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In this episode of Sound Design Live, I speak with touring FOH sound engineer, author, and fashion entrepreneur, Dave Swallow, during his stop in Minneapolis on tour with Erasure. We discuss using timecode to trigger scenes on a Venue Profile console, starting a clothing line, why touring sound engineers are working more, but getting paid less, and what to do about it. I ask:
- How did you get the job touring with Erasure?
- How do you use the wireless Lake controller to tune the sound system?
- What are some ways you used plugins to recreate specific sounds from the album?
- What did you want to start a clothing brand?
- Why should I care about the speed of sound?
Our wages haven’t gone up in 10-15 year in some cases and there are less shows. When you think about the future of the industry, there is a big question mark.
- All music in this episode by Meathook and Butler Boyz.
- Dave’s clothing line – Audio Architect Apparel
- Software: Waves H-Delay, True Verb, C6 Multi-band Compressor
- Hardware: Venue Profile, D&B B2, FunktionOne 221, D&B Y system
- Books: Live Audio
- What [triggering the scenes with timecode] has allowed me to do is focus on sonically how they are sitting in the room. This is especially important when you are stuck mixing at the back of the room.
- The problem with putting big reverbs into big rooms, is they are twice as big. One of the things that is quite helpful is using the pre-delay. Getting it up to somewhere between 70-100ms, you give the vocal time to form the words and then you have the extension.
- One of the biggest problems with theatres in the US is that they lack bottom end.
- My self and my contemporaries are probably the first generation of touring sound engineers that have had to think about having another career. [When you set out on this path] you just think, “Let’s have fun!” But there comes that point when you think, actually, I don’t want to be 60 and living by myself in a rented flat somewhere in north London.
- To earn a decent living you need to be out of the house [on tour] for the whole year, to pay for the house that you’re not living in.
- You’re losing out to gigs because there is someone younger and cheaper than you are. Experience doesn’t seem to count for as much as it used to because it’s all budget controlled.
- When my son was born I only worked six months and we weren’t struggling for cash. These days, if I only work six months, we’ll have a bit of a problem.