Video shoot for the song Snow, the only real 'New York' area shows booked and the start up of the third US leg. All three combine to make a mind ache of being pulled in all directions. Each tour leg starts up with bits of refinement, maintenance and acclimation. Each tour leg we lose a roadie or two to some outside force or inside shift though the multi-tour roadies are all intact. Simply put, there is a whole lot of stuff going on and it is taking all my focus not get flustered and I can see I am not alone in that.
**** Sound Nerd Speak ****
I did a re tune on the PA today and actually flattened all the house EQ's and started fresh. I try not to do that as it means I have drifted, over time, away from from the sound I am looking for, I was not far off but enough that a fresh start was easier than trying to clean up. Some sound engineers come into each show and tune every day, I don't do that (anymore). I have found that if I pay carefully attention to the initial setup, I can fine tune for the room to room variations quite easily without losing the overall system EQ or altering my input EQ's. The way I go about system EQ is thus:
1) The EQ's on the sound console's inputs are to be used only to achieve the desired sound from the instrument/mic combination. Since the mics are the same every day and the band gear is the same everyday, I leave the EQ's on the sound console almost always exactly the same regardless of whether we play a stadium, arena or club show. The only time I should need to change input EQ's is if we change a mic type for some reason or there is a change in the backline's gear.
2) The system EQ's are to be used to achieve the desired sound from the PA system/venue combination. This is where the changes from room to room occur and for this duty I use two EQ's in series that divide it up one step further. One set of EQ's, the graphics, corrects for issues like room resonance's in the various rooms. The other set, the parametric's, are used to shape the tone of the system and gives me the ability to make the PA sound more Hi-Fi or warm and smooth etc.
All together the system EQ's and the channel EQ's create a sonic footprint that, if all goes as I attempt, forms a certain sound feel for the tour. I do my best to hold this 'sonic footprint' which is modeled after the album sound, together for the duration of the world tour. Worldwide sonic consistency is the goal.
Well, back to the re-EQ. I did a two step process and utilizing the advantage of having the dual PA system, I re-EQ' ed the inner system and left the outer as a comparative reference to assure improvement without losing the sonic theme. Now if I was a fan of digital EQ's, I could save the EQ curves and compare, but I am sticking with analog for now so I get to jump through some extra hoops. The outcome was all good, subtle difference but good. And not unlike fine tuning a race car, it will take some time to further refine and if all goes well, I hope to hold it together as long as the last one. Which was created in Barcelona.
**** End Sound Nerd Speak ****
So for the Snow video, guess what special treat we got? That's right, snow! Oh, the venue skies filled with the wintery motion of billowing snow flakes:
With thoughts of snow ball fights and snowmen filling our minds, roadie Scott and I soon discovered much to our dismay that the snow was not snow at all but in fact just little squares of tissue paper. Here we can observe roadie Scott clearing a small tissue-drift from his lampi control surface.
You asked me to drop you a line again when I saw your arrival at the (beautiful, you'll love the "acoustics", really) Pepsi arena was imminent. If you've got a minute to spare for a beer and some shooting of shit, give me a call. (518) 488-7190.
When you say you re-eq the system...what are you doing? are you running an analyzer or just playing a cd and using the same ears you mixed rage with? jk. but could you walk us through your process?
With the bulk of the system calibrated for the various zones, my current preferred mid-tour method is doing a real time tonal and visual comparison. Since my ears and shift from day to day and the biggest issue is dulling over the course of the tour so I try and minimize my hearing variations as a factor.
I play a cd of an extrememly familiar 3 songs, listen on headphones and then listen to the room and "copy" the sound from the headphones onto the PA using the system EQ's. Meanwhile, I also observe the Real Time Analyzer as I already know how I want the sound to 'look' as well.
So even if my ears are bright, I copy the bright sound while double checking that the RTA's room reading confirms the tonal balance.
I have found this to be a fairly quick and dependable approach that encompasses valid visual and sonic reference points while still involving the human factor (me) as well.