How did you get into live sound?
I attended a sound engineering course that was mainly based around studio engineering. I met an engineer while on the course who worked in live sound, and he asked if I would be interested in a job that had just become available at a venue in London.
So you pretty much jumped right into live sound?
Yes. I worked 4-5 nights a week mixing many different bands.
When did you move from analog to digital?
I moved to digital for this tour (Viva la Vida). When I first demoed the Digidesign Venue I really liked the layout and the fact that I could use plugins.
What are some of the advantages of digital over analog?
The amount of inputs is one. We’ve got a high channel count on this tour, using the full 96 inputs. We have three stages, the “Main stage”, the “B stage”, which is an extension of the main stage, and a “C stage” that is near the back of the arena in with the audience, so there’s a lot going on.
Having snapshots is a great advantage for me. It frees me up to be able to concentrate on vocal levels and other mix cues in each song.
So riding the vocals is a big part of what you focus on?
Yes, and Jonny’s guitar melodies that complement the vocals.
When did you discover Waves tools?
I have always used Waves plugins for studio work, so I was really pleased to see them available for the Digidesign Venue.
Do you have particular chains you use regularly?
For vocals, I always use the C4. Chris's voice has very wide range, so it’s great to have dynamic control across 4 frequency bands. I combine the C4 with a Renaissance EQ and Renaissance Compressor. For vocal effects, I think H-delay, is best sounding delay plugin
For the guitars, I use a PuigChild. followed by the Renaissance EQ.
I use two bass drum mics, each using the same chain: PuigChild, Renaissance EQ, MaxxBass. Both are routed to a single group for further processing using the API 2500 compressor and a little more EQ with the API 550B.
What about bass and master buss?
Nothing on the master buss. On the bass, I use a PuigChild 660 into a Renaissance EQ.
The album Viva La Vida has wide sonic landscapes. How do you recreate that on the road?
I try to take a different approach. I feel it is always better for fans to hear something that’s not identical to the album
Are you recording the shows?
Yes, every show is recorded using a Pro Tools system that’s connected to the Digidesign Venue. We’ve just mixed a live record called Left Right Left Right Left which is given to every person that comes to the show.
What are your main goals when you’re doing a live show?
Making sure the vocals are clear so people can sing along is one of my main goals. Also making sure any of the lead parts of the songs are clear, like the intro drum beat to "In My Place" or the guitar riff in “Yellow”.