San Francisco, CA (November 18, 2013)—During a recent show by funk musician Maceo Parker, audio engineer Andrew “Goat” Gilchrist had to use quick thinking, along with a PreSonus’ StudioLive 24.4.2 console, when a last-minute gear change was made before a show at the SFJAZZ Center.
"They had had some trouble with the house console crashing and locking up before our third night, and the house crew were a bit nervous that evening, but it all worked and we made it through the show without incident," Gilchrist explained. "But the afternoon before our fourth and final show, something went wrong and the console became unusable—glitching, freezing up, and making loud, sporadic noises into the PA."
That's where the quick thinking came in. "Masa, the SFJAZZ house audio tech, grabbed the little mixing console from the performance lab space and wired it in to the multichannel splitter at FOH,. I got word of this console swap five minutes before our performance. The house is open, the audience are mostly in their seats, and I'm out at FOH, suddenly staring at a completely blank canvas of a console, without even a line check to confirm 22 channels of signal coming from a full eight-piece band."
Gilchrist's long-standing Old School approach of using very little EQ and no compressors made putting together a new mix a bit easier. "I spent my pre-show five minutes on the StudioLive, dialing up high-pass filters and guessing up a little bit of EQ on a few channels," he said. "I had used the StudioLive at a couple of different venues in New Orleans earlier this year, and because the desk is set up in such an obvious and intuitive way, I was able to do a lot in that five minutes."
Gilchrist also said the mix sounded better than the other nights. "After my mad scramble, once I was able to take a little step back from the console, I realized the show actually sounded better than it had the previous three nights! I had been struggling with a very flat, two-dimensional mix, with a real lack of mid-range definition. I had kind of attributed it to the complexities of this very deadened acoustic space. But listening to the mix through the StudioLive, a depth of imaging appeared in my mix that had been missing.”