ok Steve and all...time to give the down/dirty on my week here in Austin during SxSW.
let me begin by saying any names or gigs i mention are not intended to be for name-dropping purposes....i definitely am not a bragger...just supplying the context.
so...the last several years, KCRW (a killer radio station from Santa Monica, Ca) comes
to my day-job studio (Tequila Mockingbird Studio) and broadcasts their "Morning Becomes Eclectic" show from our facility. we have a DJ booth set up near the main control room that has a small mixer, a few mics, and an ISDN box. the DJ does 3 hours in there, and then for the 4th hour moves into the studio for a band performance that is sent back to "central command" via a 2nd ISDN box and line.
this is an awesome project for us, but is an intense one too. this year, KCRW allowed
me to be the broadcast mixer for the bands whereas in previous years they brought their own "house" guy down. so, for only the 3rd time in my life, i got to mix live-to-the-world! pretty fun, but definitely makes me break a sweat.
so Wednesday, the KCRW crew comes in and we set up the studio. all good fun. long story short, we had Peter, Bjorn, and John come in Thursday for the performance, and PJ Harvey and John Parish on Friday. you can see/hear the results here: Morning Becomes Eclectic - KCRW
look for the "recent shows" links.
anyway, i'll spare you the details there, except to say both bands were awesome...very very professional...and very very nice. the mixes were "what they were"...since this
was live and all...but i'm reasonably proud.
now, while all this was going on, i also got a gig to record Alejandro Escovedo at a day party called "South by San Jose" put on by the folks at the San Jose Hotel here in Austin. it's an all-day/multi-day party with bands of all sorts. so i get the gig because they're shooting the show on camera, and the producer decided it would be a good idea to get a good recording...and she got my name from a guy...etc....and off i went.
so i get this gig only 6 days before the actual event. the big snag is A) i'm working Wed. through Friday on KCRW and that is dominating my attention and the gig is that very same Friday, and B) it's a 16 piece band for 30 or so inputs!
my current rig is set up for 24 inputs. so now i have less than 6 days to figure this out. my initial plan was to buy the Lynx Aurora 16 and go 16 analog ins and 16 AES/EBU ins from my Presonus mic pre-amps for a total of 32 inputs. of course, i'd have to buy 8 more channels of splitter (i had 24) and 8 more channels of mic pre (i borrowed another Digimax).
oh yeah, and i had to find a way to back-up my 32 tracks 'cause i just can't stand to do a gig w/out a back-up of some sort running. but that's another thread...
very stressful and frantic story short, i ended up buying another Alesis HD24 to give me 48 track capability!!! and as for the back-up, i tried the Presonus Firestudio Lightpipe. my plan was to take all 32 tracks analog out of the mic pres into the HD24s and all 32 tracks via lightpipe to the Firestudio Lightpipe into my computer and record them using Boom Recorder software.
well, 2 nights before the gig, i got the Presonus Lightpipe box and it mostly worked. then i tested it the next morning and it stopped working. you can see my thread in "low end" if you want to be bored further by this story. my guy at GC Pro helped me find a replacement the night before the gig...he got me hooked up w/ the M-Audio Lightbridge box. that worked!
so...after the morning of mixing PJ Harvey, i sprint to the Alejandro gig (my helpers had dropped off my splitter rig and cables in the morning while i was mixing), set
up side-stage and get to work. there's more to that story too, but this is getting too long. suffice it to say, i had to deal w/ drunk people busting through to our side-stage
position...twice kicking out my audience mics from the back of the mic pre, and all
that a big outdoor parking lot party entails. but it went mostly fine.
1. never design a rig that i myself can't carry alone. i have a large rack case w/ all my mic pres and Alesis HD24s in them pre-wired and ready to go. the problem is, my helpers couldn't meet me there right as i got there, so i had to ask one of the kind video crew guys to help me schlep my rig down to it's position. i'm re-considering my entire set-up now so that no one case is too heavy for 1 person to haul.
2. a good assistant/helper is hard to come by! that's the busiest week of the year for every audio person in town...so getting these last minute gigs can be nearly a deal breaker if you're a small-fry like me.
3. there is never a bad reason to test and re-test your rig.
4. spares. i had a mic pre die, and i thought i'd have one spare channel until the tour manager said he'd need 3 inputs for the keyboards and not just 2. so when the mic pre channel died, i had no back-up for it. so one of hte stage mics just went un-recorded. that's life in the big parking lot. luckily, it was just the trombone mic (sorry you bone players out there...just a little joke)
5. i love this sh*t and can't wait for next year!
thanks for reading...hope this wasn't too dull. i forgot to mention the sunday before all this happened, i got a gig recording a SxSW film panel at an Apple store...which was pretty fun too. what a week!