MEANS BAD!

If your mixer, whether it be a DJ type or mixing desk, is red lining (the output level meter is sitting constantly in the red, with little reduction) then the output is going to be overloading and your music will start to sound bad. The more you try and push the level, the worse it becomes. All we can do as sound engineers is turn down our inputs from your mixer, but there comes a point when there is nothing more we can do.