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Live Sound Basics (Volume 1) Paperback – March 31, 2012
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About the Author
Ric Wallace has been mixing live bands and making studio recordings for 30 plus years. Ric grew up in California in the 60's, playing piano and violin and had every indication of leading a simple lifestyle when, at the age of 8, he saw the Beatles first performance on the Ed Sullivan TV Show. His subsequent fascination with electric guitars and the concepts of distortion and reverb completely distracted him and led to a lifelong dedication to shaping sounds through audio recording and mixing live music. After attending college in the late 70's with any eye toward a creative writing career, Wallace abandoned that effort and instead worked in the early 80's to design a pro audio speaker system and form a sound company, Seismic Audio in the Seattle area. Mr. Wallace attained a high degree of respect early in his career as an audio engineer for achieving a consistent "big" sound, and an exceptionally clean mixing style. Mr. Wallace toured with bands such as the Butthole Surfers and Scatterbrain to name just a few, and travelled throughout the world as a sound engineer for over 15 years. He engineered and produced many albums, including the Butthole Surfers’ “Hairway to Steven” as well as their famous self-bootleg, “Double Live.” Wallace moved to Athens Georgia in the early 90's where the vibrant music scene and small town vibe was irresistible to him. He eschewed the lucrative live sound touring industry for a more stable lifestyle and took a job at the University of Georgia, and at the same time, he became the Production Manager and head audio engineer at the world famous 40Watt club where he mixed thousands of live sets over the years. More recently Ric has done one-off gigs with artists like REM and the Athena Opera, and oversaw the rebuilding of the production systems for the Georgia Theater after a devastating fire there in 2009. He is currently the Production Director for Entertainment Design Group in Atlanta GA. Ric has created a production arts school in Athens called the Production Institute (http://www.productioninstitute.com) where the focus is “hands-on” live sound training. He teaches Live Sound Fundamentals at Athens Technical College and is a Learning Adviser for two classes at SAE OnLine (http://online.sae.edu/course/live-sound-engineering-foh).
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I was excited to be able to purchase this book that has such a recent copyright. (Other books I considered were written two or three decades ago). What attracted me to this book were its newness and also the photos of different equipment, with explanations about the different components. I also liked the fact that the book covers both analog and digital sound boards. (I learned on an analog sound board, and now we have a digital sound board I am trying to learn more about.) I also wanted to gain an understanding of how professional live sound engineers think and what the proper terminology is in their profession, which I thought would benefit me as I seek to improve my skills. Upon reading and studying this book, I have found these areas to be of great benefit to me. There is also a glossary which is very valuable.
What I find lacking, for me at least, is a more clear explanation of some of the topics covered. I attribute this partly to my less-than-ideal background for taking on this challenge of learning something as complex as mixing sound. But my mentor has been able to clarify some of my confusion. On the other hand, I read the section in Ric Wallace's book on Compression and Gates and was able to give my mentor a very clear explanation of what Attack and Release meant that actually impressed him.
This book needs one more pass through an editor, to fix some obvious errors in word use and grammar here and there. Still, I found the mistakes not so bad as to not understand what the author meant. There are a couple places where he has the exact same diagram or photo twice on pages close by that may have been unnecessary duplication. But all in all, these mistakes can be overlooked.
I would say, despite the flaws I have found in this book, I am very glad I purchased it. Ric Wallace writes about a passion he has had for over three decades, and the advice he gives to his audience is invaluable. I have benefited greatly from his book, and am very happy that I purchased it. I think another book, written for those with an even more beginning background but yet still giving enough depth that Ric Wallace has given in his book, would benefit people like myself who wish to fill a need in their churches and go a step (or three) beyond the "just getting by" stage of mixing. For its intended audience (those with more background than myself) I think this book will serve them well.
Best book out there so far, I also heard that there is another Book coming out by Ric Wallace....thanks
If you desire to know more about the "why's" of what we do, then Ric is a great resource as is his book. Presented in a format that is steep in knowledge without having to have a degree in physics to understand! Enjoy!