Photo: Keith Clark
ET Live!, held during the LDI 2007 conference (November 16-18, 2007) in Orlando, employed six P.A. systems and requisite concert gear (including front-of-house and monitor consoles, processing, amps, etc.). Here are some highlights from what we saw — and heard — with the SPL clocking to 110 dB at some points during the performances by local bands.
Making big news was EAW, with it public debut of the NTL 720 system, code-named BLAM for “baby line array module.” It's a three-way self-powered enclosure, a true hybrid approach combining Gunness Focusing user-controlled DSP and elements from the KF900 and KF730 technology. Dave Rat (of Rat Sound, pictured) mixed Led Zeppelin tribute band Physical Graffiti on the new UMX.96 digital console, his first foray into digital mixing.
“I was involved early on with some of the consulting on its design; actually, in the mid-stages,” Rat recalls. “So I became somewhat familiar with it. As far as features, I tend not to be a big digital console fan; I'm a hard-sell. On the other hand, it's got a fairly analog layout. I do like the concept. One feature is the tactile knob with a motor in it with feedback for whatever you assign it to be. If it's the pan pot, it has a little center detent. If it's a volume pot, it clicks. It has end stops; I kind of like the idea of that. It allows you to take your eyes off the board and watch the band while you're controlling something.”
At the QSC stage, Brian English was pulling double-duty as marketing guru and mixer. He experimented at the show with a “5.2” system, with the surround WL8s providing mostly ambience and a nice sweet spot. Up front in the center, the company flew the brand-new, compact WideLine 8s and thumped the low end with the new ultracompact WideLine double-18 sub. All power is from the new PowerLight 3 Series, meaning upward of 120,000 distributed watts. EtherSound, RAVE and CobraNet worked together, and English made a point to thank Allen & Heath for bringing out the new iLive 144 digital board for FOH and monitors.
Over at the Digidesign and d&b audioteknik stage, front-of-house engineer Robert Scovill and monitor engineer Dave Skaff mixed the Latin Wave on Digidesign boards. Digidesign is also a relative newcomer to the field, though you'd never know it from the 700 VENUE consoles that are in use worldwide. Scovill took some of his allotted time following the performance to extol the virtues and introduce the possibilities of a plug-in-based architecture for the crowd around FOH. He introduced the Digidesign All Access bundle and the Waves Live bundle, and demonstrated the instant record/mix/playback capabilities. The benefits of running TDM natively on the VENUE DSP is said to reduce latency to as low as 20 microseconds, a single sample.
Scovill also spoke of the rapid acceptance of Digidesign gear to the live sound market, saying, “Live sound guys work with artists that know Pro Tools. For them, it almost becomes this little bridge to credibility with the artist. They feel comfortable. Add to that the engineers who get really well-versed in VENUE are driven to get well-versed in Pro Tools, and now you expand their visibility to the artist. Artists view them a little differently. We've had instances of engineers getting more work with a given artist because they have the Pro Tools background.”
D.A.S. showed off its mid-sized line array, the ACN38A; the Three Forks Road band was mixed on a DiGiCo D5 at FOH, with a D1 at monitors. Relative P.A. manufacturer newcomer (at least to the States) Outline brought its Butterfly CDH43 line array. The band was mixed on a StageTec Aurus with fiber Nexus networking throughout.
Dave Rat Interview, Part 1
Dave Rat Interview, Part 2