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Stories From the Road

By Allen Rowand

February 21, 2008

04: Toronto, or Replay That Funky Music

When we spent 9 weeks in Toronto, we decided to re-tune the PA system on the tour. It's common to "touch up" a long running show; settings start to drift, equipment performance can deteriorate slowly and you don't notice over a few months… So we occasionally make time to "re-tweak" everything and make sure that it all sounds the way it should.

So I decided to steal adopt a technique I read about in the Metric Halo news; record a performance, then play it back for system tuning. While doing a true multitrack recording of our show was impractical (we have over 80 input channels), it was very easy to record our 8 major subgroups: 2 principle vocals, 2 ensemble vocals, 2 orchestra, 2 effects.

The next day we came in and played the recording back through the subgroups, which have "injects" that you can route external signals to. The associate designer could ask for things like, "I want to hear the chorus members wearing ear rigged microphones through the upper vocal cluster only" that would be impossible to do during a show. This let us hear exactly how the system sounded in a way that we never could otherwise. It let me take measurements in a way that I normally can't; management frowns on me climbing over patrons with a mic and 100' cable. It's also very eerie hearing a Broadway show exactlyas was performed the previous night, but in an empty venue :)

I used my 2882 interface and the MIOConsole's record panel to record the show. I took the tracks and made a session in Logic Pro for ease of playback, and played the files back through the 2882. I took a feed from the console into my ULN-2 interface along with a measurement mic to take transfer functions in SpectraFoo. I had Logic, 'Foo, and two interfaces running on my MacBook Pro at the same time, but I could have done it all with one interface and Metric Halo software. I felt like seeing what the system would do, and it exceeded my expectations.

Until next time,