044 - MIXING ON THE FLY

In the last post here on this blog, I was talking about a challenging situation I was preparing for this past weekend: I was mixing a band for the first time, with no soundcheck, while headlining a festival. Well, on Saturday we did the show!

I had been prepping for this show a lot and had a pretty good plan to get as good of a result as I could, given the situation. Their usual FOH engineer Dave had sent me his show file for the DigiCo SD10, along with settings for the Waves plug-ins he uses, as well as multitrack audio files to use for a virtual soundcheck. We discussed this setup and figured it was the best way to approach this show.

Of course, it didn’t go exactly as planned. Since we wouldn’t have time to set everything up on the day of show, we were able to load in the day before and get situated. But we still had to work within a specific timeframe, and by time I got to the festival site (after a delayed flight!) we didn’t have time to work through all the technical issues that came up.

I explain more, and show a video of the setup we were using, right here:


You’ll notice in the video that we had rented our own console and the rest of the bands on that stage were using a separate console. This is common for bands that have a solid budget for production as it ensures that everything will run smoothly and nothing bad happens, like the console crashing from someone loading a virus through a dirty USB stick, or any hardwired patches getting changed and not repatched.

It also just ensures that the specific console we need will be there and available. However, there are plenty of bands that I’ve worked for that don’t have this kind of budget, and I could have made it work even if I had to use the festival console with everyone else. This is why it’s a good idea to know as many consoles as you can: so you can be flexible!

I’m glad this show went really well, despite the fact that it was difficult. My next tour is going to be much simpler - I’m off this Saturday on a comedy tour with the comedian/musician Fred Armisen. We definitely will NOT be carrying a console with us for those shows! I’ll post some videos from the road to talk about the different consoles and PA systems I see in each venue, and about anything else that seems fun to share! Please post a comment below if there’s anything specific you want me to discuss…

-Scott