Rock Star: INXS â€“ this summer's hottest new reality series â€“ teamed Australian rockers INXS with reality TV guru Mark Burnett (Survivor, The Apprentice), and followed the band's search for a new lead singer. The show combined unscripted drama, performanceâ€“driven competition and used weekly contestant elimination to decide a winner who would join INXS for their next studio endeavor and world tour.
As part of the show, the competition gave finalists an opportunity to record a single with the band in Los Angelesâ€“based Westlake Studios. For these recording sessions, INXS's Technical Director Steve Jones needed a monitoring system that would be both compact and provide plenty of outputÃ¢â‚¬â€Łallowing the band to work up new songs live and loud with the Rock Star contestants.
After careful research, Jones decided that the perfect stage monitoring solution would be a Mackie system based around the TT24 Digital Live Console and a selection of Mackie Active loudspeakers.
"We didn't have space for a traditional monitor system and the usual racks of amplifiers and parametric EQs that go along with passive speakers," Jones explained. "In addition, INXS likes to play loud and with Jon Farriss's drum kit and two guitar rigs in the room, the monitors were going to have some serious competition."
For the main room Jones selected five Mackie SRM450 Active PA speakers for the band as well as an SWA1801 subwoofer and an additional SRM450 for the drum monitor. "The subwoofer provides that much needed lowâ€“end for the drum position and because it was so well matched to the SRM450, it was a breeze to set up," Jones remarked. "Initially I wondered if the SRM450s would give me the volume I needed to get above the drums and quad boxes, but they provided more than enough clean output for the job. I'm really impressed."
To run the monitors Jones selected a Mackie TT24 Digital Live Console. "The TT24 was a perfect fit for the control room," he explained. "There was limited available space with the 72â€“channel Neve and the large amount of outboard gear already in the room. We positioned the TT24 behind and to the side of the Neve with a Mackie SRM350 along side as a local monitor speaker.
Jones continued, "We ran the TT24 in Aux mode, putting each wedge on a send. The inputs were fed from a combination of tape and insert sends from the Neve so that there were no splits involved and everything could be recorded through the main console. With careful use of the TT24's mic/line channel EQs and filters, plus the equalizers and compressors on the Aux sends (particularly the kill filters), we were able to EQ the entire monitor system."
Also part of the system was a Mackie Onyx 1620 smallâ€“format analog mixer, which was used as an effects subâ€“mixer in the control room and as a keyboard subâ€“mixer in the tracking room. A Mackie Onyx 800R rackmount mic preamp provided eight channels of clean, smooth mic and line amplification and digital conversion that could easily be moved between various parts of the system.
"I've been particularly impressed with the quality of Mackie's Onyx mic preamps," remarked Jones. "The Onyx 800R was clean, fast and it fit right into our studio full of high end preamps. Where it really shines though, is in the amount of features Mackie packed into its single rack space frame â€“ mic and line preamps, digital conversion, DI, MS, dithering, BNC word clock, Variable impedance for ribbon mics â€“ and it doesn't fall down in any area. When someone needs a life saver in the studio, I'd strongly recommend the 800R."