Tokyo-based sound engineering company Live Date has begun using Waves’ eMotion LV1 Live Mixer and plug-ins for broadcast streaming.

Live Date provides sound mixing, on-stage computer/DAW set-ups and live streaming for popular Japanese acts Yorushika, My First Story, Survive Said The Prophet and Ms.OOJA. With budgets for live entertainment have hit by Covid-19, arena events have been replaced by smaller live music venues, and hall-sized events by small clubs. Current restrictions on all live events allow a 50 per cent maximum capacity. As a result, concerts are part live and streamed, with organisers selling expensive tickets for the live experience and less expensive ones for online streaming of the same event.

Live Date sound engineering teamThe growing demand for live streaming has bolstered requests for better streaming sound quality. ‘Covid-19 has placed many restrictions on the number of staff members working in the studios and venues from which we stream,’ says Live Date CEO Shigeo Aoki. ‘Normally, just a few people would cover the PA, but now, we are sometimes limited to only one person at a time. This requires new solutions that are easy to operate. Also, performances by popular Japanese artists are nowadays streamed live from non-traditional locations, such as rehearsal studios, restaurants, and even private homes. Traditional mixing consoles are often unsuitable for these sites.

‘To handle these new conditions, we were looking for a mixer that could be transported and operated by a small number of people, with the same or higher level of sonic quality as we’re used to, but with a minimal footprint. Waves’ eMotion LV1 was the first solution that came to mind,’ he continues, ‘A complete LV1 system’s footprint is less than half of a medium live console, so you can place the LV1 system in any space – say, a hallway or a dressing room.

‘Our complete LV1 system includes the Waves Axis One computer, the Extreme Server-C plug-in DSP server, and theSoundStudio STG-1608 and STG-2412 audio interfaces. We also own a DiGiGrid MGB interface. The interfaces are connected to each other via a network switch and a digicom Red Link10 with a LAN cable. I chose a Dell P2418HT as the LV1’s touchscreen display. It’s a very compact system that can go anywhere.’

‘Since the live industry has shifted almost completely to computer-based digital consoles, switching to the LV1 was easy,’ says Live Date FOH and monitor engineer, Takuro Sawada. ‘The LV1 is economical, but it’s also very flexible in the way you can use custom layers and user keys.’

Waves eMotion LV1 Setup in use by Live DateLive Date’s first and foremost consideration, however, is sound quality: ‘Our PA team uses Waves plug-ins to mix live shows anyway,’ Aoki says, ‘so eMotion LV1 was the first choice enabling us to deliver the same great sound quality – only with the smaller footprint, and with the Waves plug-ins running inside the LV1 mixer.’

Live Date FOH and monitor engineer Masaru Sasaki adds: ‘We had a case where the sound was coming out of the venue’s PA system via the venue’s regular console, while at the same time we were streaming live via the eMotion LV1. The sound quality was so good that the venue staff were surprised at the difference between the sound coming out of the PA, and the better sound quality mixed on the LV1. The sound resolution from the LV1 was significantly higher.’

Waves plug-ins are an integral part of Live Date’s workflow. ‘I have many favourite plug-ins, but a few must-haves include the V-EQ4, an EQ modelled after the Neve 1081 – it works very well and gives you a very polished and pleasant sound,’ Sasaki remarks. ‘The CLA Classic Compressors, modelled after the Urei 1176, LA-2A and LA-3A – they enable me to use each colour of the original hardware, which is quite different from the compressors offered in ordinary digital live consoles. There’s theSSL E-Channel – I really like this modelling of the SSL console’s EQ, and also the compressor, especially when used to add punch to my drums). Another must-have is the Primary Source Expander – a great expander for live mixing; it smoothly attenuates the sound of instruments leaked by vocal microphones and other instruments, and it processes with exceptional accuracy.

‘Another favourite is the H-Reverb Hybrid Reverb – this is a super multi-functional reverb: you can do so many things with it, and it’s amazingly three-dimensional. I own almost all of Waves’ plug-ins, so of course I use additional plug-ins as well. Although many of the must-have plug-ins I mention are analogue-modelled related, I’ve chosen those that are easy to use and extremely effective.

Live Date’s engineers control the LV1 via both a touchscreen and a physical tactile controller, the Waves FIT Controller, which is specifically designed for eMotion LV1. ‘The tactile FIT controller is important,’ Sawada notes. ‘During a live event you need to pay attention to the performer, the level meter, and more. It is easy enough to follow a specific fader on the touch display, when you have time to look at things; but the physical faders make the operation more sensitive and efficient.’

‘Especially in recent years, I feel that more and more companies are developing useful plug-ins and software with new ideas that can be used for a variety of purposes,’ Sawada says. ‘Of course, there are many good plug-ins available from other companies, and we are all aware of their merits, however, I believe Waves is the best prepared to respond quickly and seamlessly to various situations such as mixing, recording, PA and streaming.

‘In order to keep the entertainment business alive in this very difficult Covid-19 situation, we feel that what we need to do now is to continue to bring live music to the audience via the Internet. I feel that the Waves eMotion LV1 is capable of delivering the same great sound anywhere, anytime.’


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