Revolutionary Playback Control platform incorporates audio, video, pyro, and lighting effects to operate automatically throughout the duration of a live show.
Furthering its commitment to provide the music touring industry with innovative and reliable technology solutions, Tour Supply, the leading provider of live sound products and services, today announced the opening of a new Nashville headquarters for its groundbreaking playback rig – Playback Control – in partnership with veteran audio designer, programmer, and drum/keyboard tech Viggy Vignola.
According to Tour Supply CEO Lance Wascom, the new headquarters will serve as a demo and programming space for live music performers interested in building, buying and customizing their own Playback Control system — the industry’s first turnkey playback rig that is rapidly becoming the new standard for live music production. “Our new headquarters provides bands, performers and technicians with an inspiring and eclectic space to see and experience what their show could be like with Playback Control,” Wascom said. “We encourage all who are interested to come check out a demo and see how Playback Control can transform their show.”
Playback Control combines Tour Supply’s hardware expertise with Viggy Vignola’s software programming genius to create a foolproof, easy-to-operate playback system that incorporates audio, video, pyro, lighting and more into a platform that works automatically, without assistance or management, during a live show. “Playback Control was built with the intention to create an all-encompassing playback system that can run itself,” Vignola explained. “Bands can literally ‘set and forget.’ Gone are the days when a musician had to run over to a pedalboard to switch to a different MIDI effect during a live performance. With Playback Control, we can program all effects – audio, visual, and much more – to occur automatically without any effort on the performer’s part, and without an expert technician to closely manage it.”
According to ‘Magic’ Dave Roberts, MOTU Product Specialist and noted industry veteran, the Playback Control system fills an otherwise unoccupied industry niche. “No other company is building and selling comprehensive playback rigs that can be purchased, customized, and taken on tour,” he explained. “Playback Control is making the world’s best playback system accessible to any performer that would typically have to hire an expert technician to build it and closely manage it throughout every performance.”
While the Playback Control rig includes a tested, ‘bulletproof’ formula— including two 13” Macbook Pro computers, a Radial SW8 matrix switcher, and multiple MOTU Playback Interfaces with DP9 Software — every show is customized to the performer’s preference. For instance, in addition to providing pre-programmed effects, songs could be divided into multiple parts, such as Part A and Part B, to allow the performer or band to ‘jam’ or speak to the audience at a certain point during that song. Once they are ready for Part B of the song to kick in, all they have to do is hit a pedal from the stage.
“The platform isn’t automated to prevent freedom or jam sessions on stage,” Vignola said, “but it does time everything perfectly so that a glitch in the background video, or a poorly timed firework, is never a concern again. Between the reliable hardware and special software, it’s the most reliable system a tour could have.”
What’s more, Playback Control’s system incorporates a new patented Dual RTR (Real Time Redundancy) technology that eliminates the standard “Master-Slave” computer system that historically fails to protect shows against undetected glitches or outages. Instead, thanks to Vignola’s ‘secret sauce’ programming, Playback Control can incorporate two Apple computers to operate independently, but in sync with one another, thereby creating two masters.
Tour Supply’s direct and intimate relationship with Apple helps to provide each Playback Control system with this innovative new technology anchored by the most reliable laptops on the market. “If Computer A completely shuts down in the middle of the show, Computer B will take over instantly, without delay. No one in the audience, or even the band, will have any idea that there was an issue,” explained Vignola. “The computers are truly running together in real time, which is the first of its kind for a playback system.”
According to Jim Rhodes, Artist Relations — Radial Engineering Ltd., modern touring acts are having to push the limits of their audio quality to a much higher level to keep up with the public’s expectations, and with playback rigs like Playback Control, an increasing number of bands have the opportunity to utilize this innovation. “There is a need for high production quality, and for many acts, that means stretching the boundaries of what some might call acceptable audio practices,” Rhodes said. “Playback Control makes this possible.”
Since the company’s inception, Playback Control has been used by artists like Motley Crue, Aerosmith, Carly Rae Jepsen, Imagine Dragons, and Brantley Gilbert. Bands of every size and genre are investing in the new technology, such as Six60, a New Zealand-based band that is currently programming their show with Vignola in the new headquarters.
“We’re looking forward to hosting even more bands, performers and engineers in our new headquarters to help build their customized programming that will transform how they put on a show,” Wascom concluded. “Playback Control is the one solution that comes with programmed software and reliable hardware, wrapped up in a bow and ready to go.”