As we gear up for the LDI Show, we’re profiling speakers in our Sound Tracks series of panels aimed at live sound engineers. This week we’re pleased to introduce you to Deanne Franklin, who will be presenting “Club Sound: Dos and Don’ts in the Age of Digital.”
Deanne Franklin has been working as an audio engineer since 1982; she cut her teeth in the studio, but found her true calling in live sound. Although she quickly advanced to working in theaters and large arenas, she says she always finds her way back to the setting where she first fell in love with live music: the local club scene.
Over the course of her career, Franklin has worked with a wide range of artists including Tom Waits, Pink, David Byrne, Sonic Youth, The Breeders, Eric Burden, Dishwalla, and Luna. Her home base is San Francisco; she can often be seen working the analog console at the historic Fillmore Theater.
Sarah Jones: How did you get your start in the live sound industry?
Deanne Franklin: I was fortunate to have a friend in San Francisco with a recording studio. At the time, I was trying to apply for anything in a studio in L.A, where I was living in 1982; the answers were either a slight chuckle or an out-and-out “no.” I obviously wasn't well-connected, coming from my punk rock background. In the studio in San Francisco, many of the bands I was working with needed someone to do sound for them here or there, and they paid me in cash! Eventually, the venues asked if I could fill in, and next thing you know, I was out of the studio, and on the road.
SJ: What drives your passion for live sound?
DF: It has always been the music; the feeling that I am blessed with the gift of being able to listen to a piece of music the way that I want to. It can be transformative. I also have a love of the sound of vinyl records, so it's great when I'm working with an act that really likes that warm sound. It's easier on the ears, as well.
SJ: Can you give us a taste of what attendees can expect to learn in your panel?
DF: What I hope to do is instill a little analog listening into the world that has gone so digital. What I mean is that all this technology is incredibly cool, but in a way, it gets you thinking too hard, using your eyes instead of your ears.
SJ: What kinds of new live sound technologies are you most excited about right now?
DF: The fact that more and more digital technologies are advancing to sound more natural. I also love all the remote-control availabilities. Being able to walk all over a room and make adjustments is not only convenient, but allows you to nip problems in the bud. I also appreciate that systems can be so finely tuned and timed by anyone with some pink noise and a laptop, allowing you to EQ to your taste from a very solid place. I am no system engineer, but I can pretend I'm one!
SJ: What are the biggest challenges facing live sound engineers right now?
DF: Technology, too much thinking getting in the way of just painting the audio portrait. When touring without a console, it can literally kill your ability to listen as you always need to learn to maneuver your way around a different console.
SJ: Okay…what’s on your Vegas bucket list?
DF: Winning big! But since I don’t bet, I’d have to say, I'd love to see whatever Cirque is up to. And of course, meeting more of my colleagues and telling stories late into the night!!
To learn more about pro audio workshops, panels, and events at LDI, visit http://www.ldishow.com.
Sarah Jones is a writer, editor, and content producer with more than 20 years' experience in pro audio, including as editor-in-chief of three leading audio magazines: Mix, EQ, and Electronic Musician. She is a lifelong musician and committed to arts advocacy and learning, including acting as education chair of the San Francisco chapter of the Recording Academy, where she helps develop event programming that cultivates the careers of Bay Area music makers.