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Articles Mar-Apr 2023

Martin's New RGBW Light Engine Propults Compact, Brighter Wash Light Series New!

Mark Mercer-Buss, Martin Global Product Line Manager of Entertainment Lighting, delves deep into how the Martin ELP PAR/ELP PAR IP and Martin ERA 150 Wash Lights elevate the Martin Lighting portfolio. read more

Articles Mar-Apr 2023

Patna's Auditorium Gets New Audio System From SOUNDXPERTS New!

Punjab-based SOUNDXPERTS delivered a complete turnkey solution for Patna Women's College auditorium, including pro audio, video, lighting, control, acoustics, seating, and flooring. Sun Infonet supplied leading brands for prestigious project execution. read more

Articles Mar-Apr 2023

AV-ICN 2023 Show Preview: Strong Sentiment for AV-ICN to Establish New!

The AV-ICN Expo 2023 is a stand-alone Expo in Hall 2 at Bombay Exhibition Centre, Nesco, Mumbai. The AV-ICN Show Preview offers a sneak peek at audiovisual products, technologies, and innovations on display at the show floor this year. read more

Articles Mar-Apr 2023

CAVS, Ahmedabad Elevates INDIAN AV EDUCATION Landscape To New Heights New!

The third edition of CAVS proved once again that when it comes to carving a niche in fields such as audiovisual and integration networking, the sky is the limit. read more

Articles Mar-Apr 2023

Are Global Integrators Reshaping the INDIAN AV INDUSTRY? New!

Global integrators establishing in India are sourcing highly experienced AV professionals from Indian system integrators and AV consultancy companies. Executing large projects worldwide from India, the Indian AV industry is being reshaped to compete for international projects. AV-ICN's Editorial Assistant Ritika Pandey analyses the churn impacting Indian AV industry. read more

Articles Mar-Apr 2023

State-Of-The-Art Technology Set To Be Unveiled At PALM Expo 2023 New!

From premium microphones to cutting-edge stage lighting fixtures, from superlative loudspeakers to ever-reliable cables and connectors - the trade show floor at PALM Expo 2023 promises to bring into spotlight the cream-of-the-crop products from the pro audio and lighting industry. PALM + AV-ICN offers a glimpse into what this edition of India's biggest stage sound, professional lighting, rigging, and trussing trade show has to offer to its visitors. read more

Articles Jan-Feb 2023

How I Prepare for My Shoot New!

by Cheerag Cama, Freelance Audio Engineer

Whenever I am about to start working on a new film project, there are a few things that I always do. The first is of course to read the script. This gives me an idea of what the movie is all about. And as I read through the script, my mind starts working on how I plan to approach the shoot. read more

Articles Jan-Feb 2023

Creating State-of-the-Art AUDIOVISUAL Experiences Surrounding The Statue of Unity New!

In PALM + AV-ICN's conference session titled 'AV Architect of the Year', Narendra Naidu, Chairman and MD, Rhino Engineers, talks about rendering jaw-dropping audiovisual technology for Gujarat's Statue of Unity and several other projects situated in its periphery... read more

Articles Jan-Feb 2023

Udaipur City Palace Comes Alive with Splat Studio & Dataton New!

Splat Studio makes use of Dataton's Watchout software to highlight India's culture and heritage on the palace's facade

The G20 Sherpa Meet in Udaipur, India witnessed a congregation of world leaders, who partook in key conversations on sustainable lifestyle, technological transformations, and more. The City of Lakes - the host of the G20 Sherpa Meet... read more

Articles Jan-Feb 2023

AV Innovations Galore at ISE Barcelona 2023 New!

ISE Barcelona 2023, held from January 31 - February 3, 2023 in Barcelona, Spain, witnessed a record-breaking footfall over the four-day show. Clocking in at 58,107 unique attendees from 155 countries around the world, the ISE Barcelona 2023 not only gave the global AV industry a much-needed push in the right direction after the two-year long COVID-19 pandemic... read more

Articles Jan-Feb 2023

BRINGING SOUND TO LIFE: Ashish Saksena on his Love & Passion for Live Sound Mixing New!

With more than 25 years of experience as a live sound engineer for musical stalwarts such as Shankar Ehsaan Loy and KK, Ashish Saksena has forged his craftsmanship with technical acumen in monitor mixing and Front of House mixing. But his expertise in sound engineering isn't restricted to the live stage. Even in the studio, Ashish knows how to make the mix dance to his own tunes. read more

Articles Nov-Dec 2022

Leading with LED New!

PALM + AV-ICN reports on the latest popular, reliable, and cost-effective LED video walls available in the Indian pro AV industry today. From Barco's TruePix to NEC E Series, these indoor LED video walls are here to change the conferencing game in the long run. read more

Articles Nov-Dec 2022

An 'AV'ant-Garde Fusion of Nature & Technology New!

Gujarat has always been a home to the greatest minds who believe in the concept of 'simple living, high thinking'. Be it Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, Sardar Vallabh Bhai Patel, and India's current Prime Minister,Narendra Modi - these individuals have been a testimony to how a human being... read more

Articles Nov-Dec 2022

Active LED Video Walls - Demystifying The AV Enigma by Abdul Waheed, CTS, Managing Director, EYTE Technologies Pvt. Ltd. New!

The ever changing video market is reaching new heights with active LED video walls. From projection to plasma displays; LCD to LED, the continuous journey for large size display wall is always challenging. The indirect light of projection system, to the thick breaking lines of Bezel in LCD and LED is always disturbing the impact of the high resolution content. The cost of Micro LED panels and the alignment issues didn't allow it to be a success. read more

Articles Nov-Dec 2022

On Delivering Quality Mega Scale AV Projects in India New!

The PALM + AV-ICN conference session witnessed a panel of AV experts, Prashanth Govindhan, Claron D'souza, Abdul Waheed, and Kapil Thirwani sit for a dialogue on the evolution of Indian AV industry, how it differs from AV industries in other countries, and how moral is the concept of jugaad in the Indian AV sphere. In this article, read the highlights of the talk. read more

Articles Nov-Dec 2022

Mondosonic Studios' Varun Krrishna on Preferring Analog-Over-Digital SetupNew!

Varun Krrishna is not just a mixing engineer and music producer out of profession, but also out of passion. With an ardent love for music, Varun Krrishna is also the founder and owner of Mondosonic Studios in Kerala, a space he has built for music to breathe free. So, it isn’t a surprise that the man of music is always in a quest to stay abreast with the latest trends in the world of acoustics, and knows just how big the spatial audio boom is. To encapsulate the essence of spatial sound, Varun Krrishna is upgrading Mondosonic Studios with an extension for spatial audio. read more

Articles Nov-Dec 2022

Dialing it up: Ashish Saksena on how Monitor Mixing can Elevate a PerformanceNew!

What does it take to create a technically accurate monitor mix and put the stage performance on a pedestal? Ashish Saksena, Live Sound Engineer for Shankar Ehsaan Loy & Late KK, spills the beans on crafting a good monitor mix in PALM + AV-ICN conference session titled, 'How Good Monitor Mixing Can Boost A Performance.'read more

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Kenneth ‘Pooch’ Van Druten is the magician who makes Justin Bieber sound the way he does in a live concert. Popularly known as Pooch, he has been touring as FOH engineer with some of the biggest artists like Linkin Park, Whitney Houston, Jay-Z, Eminem, Beastie Boys, Guns N’ Roses, Smashing Pumpkins, and many more. PT caught up with the man, who is today considered as one of the top FOH Engineers in the world to understand more about his craft, the gear he uses to get the perfect mix and insider info on the India leg of the Purpose World Tour.

Winner of Tourguide Magazine Top Dog FOH engineer of the year award - for an amazing 6 times and two-time winner of the FOH magazine Parnelli FOH engineer of the year award, Pooch graduated from Berklee College of Music, Boston and was the recipient of the Music Technology Division Engineering Scholar award - given to one outstanding engineer a year by Berklee staff. The equal parts techie and artist has a rich legacy of 25+ years in the live sound industry. His first job as a Producer / Engineer in Los Angeles gained him three Grammy nominations, and a multitude of Platinum and Gold records.

Pooch has been a musician all his life. Starting with classical piano studies at the age of three and going on to learn woodwinds, guitar, bass, and drums through his teenage years, Pooch was 18 when he graduated from high school and was accepted into Berklee College of Music. “I had every intention of being a performance major, but when I arrived at Berklee I discovered that there were many bass players that were much better than me. I had to swallow my ego and realize that I was never going to make a living as a player. Around the same time, I discovered sound engineering and discovered that I was good at it.” says Pooch.

From here on started Pooch’s journey in sound engineering. After completing graduation with honours, he moved to Los Angeles to start his career as a Producer and Recording Engineer and managed to get involved with many projects. Initially, he thought a career as a recording engineer would be a long and lucrative one for him. However, this all changed after the invitation to mix one of the artists in a live venue. The band was Warrant, and the venue was the “Fabulous FORUM” in Los Angeles.

“I immediately fell in love with the instant gratification of thousands of people screaming for something you are a part of. It still gives me pleasure today. I have never really looked back. That was 1992 and I have been lucky enough to work as a live sound FOH engineer since then,” enthuses Pooch.

Pooch is particularly proud of his stint as engineer for the KISS symphony. “Probably the concert that I am most proud of is the KISS symphony. It was the rock band kiss with a 60 piece orchestra, boys choir, and acoustic instruments. Lots of things going on. Nothing like mixing a 60 piece orchestra close mic’d at 105dBA weighted L-EQ over 10 at FOH.” His other favourites include Guns N’ Roses Rock In Rio 2001 and English heavy metal band Iron Maiden, whom he is mixing these days. Since the beginning of his career, Pooch got opportunities to work in many genres of music. “Most of the engineers get pigeonholed into one type of music and spend most of their career mixing it. Since I began, I have walked this line between pop, rock, and R&B and I really enjoy doing it. I have been very blessed to work in many genres of music.”


The challenge a FOH faces of course varies depending on not only the genre, but also the artistes themselves. “Each artist comes with their own challenges. Solo artist vs. bands is always tricky. When the marque’ says Justin Bieber, it is ALL about him. Whatever he wants, he gets. There is no question as to who the boss is.” He explains, “When dealing with a band, there are multiple egos and often different opinions that I was an engineer have to negotiate thru. Most of the time I am a psychiatrist more than I am a mixer. The secret to my success is that I can walk into a room full of crazy people and communicate, understand, and negotiate.”

According to Pooch the most challenging experience for him was as front of house for Jay-Z. “Mainly because there is a bunch of inputs. Over 100. There is a live band plus lots of playbacks. Finding space for all the live instruments and some of the playback that is in the same EQ space, as well as stereo balance, is a different balancing act,” says, Pooch.


Pooch’s first visit to India was for Justin Bieber’s Purpose World Tour in the Summer of 2017. “The unique challenge of mixing a solo artist like Justin Bieber is that everyone is coming to hear him. They don’t care about anything else. The crowd wants to hear him while he sings and while he talks in between songs. It’s difficult to get him over the top while he is in front of the PA for most of the show as well,” says Pooch.

A FOH plays a crucial role in engaging the audience in the musical experience and evoking emotions. “My goal in all of my mixes is to deliver a record quality mix with impact. I try to adhere to what the record sounds like as best I can. Everyone knows it and wants the music to sound like it. But I think that I give a little bit more by moving some air in the subrange, and also bring out some parts being played that are less noticeable in the mix in the record to give it that real live feel. Mostly my focus is on vocals and trying to make it sound the best it can, with the most intelligibility.”

Pooch describes his interaction with solo artists as “complex and vast”. For Bieber, Pooch let American music producer, composer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and Bieber’s musical Director - BHarv (Bernard Harvey) be the link between him and Bieber. “I worked very closely with Bharv and he was the conduit to Justin,” says Pooch. He continues, “Another vital requirement on the technical front is to work hand-in-glove with the Monitor Engineer and Systems Tec. For the Purpose India Tour, I was fortunate to have Alex Macleod as my monitor engineer once again. He is amazing. I could not do my job without him. I work very closely with the monitor engineer. We are truly a team. It is best when both the monitor engineer and the FOH engineer are in sync with each other.”

The Sound Set-Up

Justin Bieber India tour called for high production values in terms of great dynamics in venue sound. The superlative set-up and the sound technical for the concert managed by, witnessed for the first time in India a 12 a side flown subwoofer rig of S28’s in “Cardioid” augmented with the low-frequency extension from the G28 subs on the floor. “This is what we requested from,” says Pooch. “I have used the JBL VTX25 systems extensively (especially with Linkin Park) and knew exactly what was needed for this show. It may seem like a lot of PA system, but when you deploy the system in this manner, you get the best coverage and power. was very accommodating and provided exactly what we needed. They were excellent and provided me with all the tools necessary to make the show sound amazing. I was very pleased with the sound aspect of the show in India,” he adds.

For the concert, the venue was deployed with Main PA –VTX V25II in a LR and an outer LR, Amplifiers T12000HD, Flown SUB-VTX S28 on a LR, Ground Subs –VTX G28, Front Fills – VTX V20, Side Fills LR- VT4888, Delay LR & Outer LR – VT4889. Other Gear that Pooch used for the Justin Bieber tour can be found on - May-June 2017 issue

Sweating it out

The superhot month of May in Mumbai was not at all easy for Pooch. The heat and humidity posed several difficulties. “Oh my goodness, it was so hot. The heat and humidity are very hard on the gear too. We had a couple of computers (Macintosh minis) that just didn’t want to work when the sun was out. A lot of gear really struggle when you have those temperatures. I don’t like it either. I much prefer the cold. I was drinking a lot of water,” he says.

Commenting on the infrastructure for this tour he says, “It seemed like the infrastructure of the concert area itself was lacking. Not enough maintained restrooms, not enough dressing room space, not enough catering choices. The staging seemed a little dangerous as well. I was glad that I was at FOH. The safety standards need to be raised. Human life is precious, and no one should get hurt at a concert,” he cautions.


“ABSOLUTELY a boon,” exclaims Pooch. “ With the amazing advances in technology in the last 20 years, I can be way more creative and really get things to sound like you are sitting in front of some near fields, when in actuality you are sitting in a soccer stadium. I have always wanted every seat in the house to sound the same, and we are approaching actually achieving this. That is really exciting.”

Talking about the evolution of technology down the years, he says, “As a studio engineer, he I watched the digital age come to fruition. I remember the first Mitsubishi X850 32 track digital tape machine being wheeled into the studio that I worked at in 1992. We all stood around it, not really knowing what to do with it. The first attempts at digital audio in the studio were really bad. The technology was not ready in my opinion and the sound of records suffered. The same thing happened in live sound 10 years later. The technology just didn’t sound great at first. Just now in the last five years, I think that the tool and convenience of digital audio has come into its own and the result of what you can achieve is amazing. The fact that I can have 300 parameter changes happen in a snapshot, allow me to achieve whatever I can dream up in my head. It opens the doors of creativity, and the end-result are some amazing sounding shows. In fact, I stand by the statement that there should not be ANY bad sounding shows out there (at this level). If there are – it is the fault of the engineer, not the gear.”


There is no denying that the live sound industry is in the midst of the golden age of digital live sound. This also presents a new set of challenges to aspiring engineers. “I think the main challenge currently is that there is a lot of computing power to get a good sounding result. With plugins and outboard computers, networking, etc. Sometimes I am having to network (and clock) 6 different computers together. This is a hard thing to do without failure. I tell young up and coming engineers to learn networking and RF if they want to keep working in this business. These are the things that are always in need of good people,” says Pooch.

Explaining what he would ideally like to see in new age digital consoles, he says, “I would like to see some of the tasks normally offloaded to plugins to become better on digital consoles. Multiband EQ and compression for example. We are starting to see some console manufactures making leaps and bounds in this area. Plugins will always be needed, but can now be focused on super specific tasks. Also – I think that artificial reverbs are the hardest thing to make sound fantastic. They are very DSP intensive. I think as technology makes faster, more powerful processers, I would like to see great sounding, high-end reverb show up on the console themselves.”


“NEVER GIVE UP and hard work is the key to this front of house career. Push yourself to be the very best you can be and it will be get noticed with time. While talking about his initial days, Pooch mentioned, “I had to work very hard early on in my career. I didn’t make a good wage until several years into my career. Learning how to get along with people is also an essential part of this career. This business is not so much about talent as an engineer, but how one is interacting with other people. Hone your skills and be good at what you do but study the psychology of humans and how to best advance your career by being the best at communication and giving people what they want. If you become the guy or girl that is the hardest working, easiest to get along with, a talented engineer, there is room for you in this business. If you don’t push yourself to be the best, there are too many people that will take your spot. Network with everyone that you can,” he asserts.

Addressing the young live sound engineers in India, he says, “If you want to work with American bands, you should move to America and work with one of the many national touring companies. This is a word of mouth business. If you are good and working with the right people, your name will quickly be known. There are lots of different ways to keep working in this business. If you want to work and have work for many years to come. Learn RF and networking. Be skilled at both of these things and there will always be work. Use this as the platform to jump off into mixing,” he concludes.


Current Issue : May - June 2023




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