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Touring the Summer 2012 European Festival Season

Sep 27, 2012

I have just returned from a great summer of touring in Europe. Touring Europe on the summer festival circuit can be a great deal of fun if you come prepared. There are many things an engineer can prepare for, before coming to Europe and participating in the incredible festival season. Let's look at the common issues engineers face.

Time: As usual, you get zero time. No time to tune the system, no time to set your inserts, gating, compression, EQ. Your favorite gates, limiters, compressors, EQs and signal processors usually are not in the racks. The busy European festival season can put a strain on the amount of audio gear available.

Effects: There is little time for planning of effects like delay, reverb, pitch and modulation. Some popular signal processors are usually not available during the busy European festival season. Your go-to reverb might not be in the effects racks when you arrive at the FOH or monitor positions.

Consoles: Some times you have to use the console that is provided by the festival's sound company. Being flexible is important. With little setup time to start with, patching inserts, EQ, effects, can be very difficult. Sometimes there is no time to get this done before the show. Having a quick and easy setup solution when you arrive to the gig is a must. Waves MultiRack Native and MultiRack SoundGrid can be very helpful in the preparation for touring festivals in the summer. Let's look at the benefits that Waves MultiRack allows us for faster setup times and preparing a better show.

Setup Time: With offline editors standard in MultiRack, engineers have pre setup and have their show ready for any festival. Building your show is very easy. You can start during band rehearsals, setup work can be done at your local sound company or in your hotel room; all you need is a laptop. I get started during band rehearsals. Most of my input channel processing is done before I come to the festival. It doesn't matter what console I have or what PA system I am using—my insert processing and effects are built before I arrive to the festival. In turn, I have saved a ton of time. Other engineers that have adopted this work flow show up to the festival with their processing and are show-ready. It’s almost as easy as "Plug and Play."

Programmed Effects: We all like the sound of studio quality effects like reverbs, delays, pitch change/harmonizer/doubling, stereo imaging, etc. MultiRack lets you use the same great effects and processors that are used for in-the-box mixes. Why settle for the effects that make you struggle to get the sound you want? Instead, use world-class effects that you have worked on in the studio or the demo you are working on with the band. Many engineers take their studio work done on MultiRack and bring it straight to the stage. This is another tremendously powerful timesaver at the gig. All your great reverbs, delays, and panning effects are programmed and ready to go.

Consoles: MultiRack plays well with many consoles: Allen & Heath, DiGiCo, Midas, Studer, Soundcraft, Yamaha and others. MultiRack offers solutions for digital as well as traditional analogue consoles. Using the console at the festival will be easy to interface with all the inserts, effects, processors you need.

Getting the sound you want in no time: We can agree that there is often little or no time at festivals to dial up sounds and insert tools to help the mix. MultiRack can help by using pre-designed sounds built into the plugins. Presets from great engineers plus extreme ease-of-use make putting the show together very quick. I know what microphones I want to use on a given instrument or input. I then build the insert or plugin chain I want on that mic and input. I can do this off line and have all my EQ, comps and reverbs pre-programmed before hand. When I load my console presets, I can then attach all my inserts at once for the entire input list.

On a Yamaha PM5D, as soon as I load my session, not only do all my input labels appear, but so do all the SoundGrid inserts I have on the kick, snare, bass guitar, lead guitar, vocals, and master mix processing I have programmed. Remember I now have world-class effects as well, instantly appear on the SoundGrid for my use on the Yamaha PM5D. These are my favorite effects that I have worked with all the years I have been mixing. One more bonus to mention: I have 8 x plugins I can use pre channel insert. I am not limited to 4 x plugins per insert channel. This gives me tremendous power to design the sound I want. The best part: All this takes a matter of seconds to load.

Building your style and sound: When I discover a sound I’m excited about, I save that combination of tools in MultiRack. In seconds, I can recall that sound whenever I want. This is one of MultiRack’s most powerful features. As you continue to mix different bands, styles of music and instruments, you can save these presets in MultiRack. They will be there, waiting for you to come out to play.

Enjoy the Power of MultiRack!

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