[This just in from Sean Walker, Seattle audio engineer and boating enthusiast. He recently took his friends, and his StudioLive 16.4.2, for a spin out on Lake Washington during the city’s annual Seafair festival. Oh, and he also brought his band, and remotely mixed the band’s performance on the water while mixing via StudioLive Remote on his iPad. From a floating trampoline. Seriously. Pics follow.]
It’s August in Seattle, and that means two things: less rain than normal and our annual Seafair celebration! Seafair is a week-long celebration culminating on the first Sunday in August with the H1 Unlimited Hydroplane races and an air show over the race course on lake Washington! The race course is surrounded by a log boom on the outside perimeter to keep pleasure crafts from getting run over by a 200 MPH hydro. Now, being the festive sort, we often fill the log boom with boats and party like it’s Mardi Gras! This year, however, we outdid ourselves with the help of our friends at PreSonus, Audix, Sennheiser and QSC. This year, our client and I loaded a Yacht with a 6 Kilowatt generator, a PreSonus Studiolive 16.4.2, four QSC KW181 subs, four KW122 tops, and some K12s for monitors, and invited our friends in the fantastic cover band, The Herding Cats to THROW DOWN ON TOP OF THE YACHT!
Naturally, this presented a unique set of challenges. There were to be identical bow and stern PA rigs (you don’t want any survivors… I mean, anyone to miss the show), monitors for the band, and a wireless transmission to another yacht. So, we set up the speakers, ran power and signal, then ran a snake to the top of the vessel where the band would play as I mixed from inside the cabin. Thankfully for me, this was not my StudioLive’s first rodeo. Rather than the old guess-and-check method I’m used to when there is no proper FOH position, I got to relax on the floating trampoline behind the Yacht and mix the show, via StudioLive Remote on my iPad, iced tea in hand! If that isn’t a win, I don’t know what is! Also, the StudioLive’s ability to link Auxiliary sends to stereo made the wireless transmission to the other yacht a breeze!
The Microphones were all Sennheiser and Audix, except for an RE20 on the kick. Vocals all ran wirelessly. An E965 for Jon, who is the drummer/lead singer. E835’s were deployed for Mike and Rick’s backing vocals. Mike’s Fender Twin amp was miked with an E609 in the standard “Yeah, that’s just right” spot where the dust cap meets the cone. A DI was used for Rick’s bass to keep things “simple.” Since Jon thinks he’s some kind of Bonham, and drenches his drums with pitchers of water for an AWESOME spectacle during the bands Led Zeppelin melody, durable is the name of the game here. Snare and toms were Audix F-series with a Sennheiser E901 plate in the kick and an RE20 for kick out.
The day went off without a hitch and the band sounded fantastic! Most importantly, we had fun and that’s what this game is all about!
A HUGE thank you to Presonus, Sennheiser, Audix and QSC for making fantastic gear in both function and sound. We could not have pulled this off nearly as easily without their help!
The Herding Cats are Jon Bolton, Mike Mattingly and Rick Lovrovich. If you find yourself in the Seattle area, you owe it to yourself to catch them in action!
Sean Walker is a Freelance Audio Engineer in the Seattle area.