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Mark Woodcock: Making Every Gig Count

By Bill Evans / January 23, 2017

By Rev. Bill

Let this serve as a gentle reminder that every gig counts. In fact, that seemingly insignificant local gig may be the one that’s the mythical “big break.”

Mark Woodcock started the way many a career has. Working—often for free—mixing club bands in his native England. He emigrated to the US and was picking up work for local companies where he could. One night—“Out of the blue,” he says—after mixing a show at a local club, he got a call and was asked to mix some shows for country legend Merle Haggard. He did not know that Merle lived 20 mins away or that anyone from his camp was at that club gig.

Haggard had seen a career resurgence after several of his songs were featured in popular movies. Mark went to work and toured with the writer who has been called both the “poet of the common man” and one of the creators of the Bakersfield Sound for five years. That led to a still ongoing gig—since 2008—with Bush as well as ongoing stints with Rob Zombie and Cindi Lauper. We caught up with him back in October on a gig with Lauper—featuring music from her new trad country record and sell as hits from a career that has spanned three decades. Check the video for more.

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Waves dbx 160 Compressor Plug-In

By Erik Rogers / May 22, 2015

I cut my teeth on a Crest GT40, analogue console.  I loved everything about that desk.  I couldn’t imagine needing more than 8 aux sends back then and I didn’t know what a VCA was.  To the right of my console was a rack full of outboard dynamic and effect units that were either inserted on a channel (or a group) or fed vix one of the precious 8 aux sends and returned to one or more channels on far right of the console.  Back then a 40 channel console was effectively a 28 channel console after taking up stereo pairs for effects and playback.  The aux returns on that desk were relatively useless and awkward so those knobs just held the setlist up.

A short 15 year fast forward and I have some pretty amazing tools at my disposal.  My current FOH console is a Midas Pro6 with using 34 inputs, 16 aux sends and 16 matrix sends.  The outboard rack has been replaced with a Waves Soundgrid Server with 32 send/return channels at 96k over Madi converted from a Klark Teknik DN9650 with another DN9650 converting AES50 to Dante for record and virtual soundcheck playback.

The on-board dynamics on the Midas Pro6 are fantastic.  However, when I was afforded the opportunity to use the Soundgrid I embraced Waves whole heartedly and went about setting up my own digital outboard rack.

There’s the first mistake and I’m sure that everyone who has ever made the conversion from analogue to digital will admit (at least to themselves) in doing this… I inserted everything everywhere.  “I can put a C6 on my bottom snare?  FUCK YEAH, I can.  Why not?”  I spent more time figuring out what amazing widget I could plug-in to make everything perfect that I had almost forgotten what my purpose was.  As a FOH engineer, my job is to reinforce the amazing sounds coming from the stage and translate them as transparently as possible to the audience.  Toys are for playing; tools are for working.  I quickly decided to use my plugins as the tools they were intended to be and my insert count has significantly diminished.

Let’s have a look at the current Apocalyptica input / output list with inserts:

1 Kick Dynamic – Audix D6 – Waves DBX160
2 Kick Condenser – Sennheiser e901 – Waves DBX160
3 Snare Top – Audix D2 – Waves Maxx Volume
4 Snare Bottom – Audix D2
5 Tom 1 (14”) – Sennheiser e604 – Waves DBX160
6 Tom 2 (16”) – Sennheiser e604 – Waves DBX160
7 Tom 3 (18”) – Sennheiser e604 – Waves DBX160
8 Tom 4 (22”) – Audix D6 – Waves DBX160
9 Roto Toms – ‘y’ cable of 2 Sennheiser e906 – Waves C6
10 OH SR – Shure KSM32
11 Ride 1 – Sennheiser e614
12 Ride 2 – Sennheiser e614
13 Hi Hat – Sennheiser e614
14 OH SL – Shure KSM32
15 Open
16 Open
17 Cello 1 (Perttu) Mic – DPA 4099
18 Cello 1 (Perttu) Amp – Radial JDX
19 Cello 1 (Perttu) Amp Mic – Sennheiser e906
20 Cello 2 (Eicca) Mic – DPA 4099
21 Cello 2 (Eicca) Amp – Radial JDX
22 Cello 2 (Eicca) Amp Mic – Sennheiser e906
23 Cello 3 (Paavo) Mic – DPA 4099
24 Cello 3 (Paavo) Dirty DI – Radial J48
25 Cello 3 (Perttu) SUB DI – Radial J48
26 Cello 3 (Perttu) Amp Mic – Audix i5
27 SR Vox – Shure SM58 – RF
28 Ctr Vox – Shure SM58 – RF
29 FRANKY PEREZ Vox – Telefunken M80 on Shure UHF-R Transmitter – WavesC6 – Waves Vitamin – Waves One Knob Driver
30 Spare Vocal – Shure SM58
31 Click
32 Intro

Aux 1 – Cello Verb – Send to Waves Renaissance Reverb
Aux 2 – Cello Delay – Send to Waves H-Delay
Aux 3 – Vocal Reverb – Send to Waves Renaissance Reverb
Aux 4 – Vocal Doubler – Send to Waves Doubler
Aux 5 – Kick Sub Group
Aux 6 – Snare Sub Group – WavesC6 inserted on group
Aux 7/8 – Cymbals Croup – WavesC6 inserted on group
Aux 9/10 – Perttu Cello Group – WavesC6 inserted on group
Aux 11/12 – Eicca Cello Group – WavesC6 inserted on group
Aux 13/14 – Paavo Cello Group – WavesC6 Side Chain inserted on group
Aux 15 – Vocal Delay – Sent to Midas on-board delay
Aux 16 – open …for now…

Matrix 1 – Left
Matrix 2 – Right
Matrix 3 – Sub
Matrix 4 – Front
Matrix 5 – Record L
Matrix 6 – Record R
Matrix 7 – House Feed
Matrix 8 – Smaart Listen

My favorite Waves discovery is, by far, the DBX160 plugin.  How can I describe it?  IT SOUNDS AND ACTS LIKE A DBX160.  That’s it.  It’s not magic.  It’s not trickery.  It’s the digital version of an industry favorite compressor.  Before I actually checked out the preset library for it, I inserted the DBX160 on my kicks and set it to max input gain, heavy gain reduction and compression and voila… there’s the kick that I used to have back on the old Crest console.  When I dug into the preset library I had to chuckle to myself that the kick drum preset in the plugin had the exact same settings that I instinctively put in place.  Someone over at Waves had the analogue ancestor of this device and loved it for sure.

Another cool Waves discovery is the C6 Side Chain.  The bass cello and the kick are always fighting for space in the subs.  Now that I can side chain the LF band in the cello with the fundamental frequency of the kick they play nicely together and the subs are more manageable.

This blog is just the beginning.  In the coming weeks I’ll be making some videos and posting them for demo of how these plugins are working in the mix.  I’ll also go over the how and why I put microphones where I put them.  For now… It’s time to go remake my patch to accommodate the support band, Art of Dying so they can use the Pro6 as well.

Many thanks to Duane Tabinksi at MidCoast Sound in Nashville for the gear and support, Bill “The Rev” Evans for the opportunity to share my experiences with you, Kyle Chirnside and Chris Malmgren at Midas for the late night / early morning phone calls and, of course, Apocalyptica for pretty much everything.

Cheers!

 

 

 

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NAB: Console Wars v 2.0

By Bill Evans / April 22, 2015

It’s the quick version but this is v2. Not only are we putting this on a brand spankin’ new version of the SPL site but we have added our own video for Avid and DiGiCo and stripped out the “official” ones. One second thought, maybe we’ll keep the officials and just add the ones we shot at NAB.

 

When we posted this a few days ago, we said that Console Wars are back in a big way. Interestingly, two console companies who were not originally included sent almost immediate emails asking why not–which leads to the usual discussions of the finite nature of time. So we are adding at least some links for them. So there is a ton here that was not here when we first posted.

 

We’ll do this alphabetically…

 

Avid. A whole new system. We got that 20mins+ of Mr. Scovill walking us through everything edited down to about 15 mins. And it really does take that long to go through. This is the biggest change Avid has made to their Live Sound systems in a decade.

 

 

And, here is their official video in case you missed it.

 

 

DiGiCo. While everyone else was going—or getting ready to go—bigger, they were once again going against the tide with the new S21. Again, we have the full deal with Matt Larson.

 

And here is the movie trailer. Really. It’s the sound guy version of a Star Wars teaser…

 

 

Now the ones not included first time around.

 

Roland unleashed the M-5000. It’s based on a new platform that they call OHRCA. (Open. High Resolution. Configurable Architecture) As is becoming the norm, the keywords here are “not fixed” and “user definable.”  The idea is to allow the operator to essentially “build” a console structure to suit the needs of the application. Instead of input and output channels we have freely assignable  audio paths that can be used for mixing channels, AUXs, Matrices, subgroup buses, MIX-MINUS buses, and other input/output configurations within a range of up to 128 on the M-5000. You can check out their very hip web site on the console here.

 

SSL has updated the L500 and it is now called the L500 Plus. You can read all about it here.

 

(With all of this talk of “user definable” and “open configuration” and “anything can be anything you want it to be” I am brought to mind of a blog that the aforementioned Mr. Scovill wrote for us some time back about something called Choice Fatigue. It’s a real thing. And it is coming to an audio console near you…

 

Finally, Yamaha. Still a lot of talk about the coming Rivage PM10 which will be the long-awaited replacement to the still out there on a bunch of big tours PM1D/. All we know is that they are saying it will be out in this calendar year and if you are a fan of the stuff Yamaha has been partnering on with Rupert Neve, you are gonna LOVE this. If we say anymore someone will show up to have us killed…

 

But there was new console stuff actually at the show. Version 3.0 for the Yamaha CL and QL Digital Audio Consoles is ready for download In addition the fifth major update to the StageMix App for iPad was released simultaneously. With the expanded CL/QL V3.0 feature set and the capabilities provided by StageMix V5.0 a sweeping spectrum of applications, from live sound to broadcast relay and recording at venues from the grandest to the most compact, will benefit from significantly enhanced convenience and flexibility.

 

Additional CL/QL V3.0 Features not previously announced include User Defined Knobs can now be assigned to control reverb, time, delay time, and other effect parameters providing direct, quick access to effect parameters that could previously only be accessed by calling up the effect screen. With V3.0, it is now possible to set up patching and SRC for the RMio64-D Dante/MADI conversion I/O rack unit from the CL/QL V3.0 display Channel Link. Previously only available at the inputs, it is now available at the channel outputs as well.

 

With CL/QL V3.0, the EQ and dynamics settings on multiple buses can be linked to significantly reduce setup time. Two internal oscillators can now be set to different frequencies for the odd and even numbered channels; an advantage for L/R line checks.

 

 

V3.0 features also include the ability to convert signals received at a stereo channel into mono with a single action. L-MONO coverts the odd-numbered channel to mono, R-MONO converts the even-numbered channel to mono, and LR-MONO mixes both channels and converts to mono; all functions can be executed with just one touch. Send levels for all channels are now visible in the METER display when SENDS ON FADERS is engaged. Also, CL and QL consoles can now be set to Preferred Master directly from V3.0 display without the need for Dante Controller. When Preferred Master is engaged, the device becomes the Dante network clock master.

 

New StageMix V5.0 features common to CL, QL, M7CL and LS9, include a 61-band real time analyzer that receives input from the built-in iPad microphone is now included. This function is integrated with the PEQ/GEQ displays, allowing a sound engineer to move around the stage while checking for problem frequencies at various locations, and use PEQ or GEQ to make appropriate adjustments on the spot. With V5.0, it is now possible to adjust the send level from the SENDS ON FADERS button to the MATRIX when the Mix block is selected in the Navigation/Meter Bridge. And with support for dB display in the Mixer window, Fader scales can now be displayed in the Mixer window, allowing easy visual confirmation of fader positions.

 

StageMix V5.0 features for CL and QL include support for multiple iPad connections (previous versions only allowed one device to be connected at a time). V5.0 allows up to five devices to be connected simultaneously enabling musicians to simultaneously use SENDS ON FADERS to set up their personal monitor balances. Control for the new 8-band PEQ feature included in the CL/QL V3.0 update is provided. This includes a notch filter and HPF/LPF as well.

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Waves Multirack Over AES50

By Jim Roese / April 14, 2015

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