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Old 4th October 2016
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OK second part to the answer:

You seem to be using automation quite extensively. How do you deal with the fact that the room acoustics and the way the PA is configured (especially the subs) often have a quite significant influence on the way the instruments (especially drums) sound?

Good question. So the first part is that I try to get the PA as close to the way I like it each day. However as you point out this can be very tricky depending on the acoustics of each space, the quality of the PA indoor/outdoor, temperature, wind etc. loads of variables. So the S6L has a selective recall. this means I choose which elements of each channel are recalled with a snapshot. So certain elements are not in my snapshots. The eq for the kick drum, toms and bass guitar for example. These I set each day and tune to the environment. I will have HPF for the toms for when they're used differently hitting the rims for example and also the dynamics for when the drummer uses beaters or brushes. I also use a multi band compressor on all the sub/bass elements, bass guitar, analogue synths PB drones etc. These I'll set to the crossover points of the PA and use them to control the energy going to each part of the PA.
The most important of all are the vocals. After my virtual soundcheck I get Cooky the 'third man' on the audio team to test each one of the eleven vocals. I'll add more than my normal amount of FX and push the level to see if I can get them to feedback. Each day the PA might be more or less on stage so the vocals might be 'hotter' than usual. Some of the vocals are very quiet with lots of fx on them so I don't ever want them to get unstable. I also use the Oxford SuprEsser on each vocal for de-essing so have to set these manually each day for the environment. Basically the programming is around, at its simplest, faders,mutes and plugins. There are other elements as well but much of the EQ,dynamics etc. I refresh each day.

Would/do you also use the virtual soundcheck in smaller venues?

Hell, yes. Can't imagine working without the VS. In production rehearsals I'm usually in catering with a pair of near field monitors or headphones but I still can achieve a lot i think.
Also with MA its a silent stage so makes the whole VS much easier. A band like the Manics with a hugely loud backline makes the VS more challenging for sure but I still used it everyday with those guys. They did come in do a real soundcheck each day though. Massive Attack virtually never do a 'real' soundcheck