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Author Topic: Opinions on using a stock show  (Read 1264 times)

Scott Olewiler

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Opinions on using a stock show
« on: June 11, 2018, 01:10:38 pm »

I am in a  situation with live bands where I am rarely doing the same act twice and never have enough time for set-up.   Find myself taking a lot of time before gigs setting  up shows for my mixer based on channel count I need for the band.  One show 12 channels, next 22, next one 16. Trying to make the layout as concise as possible, so I am not spread all over the mixer.

Inevitably no matter how much I advance teh show with the band;  there always seems to be a  last minute change that throws by whole plan off and I either re-layout the entire channel count or throw some random input at the end of the channel count. Between that and the occasional routing mistake during the show creation, I am thinking this might not be the best approach.

Instead I am now planning to make up a 32 channel "worse case" show for my x32 Producer leaving channels for multiple of instruments (like 3 or4 electric guitars instead of the standard 2) as part of this stock show including strategicallly leaving  open channels for extra percussion, vocals, DI'd instruments, additional keys etc.   Since I normally leave the mixer stage side and mix on the ipad, I also plan to mount stage boxes in the mixer rack and use permanently attached drop snakes that we can just pull out that are pre-labeled with the inputs I want in them and we'll just not plug in what isn't needed. 

The entire setup will include some special routing on the mixer side to account for things like getting the drum vocals on the same layer as the front mics, etc.  Idea is  the physical inputs always go in the same snake input and then mixer channels will always have the same input on them no matter how many unused channels we have left. Same thing with wedges. Set 8 up in the mixer, use only what we need, wedge 5 is always the drums.

If I have 10 drum channels ready and only use 5, bass guitar is still on channel 11 and always routed the same, vocals always start on channel 18, etc.   That way any VCA or subgoups are always correct.  Can't tell you number of times that I forgot to assign a last minute channel add to actually go somewhere.  Avoiding these rushed mistakes and speeding  up set up is the goal here.   I don't mind mixing with all 4 groups of 8.  Has anyone tried this approach and did it work for you at least 90% of the time?   What should I avoid doing?


*Edit for clarity.

« Last Edit: June 11, 2018, 03:08:32 pm by Scott Olewiler »
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Steve Ferreira

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Re: Opinions on using a stock show
« Reply #1 on: June 11, 2018, 01:25:53 pm »

I do things on a per event basis. I hate bouncing around from layer to layer to find things. Get an input list ahead of schedule and build your show session ahead of time. Anything else that arises after just goes onto the next free channel.
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Art Nadelman

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Re: Opinions on using a stock show
« Reply #2 on: June 11, 2018, 02:02:45 pm »

Scott,

How often are you doing this?  Steve's suggestion of getting the input list from the band ahead of time is very valid.  However, as you said, there are always last minute changes.  While your "worst case" set up is a valid solution, let's take a couple of steps backwards and maybe merge the 2 plans.

First of all, do you save your settings in Libraries on your X32?  That is, do you have a library setting for your kick, your snare, your hat, etc that you can go to and load on any channel immediately?  While not prefect, it will be a starting point for you and essentially then allow you to mix any input on any channel.  If you define your inputs and use drop snakes, you might find that one band wants guitars and keys stage left, while another wants them stage right.  In theory it sounds good.  In practicality, it never works (unless you want to run wires from one side of the stage to the other).

Part of the problem you're running into is the way the X32 handles patching in groups of 8.  With your "worse case" layout, you might, for example have a 16 input band running on 4 layers with 5 drums on layer 1, 2 vocals on layer 2 and instruments spread out on layers 3 and 4.  Where if you had your preference, you'd probably be running that 16 input band all on 1 layer.

So part of the solution might be to look at another mixer (I know, I know) such as the Allen & Heath SQ's that allows you to freely place whatever input you want to have on whatever layer/slot/fader you want it on.  That way, you can have your "worse case" show set up, and then move everything where you want it to make your life easier.

I used many an X32 at festivals and ALWAYS ran into issues of where the heck is that conga or harmonica now?  So I changed years ago to freely assignable mixers and I ALWAYS know where everything is.  It always right where I put it.

Art
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Jeremy Young

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Re: Opinions on using a stock show
« Reply #3 on: June 11, 2018, 02:22:27 pm »

I do exactly this with my A&H iLive, when patch lists are not provided or it's a variety of acts. 

I have a default "band" scene that I load with 12 channels for drums (the most I'd ever use typically), 4 guitars, 2 bass, 2 stereo keys, 8 vocals, BG music and "MC" mic etc, 8 wedges, effects/groups/dca's all mapped out/routed and named/colour coded on the scribble strips.  Things like HPF on vocals are pre-engaged, but I try to leave EQ presets flat until I've listened to the source.  The 8 vocal inputs are also double-routed to separate DSP inputs, so I can adjust EQ and dynamics separately for FOH than for Monitors, and those inputs are colour coded and labelled appropriately, pre-routed to the vocals group and then to the mains, or to the monitor mixes as appropriate. 

So far it's worked nicely for me, but the iLive allows me to route on a channel by channel basis and it's quite quick to re-layout the surface so I can move any input to any DSP channel and put it anywhere on the surface in seconds.  Unused inputs just "disappear" off the surface for the show to make my workflow simpler at a glance and then I save that as a scene at the completion of sound check. 

I don't pre-patch my sub-snakes, but the heads are labelled on stage (1-8 A, 1-8 B, etc) so I can keep notes as I go for what should be patched into what input so it lines up with my patch scene.  If I mess up I'll find out during line-check and re-patch digitally at the surface, but it saves time and face if I just do it right the first time. 

I've been thinking about making a laminated card for my inputs that I can use a dry-erase marker on at gigs and just re-use.  That way if I need to patch something in somewhere else, I can note it effectively and make that change when I get back to the desk instead of rolling it around in my head.  I could also write peoples names etc on the card and bring it to FOH with me so if someone says "I need more Pete in my monitor" I can translate quickly to "more vocal 4 in mix 5" or something like that.


Looks like Art has written some comments that pertain more specifically to your mixer, and it seems the routing flexibility might get in the way of such a workflow but I can't comment on that from any first-hand experience.  There are a lot of X32 users on this forum though so perhaps someone with "festival" experience on the X32 can comment about this type of workflow.
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Mike Caldwell

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Re: Opinions on using a stock show
« Reply #4 on: June 11, 2018, 02:32:07 pm »

I have only used an X32 superficailly but from reading this I take it there is no way to set up a true "custom" layer other than their predefined blocks of channels.

Frank Koenig

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Re: Opinions on using a stock show
« Reply #5 on: June 11, 2018, 03:08:27 pm »

Has anyone tried this approach and did it work for you at least 90% of the time?   What should I avoid doing?

Yes. I'm just an occasional weekend warrior (or maybe because I'm an occasional weekend warrior) and this is the approach I take. I have a generic setup with two concurrent parts. One is based on the band I do most frequently and the other is for simple talking head and playback events. Both have some wiggle room (gaps in channel assignments) built in and together cover pretty much everything that comes along . I don't even bother to retype the scribble strips when I substitute an instrument or two. It's just not that hard for me to remember that HARP (harmonica) is now harmonium. And if I ever really do alter it for something special I can recall my familiar setup afterwards.

When I take delivery of a 12 channel drop snake (next week, whoopee!) I intend to label it with my generic backline inputs.

--Frank
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Tom Bourke

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Re: Opinions on using a stock show
« Reply #6 on: June 11, 2018, 03:14:47 pm »

I call that a festival patch.  No idea who or what is going to show up on stage but it has a spot to go.  This works great when every thing fits on one layer.  The alternative is to put large groups, like drums, on another layer and just use a DCA or similar.

The x32 can route per fader.  It's set on one of the channel tabs, NOT in the patch screen.  I forget exactly where it is.
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Scott Olewiler

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Re: Opinions on using a stock show
« Reply #7 on: June 11, 2018, 03:17:51 pm »

I have only used an X32 superficailly but from reading this I take it there is no way to set up a true "custom" layer other than their predefined blocks of channels.

Inputs are fixed in blocks of 8 but any input can be assigned to any channel in the mixer.  So a vocal mic on "Block 1" can sit in a channel right next to the vocals plugged into any of the other 3 blocks of 8.
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Dave Garoutte

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Re: Opinions on using a stock show
« Reply #8 on: June 11, 2018, 03:28:15 pm »

On my Performer, I put all the drum channels on layer two with a VCA on layer 1 fader 1.
That leaves plenty of room for everything else.
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Luke Geis

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Re: Opinions on using a stock show
« Reply #9 on: June 11, 2018, 04:39:34 pm »

As said above, it is called festival patch or festival layout. It is really simple actually. The idea is to place the respective instruments into fixed blocks with a couple of " Burn " channels for the surprises. The vocals all go on the last available channels. It would look something like this for a 32 channel mixer.

1 - 12 = Drums
13 - 24 = Instruments
25 - 32 = Vocals

The " burn " channels exists within each block. For instance you may only need 8 channels for drums, so you would have 5 burn channels that you can use for extra instruments or other things that come up that you don't have space for elsewhere. with 12 channels each for drums and instruments, you will have 8 left for vocals, which should be more than enough.

If you are clever with your mixer and you want to condense things into a single layer and not change patches on stage, you can do what I do and soft patch the desired channels into a smaller block. Lets say you only have 8 drums, 4 instruments and 4 vocals; instead of actually changing the physical patches, I will simply change the HA source in the mixer onto another desired channel. This keeps me from having to flip through layers. Since I have probably saved the initial scene ( like a good engineer should ) I can simply recall it and be back to square one for the next act if need be.
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