Marc Repp and Browning McCollum in MTV’s Remote Unit 8With Willie Nelson, Neil Young, John Mellencamp and Dave Matthews on stage, and Marc Repp and Browning McCollum at the helm of MTV’s Remote Unit 8 truck, Farm Aid 25: Growing Hope for America was a country classic in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, recently.

Aimed to hightlighrt awareness of the importance of family farms in the US, the event was broadcast on Willie’s Place, Sirius/XM Radio as well as The 101 Network – with audio getting high billing in the remote. At the centre of the activity, Lawo’s mc²66 digital audio console and Plug-in Server handled the mix.

Marc Repp is the Senior Audio Operations Engineer with Remote Unit 8 and Browning McCollum oversees technical and maintenance operations. In addition to engineering many of the events that Remote Unit 8 serves, Repp also handles mix assist duties when guest engineers are on on-site. For Farm Aid 25, Repp was the man at the desk. Seated at the 56-fader Lawo mc²66 console – configured as 48 and eight faders with eight DSP cards (the maximum number available) for more than 500 fully-processed DSP channels, Repp mixing all music performances. Interestingly, only half having had a soundcheck prior to the show.

‘I mixed for broadcast in 5.1 surround sound, and only had actual soundchecks with half the acts on the roster,’ Repp confirms. ‘For those acts, I was able to use the mc²66’s snapshot automation capabilities and simply recall the appropriate mix. The bigger challenge occurred with the remaining acts that never had a soundcheck. For those eight or so acts, I was advised of the inputs, what lines I could find them on, and we essentially mixed on the fly.’

‘One aspect of the mc²66 that really helped me address this situation is its DSP Library feature where you can save favorite DSP set-ups per channel and they remain with the console until you actually delete them since they’re not project specific,’ Repp adds. ‘I had saved several favorite kick drum settings, drum settings, guitar settings, voice settings and so on, and I used these as starting points for those acts we never did a sound check with. This way, I didn’t have to completely define EQ, compression, and a host of other parameters for each new act.’

Lawo’s Plug-in Server, which accepts all VST-type audio processing plug-ins without modification, integrates with the company’s mc² series consoles and plays a large part in how the processing takes place at the mc²66. The system is integrated with the Lawo HD Core processor, with control of the system originating at the console. This eliminates the all-too-common process of patching external processing equipment into the console and, as Repp points out, is a tremendous time saver.

‘We mix a lot of multiple act TV shows and recordings,’ says Repp, ‘and if you’re setting up an outside processor on an act-to-act basis, somebody has to keep up with all those settings so they can be reset as you move from one act to another. By contrast, if the signal processing is saved as part of the console’s automation – as it is with the Plug-in Server – it gets recalled as part of the snapshot and is ready to go instantaneously. In addition to dynamics processors such as compression and limiting, we can just as easily deploy reverbs, delays, and other effects that, previously, were only available via the outboard gear.

‘Those of us working in Remote Unit 8 also work with other manufacturers’ equipment and, frankly, I feel as though the other companies are playing catch-up to Lawo,’ Repp summarises. ‘At the end of the day, it’s all about sound quality – and this is where the Lawo system excels.

More: www.lawo.de

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