My Setup for the DJ Fresh Tour
By Dave Swallow
Congratulations to Dave Swallow who recently won the Live Sound Engineer of the Year award at the 2012 Audio Pro International Awards in association with NAMM at PLASA 2012. He also won the award in 2011. Dave really needs to learn to share. 😉
Currently Dave is touring with DJ Fresh. Below he describes his setup.
I have been asked on many occasions to show the setup I use. The problem is that this changes quite a lot, so it’s not always consistent. But now I’ve started with DJ Fresh, I pretty much have the same setup all the time. So, here you go…
As you can see from the picture below, I have an Avid SC48. I’m running just the standard set of plugins, although I am demoing a few different multi-band compressors and dynamic EQs. For those of you that have read my post /column in LSI about plugins will know that I really don’t like them. In fact, I’m hardly using any at all on this except for a parametric EQ over the main left and right, and the FX. The EQ of the track changes dramatically from song to song, so unless I have lot’s of scene changes with various EQs on it, I think Dynamic EQ is probably the best way to go.
You can also see Pro Tools on my laptop. I’m recording each show, and this also gives me the ability to do a virtual soundcheck at festivals. I’m sure you would have noticed the Yamaha HS50M on the side. I’ve never thought about using monitors in a live situation before, but the more festivals I do the handier they become. I’ve been in situations where I can’t even hear the PA, only reflections from the tent, so these fill in the gaps. Also, I know what they sound like so they are a good reference for hearing the finer detail. They aren’t expensive, just consistent.
Here is a new little addition to my setup. This is my Nano Patch. This is a passive volume control for the Yamaha monitors, complete with mute button! I was trying to get away with having lot’s of circuitry in the way of the monitors so this seemed like a good option at the time. The SC48 doesn’t have an extra monitor control unlike it’s bigger brothers. But this works well enough for my needs. Now for underneath…
This is my rack. It looks a little sparse at the moment, and that because a lot of the kit is in the studio, but I have a rather wonderful piece of kit here, please be introduced to the Crane Song HEDD 192. This is a Harmonics device, much like an Exciter. It has adjustable pentode and triode controls, and also a tape knob. This is a kind of tape saturation control. It simulates old analogue tape saturation.
I don’t really use any of these controls to be honest, but if I do, it’s really subtle… I use this for two other reasons, the internal word clock, and the Digital to Analogue conversion. I come out of the SC48 in digital AES in the Crane Song, the analogue out of the Crane Song into the PA. I think is sounds wonderful, very clear, very detailed. But you should listen for yourselves. I did write a little piece on clocking here some time ago when I was out with James. This isn’t £7000 worth of clock, but it does make a huge difference.
Underneath that you can see the TC Helecon VoiceLive. I was given this to try out, and I am still playing around with it. It is a great tool for vocals, but I still need to work out how to use it to it’s full advantage.
And that’s my setup for DJ Fresh at the moment.
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. Dave has won the Live Sound Engineer of the Year award at both the 2011 and 2012 Audio Pro International Awards in association with NAMM. He is also the author of Live Audio, a book published by Focal Press.