Dancing With the Stars Upgrades Audio with Avid

BURLINGTON, MA—J. Mark King, freelance audio mixer and co-owner of KMK Audio, and his business partner, Butch McKarge, have used Avid Venue live sound systems to mix the music for ABC’s Dancing with the Stars for eight years. Now they’ve chosen dual Avid Venue | S6Ls for the 26th season of the show, which premiered on April 30.

While they were happy with their Avid Venue | Profile system, they needed to upgrade to support the increasing channel counts required by the show and decided to invest in two Avid Venue | S6L systems, purchasing them through Jan Landy at SoundBroker.com.

“Mark and Butch were originally just looking to upgrade their main broadcast console, but once they took delivery of the system and had a chance to dive into the workflows and hear the difference in sound quality, it was a no-brainer to upgrade the monitor position as well,” explained Landy.

“I have a lot of show files and snapshots from the Profile and I knew that I could save a lot of time and trouble transferring EQs, gain structure and other settings to the S6L, as opposed to starting from scratch,” said King.

He also appreciated the S6L’s new preamp design, 96 kHz sample rate, and 64-bit plug-in processing. “With the S6L, there's a warmth there that’s different from the Profile. It's certainly punchy, too; the sound is really exceptional.”  

King mixes all the on-stage instruments for Dancing with the Stars from a customized trailer outside the studio and feeds his mix into the network’s broadcast mix. King also uses Pro Tools extensively for recording and Virtual Soundcheck. He records and mixes the band rehearsals, providing the resulting mix to the show’s producers for sign off, and to the dancers to rehearse with before their final performance. King also plays the multi-track Pro Tools recordings back through the Avid Venue | S6L in Virtual Soundcheck mode and refines their mixes offline.