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Sound at The Studio, Part 2

Oct 5, 2011 3:38 PM, with Bennett Liles

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Editor's note: For your convenience, this transcription of the podcast includes timestamps. If you are listening to the podcast and reading its accompanying transcription, you can use the timestamps to jump to any part of the audio podcast by simply dragging the slider on the podcast to the time indicated in the transcription.

The Studio at Hamilton Place, Ontario is a popular venue with a huge variety of acts from boxing to acoustic solos to hard rock. Steve Foster is back to wrap up his talk about the studio on mixing and lighting control. That's coming right up on the SVC podcast.
Steve, thanks for being back with me for Part 2 on The Studio at Hamilton Place in Ontario, Canada—a nice little place seating about 900 with a huge variety of performances. In Part 1 we were talking about the stage monitoring in your wireless mic system and the coming 700 MHz changes in Canada. We didn't talk a whole lot about the mixing consoles, so what FOH mixer do you have there?

Well we've got the new Innovason Eclipse, it's a 48-channel, 16 outs as well on the stage rack on that, and then it's also got the Mars recording system built in. So essentially there's a computer for the live side, a computer for the recording side, but I had the Innovason SY-48 at FOH and I liked it and when I tried this one. They'd made a lot of improvements especially adding encoders to the control surface. It makes it a lot faster and a touch screen and a lot of big upgrades and the recording side of it—it's dual purpose, it's a virtual sound check system where I can have the band play one or two songs and then they can go for coffee and I can do the tweaks and then if they want to come back great, if not we're all ready to go. [Timestamp: 2:04]

Do you have multi-track recording and use that pretty much?
I haven't used virtual sound check. I did use it on one show where we had a real time crunch on a TV thing—where I had back-to-back stuff—but we're starting...the house is looking at offering it as a service too because it'll do a 64 track and essentially you just put your hard drive in the back and arm your tracks and it's already pre-patched one to one and it's a lot of preferences where you can have all the labeling follow it so it's very easy to use. I did do a recording for a Jeff Martin show. He's a singer for a band called Tea Party. He's got a band out of Australia now called 777 and it came off really well. I'm actually going to ship everything off to them—I don't know I guess they're going to take it in the studio and see what they can do from there. [Timestamp: 2:57]

I would think that a multi-track situation would be a big selling point for the place. A house with about 500 seats or so would be just about the right size for a really good recording of lots of different types of music.
The Philharmonic orchestra will rehearse in there too and I would like to get a chance to mic them up for a rehearsal too just to try the other side. I've done quite a few rock and blues acts on it so far but I think the idea's working on something where they can offer a package to the client to walk away with a multi-track at the end of the day. [Timestamp: 3:29]

Absolutely. So what sort of effects do you use? With that size of house are effects a little more sparingly used?
Yeah I use the onboard VB audio plug ins on the Innovason, and your pretty run-of-the-mill reverbs and delays but yeah, it's a smaller room and having that more intimate vibe, you can't be too heavy-handed with it for sure. So generally every channel's got a comp on it on both consoles and a gate too, so I mean, occasionally I'll patch in some out board gear for some of the road guys and...which is really easy because both consoles have 16 in and out that are XLR to D-sub. Basically I just patch them in and you go into one of the direct I/O page and hit "I" and you insert the thing and it's ready to go. So it's really fast. [Timestamp: 4:24]

And what kind of a crew do you have during the performances? Does that vary or is it always just you or a couple of people?
From just me on up. Occasionally if there's a band and maybe they've got an acoustic opener or duo or something I'll do the gig by myself and I'll have to run both consoles. I could re-patch and mix from FOH but a lot times because the consoles are linked I can make the pre-amp on a monitor desk the master and I'll just run through the line check quickly and the Eclipse has a digital trim as well so I can live with setting the pres at the monitor desk and if I need to attenuate at FOH I can just do it with the digital trim. [Timestamp: 5:04]

Yeah, that's an interesting concept in a house that small with everything mobile and reconfigurable on where you might put the monitor mixer.
It pretty much lives at stage left all the time, and I would say most of the time it's me and a monitor engineer because we'll give the client depending on if they don't want to have an extra technician for lighting we can just put a wash up and we'll leave the wash up for the night. Or they have the option to bring a guy in and we'll run a proper light show. But for the most part it's me and another guy but I do occasionally run into that where it'll just be me. I find that once everybody's happy in sound check with monitors they tend not to want changes and by keeping those gains a bit separate, so to speak, their mix is solid throughout the night. [Timestamp: 4:48]

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