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Focusrite instrumental in delivering sound for TCT

Published: Tue April 29, 2008  News Feed

The TCT is one of the most anticipated events in the British music calendar…A programme of music events with artists such as Muse, Paul Weller, The Fratellis, Madness and The Who – as well as a night of comedy hosted by Noel Fielding of The Mighty Boosh? Why, it can only be the Teenage Cancer Trust’s annual music and comedy extravaganza, which is fast gaining a reputation for delivering the very best in entertainment.



For one week of the year TCT make the Royal Albert Hall in Kensington their home as they put on one of the most high-profile fundraisers of the music calendar. There are no second chances when it comes to recording and mixing an event like this, so engineers Matt Hay and Gareth Johnson need total confidence in the gear they’re using… which is why they choose Focusrite.



As recording engineer, Matt Hay (above) needs to sure that he’s capturing the best sound possible, so he relies on a flightcase stacked with eight Focusrite OctoPres to capture absolutely everything in pristine quality. And with eight mic pres per unit, that makes for 64 channels of Focusrite quality preamps on the front end…

“I record everything at the shows,” Matt tells us. “The audio is then backed up onto our hard drives before Gareth takes it away and mixes it at his studio. Those OctoPres have been great, really clean, very easy to use. But it’s not just the sound – I also love the soft limiter on them, which really keeps those levels from going over. They’ve been excellent.“

For veteran TCT mix engineer Gareth Johnson (left), working to short deadlines is something he’s getting much more comfortable with, but the time frame is still very hectic. “Usually I’ll come down and check the show out so I can get a feel for it in the room. When the gig is finished I collect my hard drives, head off home and mix the whole lot in Logic with the help of my Liquid Mix.”

“I’ve got to mix three or four tracks for broadcast the next day, so that involves getting a mix up pretty quickly. It’s pretty full on, there’s not much margin for error.”

“It’s important to have reliable equipment when you’re doing a gig like this because you don’t get second chances to fix stuff afterwards. And you get your arse kicked if you mess it up! We use OctoPres on the front end, a whole big bank of them. They work fantastically, so I know that what I’m going to get is good.”

“On the back end I rely very heavily on Focusrite’s Liquid Mix because we simply don’t have the time to run all the channels through a massive desk with loads of outboard and be really fancy about it. So at mixdown it’s just me, a MacBook Pro and my Liquid Mix. It’s really handy for adding some nice tones and a bit of colour to the mix.”

“When it comes to favourite presets, without a doubt the ‘Huge Tube’ 6-band EQ is a good friend of mine, I’ve been using that a lot over the last year. That and the ‘Mixbuss’ preset. With those two… well, it’s just a devastating combination.”

“I use Logic Pro as my sequencer, and while the EQs and compressors bundled with it are very functional – you can get good results – I’ve found that they lack colour. If you want to put different tones and colour into your mix, you’re just not going to be able to using the bundled EQs. With Liquid Mix, that dynamic convolution really does work. If you need to add tone, colour and a bit more depth, I get a lot more out of Liquid Mix than I can with bundled software.”

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