Meet Kwiz. He's the guy who's responsible for all the off-stage audio content on Beyoncé's massive I Am... world tour.
When he presses play, all 13 members of the band get their in-ear feeds, Beyoncé hears her cues and the additional multitrack material from the album is played through the FOH system in perfect sync. That's an awful lot of responsibility.
Another of Kwiz's roles is making last-minute edits to the songs that will be played on the tour. On the tour bus, often moments before soundcheck, songs are lengthened, shortened and chopped, to make the show an ever-changing, constantly evolving performance.
For these last-minute edits, Kwiz works on his laptop rig using headphones to make critical mix decisions. So it's no surprise that he's chosen to use a Focusrite Saffire Pro 24 DSP for interface duties. With its VRM (Virtual Reference Monitoring) technology, Kwiz can still use headphones, but he will hear the audio in a virtual room through virtual speakers, avoiding the usual problems encountered when mixing on headphones. In his own words, it's "a cool unit that allows you to get a familiar mix in your headphones."
"We had two tracks that needed to be mastered, and everything came out okay. But if I had had the VRM technology, I know for a fact that it would have sounded a lot better"
And it's not just Beyoncé's material he will work on backstage during the tour: "Last year, we had an opening act that had two tracks that needed to be mastered, because they just didn't sound as good as they could have done. I ended up mastering the tracks just on regular headphones, and everything came out okay, but if I had had the VRM technology, I know for a fact that it would have sounded a lot better because I would have had a familiar sound."
To find out more about Focusrite's VRM technology and to check out the Saffire Pro 24 DSP here.