Take a look at the picture above and tell me what’s wrong... I’ll go out for a bite while you study it.
Okay, I’m back. How many of you said, “The mix position is outside the coverage of the P.A. system?” Good for you, you are correct. Why in the world would any sane sound company want to park the mix position outside of the P.A.? Answer: because they are smart.
In fact, the wise P.A. company providing sound for this particular show located the mix position where they did to pacify the need for VIP seating. You see, the VIPs need to sit in the center of the audience area and cannot have any sort of obstructed view of the stage (tell that to the people standing in front of the VIPs). I guess they really don’t care how the band sounds as long as they can impress their friends with the view.
And so I mixed the show walking back and forth all night long like the ducks in the arcade just 100 feet behind me. (It’s a county fair gig.) I probably paced 11 miles through the duration of the show so that I could listen, make adjustments to the mix, walk out to the center, listen again… you get the idea. Lucky for me, the systems engineer had an iPad running software to control the console so I could walk and mix at the same time. Just try to get an Arcade Duck to do that!
What’s the point of a VIP area if there’s no regard for what they are hearing? Ahhh, they don’t care about what they hear! Until they do, and then they come along griping at me. Go away and leave me alone to pace back and forth another few miles. No, I had no idea the hi-hat was the loudest thing since the “1812 Overture,” and that’s probably because your VIP seating forced me to mix from a place where I could not possibly hear any high end from the P.A. I’ll go and fix it.
So how does that make the sound company smart? They knew (like I did) that griping wasn’t going to change the minds of the Fair Board members, so they briefly made their case (as I did) and then left it alone. I could have made a big stink, but even if we could have moved the mix position, it would have wasted too much time. There’s no point causing a rift when there’s no way it’s going to solve the issue. The bottom line is that playing nice let’s you keep the gig on the calendar for next year.
By the way—of the 100 or so seats in the VIP area, about 10 of them were filled.
Good grief. Now if only we could get rid of that helicopter that landed near the stage and blew dust all over the gear...