The fall leg of U2’s Vertigo tour recently kicked off with veteran Clair Bros. engineer Dave Skaff who chose Digidesign’s VENUE live sound environment to handle monitor mixing duties. Skaff, a 25-year mixing engineer whose credits include U2, Alicia Keys, Shania Twain and more, first used VENUE as a front-of-house console for Alicia Keys.
“I tried out VENUE in the FOH position in January at an Alicia Keys show in California,” says Skaff, “and from that experience, I’d recommend VENUE at either end of the snake, which is why VENUE was my choice for this leg of the Vertigo tour. VENUE has the sound and feel of your favorite analog console along with reliable digital control, ease of use, powerful plug-ins and Pro Tools compatibility.”
For the U2 gig, Skaff is using VENUE’s 24 mix buses to drive a combination of in-ear mixes and wedge mixes for Adam Clayton (bass) and Larry Mullen (drums), as well as several backline technicians. VENUE’s Personal Q (PQ) is being used onstage in place of an analog submixer to allow remote control of the drum monitor mix.
A rackmounted Pro Tools|HD system connected directly to VENUE;s HDx interface allows Skaff to record up to 96 tracks of audio with no additional Digidesign interfaces. Once recorded, he can then switch from the live inputs to Pro Tools playback tracks—a feature that gets put to use daily during soundcheck. “There wasn’t much pre-production time with the console before the tour started, so I’ve been using the Pro Tools tracks recorded during rehearsal to refine each mix during soundcheck, without needing the band onstage,” says Skaff.
Skaff also didn’t have any problem switching from an analog console to VENUE mid-tour. “I’m an old live sound mixer and just a novice with Pro Tools,” he says. “And it wasn’t difficult even for an old road dog like me to use the two together effectively. I can honestly say that this is the first new console that I’ve used in a long time that will live up to its considerable potential in both the high -uality audio and digital reliability, not to mention all the really cool plug-in possibilities.”
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