Just read an article in Mix magazine that I thought would interest all of us who use the computer to make music. Although certainly not the only choice (and not mine, I run Nuendo), Pro Tools is the 900 pound gorilla of digital audio recording in high dollar studios. Nothing new here so far.
However, in the All Access feature this month, the monitor mix for Greenday's tour is being done on a beta version of an upcoming Pro Tools live console, Venue. Given the high cost of things like Digi's Pro Control console, it's unlikely that those of us here doing live gigs would rush right out and buy one. However, it just struck me as a significant milestone in pro audio.
Mixing with a computer in the studio is one thing. If it crashes, you tell the band to go outside and burn one, and you beat on the computer with a stick until it's ready to roll again. But trusting a computer based system for a live gig? Now that's pushing the envelope. Particularly when you figure the crowd that Greenday plays to (and I've played Greenday in a lot of smoky rock & roll bars of dubious repute), you reeeeally don't want to be the guy who has to say, "Gee, folks, we're going to have to stop the show while we work on the computer."
Although they didn't go into tech details, I'm sure something like this would be a closed hardware system and not require them to drag a Mac around. However, closed or not, when you have a computer based system, tons of plug ins and all the potential for excitement that goes with it, I think it says something about the state of the art that a high profile band considers it to be ready for prime time.
From a techie and cool toys point of view, it's a great time to be a musician! Now if you'll excuse me, I need to go dust off my Marshall...