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Making IT better. Recording Pan Elders on the airwaves

Making IT better. Recording Pan Elders on the airwaves.


TT Steelband Panorama 2018 Medium & Large Finals. Oh dear, of all points to screw-up on, Pan Elders. Mixing faults and ‘drop outs’; fix applied.


Vibe City105FM’s sound engineer (?) had a panic attack for the Pan Elders section. It had 1 minute and 14 seconds of a real bad time. It started with a rare plus that fell useless to disaster. 105FM’s presenters, who usually attempt to produce their own Panorama show over the show that they are actually presenting; for once, instead of talking over the ‘count’ as they usually rudely do, shut their mouths as the steelband was about to start. That was the only plus here.


It was not ready. Steeped under the general misconceptions that pervade most modern radio presentations of these Panorama shows; It was confused by the assumption that ‘Panorama Showtime’ only starts when the ‘pans’ begin to play; which is a faulty model for live broadcast. Whereas the Grand Stand presenters usually make a competently presentable segment of the show during ‘Panorama Showtime’ of the steelbands, with a timely handover to the adjudicators to signal a ‘Showtime start’, the radio presenters ‘showtime chatter’ over the ‘show they are presenting’ causes much nuanced and live cultural change enacted by the modern steelbands to be messed up and missed; and that is besides ‘messing up’ the sounds of the myriads of different and fascinating ‘counts’ that the bandmasters use to ‘start’ their steelbands. All ‘sound-bytes’ unique in culture to each steelband and their respective arrangers/drillers/bandmasters.


Under these misguided precepts, It was never ready. The volume was low for the ‘are we ready, all together…’ pre-play modern cultural addition chant of the steelband members; It remained low for 9 secs to the ‘ready’ knock; and for a further 4 secs to the start of the count. But It was not ready. Confused without the ‘back-chat feedback’ from the usually noisy 105FM presenters, It missed the volume-queue when the ‘pans began playing’ just short of 8 seconds after the start of the count that included a short precision staccato drum beat to start the band. It was not ready for another 6.5 seconds of band play before moving the ‘up-volume’ fader. Thereafter there was 4.5 secs of pure panic on the realisation that It had missed the ‘pan start’, and still the sound was not ‘quite right’. Then It hit the wrong button that brought a scream of feedback-overload that lasted 1.5 secs till disengaged. Then It started to think. It’s not surprising that Its thinking, overall, was faulty. What do you expect from an It? It was looking for what button to press next to fix that not ‘quite right’ sound It was thinking It was getting. It was looking for the dread fix-all ‘auto-volume’ button. It took 30 secs to make its move and hit the wrong button again. There was a 2 second ‘drop out’ before It hit the ‘a-v’. The sound then went on ‘as normal’ to the end of the tune, in its usual ‘over compressed’ broadcast format.


The 1 minute and 14 seconds fix was applied through using samples from out of the good efforts of the UTT MTech team (https://soundcloud.com/panorama_live_2018) to patch the faulty file; together with a very short sample from WACK 90.1 FM.


Its easy to say ‘Fire go bun Dem’ and feel good about that; but that’s not quite right. Let’s reverse that order and say instead what the culturally aware Voice was implying - is the ‘Year For Love’. Its beyond overtime for our Panorama presenters to properly learn the history of their culture and to be professional in their craft. Then they can represent it all with the full respect it deserves; then we won’t have to bother about It. Looking forward to a better presentation next time around.


Medium Conventional Steelbands, Finals; from the Medium & Large Finals, TT National Steelband Panorama, The Grand Stand, Queen's Park Savannah, Port of Spain, Trinidad, TT. Saturday, 10th February 2018.




by tobagojo4sure 14 Feb 2018

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Jeremy de Barry aka tobagojo4sure REAL Boss Man.


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