HOPEWELL JUNCTION, NEW YORK – MAY 2010: Skid Row produced a string of iconic hits in the late 1980s and early 1990s, including “18 and Life,” “Youth Gone Wild,” and “I Remember You,” that now help define the era. In fact, a chapter of the new book, Full Metal Jackie Certified: The 50 Most Influential Heavy Metal Songs of the ’80s and the True Stories Behind Their Lyrics, is devoted to dissecting the origins and cultural impact of “18 and Life.” Today, the band maintains a busy schedule of fly-in dates throughout the country and around the world, performing both their classics and new songs from Revolutions Per Minute (2006). They use house or rental equipment so that they can travel light, and veteran FOH and monitor engineer Mike Thompson relies on Metric Halo’s SpectraFoo sound analysis software to deliver consistent sound night after night across disparate sound systems.
“Wherever we travel, I’m on a different board every night,” said Thompson, who got his start in the recording end of the pro audio spectrum, working with acts like Joan Jett and Eric Clapton at the Hit Factory in NYC. “For example, we recently spent a month in South America, hitting all the major cities. We rent backline and production equipment wherever we go. As a result, I’m not only dealing with different acoustics every night, but completely different equipment as well.”
Thompson originally heard about Metric Halo’s SpectraFoo in a magazine article. The software delivers every conceivable sound analysis tool in an easily-configurable interface. SpectraFoo’s list of features includes Lissajous phase scopes, frequency oscilloscopes, all manner of meters, spectrum analyzers, spectrogram spectral history meters, correlation and correlation history information, and many other tools. It can provide up to 24 channels of simultaneous analysis. Thompson runs SpectraFoo Complete, which also contains tools for acoustic measurement.
“I use SpectraFoo when I’m setting up both the house system and the monitors,” said Thompson. “I run noise and SpectraFoo gives me all the information I need to flatten out the system’s response. If something is off a bit, it will tell me exactly where and how much EQ I need to fix it. It is amazing how incredibly far from ideal some of these venues can be! Instead of guessing and tweaking for hours, SpectraFoo lays it all out there and makes my job much, much easier.”
Thompson is also impressed by the customer service that Metric Halo delivers. “I’ve only scratched the surface with SpectraFoo,” he said. “When I first started using it, I had a lot of questions. I called technical support, and I either spoke to engineer Allen Rowand immediately, or I left a message for him. He always called back! That is so rare these days. I can call other companies and never speak to a living human. Allen helped me both with direct advice and with online video tutorials.”
ABOUT METRIC HALO Based in New York’s Hudson Valley, Metric Halo provides the world with high-resolution metering, analysis, recording and processing solutions with award-winning software and future-proof hardware. www.mhlabs.com
Mike Thompson can be reached at his studio, Iron Sound Productions at: (732) 251-2525 â€¢ firstname.lastname@example.org