Freelance engineer Sean Sullivan's laptop, combined with Metric Halo's Mobile I/O 2882, has become an essential piece of gear on the road for him. It provides critical signal analysis and metering tools via Metric Halo's SpectraFoo software, while the MIO gives him signal routing that is frequently unavailable in touring sound systems.
As Sullivan observes, "Here I am with my laptop and my Mobile I/O and I'm pretty much carrying all the tools that you could ever ask for. Whether it be analyzing a P.A. or mixing an album, it's got everything built into it."
Sullivan, who has worked with Sean "P. Diddy" Combs, Justin Timberlake, Jennifer Lopez,and 98 Degrees, and is currently on tour with Jessica Simpson, relies on SpectraFoo to provide the metering and analysis tools that he generally cannot find on the road. "Typically, a touring vendor might send out an LED analyzer with not many features or functions such as memory slots. Say you want to measure the room in 20 different spots and save 20 different presets of what the room looks like. With 'Foo being software-based, you can memorize as many snapshots as you want to take.
"The third-octave–style analyzer, with which a concert sound system is typically tuned, can be re-created with SpectraFoo," he continues, "except you can have presets for how it looks. I also send my [console] solo cue bus to it and use the phase scopes. Touring boards don't have those kinds of features on them."
MIO also allows Sullivan to archive performances. "I use the Mobile I/O as my interface to get into Digital Performer," he says. "I send the AES output of my console, my mix bus, right into it and arm some tracks in DP. I also set up a stereo condenser mic at front of house and put that into a pair of channels in Mobile I/O and arm those in DP. Every night, I record the show with an AES output from my console and a pair of phantom-powered mics at the mix position right into DP."