Book Review: Live Audio | Print |
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In Live Audio: The Art of Mixing a Show, Dave Swallow covers all you’ll ever need to know to produce a live show.

This book overviews live sound engineers who work live events. Swallow begins by introducing the role of a live engineer and how sound actually works. I, honestly, didn’t know how complex sound actually is! However, assuming absolutely no knowledge of audio techniques, Swallow provides an in-depth overview of concepts like pitch, feedback, envelope, the voltage ratio, and even includes the mathematical formulas of a few to calculate decibels. Of course, with live audio, one must be familiar with the electronic aspect. By describing and providing examples of channel lists, stage plans, and PA specifications, anyone can learn the techniques of audio engineering.

An essential chapter teaches about sound systems. It’s key to have the understanding of a speaker to optimize speaker angles, directions, and overall quality. Of course probably the most important thing to learn is how to manage the actual audio desks. With threshold and reverb graphs and an included companion site (, I feel like I can mix a show professionally with all that I’ve learned!

From a teaching perspective, this book could absolutely be utilized as a textbook. Even if you included a few copies for students to check out or glance to when they needed a bit more audio understanding, it’s very easy to follow and perfectly sectioned into manageable learning units. In the realm of producing a live show, Swallow’s knowledge is imperative and should be a pre-requisite for all students considering working with a mix desk. Go from beginner to pro in 225 pages!

About the Author

Dave Swallow is a Live Audio Engineer at heart, and lends his ears to studio mixing, and his knowledge of the road to tour managing and tour consulting. He has toured extensively around the world. He has mixed acts including La Roux, Amy Winehouse, Corinne Bailey Rae, and many more. Dave ahs mixed and supervised mixes on some very influential TV shows including Jay Leno, Dave Letterman, Conan O’Brien, Regis & Kelly, The View, MTV and the MTV Movie Awards, VH1, and Later… with Jools Holland.


Section 1: Pre Show
CHAPTER 1: What is a Live Audio Engineer?
CHAPTER 2: Audio Engineering Basics
CHAPTER 3: Electronics
CHAPTER 4: Power and Electricity
CHAPTER 5: Advancing the Show
CHAPTER 6: Rehearsals

Section 2: Show Day
CHAPTER 7: Load-In
CHAPTER 8: Public Address Systems
CHAPTER 9: Desks Up!
CHAPTER 10: Line Systems
CHAPTER 11: Acoustics
CHAPTER 12: Tune Up
CHAPTER 13: Stage Setup
CHAPTER 14: Sound Check
CHAPTER 15: The Mix
CHAPTER 16: The Show

Acknowledgements and Thanks

Paperback, 256 Pages
Published: NOV-2010
ISBN 13: 978-0-240-81604-3

Associate Editor, Amanda Lynn Porter has been involved in many aspects of video/film production. Starting a video production class at her middle school in eighth grade, Amanda has always enjoyed every aspect of videography. After producing many in-school productions, including a daily newscast, Amanda branched out and began directing and producing commercials and short films for law firms, intermediate school districts, and various associations throughout Michigan.

Most recently, Amanda worked for Michael Moore on his latest documentary: Capitalism: A Love Story. 

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