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SSL Live Bids Farewell To Corey Hart

FOH Engineer David Savage mixed the show on an SSL Live digital console.

By PSW Staff October 2, 2014

FOH Engineer David Savage mixed the show on an SSL Live digital console.

Corey Hart hung up his sunglasses for good at an emotional sold-out farewell concert for 13,500 hometown fans at Montreal’s Bell Centre, supported by an SSL Live console at front of house.

A 1980s phenom, Hart has had nine consecutive Top 40 hits, with “Sunglasses at Night” being his most recognizable. Outfitted with sound services by Solotech in Canada, it was another local Montreal hero, Denis Savage, who mixed the show and the week-long rehearsal.

For Hart’s Farewell concert, the band consisted of two guitars, bass, drums, keyboards, percussion, saxophone and backing vocals, plus a few guests. Since Hart hadn’t performed live in almost a decade, the group spent a week in rehearsals to guarantee he gave audiences the show of a lifetime.

“I recorded the rehearsals in multi-track, so I had two Pro Tools rigs,” explains Savage, a long-time SSL user who has been Celine Dion’s FOH and studio engineer for the past 28 years. “One was a virtual playback machine and the other was recording straight from the preamps on stage.”

The extra practice also provided Savage with plenty of time to familiarise himself with the new SSL Live console. He found the integration of multi-track playback of live performances a great help in quickly programming the console.

“For me, the way they set up the virtual sound check so that you can monitor through your recorder all the time and then just play back the sound while you’re programming is great,” he adds. “The way it’s set up is really amazing and effortless. I recorded the entire rehearsal through Pro Tools so I could stop, play back and program quickly while the band was on break, which was a big thing for me.”

Savage was initially drawn to SSL Live’s large, centre touch screen. “You’d think you need to use the centre screen all the time, but then you realize there’s a smaller one with colour-coded rotary knobs around it, and that’s where everything is happening,” he explains. “I was really able to increase my production speed once I understood that while I do want to see things on the big screen, I should use the smaller one to go through my menu, EQs, auxiliaries and so on. Once I got the hang of the process, my output was super fast.”

By the end of rehearsals, Savage had learned the full capabilities of SSL Live’s Focus Channel area located on the right-hand side of the console. 

“The screen was very visual for me to see where things were and how things were set up, but I was using the encoders way more,” he explains. “Initially, it looks kind of complicated. In fact, when I first saw it I was like, ‘Wow, this is going to be difficult just to set up.’

“But, once I got my initial setup taken care of, I was able to better understand how things work. It flows nicely, and the depth of field was amazing. I couldn’t believe it. I was really impressed by the spaciousness of the console. It’s fun to work on and it sounds really good. I really like that console.”

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