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Welcome to preproduction for the RUSH Time Machine Tour

Only published comments... Apr 09 2011, 01:00 AM by Brad Madix
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We’re journeying back to before the tour to explore what goes into building the mix.

 

 

We loaded in some days ago, and I tinkered a bit with the new VENUE software (VENUE 2.9) and settled into my little control room. Here I want to second Greg Price’s recommendation of the "Live Recording Guide for VENUE Systems and Pro Tools.” I consulted it during the process I’m describing below and found it helpful.

 

The band’s gear is set up in a treated room about 60 feet wide and 45 feet deep, arranged as if it were on a stage, facing one of the long walls. The techs are in the same room restringing guitars and programming keyboards. The FOH console (VENUE Profile) and Pro Tools rig are in a much smaller treated room (hung drapery and carpeted floor) across the hall. Behind the curtains is wood shelving stacked with cable to diffuse the slap, flutter, and standing waves that’d otherwise manifest with five hard walls and a concrete floor. While not completely isolated, it’s acceptable. The monitors mask leakage sufficiently, and I’ll do most detailed work when the band isn’t playing.

 

My FOH comprises a five-DSP Mix card VENUE Profile System, an 8-core Mac Pro (running Mac OS X 10.6.6), and Pro Tools HD 9.0.1. The computer is connected to the VENUE FOH Rack with three DigiLink cables from two HDx cards, and I’m monitoring on a set of Genelec 8040As with a 7060 Sub.

 

Job one is to implement VENUE Link to enable VENUE and Pro Tools to directly communicate with each other. One needn’t be an IT expert to do this (thank goodness, ’cause I ain’t). While it’s not exactly the most exciting endeavor you’ll ever undertake, I thought it worthwhile to walk you through my experience of setting it up for the first time.

 

I “borrowed” an Ethernet cable, ran it between the VENUE ECx card in my FOH Rack and the Ethernet port in my Mac, and fired everything up. Router-less, the VENUE and Pro Tools systems require manual configuration as follows:

 

1. On the Options page in the VENUE software, click the Interaction tab and under Ethernet Control, click Network Settings.

2. In the resulting dialog, select “Use the Following Address,” enter the following settings—IP Address: 10.0.0.1, Subnet Mask: 255.255.255.0, Default Gateway: 10.0.0.1—and click Apply.

3. Back under Ethernet Control, select the “Enable VENUE Link” checkbox and you’re set.

 

If a router is involved, the process is simpler, as you would set the VENUE console and Pro Tools computer to configure automatically.

 

To ensure that these settings match my Pro Tools system, I turned my attention to my Mac and made these adjustments:

 

1. Choose Apple Menu > System Preferences and select Network.

2. Select Ethernet in the left pane and from the Configure IPv4 pop-up menu, choose "Manually.”

3. Enter the following settings—IP Address: 10.0.0.2, Subnet Mask: 255.255.255.0—and then click Apply.

4. In Pro Tools, choose Setup > Peripherals to open the Peripherals dialog.

5. Click the VENUE tab and from the VENUE System pop-up menu, choose “Enter IP Address.”

6. Enter the address of your VENUE system (10.0.0.1).

7. In the Advanced Network Settings, enter the same TCP/UDP Port number as your VENUE system (29291, in my case), and click OK.

 

I’d been forewarned that this might require a restart of the system to gel, so I shut down and started back up. Success! Upon Pro Tools launch, on the Options > Interaction > “VENUE Link Status” page, it showed “Connected to Default 10.0.0.2.” (As an aside, we did this later with the Monitor desk, and it synced right up without the restart.) Super exciting stuff, huh? The good news is that this concludes the dreadfully dull portion and it’s time to play!

 

 

Upon sitting at the desk, I observe that my snapshots have sprouted glowing green diamonds next to them. Has the leprechaun added a new marshmallow treat to my Lucky Charms? Sort of: these enable marker creation and location functions. With the diamond highlighted while recording, snapshot recall writes a marker in Pro Tools. Firing a snapshot locates to the corresponding marker in Pro Tools during playback.

 

This feature becomes useful when focusing on certain passages and tweaking the snapshots. I find myself listening to a bit of Subdivisions to rebalance the bass a bit. Being able to locate playback without turning my attention to the computer keeps my head forward, focused on the mix and the Profile’s screen. I find that I don’t necessarily want to mark every snapshot though. Mainly the start of the songs, guitar solos, and any special sections that warrant extra attention. I’ve gone through and disabled a number of snapshot markers and kept the significant ones.

 

Another feature VENUE Link enables in Pro Tools is “Create New Session From VENUE”. Upon finally setting up the layout on your console just right, the realization that you’re gonna spend 20 or 30 additional minutes creating, naming, arranging and assigning corresponding tracks in Pro Tools can be a vibe crush. Now Pro Tools imports that information straight from the VENUE system.

 

The “New Session” dialog box in Pro Tools now allows the option to “Create New Session from VENUE.” Just give it a name and hit enter. Pro Tools goes to work and presently we have a fresh session with new audio tracks corresponding to channels patched in the VENUE patchbay. Track outputs are assigned to the corresponding HDx returns to the desk.

 

Items assigned to Pro Tools through Assignables are slightly more complicated. I assigned the Left and Right to Pro Tools in the VENUE Patchbay, and the computer created a stereo track for it. However, it doesn’t seem to know what to do with the output, which I usually return to an effects input. I had to make that assignment manually. Saving the session as a template allows convenient future startup. Boom! Ready to rock! This eliminates tons of tediousness when initially implementing Pro Tools recording from VENUE.

 

So there’s an introduction to VENUE Link from preproduction. The band will be coming in soon, and it’ll be time to record, playback, and program.

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About Brad Madix

I grew up playing keyboards and attended Berklee College of Music in the early eighties. I got a chance to tour with the Psychedelic Furs as the keyboard tech and worked my way up (or down?) to FOH guy. I've worked with Rush, Shakira, Jane's Addiction, Jessica Simpson, Rage Against the Machine, Shania Twain, Def Leppard, Marilyn Manson, Queensryche, and Bruce Hornsby.

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