It’s Monday morning, which can only mean one thing; a brand new addition to our Rising Stars focus.
This week we chat to tour manager and FOH engineer Ben Hobbs…
Where did you study?
I studied in Reading, at TVU doing the music technology ND. Every other bit of knowledge has been learnt by doing gigs.
Which band/project are you currently working on?
I'm currently working with three bands, one of which is Red Kite (ex The Cooper Temple Clause). Then there’s dance/rock band Losers (ex TCTC, Yourcodenameis:milo, Oceansize) and baroque pop act A Genuine Freakshow – all of which I’m working as tour manager/FOH engineer.
Where are you based/working at the moment?
I currently live not far from Reading, however most of my bands are Reading/London based so I guess you could say I'm based in Reading and London. When I'm not touring I tend to work in-house at the O2 Academy Oxford, as well as a few smaller venues in Reading.
Which audio console are you currently using? And how many channels?
I'm actually using in-house consoles at the moment, but I tend to use Digidesign Profiles/Yamaha LS9s more than any other consoles. My channel list tends to change per show, but a full channel list for Losers is 26 channels, 24 for Red Kite and 23 for A Genuine Freakshow. However, I rarely find myself in a position to use my full channel list, due to venue restrictions.
What decision process was behind the choice of this console?
Well, I find the Profile and LS9 very easy to navigate around, so in live situations, where you need to react quick to some feedback frequencies or change monitor mixes in that first song, its perfect. The great thing with both these boards is they seem to be used in a lot of 'smaller' venues these days, so its great to know that I can walk into the venue, see a Profile/LS9 and simply load my show file up.
Do you use any outboard effects/EQ, and if so, what are they used on and why?
I'm starting to use Mainstage for live processing at the moment, so I carry a 4u rack (with interface and Focusrite pre-amp) and some looms, as well as my laptop. While I'm still scratching the surface, its amazing some of the things you can do. I recently ran a Space Designer reverb and Waves delay on the desk send/returns for my FX, then ran a few comps/gates on some channel inserts for the Drums. It’s a massive help in venues with 'limited' outboard.
What is your console of choice?
I'm going to have to go with the Profile, again because this is a desk, which I have used a lot, so I know what I can get out of it. But I'd love to tour with something like a Midas H2000 and plenty of nice outboard, however I'm sure the accountant/crew would hate me for taking it out every night.
If you could tour with any band/artist who would it be?
If I could tour with anyone it would have to be Bon Iver. I was amazed by the set-up on Jools Holland, and I love trying new things at each gig so the list would be endless with that set-up.
To get involved in our Rising Stars column, whether you are an engineer who is new to the industry and would like to be featured, or an experienced engineer who would like to nominate a particular student/apprentice, please contact Audio Pro International editor Daniel Gumble on firstname.lastname@example.org or 01992 535646.