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30/04/2008

Getting The Sound Right At TCT

Teenage Cancer Trust (TCT) lined up the legendary rockers The Who to take to the stage to close the week of benefit gigs at the Royal Albert Hall at the beginning of April.
Pete Townsend - and TCT Patron Roger Daltrey - performed a short acoustic set on Sunday 13th April as part of the TCT sessions gig to raise much needed funds and awareness for Teenage Cancer Trust.
This year, a developing company, Focusrite was instrumental in delivering sound for TCT at the Royal Albert Hall.
There are no second chances when it comes to recording and mixing an event like this, so engineers Matt Hay and Gareth Johnson needed total confidence in the gear - which the company said is why they choose Focusrite.
As recording engineer, Matt Hay needs to sure that he's capturing the best sound possible, so he relies on a flightcase stacked with eight Focusrite OctoPres to capture absolutely everything in pristine quality.
And with eight mic pres per unit, that makes for 64 channels of Focusrite quality preamps on the front end: "I record everything at the shows," Matt said.
"The audio is then backed up onto our hard drives before Gareth takes it away and mixes it at his studio. Those OctoPres have been great, really clean, very easy to use. But it's not just the sound – I also love the soft limiter on them, which really keeps those levels from going over. They've been excellent," he said.
For veteran TCT mix engineer Gareth Johnson, working to short deadlines is something he’s getting much more comfortable with, but the time frame is still very hectic.
"Usually I’ll come down and check the show out so I can get a feel for it in the room. When the gig is finished I collect my hard drives, head off home and mix the whole lot in Logic with the help of my Liquid Mix. I've got to mix three or four tracks for broadcast the next day, so that involves getting a mix up pretty quickly. Its pretty full on, there's not much margin for error.
"We used OctoPres on the front end, a whole big bank of them. They work fantastically, so I know that what I’m going to get is good."
He said that on the back end, he relied very heavily on Focusrite's Liquid Mix because we simply don’t have the time to run all the channels through a massive desk with loads of outboard and be really fancy about it.
"So at mixdown it's just me, a MacBook Pro and my Liquid Mix. It's really handy for adding some nice tones and a bit of colour to the mix," he said.
(BMcC)
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