Freelance audio engineer and production manager Joel Livesey, along with his business partner Connor Sharpe, own and actively use three Metric Halo ULN-2 interfaces, six Metric Halo ULN-8 interfaces, two Metric Halo LIO-8 converters, two Metric Halo 2882 interfaces and all of Metric Halo’s software: the Production Bundle plug-ins, +DSP plug-ins that run on the hardware units, and the SpectraFoo analysis program. Based in Canada but happily ranging over North America and the world, the duo has worked on big events, like the Juno Awards, the Pan Am Games, and major NHL, NFL, & CFL games, as well as innumerable live music tours, including Carly Rae Jepsen, Brand New, and currently, Dashboard Confessional.
Incorporating Metric Halo hardware and software into their live setup solves problems, simplifies connections, decreases latency, and gives them sound quality and reliability that makes for successful shows and repeat clients.
“Connor introduced me to Metric Halo when we happened to work together with The Tragically Hip in 2012,” Livesey explained. Livesey cut his teeth in the London studio scene, moved to Vancouver to work at Mushroom Studios, and later transitioned into live sound engineering and production. Today, he considers himself a freelance audio engineer, plain and simple, but most of his and Sharpe’s work happens in live audio. He continued, “We owe a share of our success to the tools Metric Halo offers. Their integrated hardware and software solutions allow us to flexibly accommodate the different and evolving needs of any live production environment. And they do it with studio-grade sound quality and the rock-solid dependability required in a live environment.”
Livesey’s setup for his current Dashboard Confessional tour is a case in point. He’s using a DiGiCo SD9 console at front-of-house with an SD rack on stage to capture and mix individual channels into logical groups. From there, analogue bus outputs send the groups through various favoured analogue hardware processors, such as Empirical Labs Distressors and various VCA compressors. From there, Livesey brings the signals into two Metric Halo ULN-8 interfaces – sixteen inputs total, running at 96kHz. He uses the Metric Halo +DSP option to process each group to perfection and then uses Metric Halo’s 80-bit summing to produce a final two-channel front-of-house mix. A Lake LM 44 distribution network sends that mix to the house PA system.
“I really appreciate Metric Halo’s engineering,” Livesey said. “Everything from the op-amps and transformers they use to the DSP algorithms they’ve designed. The result is excellent sound and build quality. I also like that the company is smaller. I’ve developed relationships with people like Jon Stern and other support staff. Metric Halo technical support is always at the ready to answer questions, they always repair units quickly, and the need for repairs is wonderfully infrequent. Metric Halo hardware and software have really proven to combine as a road-worthy system.”
Like many of the bands he works with, Dashboard Confessional is using house sound systems. To do his job well, Livesey has to make every PA he encounters shine. To make that process as efficient and repeatable as possible, he travels with a Metric Halo ULN-2 interface and a reference microphone. He brings its input into a Mac Mini running Metric Halo SpectraFoo sound analysis software that he pairs with a reference from the ULN-8 mix system. Between the two, he can use SpectraFoo’s deep and flexible toolkit to calculate delays, set crossovers, and generally equalise and bring the system in line with his expectations.
“Our ultimate goal is to use Metric Halo as a full stage rack and console replacement solution” Livesey said. “It’s only a matter of time before Metric Halo releases its much-anticipated 3D upgrade for all existing boxes, which will make the kinds of channel counts and network flexibility we’ll need feasible. On stage, we plan to use the Metric Halo mic preamps, which are superior quality and extremely versatile, with a simple CAT5 snake cable back to front-of-house position and a Eucon control surface for MIO Console, which makes sure all the bases are covered.”