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 Kelly Fair, who will be presenting “Wireless Systems: Build Bulletproof Audio.”
Kelly Fair has worked in the entertainment and broadcast production industry for nearly three decades, from his early days as studio musician in Los Angeles to his work behind the microphone at Audio Services Corporation; later, he spent time at leading manufacturers Sennheiser and Riedel. He’s currently the western regional manager at Lectrosonics, where he manages the distribution network, spearheads market development, and serves as the key technical presence in the marketplace.
Sarah Jones: How did you get your start in the live sound industry?
Kelly Fair: I suppose I’m not too different than many of those in our industry in that sound, science, and music are big influences in our lives. I was just a kid when I first decided that I wanted to be in this business in some way: I remember being in junior high school and lining up the neighborhood kids in a row, with their heads on the floor; I put a speaker on either side of the line and played what I thought was the most fantastic recording I had ever heard at that time—Yes’ Close To The Edge—with all of the kids getting the stereo impression, or so I thought.
I have an older brother who is in this business as well; my first real job in sound reinforcement was helping out with his band when I was probably 15.
SJ: What drives your passion for live sound?
KF: Well, that’s a hard question, because there are so many things. I love the science behind acoustics and how it is related to music. Really though, it’s about making a performance by the artist the best it can be via the technology available.
SJ: Can you give us a taste of what attendees can expect to learn in your panel?
KF: We plan to present high-level theatre-sound professionals that can communicate their experiences with wireless microphones from an overall viewpoint. We want to talk about not only the issues we face with frequency coordination in an ever more difficult RF environment, but also talk about some of the things that make these folks stand out as the top professionals that they are. Tips, tricks, techniques, whatever you like to call them, this will be an opportunity to find out how they have dealt with the problems that come up in theatre sound—what they have done to make themselves stand out from the crowd.
SJ: What kinds of new live sound technologies are you most excited about these days?
KF: I am really intrigued by where wireless microphone technologies are being forced to go. Digital systems and the various types, antenna distribution and antenna technology. These are the things that have my interest at the moment.
SJ: What would you say are the biggest challenges facing live sound engineers right now?
KF: That’s a tough question, as there are so many things to consider. In the context of our panel, though, I would keep it simple: How do we make sure that everyone on stage sounds fantastic!
SJ: What’s on your Vegas bucket list?
KF: Oh my, I don’t know that I could really tell the whole world that! Let’s go with winning at one of the gambling tables, shall we?
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.