New York (March 19, 2007)–Derrick Featherstone, director of rentals and touring at Pro Media/UltraSound (Hercules, CA), is the longtime FOH engineer and tour manager for Primus, and recently found himself and the band switching to using Digidesign’s Venue digital live sound desk for touring.
The Digidesign Venue desk used on Primus’ current tour, while hard at work.”I believe the true success of this desk is based on the plug-in software,” Featherstone said. “You can create a very solid mix rivaling that of multiple outboard processing racks with analog consoles. I think the plug-ins have allowed the transition from analog to digital to become a viable reality.”
For the Primus tour, Featherstone employs a Venue D-Show console, an FOH Rack, and a remotely located Stage Rack that handles up to 48 mic inputs. To achieve the most pristine sound possible, he uses the D-Show’s AES/EBU digital output to supply two-buss audio directly from the FOH Rack to a BSS Audio Soundweb system, which then transmits digital audio via CAT 5 to a second Soundweb device that sends analog signals to the system amplifiers. Not only does this reduce the amount of copper cabling required for the system, this configuration basically eliminates the need for analog inserts in the fully digital front of house system. As a result, every signal only passes through one analog-to-digital conversion, and that occurs at the earliest possible point in the signal chain.
The system also includes a Pro Tools|HD 3 Accel system and rackmounted Apple Mac Pro computer, which Featherstone uses for recording and Virtual Soundcheck. A single road case housing a Pro Tools HD system integrated to the Venue FOH Rack automatically routes 30-plus channels of audio to the hard disc recorder via HDx interface. Additionally, he routes two front-of-house audience mics to Pro Tools via an Aphex 207D preamp (connected via S/PDIF to the FOH Rack) to capture show ambience for future track remixing. This enables him to keep the audience mics at FOH instead of at the Stage Rack.