FOH Mixing: Live Tips and Tricks by Ozzy Osbourne’s Mix Engineer

Ozzy Osbourne

In this video FOH Sound Engineer Greg Price shows us how he gets his mixes to really rock. He shows us his stacked vocal effects and his “good cop, bad cop” parallel drum compression, as well as other tips he uses while mixing Ozzy Osbourne.

In this video:

Building Ozzy’s vocal chain

Ozzy’s vocal effects pyramid

Parallel compression: Good Cop, Bad Cop

Why use Waves SoundGrid?

Waves plugins integrated with the Avid S6L console

Waves vintage modeling: An old-school engineer’s dream

Video Text:

0:00:00 –>
my name is Greg price front of house engineer for Ozzy Osbourne this is my 23rd year mixing Ozzy I’ve done all 17 oz fests albums live records Black Sabbath was also in this 23 years of work I’ve done three four tours with Black Sabbath with Ozzy singing let’s talk about Ozzy’s vocal how do we stack plugins in a chain I use the SSL g channel on the G channel of course we have gating and compression right there in the channel so I like to set immediately thirty to one limiting on that channel so that he cannot overshoot my input the limiter stops him right away so once you come out of the g channel into the c6 I’m not over EQ as a matter of fact I’m not using any EQ I may have used maybe one of clas vocal

0:01:02.2 –>
presets and then I go to c6 and I automatically drop ken van drew this vocal Ken’s vocal that’s my starting point everybody who wants to use c6 they need to use Ken’s vocal it is unbelievable I’ve said this before he has some amazing presets within the library the biggest challenge is Ozzy recorded triple track while calling on all of his records it’s a classic signature sound how do I get that I stack waves vocal doubler if I call it the Ozzy vocal pyramid what is the vocal pyramid it’s the stacking a pitch change in delay so that it all works with the natural vocal in a pyramid shape so that the listener feels that triple track sound of his vocal without it sounding to pitch changing once you’ve developed that then it’s

0:02:01.7 –>
very easy to add long recurring delays maybe a little extra reverb but in the pyramid itself you have the vocal doubler and true reverb stacked like like a cake in and out and they’re delayed offset I beg you to give it a shot and develop your own pyramids good-cop bad-cop parallel compression I coined this phrase for my drum compression by drum grouping compression the good cop is all of the drums my entire drum kit from the kick all through the cymbals everything so basically it’s drums left and right on a group through an SSL compressor and it’s very subtle four to one compression and I’m not even seeing oh let’s say 2 to 3

0:03:02.4 –>
DB of gain reduction I don’t want to see any more than that so it’s just taking the drum kit and going hah now this is downstream of all my inputs this means all of the heavy lifting on my drums the inputs have already been I want to say medicated by plugins inserts EQ gating before it sees the good cop once it sees the good cop the bad cop is bad that’s the same amount of drums on a separate group with the same SSL comp on it only this time it’s 31 on crush and it’s seeing 12 to 16 DB of gain reduction so what is that there is the essence of what a compressor does tonality wise so you’ve got your drum kit here you got a good sound on your

0:04:01.9 –>
drums and now you’ve got the bad cop on your finger and you drive it up into the drum sound and you’re not going to believe what it can do to your sound now I want the viewers to experiment with this I like the crush sound it speaks to me on how it adds to my drum sound not everybody’s gonna want that so you can either let up on the crush maybe only see 10 gain reduction at 30 to 1 on the ssl comp limiter but it’s a tonality thing it’s a mixing thing it’s a textural thing that can be snapshotted so that it comes away it comes in comes away depending on the song verse chorus bridge you choose where you want this sound to come and go on your drum kit now you can use good-cop bad-cop on anything there’s a lot of facility within sound grid that even to this day

0:05:01.7 –>
people are just scratching the surface myself included very important the workflow and the manipulation of plugins while you’re on the fly while you’re working while you’re trying to develop a sound it stands alone in our industry as a tremendous piece of work it allows an engineer to truly develop a sound and be able to turn plugins on and off within the sound grid itself and be able to develop a workflow I do it religiously I have my favorite plugins but I’m always searching for something different so here comes waves with sound grid and the server into in full integration on the avid console when I say full integration that means you touch a plug-in and the tactile surface elegantly brings the essence of the plug-in on the surface of the console so you have the best of both

0:06:00.9 –>
worlds you can you can touch the screen or you can touch the the knobs and some people that have used these plugins these are old-school knobs like an API EQ its centric it’s got stop points the engineers had waves that develop this have to get incredible credit and also all the hard work that avid put in to make this possible for this console they need very special credits the modeling of this is absolutely fantastic things that we only dreamed would come in my lifetime as an I really invite everybody I’m myself I’m gonna go straight to the web site tomorrow download the manual again and read it top the bottom because like a movie the third time you watch it you go oh god I did you see that I never saw that well sound grid continues to excite me

0:07:02.9 –>
and to bring new things that I want to play with you

Video Text:

0:00:00. –>
the next generation of engineers I can’t imagine what their work life will be it will be tremendous fantastic we’re just beginning my mixes have never sounded this good in 35 years if I started mixing in 1978 77 76 well you know I didn’t really get my hands on a digital console for almost 20 years so what does that mean I’m going to gravitate to some of the greatest analog devices that were ever built and it just so happens that through geniuses like chris lord-alge ii and and jack joseph these people have modeled with waves help plugins that are so very

0:01:00.3 –>
close to the analog component that it’s scary this is the cornerstone of Ozzy’s bloke I start out with the SSL Channel and then my friend the c4 now this particular device I don’t know what to say it is unbelievable what it does for almost anything you have a challenge with the c4 enables me during the show if I need more high end it’s right here with a push of a button I’m 1/2 DB and this is the thing about waves plugins when you’re able to make a 1 to 2 DB change during the show and it and you hear it that is like being in a

0:02:03. –>
recording studio because now we’re really getting the Ferrari turning the corners like Michael Schumacher did when he was winning all those champions so I have that and then I finish it off with arguably the greatest bundle of plugins waves offers it’s the Renasant group I don’t care what level engineer you on you need this group and then it all comes into fall to get starts everything has got to have incredible articulation incredible articulation that is my goal 3d depth articulation when we go to the movie theater we sometimes get that in movies I want to reproduce that view I want the ticket buying public to come away and go that’s one of the best shows I’ve ever seen because of the sound

Other Engineers

FOH Engineer Garry Brown (Phish, Trey Anastasio Band, Oysterhead)

Behind the Live Sound of Coldplay with Daniel Green

Red Hot Chili Peppers – Dave Rat FOH Engineer

Antony King – Front of House Engineer for Depeche Mode

Gavin Tempany – FOH Tame Impala, Mark Knopfler, Hans Zimmer, Kylie and Eskimo Joe

Analogue vs Digital, How to ‘Hear’ when Mixing with Andrew Scheps