Live Sound: Our Musician Oriented Approach

Hilton Head Audioworks does live sound as well as recording, ranging from club sized settings all the way up to a big outdoor festival. We have both a smaller but very high-quality live sound system which is great for acoustic shows, jazz, pop/cover bands and the like, suitable for clubs or outdoor events to about 1000 people. We also have a large outdoor system capable of filling an entire football field with great sounding music! One of the things that make our events sound so good is that we have a fantastic collection of microphones (over 40) at the studio and many of them are suitable for stage use.

Before we were audio engineers, we were/are musicians and played on all the same kinds of stages and events that our clients do so we know first hand what it is that really bugs you when you go do a live show where the sound system and crew are provided.

The Problem with Live Sound

How many times have you taken the stage in a festival situation and you inherit the monitor mix from the previous act and you can't even get the attention of the monitor guy to turn the keyboard down in your monitor wedge? Or you run across the sound guys who, by their demeanor tell you that your very existence on the stage is a personal affront to them because you want your keyboard to be in stereo or whatever thing is important to your show that they could care less about. Or, in my opinion, the most egregious offense of all: the front-of-house engineer who is a "console babysitter" and doesn't even listen to or actively mix the show at all! This really fries me because it's the one thing that doesn't cost anything to provide and anybody can do: pay attention to the show!!!

With some of these guys it almost seems that for them, the gig is over once the system is set up and working, and the show is just the downtime before they tear it down and cart it away. I can't tell you how many times I've been onstage and I know that there's a featured solo going on that isn't even being heard at all by the audience cause the guy who's supposed to be mixing the show isn't even listening!!! Couple that with the fact that you're probably playing for less $$$ than your regular rate and what could be a great music experience is sabotaged by the very people who are supposed to be helping. Frustrating to say the least.

Our Approach

At Hilton Head Audioworks we strive to break that mold by giving the music itself top priority and backing it up with a collection of solid, hand picked gear tailored to the situation of that show. So when we do a show the number one priority is a good house mix. Because we are mix engineers and producers, we instinctively know how music is constructed and that every good arrangement has a musical "focal point" at each instant as the music progresses. We strive to make sure "the thing that is musically featured at that moment" is up in the mix where you can hear it clearly and follow that through each song, using the other instruments to support that featured vocal or instrument. In order to do this, you have to be paying attention, understanding and following the intent of the music. In this area, we are as good as anybody.

Live Wire

Even though we are primarily a recording facility, we like to do everything possible with music and we realize that some of the best performances are not in a studio but on-stage in front of an appreciative audience.

One of the amazing things that you get with the digital mixers these days is their ability to act as an audio interface for recording software on a computer making the capturing of live shows in multi-track format almost a no-brainer when just a few short years ago it was the hassle of the century! We have recorded some really spectacular performances this way and when you have the ability to mix and edit after the fact to clean up the little things you can get some really spectacular results for a fraction of what it used to cost. Check out this live cut from a concert we did by Ray's Music Exchange.

Concert Videos

We can also shoot and edit HD video for YouTube demos or release on DVD by adding cameras to the live show situation; check out our video page to see some work we've done in that area.

We invite you to try the Hilton Head Audioworks difference by recommending us to the people who put on these shows, by coming in to record and get the friendly, musically knowledgeable treatment your music deserves!