So I got to check out a Rent run-through for the first time last night.
WOW. These guys are killing it.
The cast, the set, the music, the direction and management of the show, all brilliant. I always have this moment, watching run-throughs, where I look around at all of the talent in the room, and what they’re making happen onstage, and it really sinks in for me what all they’re putting in my hands and trusting to me. “Butterflies” doesn’t begin to decribe it.
The good news here is that I feel even better about the choices I made to this point. They spent an appreciable amount more to get this setup, and I feel 100% certain now that it is needed and justified. I also got in a little early and was able to set up the monitors for the band. I give them two, one for the drummer, and one for everyone else. Vocals are the only thing that usually goes to them, so the cabinets are daisy-chained, and fed through the channel of a little mixer so that they can change levels as they need. They really like having that flexibility, and it keeps me from having to worry about it much during the show. THAT is going to be especially important this time!
SInce the Midas is set up for L/R, and we’re doing a center channel also, our center is fed through one of the auxes. The way I’m planning to arrange my sound is a new experiment for me. The reason I wanted this was so I could route the main characters mostly to the center, and the chorus members to the left and right, to get some separation and additional control via the groups, to keep things from getting buried. But I’ve been doing a lot of reading on spatial arrangement in recording and live mixing, and I started thinking a lot about “phantom center” – the perception created when left and right speakers are outputting the same signals, at the same levels – and wondered if I would end up with a muddy mess, despite the additional gear. So my (admittedly somewhat convoluted) is this:
The Midas groups channels via the pan pot, so when you have a group send delected, panning the channel to the left or right now assigns it to one of two groups. Panning center will send to both. So I’m going to take half my chorus, and send them to groups 1 and 2, and the other half to groups 3 and 4. Group 1 will be sent to the left speaker, group 2 to the right, group 3 to the left, and group 4 to the right. What I’m THINKING this will give me is and easy, 4-fader way to alter the L/R balance during the show. What I’m HOPING this will result in is a bigger, fuller, and clearer sound for the full company. My main characters will be concentrated in the center cluster, and fed just a bit to the L/R. So THAT, I’m thinking, should keep them from getting buried by the company during songs, and hopefully create a more intimate sound for them during their dialogue scenes.
We’ll see. This is new territory for me, and I am both vey excited and very nervous. I told my gear guy that I just want to lock myself in the theater with my mics and speakers and junk, and just hiss at people who come to the door. “LEAVE ME ALONE! IT ISN’T READY YET!!” X)
Today, I’m heading out with my little Tascam recorder to get some sounds for my preshow piece. Next week, I’ll ring the room, finish band world, and then it’s sitzprobe!