Paydirt: IM8-32 Mixing Console Helps Red Dirt Musicians Sound Their Best

3/12/2010 [Live Sound]

Upstage Sound in Denison, Texas Uses Console for Live Shows and Festivals

Texas IM8 Install
Craig Krauss, of Upstage Sound in Denison, Texas uses his IM8 console for live shows and festivals.
Photo courtesy of Accent Images
BUENA PARK, Calif.—It's tough to pigeonhole the Red Dirt movement in country music, named for the color of the earth that straddles the Oklahoma-Texas border. Some bands adhere to a southern rock style and use electric instruments only. Others incorporate acoustic guitars, fiddles and pedal steels into their performances.

Craig Krauss, proprietor of Upstage Sound in Denison, Texas, is the premiere soundman for many of the bands on the circuit, including Stoney LaRue, Johnny Cooper, Kevin Fowler, Jason Boland and the Stragglers, Aaron Watson and Cross Canadian Ragweed. He also mans Front of House at the Music and Mayhem Festival in Lake Euphola, Oklahoma and the Peanut Festival in Whitesboro, Texas.

A longtime user of Yamaha sound gear, including effects, amps, monitors and speakers, Krauss recently bought an IM8-32 mixing console to handle the stage sound for bands on the Red Dirt circuit. He also owns an MG32/14 console, which he uses for monitor mixes, although most of the bands he works for use in-ear monitors.

Krauss researched the IM8 on the Web, then headed off to the local Guitar Center in Plano to pick it up. One reason he chose the model is because he's a fan of analogue: "I don't want to be dependent on software," he said.

He also likes having built in compression on every channel, which lets him regulate the sound of the vocals and acoustic instruments, ensuring that they can be heard along with the electric ones in the mix.

He also appreciates the sweepable muting, full parametric EQ and the layout.

"I like the matrix on it, the control room for the phones and the way the auxiliary controls are set up," he said. "It's great that there are eight subgroups, also.

And, he added, "with the split between channels one to 16 and 17 to 32, I generally use one side for the opening act and the other for the headliner. It makes it easy to decipher."

Krauss, who used to play drums, has been doing Front of House for around 25 years. He can also set up lighting, including MAC250 movers, and also has an outdoor stage with roofing, so he has the ability to create the full live band experience rather then just provide sound reinforcement.

One thing he likes about Red Dirt music is that "we keep it country." That no-frills, can-do attitude helped him become the area's go-to sound company. "Everything around here is done word-of-mouth," he said. "That's how I got this circuit, mainly a 200 mile radius around Denison, and all is good."

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