HOLLYWOOD, CA—Creative Sound Solutions, led by Randy Faustino, CEO, president and engineer, recently added another entertainment reality show to its roster (which already includes American Idol and Dancing with the Stars), signing up to mix all of the music on NBC’s new show, The Voice. Faustino and mixing partners, J. Mark King and Tim Hatayama, mixed the show using three identical mobile production units centered on 96-channel Avid Venue and Pro Tools|HD systems.
The Voice is the U.S. version of a Dutch show, The Voice of Holland, which was created by John de Mol, the media mogul behind Big Brother and Deal Or No Deal. The show garnered sufficiently high viewing figures for NBC that the network renewed the series for a second season, beginning February 2012, within a month of its debut in late April 2011.
Judges for this first season included recording artists Christina Aguilera, Cee Lo Green, Blake Shelton and Adam Levine. In the competition, each judge initially chooses contestants to be on his or her team in a blind audition phase before going on to coach the respective teams through a battle, or elimination, round. The final eight—two from each team—then compete before an audience in live broadcast performances.
According to Faustino, the three Creative Sound Solutions mixers use the same setup for each of the three reality shows that they handle, which comprises three 96-channel Venue systems, each with a Venue D-Show console, an FOH Rack and two Stage Racks. In terms of onboard processing, essential plug-ins for Faustino include the TC Electronic 6000 and SSL Channel Strip. Avid, Waves and API plug-ins are also among his favorites. Shows are recorded to a 96-input Pro Tools|HD system that is fed by each Venue system, which is equipped with two Venue HDx option cards. For smaller shows and mobile situations, such as recording the band offsite, the team also has a Venue Mix Rack System available that includes a Venue Profile console.
The setup allows Faustino to move between the live and prerecorded backing tracks very easily. “Using the Venue systems together with Pro Tools is really the whole point for us,” he explains. “We record every show to Pro Tools|HD as a multitrack session. When we come in the next day, we flip the session into [Venue] HDx mode, and you’re looking at the same show you had the night before. So it’s easy to set up scene snapshots for every number. Then when we’re ready to do the show, everything is already there and all you have to do is mix.”
The Venue’s snapshot recall was really what led Faustino to select the system, he reveals. “Sure, it’s a great-sounding console and we love all the plug-ins. But it’s the ability to quickly flip back and forth between Stage Racks and Pro Tools playback, so we can make adjustments after rehearsal or soundcheck that makes it so perfect for our use.
“We’ve typically got around 180 scenes for each show, including different scenes for the audience mics when the performers talk, when they’re singing, when the announcers are talking—pretty much everything. It enables me to bring in both prerecorded and live elements, and handle a live mix while tracking. It’s a truly integrated system with an amazing amount of flexibility.”
But more than anything, he says, what makes the setup a powerful solution for a show such as The Voice is the integration of the Venue system and Pro Tools: “The Venue [D-Show] console is perfect for our needs,” he says. “It brings the studio and the live elements together in a way no other system can.”
Creative Sound Solutions