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 hosting our “Wireless Workflow: Keeping Up With Spectrum Changes” panel.
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: Who has most influenced the way you think about sound?
Kelly Fair: If I had to pick one influence, it would be [producer] Eddie Offord. I loved the way he made the early-’70s progressive rock bands sonically jump off the vinyl. Take Close to the Edge by Yes. It starts with nature sounds that literally engulf the listener, then goes into heavy rhythm tracks with Steve Howe’s lead guitar jumping from left to right in the stereo image. It killed me.
SJ: What kind of technology is having the biggest impact on the way live sound engineers work right now?
KF: From a wireless person’s perspective, it must be the frequency coordination, antenna, and antenna distribution products that are becoming available. There are many powerful tools that are on the market, with more coming every month.
SJ: What can attendees expect to learn from your panel?
KF: I chaired a panel last year at LDI regarding wireless microphone, IEM technology, and its applications in theater. This year, I am opening that up a bit: We will be talking about wireless microphones, IEM technology, and how to make your system bulletproof. This year, I am bringing in a panel of professionals who work not just in theater but also sports production, reality television, and award shows. These are professionals who are at the top of their game. There will be a lot of information flowing in the room, I can promise you that.
SJ: What are the best and worst pieces of advice you’ve been given?
KF: Someone once told me to never fall in love with any one brand or device. Although I didn’t know what that meant at the time, I do now. It means, be open. Technology advances. If you stay with one brand, you may be limiting yourself. Pick the best product for what you need, even if the logos don’t match. But of course, always pick Lectronics.
The bad advice? I’ll keep it positive and say that I have not had a whole lot of that (cough).
SJ: What are you most excited to check out at LDI?
KF: I love the vibe and checking out the new gear. But, I really enjoy talking with industry professionals about their experiences and learn how I can help them improve their production. If I can match their needs with a great product, everyone wins.
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.