Why is capturing desk audio so important?

Capturing multi-tracks of your gigs regularly has a lot of benefits.
Why is capturing desk audio so important?

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One of the huge benefits of having a live engineer and a digital desk at your shows is being able to capture the performance for use later. One of the key features of working with Prestige is that we capture the multi-tracks for our clients shows as a matter of course - but why is this useful?

1. To listen back and analyse your performances

Listening back to a 2track capture hides a lot of the nuisance of the players' performances. Musicians always strive to be a little better than they were yesterday (the right ones anyway!), and our music college training had us watching back our performances to see where we need to improve.

The ability to isolate your performance by listening the multitrack of your performance gives you that opportunity.

2. Provides you with marketing material.

2track desk audio isn't mixed to be listened back to on consumer systems. It's mixed according to how the engineer perceived the show in the room, informed by the physical surroundings and how the PA reacts in the room.

So having the multi tracks available to remix can provide you with audio to use for marketing purposes - maybe even to sync up to video later on, especially if you're using click tracks and clearly defined arrangements.

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3. Provides you with the ability to create a product to sell.

Similarly to using it for marketing material, there's no reason why desk audio can't be used to produce live CDs or DVDs to sell as merchandise! The shows are properly mic'd and captured - why not take advantage of the availability of multi tracks to make a product out of.

4. Rehearsal material for the band and, critically, for deps!

This is possibly my favourite reason for having multi tracks available. It provides the band with multi-tracks to be able to rehearse with, away from the band - saving much money and time on in-person rehearsals. Dump the multi tracks in your chosen DAW, give it a little mix, mute your parts, and play along - it's as good as rehearsing with your crew without the time and money sink!!

But it also provides the same opportunity for deps. They can rehearse with the show that they're going to be playing with, exactly as they're going to be playing with them. Again - give them the tracks for them to dump into a DAW, and they can give it a little mix, and practice with the band as they'll hear it on the night. And if you're using click tracks, they'll also have those and any associated instructions in their ears too, so they can be as practiced as they could potentially be.

5. It gives our engineers opportunity to develop the production sound.

As we can run the multi tracks back directly into the channels as if they were live, it gives our guys the opportunity to develop your FOH sound a little further, without the need for the band to be there. We can work on production tricks and FX to get your sound that further polish that we all strive for.

We capture the audio at each show, and make it available for our clients to take and use at their leisure. We don't keep them for long - each show is about 45GB after all for a 32channel show - but they can be kept and sent until the cards are wiped.

Although you can take and store the whole show in lossless wav format for use later, if you're distributing the audio for other musicians for practice purposes, you can easily prep MP3 versions which reduce the file size of each show multi-track to about 4-5GB. They'll need to convert those to wav, which their DAW will take care of, but there won't be any significant quality loss for the purposes of practicing…. Just don't go mixing anything from the MP3s!!

Pop us an email at foh@prestigesound.co.uk or DM us from the page to discuss how we can help develop your show. We're looking for one more client to provide for consistently and long term, at all of your shows, but when we're available for single night support, we can help.
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