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The Show Was in Austin, the Console Was in Nashville

Engineer Tom Davis remotely mixed an iHeart Country concert last year with Harris-Elff Audio Resources.

Nashville-based engineer Tom Davis
Nashville-based engineer Tom Davis.

Los Angeles, CA (March 25, 2022)—Nashville-based engineer Tom Davis had an opportunity to experience the remote mixing technology developed by mixers John Harris and Jody Elff of Harris-Elff Audio Resources (HEAR) late last year when they called on him to work on an iHeart Country concert in Austin, TX.

“Jody happened to be in Hawaii for that one, so I got the call to handle the production mix,” says Davis, who had helped Harris and Elff test their remote workflow during its development process. “John and Jody had been experimenting with this technology for years, and knowing these guys and their reputation and expertise, it didn’t take much convincing to get me onboard. If they tell me something works, I believe them.”

Davis was able to connect the mixing console from his own SeisMic studio in Nashville directly to HEAR’s on-site rack in Austin quickly and effortlessly. The concert featured artists including Blake Shelton, Toby Keith and Little Big Town.

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“All I had to do was to reconnect a couple of cables and reboot my system and I was in,” Davis says. HEAR provided systems support to ensure smooth setup and operation of their technology. “I had Jody connected in from his laptop in Maui talking to me and looking simultaneously at both my system and their little hardware rack that’s on-site in Austin, so if we needed to tweak any configuration stuff, he could get right in there and do it for me. That guy is a genius!”

Unlike other remote mixing implementations that simply allow mouse control of another user’s workstation, HEAR’s approach ensured that Davis could work with the speed and efficiency of his full console. “Once it was up and running, it didn’t take but a minute for me to forget that I was operating a system across the country and not the one in my machine room at my studio,” he says. “It’s that transparent and fast. I’m mixing this thing using my console like I always do, even though the show is 3,000 miles away.”

“When you’re an engineer mixing a live music event that’s going straight to air, nothing can substitute for having 32 faders under your fingers,” says Elff. “Working with a console is a very tactile experience, it’s fast and it’s proven. This is why our systems are unique in the world right now. We make it possible to work over large distances without sacrificing the time-honored advantages that a console provides.”