Classical Meets Modern with Mackie Mixer

[ATTACH=CONFIG]197274.vB5-legacyid=7750[/ATTACH]Warsaw, Poland – August 2013… Michal Ostoja-Ostaszewski is a Front of House engineer who works often with the Warsaw Philharmonic. FOH is not a position typically associated with a classical orchestra, but Ostoja-Ostaszewski is far from your typical live sound engineer.

A classically trained master musician and technology-savvy engineer and producer, Ostoja-Ostaszewski brings a modern technological perspective to Warsaw’s respected concert hall. And as he explains, the Mackie DL1608 digital live sound mixer has proven to be the ideal mixing console for this demanding and exacting job.

“One of the biggest challenges for me is the perception of amplified music in a great concert venue like the Polish National Philharmonic Hall,” says Ostoja-Ostaszewski. “In the past this has always had a bit of a ‘forbidden’ connotation – the audience doesn’t want to see the sound engineer with a big mixer and tons of cables, because it takes away from the experience of ‘pure’ classical music.”

But as Ostoja-Ostaszewski points out, there are situations where amplification is simply a necessity. “There are certain concerts which have special requirements. Whether it’s a voice, or an early musical instrument, sometimes amplification is necessary to balance the sound within the ensemble.”

As Ostoja-Ostaszewski explains, when he was initially approached by the National Philharmonic to assist with their concerts, he viewed it with a bit of trepidation. “I was excited, but I also knew it would be a challenge to create a scenario which would please everyone. The most important goal for me was that the audience should hear all instruments and voices coming from the stage, clearly and transparently. They should not perceive some of the sounds coming from the stage and others from the speakers. And they should not see a sound guy with a big mixing console and lots of cables.”

His initial efforts were more than a little bit frustrating. “I had to make a lot of compromises – a lot of experiments with long, hidden snakes and bad mix positions. I was considering investing in digital snakes, but I knew even that wasn’t the solution I was after. What I wanted was the freedom to move away from the mix position, and hear what the audience was hearing.”

[ATTACH=CONFIG]197275.vB5-legacyid=7751[/ATTACH]Necessity, as they say, begets invention, and Ostoja-Ostaszewski began working on a more creative solution. “After giving it a lot of thought, I decided to design my own prototype of a small wireless mixer controlled by an iPad. I talked with some friends and we were about to invest in developing the project. Then I heard about the Mackie DL1608. It was like a dream come true! I couldn’t wait to get my hands on one.”

With 16 high quality Onyx preamps and six Aux sends for monitors, the DL1608 delivers the performance and flexibility needed for the fast pace of a live performance. “During rehearsals I set up snapshots and save them,” says Ostoja-Ostaszewski. “Then during the concert I can recall the exact setup – EQs, effects, everything, with just the touch of a finger. Being able to create a separate EQ and send it to an Aux buss is very useful as well. It enables me to give the artist a nice balanced sound in their monitor right next to them. And using a second iPad connected to the mixer’s dock, I can also create a draft-documentary recording of the concert.”

But it’s the intuitive Master Fader™ app that has really made a difference, enabling Ostoja-Ostaszewski to set up and control all aspects of the mix via the powerful iPad wireless interface. “The biggest advantage of the DL1608 is the freedom it gives me. I can sit with everyone else in the audience during the concert and have total control over the sound on the stage. I can move around and check the sound from other parts of the hall, and have total control from anywhere.”

In fact, says Ostoja-Ostaszewski, his impromptu mix positions have earned him some quizzical looks, to say the least. “The funniest thing is to watch people’s reactions when they see me in the audience. They think I’m just some guy playing games on his iPad during a serious concert.”

“The DL1608 has completely changed my workflow,” concludes Ostoja-Ostaszewski. “Now I can be anywhere in the hall during the concert. There are no cables, no snakes, not even any seats removed to make room for the mixer. It enables me to mix the artist discreetly from the audience, rather than right in front of him, tied up with snakes and cables.”

About Mackie
Mackie, a LOUD Technologies Inc. brand, is known worldwide as a leading developer and marketer of high-quality, affordable professional audio systems. Mackie products can be found in professional and project recording studios, video and broadcast suites, post production facilities, sound reinforcement applications including churches and nightclubs, retail locations and on major musical tours. For more information visit: [url][/url].

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