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Sound at The Studio, Part 1

Sep 15, 2011 10:09 AM, With Bennett Liles

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I guess that makes it easier on load-in and load-out for the performers.
Yeah, it’s a union house but we don’t get the typical 8 a.m. load-in. We get a 1 p.m. load-in. We do set up and sound check and we're done –we do a dinner break and a show. So everything happens pretty quick in there so everything’s got to be very flexible. [Timestamp: 5:52]

Yeah, huge variety of performers, not just music acts. It looks to me like you do a good bit more than just that with some quick turnarounds from one thing to another. So what about the other end of the acoustic chain? What have you got as far as mics?
It’s mostly just Sennheiser. I’m using the Drum Pack Pro3 which is…the 900 series stuff and mostly 935’s for vocal mics. There’s a couple of Neumann TLM103’s for the large diaphragm condensers—some of the 914’s. It’s a mostly Sennheiser mic pack. I’ve got 4 58’s and a couple of 57’s as well but for the most part it’s almost all Sennheiser. [6:36]

Well it sounds like you could handle just about anything with what you’ve got there.
Yeah, like it’s…and the Gray Hall next door, the sound engineer, Mike, and I are good friends and we’re always trading stuff back and forth when we need it so we can pretty much, knock on wood, I haven’t run into anything I couldn’t get off the ground yet and we’ve done TV shows in there, we’ve done boxing and wrestling in there just because we can put the ring in the middle and re-configure the whole room. The best part about the job is it’s really interesting. [Timestamp: 7:05]

What have you done as far as wireless mics?
There’s only four channels. We’ve got two of the EM550 receivers. I’ve got two lav’s and two handhelds of the Mickey 2 Gold Lav’s and I’m using the S cam 935 handhelds so they’re pretty similar to the wired ones. [Timestamp: 7:26]

Is there anything about the layout of the place or of the construction that would make a wireless mic antenna system any sort of a challenge to set up?
No, actually we’re really lucky that way and next door in the Gray Hall they’re running a Sennheiser wireless rig too and it’s an older one…it’s probably eight or nine years old and we’ve never had a conflict which each other and I’ve actually never had any conflicts from the convention center next door either. I think the rooms are pretty well isolated from each other in the first place but we seem to be really lucky. Now that’s going to change…here in Canada, a year from now, all of my 700MHz gear is going to be no good anymore. They’ve sold that frequency off. [Timestamp: 8:06]

Yeah we, here in the US, were the guinea pigs on that one.
I guess so, yeah because I had been down in New York doing some road shows and encountered that situation a couple of times. So it’s coming here now so I…next year I’m going to have to see if Sennheiser will do a buyback with me and do an upgrade. [Timestamp: 8:23]

Well, you will most likely have to do some talking to your neighbors too on that.
Yeah, it’s going to be interesting. We’ve been looking at it for a while. We knew it was coming so we’re getting prepared. [Timestamp: 8:32]

So I would think that another thing that would change quite a bit in the variety of acts that you have there is the stage monitoring. So how do you do that?
Well we've got five EAW-SM200 wedges and I recycled the old EV11-52’s from the Delta Max Rig. They usually wind up being the drum monitor but we get a lot of in-ear’s now but it’s pretty easy to accommodate. The SY-48 is 48 in and 16 out so adding some ear mixes and I’ve got a three-way split as well so if the bands are touring with their own little ear rack with a mixer and everything we just patch them in and go. It works pretty fast. [Timestamp: 9:1]

It’s probably a lot of fun working in a smaller place that you can get yourself wrapped around and not have to have a whole lot of people running around and still be able to work with such an interesting variety of performers. I appreciate your taking time to be with us—Steve Foster with The Studio at Hamilton Place, Ontario, and in Part 2 we’ll be talking about doing some multi-track recording there. We’ll see ya then.

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