Saturday, December 14, 2013

Live sound engineering techniques with Rush monitor engineer Brent Carpenter
9:38PM EST | comments (35) |

UPDATE - 12/18@10:08AM: Here's one of the free sample videos that is posted on's YouTube channel. In this 6-minute video Brent goes over what's involved with miking Neil Peart's drumkit.

Rush monitor engineer Brent CarpenterRush monitor engineer Brent Carpenter posted a 1-hour and 18-minute tutorial video to educational website yesterday. The instructional video is titled Live Sound Engineering Techniques: On Tour with Rush with Brent Carpenter. From the tutorial's description:

Follow along with Brent Carpenter on tour with Rush, as he demonstrates what it is like to be a live sound engineer for a major rock show. We shadow Brent and the Rush sound crew as they prepare for the Denver, Colorado, show on their Clockwork Angels tour, where the band is set to perform for 12,000 fans. After the gear is loaded into the venue, Brent explains how he and the crew set up the rigging, amp racks, and fly the speaker arrays to make sure well-balanced stereo sound reaches every seat in the arena. He also shows how he sets up his console to mix the onstage sound for Geddy Lee, Alex Lifeson, and Neil Peart and configures the in-ear monitor system and balance of audience mics for each member of the band. Then we get to sit backstage with Brent and watch what he does during line check, sound check, and the actual show. After the fans file out, see how all the equipment comes back down and is packed away so the cycle can start all over in the next city. ...

The tutorial in split up into multiple sections, most of which require a membership to view. But the introduction and a select number of other sections are free to preview. You can check it out online here. Thanks to William M for the heads up.



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#35 - Posted 12/23/13 @7:48PM by kennyplay1 [contact]

The CA CD disc to me sounds wayyy better compared to the live show. The bass is LOUD and punchy, you can here it. In the recent concerts, 2004 and on to now bass is wayyy low... Sometimes can't hear it at all. Sound is GUITAR heavy too.

I miss hearing bass at the shows.
Also if watch The Garden on CA DVD, you can see Geddy hitting the floor trigger when the strings (seems) to come in. They don't but the sampled sounds do. Much of the strings are triggered sounds, not the strings themselves.

The worst, IMO for live sound was around 93'.. They just had the Marshalls and bass amps (Trace Elliot) wayyyy loud on stage, the sound mixer couldn't get a good sound... This was at the Spectrum in Philly. I saw Van Halen around the same time there to, huge amps on stage, very loud and they too had an extremely loud stage volume and the mix was off. If your sound is sooo loud on stage, it doesn't get turned up in the house mix...
#34 - Posted 12/21/13 @3:00PM by Taurus Pedal Boy

As it is now, you'd have to pay $25 to have access to watching this (and whatever other content they have) for 30 days. I'm tempted, but I think for $25 I should get to own it.
#33 - Posted 12/19/13 @9:59PM by logan 5 [contact]

"Empirically" wow had to look that up,what i gather, it means it can be proven, digital may measure better than analog, and direct may measure better than mic'ed amps, but do they sound better? sound and how we perceive it is totally subjective. "What is done with it by the engineers is another story" totally agree, and I think that is were the rub is, as long as the band likes what it hears through their monitors that's good enough for them, and the house sound is not their responsibility and they really don't dwell on it they have their own responsibilities, on the Work in Progress disc the discussion of mic placement came up and Neil kind of brushes it of with that's the sound mans job and as long as he liked what he heard on playback then he was fine with it, to my ears (which is the ultimate measuring tool) mic'ed amps cranked to 11 sound better, i think the sound engineers rely to much on tools and not their ears.
#32 - Posted 12/19/13 @1:35PM by drummerboy2112

#31 totally agree with the "what would the sound engineers do with it" comment. Kinda like put a paintbrush in my hand vs "(name your classical artist"

or better yet, drumsticks and the TMT tour kit in my hands vs Neil's. Yea we have the same gear, but obviously its night and day as to the sound that will be produced.

There are engineers out there, who I wouldnt know if they walked up to me, that can make or break an artist's live sound. I saw REM at MSG years ago, like 2002 i think, and it SUCKED. Then I saw Motley Crue last year, and was told that Nikki's bass was all pre-recorded by the sound guys. Also, Tommy Lee's drum sounds were all triggered. And it still sounded like ass. Poison opened and it was SO. MUCH. BETTER.

So its not the venue. Its what you do with what you have and having the balls to remove OR change sh*t if you had to. I think with all Rush has going on, it may be nearly impossible to mix live especially with the strings now being in similar freq as Alex, but if it can improve, then I think they have an obligation to do so.
#31 - Posted 12/19/13 @10:43AM by CraigJ [contact]

#29 - I agree. I would also add that I don't think I've ever been to a concert in an arena where I would classify the sound as excellent. The best I ever heard Rush is when they played Irvine Amphitheater and Pacific Amphitheater on various tours in the 90's. When I go to a concert I'm trying to get tickets as close as possible - I go for the experience.

This whole argument about amps on stage vs. direct is a lot like the digital vs. analog arguments. Empirically speaking, direct is better than using mic'ed amps, and digital is better than analog. What is done with it by the engineers is another story.
#30 - Posted 12/19/13 @12:29AM by ncstaterush [contact]

#9.. GREAT SUGGESTION... would love to see that happen.. likely not since I did not win the Mega Millions last night.

Go Bears!
#29 - Posted 12/17/13 @6:18PM by unusualmuse [contact]

#17: "For the large concert venues that Rush plays, the on-stage amps would have very little effect out to the front of house...."

Not so. Remember, there are also *mics* on the stage; about 20 on Neil's kit alone, plus vocal mics for Geddy and Alex, plus a number of audience mics. It's almost impossible to control bleed from stage amps in a situation like that. This makes it frustrating to set your gating, compression, compression, and EQ on your mics, not to mention get a clean sound out to the house.
#28 - Posted 12/17/13 @4:30PM by jiminseattle [contact]

I totally agree Marty. I love Snakes and Clockwork. Unlike many, they are my two favorite Rush releases. Love the way Ged sings as well. The whole package is superb to me.
#27 - Posted 12/17/13 @3:59PM by marty from clayton [contact]

I'm not in the "I'm thankful for everything they do at this point" camp either.
I simply like their newer material and sound better.
#26 - Posted 12/17/13 @1:38PM by jiminseattle [contact]

Couldn't have stated it better Jupe, eloquent and direct.

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