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Organization on your board
Old 26th September 2016
Lives for gear
🎧 10 years
Organization on your board

Hey Robb.
You have an impressive resume! Worked with so many great artists.

I wonder how you keep organized on your board?
Do you work a lot with VCAs or more with single channels?
Do you group lots of your channels together rather than use VCAs, or do you use both?
Do you do group compression to keep your groups together?
Any other crazy routing stuff you do?

Thanks a lot for doing this!
Old 26th September 2016
Special Guest
robballan's Avatar
🎧 5 years
VCAs etc

Hi Nik
Yes worked with bunch of great bands and artists over the years. I was thinking about this the other day and after a certain point in my career I can't really think of any band I'm embarrassed about touring with or didn't enjoy the music. Now that I'm "semi retired" (i did four months touring this year as opposed to ten or eleven in my full on years) I love every gig. The most fun I have or can imagine having standing up is the hour and a half I'm behind a mixing desk whilst Massive Attack are on stage. Its the other twenty three that can be dull when touring. I'm working really hard to get the technology to the point when I can sit in my studio in Barcelona and mix the show wherever it is in the world.
Right VCAs: yep I organise the eighty something channels I have from the stage into VCAs. I have 32 VCAs on my S6L but I only use eight mainly. (still analogue ingrained in there somewhere). Acoustic kit, electronic kit, bass, guitars,keys, playback, vocals and FX. On some shows we have an 18 piece string section then I'll also have first violins, second, violas and cellos. On MA I don't mix on them, I use them for adjusting crude, relative overall levels. Maybe the drummer is a little"tired" and isn't hitting the kit as hard as normal or an acoustic in the room means I need to drive the bass harder etc. I usually don't touch them after the first couple of songs if at all. I also use my VCAs to 'spill' channels to the surface.the S6L lets me double tap attention on a VCA fader and the members of that VCA then spill out onto the top layer of the surface wherever they are on different layers of the desk.
I should probably explain tat MA never soundcheck so I only ever do a virtual soundcheck during the day. The first time I hear the actual band on stage is during the first song.
I don't use groups on MA. The dynamic range varies so much that group compression would be unusable. I have gates and comps etc. on individual channels. I'll have different settings on different songs or parts of songs depending on the needs of each tune. On other bands, maybe more straightforward, I've been a big fan of parallel compression. For example, on Coldplay I'd have a compressed and uncompressed drum group. I'd also bring out the mids in the squashed drums. I'd put varied amounts of both into the mix depending on the song. This can give the effect of "lengthening" the drums front end and make them punch out of the mix. Also Chris's piano I'd have a 'dry' group and one with phoenix by crane song to give it a crushed analogue feel. Back in the day this was an easy workflow with analogue, and all the Avid desks allow you to do this with auto delay compensation, otherwise with digital consoles you can get into a whole world of comb filtering pain if you don't compensate for the different times it will take a single input to a single output via different paths. ok?

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