Montana Skies

I missed you when you played at our church, Unity Center of Mills River, but I caught your act at the Blue Ridge Community College, yesterday.  Your musicianship and show are awesome. 


Because of the switch from lakeside to inside auditorium, I was fortunate enough to catch your set-up, ring-out, and sound check.  I'm also an audio engineer, and I was curious to know what equipment and software programs you use to get your great sound.  The sound system they were able to throw together was obviously a very basic system, yet your interface made a huge difference in its capability.  It appeared that your real time analyzer/equalizer is in your software.  I'm an old-school engineer, so I only have experience with outboard hardware, but I would love to know what all you use in your signal path, and what pieces you have in your rack.


Thanks for sharing,


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Hey Dave,

Thanks for coming to the show and I'm really glad to hear it sounded good for you guys!! We did the best we could with such a short set-up and sound check and we always want to give you the best show possible! Just a little backstory on the situation:

We arrived at 3:30 and expected the sound system to be set up and ready for a sound check before the show. However, when we arrived there was no sound system or engineer there for the show. So the presenter called another engineer that normally runs the sound as they were the only ones with the keys to the sound booth in the auditorium. Well, they weren't answering the phone and couldn't be located. So, up until about 10 minutes before showtime, we were without a sound system or sound engineer for the show. We were debating what to do... Should we play a few numbers acoustically, or reschedule the show. Just when we had almost given up hope the custodian located a PA from another classroom. So we rushed over in the van and picked it up. It was basically the 2 mains and a powered head with no monitors. At that point we were just glad to be able to have some sound!!

Our set-up basically runs through our laptop. I am using a MOTU 828 interface (this is the hardware that it is in my rack unit) and then I use "Ableton Live" software to do the mixing and EQ. "Ableton Live" also handles all of our effects.

I used Ableton Live yesterday to ring out the cello mic and guitar mic. It has a nice multi-band EQ that works fairly well for ringing out the problem frequencies. I also use it for reverbs and delays. In addition to the mics, each of our instruments also uses a direct input. So in total, we have six inputs that go into the MOTU unit.

So our inputs are:

1) Acoustic Cello Mic, 2) Acoustic Cello Direct, 3) Electric Cello, 4) Guitar Direct, 5) Guitar Mic, and 6) Stomp Pedal.

Our Inputs from each instrument go into the MOTU 828 first and then the signal is processed in the laptop. From there we sent out a stereo signal out (outputs also from the MOTU) to the powered mixer of the PA.

So that was the basic set-up for yesterday. Usually though, instead of sending a stereo out to the house PA we will send each of the six inputs out to the house. In that case, the sound engineer has more control over the mix which helps quite a bit.

We switched over from analog a couple of years ago and really like the change. In addition to having a lot of options right at your fingertips, it's a lot lighter to carry. Here are a couple of links the the gear and software I mentioned:

Thanks again and let me know if you have any other questions.

Take care,





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