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Old 12-01-2008, 08:03 PM
Sheldon Radford's Avatar
Sheldon Radford Sheldon Radford is offline
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Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Mountain View, CA
Posts: 1,293
Question What's in your digital console survival kit?

Hi everyone,

One of the great things about digital consoles is their flexibility - configurable I/O, modular control surfaces, interchangeable racks, a multitude of plug-in effects, and so on. But this flexibility also poses a challenge to the traveling pro when faced with a new console or system configuration at each gig.

The purpose of this thread is to start a dialog on how you’ve adapted to this brave new world. Even though it’s a Digidesign forum there's no need to limit the discussion to our systems (although I’m sure we can all learn a lot from you VENUE veterans).

To kick things off, here are some tips to help prep for a VENUE gig…

Load up a 4 GB (or larger) USB key drive with the essentials
This key drive does double duty: it serves as the daily backup for the console show files and also contains all of the installer files for the plug-ins needed for the show. Even though all consoles ship with the VENUEPack and VENUEPack Pro plug-ins, the console providers may not have installed them all prior to the gig, and may not have the original installation CDs available – so best be prepared by downloading the latest VENUEPack and VENUEPack Pro plug-ins (as a single 117 MB download).

Before heading out, check the list of critical updates for VENUE plug-ins
and download the latest installer package.

Lastly on the plug-in prep list is to make sure to get the latest installers for any additional plug-ins not already covered by VENUEPack/Pro and critical update downloads. This may require going to each plug-in manufacturer’s website for the download.

At this point there are still a few GB left over of the USB key, so let’s fill it up. In fact, USB key drives are so cheap these days it makes sense to buy a second as spare.

Check the DUC for the latest console software update, and copy it to the USB key.

Lastly, download a copy of the ECx Ethernet Control software.

Mac users: make sure you read this post before extracting any archive files.

Carry Two iLoks
One iLok contains the authorizations for plug-ins I use that are not part of the basic console package - such as Cranesong Phoenix, McDSP, Serato Rane Series, Sonnox, URS, the Waves Live bundle, and many others. These are the plug-ins that I (or the artist/company I work for) have purchased.

T
he second iLok is a backup, to be used in case of emergency. For less than $100 it makes sense to protect thousands of dollars in plug-in assets (and your stellar sounding mix) by having a spare iLok and signing up for iLok’s Zero Downtime Coverage. iLoks can be purchased through iLok.com, the Digistore, or even at a local Guitar Center or other pro audio retailer.

Use the System Info Export feature to advance shows
Have you ever wondered what that mysterious INFO button on the Options > System page does? Insert a USB key drive into the console and click the button to find out…

Ok, it’s not really a secret. What happens is that a simple HTML (text) file is created on the USB key. This file contains ALL of the details about the console, including software versions, hardware configuration, I/O configuration, plug-in usage – even a full patch list! The file can be viewed by any Internet browser (Safari, Firefox, Explorer) and it’s simple to copy/paste data into an email, tech spec, Excel spreadsheet, Word doc, etc.
Avoid surprises and frustration on the day of the gig by sending a copy of the Info file to the console provider as part of the advance.

Consult these other resources
Need to create a show on your laptop on the way to the gig? Download the latest copy of VENUE D-Show Standalone software.
Need to find a console for an upcoming gig? The VENUE dealer locator has a list of places with consoles for rent or sale.
Need to consult the manual as a last resort? All user guides are available for download.
Need to know more about VENUE in general? Check the archived webinars and Tips & Tricks.
Still have questions? Check the VENUE Knowledgebase.

Alright, let’s hear your views. What are the essentials when heading out on a new tour, one-off, last minute gig, etc.? What can we, as a console manufacturer, do to help make this process easier for you?

Sheldon
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