Dan Black Tour Profile

Nov 1, 2009 12:00 PM, By Sarah Benzuly

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Dan Black performs

Dan Black performs

Mix talked with engineer Steve Pattison about Black's current tour.

Steve Pattison

Steve Pattison

How much gear are you carrying?
Gear-wise, all I'm carrying is an Allen & Heath IDR32, a wireless router and my laptop. We also have our own Radial DIs and a trusty [Shure] SM58 for Dan.

Tell me about your setup.
The setup is real simple. I toyed with this idea last year whileout with Alphabeat. We did varying-sized shows from 15,000 to club gigs and we were carrying two iLive 112 desks. In the club shows, there wasn't always space for me to put my desk at front of house so I would leave it at the side of stage with the monitor board. I connected a wireless router to the network port, then connected my laptop wirelessly to the network and ran the iLive editor software that synched up to the desk so I could remotely operate the desk!

The outputs from my desk (left, right and PFL) would be patched into the house multicore, so on the house desk I would just bring up the first two faders, pan them left and right, and PFL the third channel. So I still mix using my desk and I can remotely PFL individual channels for line checks, et cetera, even when there is no space for my desk! Please note there is no audio passing through the laptop; it is merely acting as a remote control.

Hence, inputting my outputs and PFL into the house multicore so I can see them and hear them at the house desk. We then took this one stage further by just using a single desk at the monitor position. I occupied two bottom layers of Ben's (Booker, monitor engineer) desk and operated remotely. We had six stereo in-ear mixes, six wedge mixes, five FX sends and my FOH mix—with two engineers operating simultaneously on different layers, tweaking different mixes. And it ran flawlessly. Because I was operating on a different layer, Ben never saw his half of the desk alter in any way so I didn't affect the screen or anything he was doing. You can't do that with any other digital board. As soon as the remote operator does anything, the desk will jump to whatever he's doing and not stay with mix 5, which you were just tweaking! The only thing Ben noticed was the FX being muted between songs.

From all of this I asked whether it would be possible to just have a mix rack and operate it via just a laptop using the editor software as a stand-alone system—and now you can!






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