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Live Sound & Computers: Taking It One Day At a Time

Jun 20, 2011

Hey all,

The last few months have seen me using different consoles all over the world. The two bands that I have been doing one-offs with do not carry their own gear, so I find myself on different consoles and PAs every single day. The computer work that is required prior to even listening to the system is staggering these days. Even to the point of frustration. Armed with two 32 GB USB sticks and two iLoks, I find myself loading software and upgrading versions of plugins and audio software for about 45 minutes on the average.

I guess this is one of the pitfalls of exchanging analog gear for software models, but it seems that there has to be an easier way. I have found that even if I advance with the local sound company that I need the latest version of software, I usually don't get it. Often the local sound company updates the console software, but forgets to update the plugins. The worst is when you have the latest versions of licenses for your plugs, and an older version of software for the console, that aren't compatible. It is maddening.

I encourage everyone to back up all of their plugs, console OS, and console files. I don't know if you have ever had a catastrophic failure of a hard drive, but if you ever do, from then on you will never NOT backup stuff three or four times.

So armed with my trusty USB keys and iLoks, I descended upon the gig in Santiago, Chile, only to discover the Digidesign D-Show I ordered had turned into a Yamaha PM 5D. Luckily, the local company had a SoundGrid system. I thought, "OK, this will be all right. At least I can use some plugs." I started to panic when they started setting up, and pulled the SoundGrid server out of a box. It was shiny with no scratches. In broken English, the system engineer told me that they just got the MultiRack SG in the mail yesterday, and they were happy to set it up for me. Yikes!

Every bone in my body said RUN...EVERY time that I have tried to get a new piece of gear to work on a show day it has been a nightmare—until now. Straight out-of-the-box the installation was quick and painless, and soon I was using my favorite plugs.

There are so many options to use Waves plugs on so many different platforms now, it is the one thing that IS uniform as I travel the world. On Yamaha, DiGiCo, and Digidesign platforms, I still get to use the same inserts and EFX, thereby having some consistency when there wasn't any before.

It is an exciting time in the world of live sound. Don't forget your USB key and your iLok—it'll save the gig. Remember, you’re only as good as your last backup, and your last backup is only as good as your last restore.

Ken "Pooch" Van Druten
WavesLive Product Specialist