Would you like to mix on a computer?

Two Special Cases

My SAC rig has been a pleasure for me to use from the beginning. There are some situations where the features of the system are of greater value than in more normal situations. Doing things like wedding receptions and almost anything in hotel ballrooms are among these type of situations. The venue operators don't like cables and snakes strung around their rooms and there is seldom a consideration for a house mix location.

Mixing in clubs with house systems is another time when the SAC system can be of special value. Often the boards and outboard equipment as well as the 'out of the way' mix location leave something to be desired. SAC, with its great EQ section, onboard effects and signal processing, and remote control via WiFi capability, can be of great value in these situations. The two specific cases I am discussing here take this utility one step further. These are jobs that it would be very difficult to do with conventional hardware.

The first special case is my work at the White Eagle. I have been providing sound for the motorcycle rallies there for several years. The thing that makes the White Eagle a special case is that the single stage flips direction depending on the anticipated crowd and weather. Effectively I run two PAs at the venue. There is the bigger system (three over two) that faces away from the bar playing to a large open area. Then there is the smaller single stack system playing back toward the bar. The volume levels need to be different depending on where the action is.

Effectively I run this as two separate rigs both driven from the one instance of SAC using one of the monitor consoles and the head end to the smaller system. Since I run my system control onboard I can make any necessary adjustments to the two systems independently. I mix on my netbook and just carry out in front of the active side of the stage. If I need to make any volume adjustments on the 'back' side of the stage I just carry the netbook back there and make the necessary adjustments where I can hear the PA, no guesswork involved.

The second special case is at the Myrtle Beach rally venue. Last season the venue operator put in a second stage and began offering live entertainment in two areas on the property. While the actual amount of equipment is about the same this did require a separate SAC system. The second stage is known as the pond stage because it is basically a dock in a long narrow finger lake. The listening area is across the pond from the stage. A conventional snake would not be a good option in this situation.

I was able to set up the second SAC system so that I could remotely control it with the same netbook by simply selecting the correct router for the system that I wanted to control. When this was first discussed I was told that only one of the stages would be active at any time, so a second tech would not be necessary.

Not only had plans changed by the time I got on site, but bands were scheduled to start on both stages at the same time. Some slight adjustments were necessary, but with the SAC rigs and the way that I had set them up not only did the event go nearly according to plan but the week went amazingly smooth.

One other fringe benefit of setting up the second rig for Myrtle is that I now have all of the equipment needed to go to 64 channels if I were to get into a situation that demanded a channel count higher than 32. SAC itself is capable of processing 72 channels of in/out. The new computers seem like they would be capable of handling the higher channel count and I have the necessary converters. I use identical sound cards in both systems so it should be pretty much plug and play.

Would you do sound on a computer?

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