S6L Events and Momentary Snapshots for the Real World

By in Live Sound, Live Sound Videos

With the recent VENUE 5.4 software update for VENUE | S6L, the Avid team has opened the desk up to a whole world of new possibilities. With the inclusion of a new non-sequential Snapshots and massive additions to the Events list triggers and actions, we’ve enabled the S6L to be customised to fit your workflow like a well-tailored suit. The Events list triggers and actions have been extended to cover virtually any change made to the desk, whether from a fader, an encoder, a switch, any parameter value—even a meter level! The only limit is your imagination, and as Einstein said, “Imagination is more important than knowledge.”

My friend and colleague Chris Lambrechts and I have made a few short videos of some Events and momentary Snapshots that we’ve dreamed up. Our idea for making these videos wasn’t to have everybody use these specific Events in their shows, but to show the kind of things that are possible. Once you’ve watched a couple, you’ll hopefully come up with workflow ideas that you can tailor to your own show. Once you’ve had a chance to create some of your own, we’d love to hear about them or see quick videos shot in situ, even with your phone. It would be great for the S6L community to share a list of cool Events and how to use them in support of various workflows. I strongly believe in the ‘Roadie Hive Mind’!

 

If you have a custom Event that you’d like to share, please send send an image or video of the Events page plus a short text description here.

 

Here are the videos so far with brief descriptions:

End-stop Mute

AUX Auto ON

This a way for faders to mute the channel (inputs, outputs, VCAs) automatically when they get to the end stop. This is important for post mute, pre-fade sends. It also works well if you have mute and crossfades in snapshots. Channels will automatically mute after a fade down and unmute before a fade up.

I don’t know about you but I sometimes forget to turn an aux send on before turning it up, maybe its old age! These events turn on an aux send automatically as you turn it up from inf. and turn it off as you turn it down to infinite. This works especially well in Sends on Faders workflows.

AUX Pre / Post

Vocal EQ Cut

This is a slightly geeky one. When I fade up a fader on the aux send to an infill or sound effect speaker in a theatre or kick drum in a wedge, which are in post fade, it enables the main PA and other smaller speakers to fade in together. When the fader passes 0dB, the aux send changes to pre. This means the send doesn’t get any louder even if the channel is pushed harder in the main hang.

This is one for my show. I noticed at festivals over the summer that sometimes the PA could be really onstage depending on the structure of the staging. As we have no wedges, the singers could often be in line or even in front of the hangs. I was aware that if I pushed a quiet vocal it could get hot in the high frequencies, say 8 to 10K with reflections from the plastic sides to the staging. This event means that if I really push a vocal hard—in my case above +3dB on the fader—it will auto cut 8 to 10K by a couple of dBs with a smooth fade, and then when I pull it back into the “safe zone”, it’ll flatten it back out again.

Guitar Solo EQ

Sends on Faders

When pushing the guitar up for the guitar solo, the EQ doesn’t change unless I hold down the colour switch. If I do it, then the event gives a little boost in the high mid to help it cut through the mix. This is an example of using two triggers (in `and’ mode) and needing them both to trigger the action.

In this event, I’m enabling SOF from any Aux using the colour switch at the bottom of the fader. As you can see in the video, this enables us to listen to an Aux mix and mix a different Aux on the faders in SOF mode. I also explain how using Aux spill allows us to filter sends by on whilst in SOF.

Clip Gain / Guess

In this event, I’m enabling SOF from any Aux using the colour switch at the bottom of the fader. As you can see in the video, this enables us to listen to an Aux mix and mix a different Aux on the faders in SOF mode. I also explain how using Aux spill allows us to filter sends by on whilst in SOF.

Momentary snapshots in conjunction with events

A momentary snapshot or non-sequential snapshot is a snapshot without a number. When we recall a snapshot of this type it doesn’t change the normal sequence of snapshots as in previous/next. We can use this type of snapshot to set up changes on the desk that we may need at any moment in the show. For example, switching to a back-up mic. We have made two videos explaining a couple of ideas for using momentary snapshots with events.

Talking Between Songs

Backup Mics

In this event/momentary snapshot combo we show how to trigger two channels to unmute and fade up using a function switch, that may or may not be used, depending on the moment, to talk to the crowd between songs.

We can use several momentary snapshots and a couple of events to automatically change the soft-patch in the system to instantaneously patch the backup mic to whichever of the five vocalists needs it, and patch it back to the original if its recovered.

Head over the ball

All this trigger and action stuff got me thinking about a time the action of our drum tech had a massive consequence for the whole crew. We were on tour in Germany way back in the early days of Britpop. It was a Sunday, a bit quiet, we’d finished our soundcheck and were sitting around in the dressing room wondering what to do with ourselves until catering was ready with the evening meal. You know how it is. This was before the internet and stuff. Nobody had mobile phones to stare at, how many likes or funny kittens or whatever.

For some reason, there was a football in the room and we decided to have a kick about. Outside the dressing room window there was a small courtyard. There were a few beer barrels and bits of old truss but plenty room for a quick three a side. We climbed out the window and dropped into the courtyard. We didn’t look very athletic, half a dozen sweaty roadies dressed in black with beer bellies, tattoos and big boots scrambling around and bumping into each other. There was a lot of falling down and swearing but we were having fun. Finally, it came to the decider—a penalty to win the match. The courtyard had a wall with a fence on top of it maybe seven or eight feet high. The goal, that we’d made from a couple of beer barrels was against a wall, and behind there was a very sleek looking modern bank. It had a huge glass side to it, maybe four stories high. Deptford Andy stepped up to take the spot kick. Andy’s a big guy, not tall but solid and strong as you like. He took a couple of steps back from the ball. Deptford John was on his team and admonished him, “Fatty, keep your head over the ball don’t lean back, keep the ball low.” “Yeh, yeh, yeh” Andy answered , focused on his vital penalty. He ran up and kicked the ball with all his might and his considerable weight. The ball shot off like a cannonball, and unfortunately he’d ignored John’s advice. It went straight over Davo’s head in the goal, over the wall and smacked into the wall of glass behind it and bounced back into the courtyard. In slow motion the glass cracked and then a whole slab of it crashed to the ground. It was a mighty, terrifying noise.

Andy went to pick up the ball and when he turned around, we were all gone. He said afterwards it was like we had all just disappeared. Actually, we’d all ran and jumped through the window in an un-gamely scrum. We didn’t stop until we were sat in a bar having a little something to calm the nerves. Eventually we started feeling guilty about running away from the scene of the crime. “We better go back and fess up,” somebody suggested, and we all more or less agreed.

We trooped into the promoter’s office, Helmut I think he was called. We explained that Andy had been taking a penalty and had not kept his head over the ball, contrary to John’s advice, and had hoofed it over the bar against the building next door causing considerable damage. Helmut looked up at us shaking his head and said, “You ‘Englishers’ never could take penalties!”

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As a live sound engineer, I have been lucky enough to work with some amazing artists including Coldplay, Massive Attack, Manic Street Preachers, Natalie Imbruglia, Richard Ashcroft and Lisa Stansfield. I have also mixed broadcast sound on David Letterman, Saturday Night Live, Jay Leno, the Brit Awards, the MTV Music Awards and the 2010 World Cup Kickoff Concert.