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DARKSIDE BEHIND THE SCENES - THE SOUND


ROCKFIELD STUDIOS - Neve 8128 console, accompanied by eight vintage Neve 1061 modules.

Darkside Sound Engineer Ross Wareing was in his element!

PHOTO: @BYBRETT

Hi all, Ross Wareing here, sound engineer responsible for making the sound of Darkside as top-notch as possible for our audiences. Like all true Floyd fans, we at Darkside are constantly impressed by the sonic experiences produced by the Floyd and we recently sat down to listen to the original quad mixes of The Darkside of the Moon. As an audio experience, its stunning. The full surround sound experience is something that we rarely get exposed to and while many people may have 5.1 surround sound linked to their TV, its not really used in the same way as a full quad audio experience.


It was such a fantastic experience that we are now embarked on a mission to bring quad to our shows. Creating this in a live venue should be a truly immersive audio experience. Pretty much every venue and most mixing desks are geared towards mixing in stereo. Quad mixing will take some careful planning and creative thinking to bring it to life, but we are already at the early exploration and planning stages and believe we will be able to bring this to the shows in early 2020. How cool will that be?

DARK SIDE OF THE MOON QUAD 8-TRACK


I thought I would give an idea of what its like to work in the front of house (FOH) area during a Darkside show, (we run 96 channels of audio!) so here goes….


Most of my work is done prior to the show. We record both 32 channel and stereo mixes of every show. This enables me subsequently to review each channel and tweak settings such as EQ, compression and reverbs ready for the next show. Our state-of-the-art digital setup allows me to do this channel by channel and song by song. We also run a Waves MultiRack server that means I can apply pretty much anything possible in the studio to a live scenario, including things like the famous Abbey Road ADT (Automatic Double Tracking). The band will also review the stereo recording and use it to improve their individual performances but it also gives me valuable feedback when I meet with Andy Baker, the Artistic Director, about how the mixes meet his vision of what the overall sound mix should be. It is this constant review and reflection that has resulted in the fantastic sound we are able to share with audiences at our shows.


On show day, there is very little time for such subtle review. The show takes about four hours to rig and a further hour or so to configure the sound desk for the dynamics of the room and to perform line and sound checks. Fortunately, we have some very clever software tools that assist with this. Our aim is to ensure everyone gets as good a sonic experience as possible, wherever they are sitting, although obviously what you will hear sitting next to the PA will be a little different from what you would hear sat in the centre of the auditorium!


It’s fair to say that I do spend quite a bit of time worrying and planning for critical item failure. As an example, as we are using digital audio processing, the connection between the stage and FOH is critical, as a huge amount of data is flowing. Wherever possible I have ensured we have backup kit in place to cover the eventuality of a failure. We have worked hard and made major investments in making sure we have a FOH rig that I have confidence in. To this point, we’ve never had a mid-show total outage although going ‘quad’ will obviously add to the challenge!

SETTING UP AT ABERYSTWYTH ARTS CENTRE GREAT HALL 2019

PHOTO: @BYBRETT


During show time, it’s into critical listening phase. The aim is to always be able to hear every instrument and vocal. Even in a dense mix, you should be able to hear everything that you can see happening on the stage. At this point I stop worrying and immerse myself in the show and the live tweaks that are needed. Sometimes I even get chance look up from the mixer and enjoy this stunning show!

NEXT SHOW: KINGS HALL • ILKLEY • 7 DECEMBER • TICKETS


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