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Thursday, July 30, 2009

Getting Caught Up

Updating this site always seems to come with the best intentions of doing it frequently but I actually end up executing it more infrequently.  Basically, I always want to keep it fresh and full of information so it can be the resource I would like it to be for our industry.  Friends and family like to keep track of it also to see if I am actually working..that always rests their minds! Well, there certainly has been no lack of work for the month of July! Being a part of the audio team for the world's largest software company and the massive shows they put on has occupied the entire month.  Between the World Partner Conference in New Orleans earlier this month and the Global Experience in Atlanta the last half of July, there has been no down time.  Both of these shows are as big, or bigger, than any of the large scale arena shows on which I work. But, aside from the installation of these systems, which includes the ten or more JBL VerTec line array clusters, piles of rigging and miles of cables, once settled in I spend my day mixing for two main parties.  First, there is up to forty channels of computer generated audio that I mix to a composite left and right to FOH for the PA and record mix. After all, these shows are a software company's day in the sun, so the demos of all of the new software and devices means they make noise, play music and put out video for the audience. Second, there is always a live band on these shows that plays a part in the theatric opening for the day, as well as walk in music and bumper music for the individuals who speak. In order to keep the sound environment clean and low on too much energy, the agreement was made years ago that these performers be on in ear monitors. Each musician and vocalist has their own individual stereo mix. At times they are not accustomed to this type of listening, possibly coming from a world of stage monitor speakers, studios or even the street. The World Partner Conference this year, for instance, had the Playing For Change Band, whos origins are from the Playing For Change Project, an amazing effort to unite people around the globe by performing from a location in their country, being recorded and ultimately creating a finished piece of music.  The band has now been brought together on stage from around the world, from all different cultures and music styles and most every player is not used to wearing in ear monitors. This poses a challenge of not only creating the right mix for them to hear, but helping to educate them on what to focus on to be comfortable with the whole idea. It is a foreign scene for them, having a director talk into their ears, listening to click tracks and music tracks, all while playing normally. They did extremely well and the crowd was very drawn to the raw energy and sincerity in how they performed. They are all extremely gifted players and vocalists. On to the Global Experience show in Atlanta, I had a far different band assembled by some top Nashville artists.  Although accustomed to wearing in ear monitors, there was still the odd environment of playing small pieces of songs as bumper music and having a director talk in their ear while they played. They performed great and were a pleasure to work with.
These shows pull me away from my usual world of mixing monitors for established big name acts on large television shows. It is a welcomed departure at times as it allows me to create a relationship with an artist from the ground up, rather than with an artist and their mixer who arrive with a preconceived notion of how the mix should be or what equipment to use. Although, plenty of the latter show up with their act together, many do not, and I certainly have the ability to make your day much easier if you allow me to help you, translated as, "do it my way".
As a side note, there is always a "bag of tricks" that a mixer travels with that allow him or her to have a platform to start from that set them up for success. To have a guaranteed allotment of equipment that you are accustomed to that you know and trust can put you way beyond "square one" at the beginning of your day.  So, aside from my starting point of digital mixer types, in ear monitor transmitter and receiver types, I also have to say that the actual earphone that an artist uses is the last piece of the puzzle. I personally use Future Sonics  ear monitors. They were the first and I believe they remain the finest. The ability to have such a true representation of all of the instrumentation in a mix allows for a lower listening level and ultimately a better mix. I cannot say enough about their craftsmanship, support and...sound. So, if you have the time, visit
www.futuresonics.com to see what I am blathering on about.
As always, if you ever need help or even just some information or ideas, please do not hesitate to contact me.


11:51 am pdt 

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