On Sunday the 19 November I travelled down to the big city of Milton Keynes for the annual Music Production Expo held at the MK Arena. This showcased some of the finest names in music production in the UK and a couple of companies in particular had products that I really wanted to explore.
The first of these was a Banbury based company called ACS Custom who specialise in in-ear monitors and ear protection. As a singer the ability to be able to hear yourself is key to being able stay in tune and ensuring that perform at your very best. It is easy to forget just how loud it can be on stage and to simply crank your monitors up to be able to hear yourself but what damage is that doing to your hearing? Hearing loss is a very gradual thing and by the time you realise that you have a problem then the damage is usually irreversible. ACS offer some fantastic in ear monitors which are moulded to fit the shape of your ear (would you really want to share something that has been in someone else’s ears?) and can be fitted with 2 or more speakers depending on the complexity of your stage performance and whether you need to be able to hear yourself or the whole band – for me the 2 speaker versions are ideal.
I was curious as to whether it would cut out all the ambient sound and leave me simply in a bubble of my own singing and was pleased to be told that they would reduce the surrounding sound levels to a non damaging level but still allow me to be able to hear what was going on, the advantage of that meant that the sound being sent to me did not need to be as loud – no more leaving the stage with ringing ears and the feeling i was underwater!
Next up I wanted to speak to the guys at Focusrite as I wanted to talk about their digital interfaces, at present I do my mixing on an analogue Behringer which I love with its silky smooth sliders and great sound but is limited to only outputting a single tract to my computer rather than the individual inputs. Being a mac user, one with a thunderbolt cable would be great for reduced latency. They had some fantastic products and referred me over to Red Dog Music who were doing some fantastic show discounts on their already competitive prices. Go have a look, you know you want to!!
This connects to your DAW and allows you to mix the channels using the controller- giving you an analogue feel – not sure about you but there is something disconnected about using a mouse to twiddling a dial!
Next up I spoke to some lovely girls from the SAE who talked me through some of the courses that they offer and invited me down for their christmas show and their jam nights in Oxford,,,,,looks like a trip to oxford is on the cards!