AudioThinkTank – Sept. 10th @ 2pm, PLASA, London
If you cannot be there, follow on Twitter!

   By Guest Contributor   Categories: ConferencesLive Audio Show

On Monday, September 10th at 2pm, Dave Swallow along with guest panelists will be hosting the AudioThinkTank at the PLASA 2012 conference in London, England.

For more information and to sign up for this session click here.

If you cannot attend, no problem!  You can follow what is going on in the AudioThinkTank on twitter!  @audiothinktank

The following is description of what the AudioThinkTank will cover…

Some of you may be aware that in the past I have run what I call the ‘Audiothinktank’. This is a kind of live forum where sound bods from all over the place can get together and natter about noise. When I’ve run these little sessions in the past the main idea has been to see what issues are commonly occurring, and talk through them to see if we can get some kind of an outcome. Or just talk about different ideas and raise awareness of little known things such as the sonic quality of a power supply.        

PLASA has invited me back in September to orchestrate another think tank. But this time we have a theme – the future! Yes, in very much a Marty McFly kind of way. We’ll jump inside our DeLorean DMC-12, tap on the time circuits, push the pedal to the metal, and in a pair of fiery tyre tracks we’ll be 10 years in the future . . . Well, maybe that’s a touch far-fetched. I don’t really have a time travelling DeLorean, but I do have a Crystal Ball app on my phone.

So what, I hear you ask, is the point of all of this? There are multiple points to this: firstly and foremostly, this is to get us excited about the future. I know some of us feel a little disheartened at the moment, but the future holds gifts that we haven’t even thought of. This event is also to get our little bit of the industry in the same room together. The majority of us are just passing canoes in a muddy field of sonic chaos a handful of times year. We listen to our own mixes, and reference ourselves, so this is an opportunity to get together and share some ideas, develop ourselves and our understanding of what we do.

I also want this to be a place where we can lay a foundation, along with the manufactures, for audio’s future. Some of us work with artists that push the boundaries of music, so why not, in the same breath, can’t we push the boundaries of a gigging experience? I see this as a place where we can evolve the future of the audio industry: sometimes it can feel too manufacturer-led, perhaps more for a personal agenda than for the greater good.

Everyone is welcome to come and participate, share knowledge and experiences. Even if you aren’t involved with sound directly, you might have a spark of inspiration underneath your hat. I’ll be hosting this event with a panel of other audio professionals, and with your participation, expertise and guidance we’ll explore where our industry could go.

But what are we going to talk about? I had an idea a while ago, whilst getting frustrated with a menu button – A.R.M. the Augmented Reality Mixer. This could take many shapes and sizes. Imagine stepping inside a box controlling your mix like Tom Cruise in the Minority Report. Pushing and pulling instruments away, actually having a hands-on experience with the music rather than a tedious menu-pushing one. Of course, in my head, this is the most amazing thing in the world, but I’m sure whoever makes my vision will still be able to hide the effects rack somewhere frightfully inconvenient.

3D sound has also been rearing its head again recently. Think about a proper aural immersion which, once the artists get their heads around it, could expand the horizons of any show beyond our wildest imaginations. As we all know, it’s very difficult in live sound to give the entire audience anything like the same experience. This, however, could actually be a real shared experience. Technology has been around for ages that attempts to create a 3D soundscape, but we are now even nearer to its realisation? How will it be to mix? What will the audience get out of it? Is it as good as I think it is?

We also need to put our social and moral hats on and think about our green future. What impact does the audio industry have on the carbon footprint of our industry as a whole? Our Lampie friends have been moving over to LED lamps, saving massive amounts of power, and our power amplifiers are slowly going the same way. But what more can we do to improve our green credentials? How about shows on headphones? Saving power and creating a shared experience?

So many things to think about. So many things to talk about. If you have a grand plan, or idea of the future that you’d like to put into the tank, please feel free to visit my website (see below) and click on the tab on the left side of the page that says Suggest A Topic’. Fill in the form and we’ll put it in the hat. Alternatively, you could come armed with a head- full of ideas ready to present to your fellow futurists. For those of you that are shy, or even stuck at home with the kids, you can follow on twitter. There will be a screen displaying tweets inside the venue, and we’ll be tweeting live from the inside the tank. You can find us @audiothinktank.

On one final thought: my mother said to me once that it was easy being an inventor in the past – because there was still so much left to discover . . .

The above post is an article written by Focal Press author and Live Audio Engineer Dave Swallow for Lighting and Sound International magazine.  Dave has a monthly column called Mix Position where he chronicles his wild and witty adventures as a Live Audio Engineer. You can find all of Dave’s articles and much more on his website:

Dave Swallow is Mixing Engineer, Live and Studio Audio Engineer, Tour Manager and Tour Consultant who has toured extensively in Europe, North America, South America, Australia and Japan. He has mixed and supervised countless sessions, including Itunes, Aol, Yahoo, BBC, and B-side cuts. His live TV appearances include Jay Leno, Saturday Night Live, Dave Letterman, Austin City Limits, Conan O’Brien, Regis & Kelly, VH1, Later with Jools Holland, Brit Awards, Live at Abbey Road, BBC One Sessions, Parkinson, Friday Night Project, Album Chart Show, E4, Taratata, New Pop, Jonathan Ross, Alan Carr, Top of The Pops, CD:UK, T4, Davina, and Mobo Awards.  Recently Dave won the Live Sound Engineer of the Year award at the 2011 Audio Pro International Awards in association with NAMM.  He is also the author of  Live Audio, a book published by Focal Press.



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