Mark Burnett Productions' (Survivor, The Apprentice, Contender) RockStar:INXS, which searched for the next INXS lead singer (the winner, J.D. Fortune, was picked in late September), relies on musical director Paul Mirkovich to pull the show's audio elements together, including the theme song — a new version of INXS' “New Sensation.” “I recorded the basic tracks in my home studio on Nuendo using a mixture of live and virtual instruments,” said Mirkovich. “Steinberg's The Grand is the main piano on the theme song, and all the synths are virtual.” Mirkovich also used Native Instruments Reaktor, B4, Pro53, Giga libraries through ReWire, Atmosphere and Steinberg's D'cota.
“With Nuendo, I'm able to edit each arrangement down to a minute-and-a-half, mix it, export to MP3 and upload it to a network so each bandmember and the production crew can learn it for the next show,” he reports. Once the show is live, Mirkovich uses a variety of virtual instruments via a Muse Receptor for playback. “Everything in a show like this happens very fast, and the musical elements that are key to the entire production must be done quickly and in high quality to go on air.”
The RockStar:INXS house band, from left: Rafael Moreira, Sasha, Jim McGorman, Paul Mirkovich and Nate Morton
photo courtesy Mark Burnett Productions
Amplifying all of this power was an SLS Loudspeaker system, run by front-of-house engineer Andrew Fletcher, broadcast music mixer Randy Faustino and broadcast production audio mixer Michael Abbott. The house line array comprised 12 RLA/1s, six RLA 1.5s, four RLA/2s, four RLA/3s, four TSR full-range, three-ways and eight US118XEL subwoofers (single-18). Onstage, SLS provided 22 112RM wedges, 10 US8190 wedges, four PS84 powered two-ways and four S84 compact two-ways.
Steve Jones, technical director
Meanwhile, finalists recorded a single with the band at Los Angeles — based Westlake Studios. For these sessions, INXS technical director Steve Jones used a Mackie monitoring system based around the TT24 digital live console and Mackie Active loudspeakers. “We didn't have space for a traditional monitor system and the usual racks of amplifiers and parametric EQs that go along with passive speakers,” Jones said. “The TT24 was a perfect fit for the control room. There was limited available space with the 72-channel Neve and the large amount of outboard gear already there. We positioned the TT24 behind and to the side of the Neve, with a Mackie SRM350 alongside as a local monitor speaker.” The TT24 ran in Aux mode, with Jones putting a wedge on a send. The inputs were fed from a combination of tape and insert sends from the Neve so that there were no splits involved and everything could be recorded through the main console.
For the main room, Jones selected five Mackie SRM450 Active P.A. speakers for the band, an SWA1801 sub and an additional SRM 450 for the drum monitor. A Mackie Onyx 1620 was brought in as an effects submixer in the control room and as a keyboard submixer in the tracking room. An Onyx 800R rackmount mic pre provided eight channels of mic and line amplification and digital conversion.