As we gear up for the LDI Show, we’re profiling speakers in our LDI Amplify series of presentations aimed at live sound engineers. This week, we’d like to introduce you to David Scheirman, who will be helming the AES presentation "Beyond Left and Right: Where Did Immersive Live Sound Come From, And Where Is It Going?" and will participate in the "Immersive Audio Live Mixing Techniques: Inside Aerosmith's 'Deuces Are Wild' Las Vegas Residency" panel discussion on Saturday, November 23.
With worldwide concert-mixing and sound-design experience for performing artists and major special events, David Scheirman began his sound-reinforcement career as a touring system technician. He has held positions with P.A. rental firms, an installed system integrator, an electro-acoustical measurement laboratory, a computer-control system developer, a networking technology R&D firm, and loudspeaker system manufacturers. Executive education has included programs at M.I.T, Stanford University, and Caltech. He is currently Past President of the Audio Engineering Society, and is Global Director, Concert & Rental Business for Bose Professional.
Live Design: What has most influenced the way you think about sound?
David Scheirman: Like many young people growing up in the 1950s and '60s, I was drawn to the sounds of popular music while listening to sources like 45s and LP records, rock 'n' roll on the radio, and the jukebox. And I began to learn about operating basic sound systems as a working musician. But in the 1970s, it was John Logan, co-owner of Carlo Sound in Nashville, who first began to mentor me in the subtleties of mixing live music for concert applications. John had a musical background himself (and was an accomplished banjo player). He was a top-tier, renowned live sound mixer at that time, working with artists like Poco, The Eagles, Dan Fogelberg, Jackson Browne, and more. John helped me understand the importance of matching a P.A. mix to the creative efforts taking place on stage, regardless of artist or musical style.
Live Design: What can attendees expect to learn in your presentation?
DS: A current trend in live-music productions is to provide audiences with a more all-encompassing listening experience. Decades ago in the hi-fi industry this was called "surround sound," and early concert tours by artists like Pink Floyd and The Who helped to pioneer new ideas for live audiences. Today, the object-oriented audio programming and rendering techniques developed for immersive sound in the film and cinema world are becoming more readily available at selected concerts. Attendees will gain an overview of how these trends are developing within the live-production industry.
Live Design: What new sound technologies are you most excited about lately?
DS: I'm interested to see the resurgence in vintage, analog audio equipment as learning tools. Mixing consoles and signal-processing devices that are not software-based can make exceptional educational platforms in programs that help entry-level audio enthusiasts better understand the audio signal path in both the music-recording and sound-reinforcement environments. While vintage analog gear is not a "new technology," the growing understanding of its value as an instructional platform is. Beyond that, in the realm of live sound reinforcement, the growing sophistication of advanced acoustical modeling and predictive tools, and the linkage of these software-based platforms to "intelligent" loudspeaker systems will help create more consistent listening experiences for audiences at live shows.
Live Design: What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given?
DS: "Stop turning knobs and listen to the music!" An older, veteran live sound engineer helped me get through a stressful mix experience in a large concert setting by pointing out the importance of making sure the audience is hearing the musical performance as they have anticipated. If, as sound-reinforcement specialists, we get overly involved in the intricate mechanics of the P.A. system while not paying attention to the crowd's listening experience, we are not serving either the artists or the audience.
Live Design: How about the worst?
DS: "You don't need to worry about it, I'm sure they have it covered." When it comes to having responsibility for sound-reinforcement systems that include high-voltage electrical power distribution systems, overhead suspension mechanicals with life-safety aspects, and long-distance transportation and logistical issues, it's prudent to ask your questions up front and make sure the non-audio basics are really covered. If you don't have firsthand knowledge of suppliers and vendors, it's wise to be sure things in these areas are being properly managed.
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. As an LDI Influencer, Jones will be roaming the LDI2019 show floor for the latest products and innovations, chatting with exhibitors, and streaming it LIVE to Live Design and LDI's Facebook accounts. Be sure to follow!