As many of you know who have followed my writings and events over the years, I have a great passion for audio education. This passion has driven much of my motivation in pulling sound check events together over the years on previous Tom Petty tours.
These sound check events are a golden opportunity for you to get an insider’s glimpse at just how these cutting edge technologies and features are actually being deployed on a daily basis at every stop of the tour.
“The first 14 years of the 21st century have been one of significant transition for the touring audio professional.”
So, maybe you’re asking “okay, what makes concert sound in the 21st century any different from concert sound in the 20th century?” Well, if you’re on the inside of the touring industry, and your passions lay in audio, then you’d willingly concede that the first 14 years of the 21st century have been one of significant transition for the touring audio professional and it’s not just technology that is evolving, it’s the daily workflow that has changed and the skills required to use it as much as anything.
It’s a daily workflow where concert sound mixers leverage cutting edge digital mixing and recording technology to the fullest extend. A world where pre-recorded audio of the artist is used to optimize the blends and tonality of the mixes delivered to the PA system and in turn the seating area without need for the artist to be present in order to facilitate a traditional “sound check” in an effort to ensure the best results for the audience.
“It’s a brave new world where “self aware” speaker systems can actually “know” what kind of room they are in and adjust their coverage accordingly.”
It’s a daily workflow and routine where PA configurations and speaker stack plans once scribbled on a napkin from catering by a “roadie” have been replaced by specialist deploying surveying tools and highly sophisticated computer software to make 3D drawings of a room and seating geometry on site, and then optimizing the number of speakers and their placement in the venue before a speaker ever even rolls off of the truck. It’s a brave new world where “self aware” speaker systems can actually “know” what kind of room they are in and adjust their coverage accordingly.
So, are things different in the 21st century? You bet they are, and you know what? All of those differences are on full display at the Avid sponsored sound check events led by yours truly on the current Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers Tour of North America.
In a day and age, when we are constantly bombarded by the marketing of product features and capabilities, it’s often easy to dismiss many of them while saying “yeah, but who actually uses any of that?”