Mark Frink's Secret Weapon

Jun 23, 2003 12:00 PM, Editors


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By Mix Sound Reinforcement Editor, Mark Frink:
The Technomad ProRack I carry to every one-off has three must-have items: The Midas XL-42 (reviewed March ’02) has the same great mic pre/EQ as the XL-4 console. TC Electronic’s new Reverb 4000 replaces my trusty old M-5000 and weighs less! The last is BSS’ FDS-366 OmniDrive Compact Plus, a 3-in/6-out processor, with up to 60 parametric EQ filters, and even delay, if needed. This 24-bit/96kHz digital parametric has a sweet, open sound rivaling the best analog EQs, and works well for many stage duties, beyond its (intended) use as a speaker processor.

My favorite singer insists on using an AKG C-535, which I smooth out via a dozen of the FDS-366s' very specific filters. Another set of filters is assigned to tune the sidefills; a little dynamic EQ notch nips the horns’ nastiness on the loudest notes. A second output routes directly to the vocal reverb in my rack (bypassing the console) using EQ on that output to tweak the reverb. A third output routed from the vocal is returned to the console for use in the band’s mixes. I sometimes send a fourth output of the vocal to a small speaker to fill the downstage-center area where the two sid-fills meet. Some filters tweak the sound and a bit of delay syncs with the sid-fills to create a nice sweet spot. The two remaining channels are used as monitor mix EQs for two musicians in the band.

The FDS-366’s output EQs can be adjusted from within SMAART Live, which I use daily to confirm the response of the monitors. Programs can be backed up on a PCMCIA card, but I also store its settings on my laptop with SoundBench.

Do you have a secret weapon in your live sound setup? Let us know by e-mailing

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