CMF – Why you should always have a backup 6/28/15

Computer has walked away:

Pretty much that sums it up.  Yesterday I was shutting down my laptop, then put it in its sleeve, then into another bag, then I went up on stage to take down all the microphones.  After this I moved all the microphones and the bag with the computer still in it (I thought) to a locked office, where it stayed until this morning.  No computer in the bag.


This was two things, my nicest MacBook Pro set up for location recording, upgraded and running great, and a gift from my awesome girlfriend Lauren.  So, yea, it going missing kind of sucks.  Now, I still have hope that someone from the production team grabbed it and just hasn’t responded to emails asking if anyone has seen the computer.  Ok, so on to the technical.

Everything on the MBP; the rehearsals, first two concerts, files, etc. was backed up, which I do at the end of every show.  So as far as the Colorado Music Festival is concerned we haven’t lost anything critical on the recording end of things.  Also I have two other computers as backups, one is ready to go, and one would need to enter license numbers to get the software running and then it is ready to go.

So while the actual computer is gone, the files and the work are still safe.

Here is the MBP yesterday morning!

Here is the MBP yesterday morning!

Another interesting thing today was putting together the input lists for the upcoming shows.  A key to this particular job is doing both the multitrack recording and the live sound.  This involves two pretty different set ups when working with a symphony as the microphones for recording are not close to the sources and thus are fairly useless to put into the PA.  Then there are also close microphones on soloist and some instruments.  Getting the input lists together took a couple hours but I think that the following will work.  (The links are not all the same so worth clicking around, usually one goes to the manufacture and another to a review of the piece.)

Position Microphone Sub Snake Front Sub Snake Mid CCA Main Snake Profire 1 Inputs Profire 2 Inputs ASP880 Inputs AVID Profile Inputs AVID Profile Channels AVID Profile Outputs Profire 1 Outputs Profire 2 Outputs ASP880 Direct to Outputs
CL 414 1 1 1 17 17 Main Outs 1
CR 414 2 2 2 18 18 Main Outs 2
CL KSM44 3 3 3 19 19 Main Outs 3
CR KSM44 4 4 4 20 20 Main Outs 4
FL QTC50 5 5 5 21 21 Main Outs 5
FR QTC50 6 6 6 22 22 Main Outs 6
Solo 7 7 7 23 23 Main Outs 7
JM SM58 8 46 10 Main Outs
Announce SM58 9 47 11 Main Outs
ML CCA KSM32 1 9 1
MC KM184 2 10 2
MR KSM32 3 11 3
Bs CCA SM81 4 12 4
OrgL CCA DI 10 13 5 1 1 Main Outs 5
OrgR CCA DI 11 14 6 2 2 Main Outs 6
FOH TB CCA SM58 48 9 Main Outs

You’ll see that there is a fair amount of sequential inputs and then places where they are not.  This is due to stage logistics, console negotiations, and the fact that snakes are bundled into sets of 8 or 12 channels.  The letters in the “Position” column mean the following.

  • CL and CR are Center Left and Right, these are in the front center (down stage) and are in ORTF pairs
  • FL and FR are Far Left and Right.  Often referred to as “outriggers” these are about 12 feet to the left and right of the center pair at the front of the stage
  • ML, MC, MR are Mid-Right, Mid-Center and Mid-Left, which are located in the middle of the stage and allow the pickup of the percussion, winds and brass respectfully.
  • Bs is a spot microphone on the Bass section
  • Org is Organ – there is going to be an electric organ that will run into the main PA system
  • JM is Jean-Marie Zeitouni‘s microphone to speak with the audience if he would like
  • Announce is off to the side of the stage and is for announcements
  • FOH TB is Front of House Talk Back, and is a microphone I have at the console that allows me to test the PA and check signal flow.

The AVID Profile are the inputs in the back of the console, but like a Pro Tools rig these can be internally routed, so for example if you look at the JM SM58 it comes in on 46 of the Main house snake but then is internally routed to channel 10 for convenience.  You’ll also notice I’m not recording that microphone so it has no inputs on the ProFires or ASP880.

Another example of why it’s important to have an input list is to look at the Organ L and R.  It comes in on the ProFire 1 inputs 5 and 6, which will be the inputs to the tracks in the DAW, these are routed via direct outs 5 and 6 (on the ProFire) to the inputs 1 and 2 in the back of the AVID Stage Rack, and then can be piped into the main PA system.

Now there are some benefits and drawbacks to this set up.  The main benefit is that I get to use the recording preamps.  The biggest drawback is that if the recording system goes down I will also lose the sound in the main PA.  For now this is the best option I’ve come up with as the AVID rig only has three direct outs that I can use currently (there’s some internal routing I and the house tech haven’t been able to solve.)  Even if we do figure it out we will max out at 11 direct outs from the Profile, which means I still couldn’t run everything to the Profile and then out to the recording rig, so I might as well run everything that I want to record to the recording rig where I have 24 inputs available, and then at least right now I can run 12 direct outs to the Profile.  (Does that make any sense?)

So while the first concert will rock, and hopefully the backup machine will be fine (though it has been acting up lately) it sucks to lose a very good and very expensive tool.  ALWAYS BACKUP and STAY ORGANIZED; that’s what I learned (again) today!