Multiple Latin Grammy®-winning singer and songwriter David Bisbal recently performed a special 20th anniversary concert at the Power Horse Stadium in Almeria, Spain. Celebrating his two-decade career, the concert was broadcast live on Movistar Plus. The live mixing engineers for the event—FOH, Monitors, and Broadcast—have all chosen to mix the high-profile concert with the Waves eMotion LV1 live mixer.
We’ve asked FOH engineer Fabrizio Piazzini (Maluma, Calvin Harris, Tiesto), monitor engineer Ian Alvarez (Deep Purple, Fernando Costa) and broadcast engineer Marc Llopis (Shakira, Alejandro Sanz) to share why they chose the LV1, and the benefits of mixing the show with Waves plugins running inside the mixer.
“A few years back we started using the LV1 on fly dates,” Piazzini told us, “and we quickly realized the exceptional quality of the mix engine. David Bisbal himself realized it too when he heard the results. No other console comes close to the sound quality of the LV1; it’s so punchy and big, and it has a huge stereo image with pretty much endless headroom. I used to own two consoles – one for shows and one for prepping show files at home – but now, I only need one LV1 console and I can take it home with me in the taxi! Also, being able to record multitrack without any added interface is a big plus; all the ops had a recording computer, and if one forgot to record, just dial in one of the other laptops on the network and switch to input B and away we go!”
“After the rehearsals, I would pack away my console quicker than covering it with tarp! How about that as an easy setup! The other advantage was the scalability. The broadcast plan only came clear a week before rehearsals. After designing the system with the help of the amazing team of File Application Specialists at Waves, it was so easy to integrate into our plan; just add a fiber and LV1!”
Piazzini’s setup includes the eMotion LV1 Live Mixer-64 Stereo Channels with one DSPRO StageGrid1000, a DiGiGrid IOC, a Waves Titan SoundGrid Server (“Only used about 40%! What a beast!” says Piazzini), some outboard for the money channel (main vocal), a Waves FIT Controller for eMotion LV1 and one screen. “Very simple and compact!”, says Piazzini.
As Waves plugins are an integral feature in the LV1, Piazzini comments, “My must-haves include the F6 Floating-Band Dynamic EQ; it is such a versatile plugin that I use it on all inputs that require more than one band of EQ. The Manny Marroquin Delay brings back fun into mixing, and its reverb and distortion really help me fill all the gaps I might have in the mix. The eMo D5 Dynamics is a total underdog here, yet the most powerful dynamic processor out there. You can set a gate with a threshold of +/- 0.1dB, and it will literally always open or never open! The graphical feedback is fantastic. You can also squash your signal in a de-stressed way or in a totally clean way. The Waves TRACT System Calibration plugin has changed my setup dramatically. I always had to have a drive rack with me just to EQ the system and all the speaker feeds, but now I just bring up an instance of TRACT on all my outputs.”
Monitor engineer Ian Alvarez comments, “I still remember when I first encountered the LV1. The artist was more than fine with all his mixes from before, so I tried to be as close as I could to it… A/B tests on mixes instantly made me notice how wide the stereo image can be, and believe me, I was absolutely shocked about that. Also, the sensation of clarity in the digital process allows me to hear details, mostly in FX such as delays or reverbs, that I never heard before. Its DSP possibilities, scalable options and sound quality, of course, tipped the scale in favor of LV1.”
“I’ve been using eMotion LV1 systems for a couple of years now, mainly for its portability. David Bisbal is an international artist that regularly tours worldwide, and both Fabrizio and I were searching for a portable system under 32kg so we could carry it on the plane. Using the LV1 allows me to use exactly the same console everywhere, not just the same model, but the same hardware and preamps. Maybe this is not a must for everyone, but David has an amazing ear; trust me, it’s out of this world. He is also an artist that has a crystal-clear vision of what he wants to hear in his mixes. The consistency mixing on the same system all over the world is priceless. Also, being able to take the console to my hotel room and improve my mixes while we are on tour makes it really fast to develop quick and precise changes, whatever and whenever needed.”
Alvarez adds, “What surprised me the most is how good the conversion is and how wide your mixes can sound. Coming from another console, the first thing that I noticed was the amazing stereo image I was able to develop. Having all the Waves weapons one finger-touch away, ready to use, enables you to be as creative as you want and to quickly solve problems if needed.”
“The setup is really easy to handle. At my end of the snake (the right one) I have the console itself (just one screen and a FIT controller) with a Waves Titan SoundGrid Server (what a beast! endless DSP). Regarding preamps, we are all sharing the same signal from two DSPRO StageGrid 4000. Fabrizio and I always work in that way, no matter what the system is, as for us, it is important to avoid unnecessary connections to our audio chain. I also use a SoundStudio STG-1608 (not shared) for analog inserts, talkbacks and some backline mixes. We have a shared DiGiGrid MGB that carries all the signals from a Cymatics for backing tracks. My last connection is my laptop for multitrack recording and virtual soundcheck. But most of the times, Fabrizio and I are sharing the same laptop for that, so having the same signal running everywhere allows you to hear your mixes in a similar way that the artist is going to hear it during the real show, with FOH and monitors going at the same time, which is way better! With the LV1, this is just one click away, just changing the laptop on the socket.”
On his go-to Waves plugins, Alvarez notes, “I’ve been a Waves live user for quite a long time, so most of the classic plugins, like the Renaissance Vox, Renaissance Axx, SSL G-Master Buss Compressor, are still some of my favorites. But if I’m just able to have three plugins for the rest of my career, no doubt they would include the F6 Floating-Band Dynamic EQ – six bands of dynamic EQ with HPF and LPF that you can side chain individually and RTA; what else do you need? Then I’d have the Waves X-FDBK (maybe not for David, where we have everything on IEM); if you are mixing monitors on wedges this will be your best friend ever. And although I'm not big fan of complex plugins, and I tend to prefer easy controls, the CLA Epic plugin is simply amazing. It is one of the most creative tools that I’ve ever used…but remember, ‘With great power comes great responsibility,’ so use it wisely.”
Alvarez adds, “There are a couple of things to take care of when we are talking about David’s IEM mix. First, as I said, David is really demanding about his mixes. Also, in this particular show, he had a 26-plus-meter catwalk, so not only was he singing in front of the PA, but he was also closer to Fabrizio’s FOH station than the MON station. The clarity of conversion and internal process and the wide stereo image gives you all the space that is needed to get the job done. Some specific Waves plugins like the WNS Noise Suppressor or PSE are also a really powerful tool when it comes to this complex situations”
Broadcast engineer Marc Llopis comments, “FOH and MON were already using this system that they had prepared for the artist's tour. Instead of using a passive or active split system, it seemed to me that to integrate a third LV1 into the network was the most comfortable and practical thing. Integrating fiber optics into the system made it comfortable and practical. Also, I was able to use the same FOH session as a starting point, with the patch already done and a structure similar to what I needed for broadcast. Literally in ten minutes, it was already playing, and from there I was able to start working on it to get a more compressed and packed mix than FOH. I also like that the structure of the console is very clear, with the channels, groups and auxiliaries ordered as in an analog console, despite its real flexibility.”
Llopis adds, “The LV1’s sonic quality surprised me from the first contact with it, astonishing me with the quality of the sum and the frequency separation, giving an enormous dynamic space and range. Despite being a purely software solution, it’s one of the closest analog summing experiences I’ve had on a digital audio platform. The eMotion LV1 has an advantage over other platforms – much more evolved – in that it uses the same protocol both to move the audio and to process it, in such a way that there are no intermediate conversions as there are in most live audio platforms, and that influences the final sonic quality. When I understood this, it gave me a clearer explanation as to why the sound of LV1 was such a differentiator.”
Llopis’ setup includes an eMotion LV1, a Waves Axis host computer, a Waves Extreme SoundGrid Server, a Waves FIT Controller for eMotion LV1, a DSPRO StageGrid 4000 for connections with to the OB truck UM and a MacBook Pro for virtual soundcheck. He remarks, on his favorite Waves plugins, “The Scheps Parallel Particles is a Swiss Army knife! I use it both on mix buses and on vocals to give them air or on drum buses to increase weight and punch. Indispensable. What I like the most is that it is simple; with two or three adjustments, you get what you want without problem and without hours of prior learning. The Waves Smack Attack is an essential plugin. You can shape the percussion hits precisely or even the attack on the pulsations of a bass without much complication. It is another one of those Waves plugins with simple controls and huge results!”
Choosing Waves’ live sound setup for David Bisbal’s notable 20th Anniversary concert at the Powerhorse Stadium in Almeria, Spain, guaranteed a smooth and highly professional operation for delivering FOH, monitor and broadcast. Piazzini, Alvarez and Llopis sum it up: “Using Waves’ eMotion LV1 for this production gave us the right tools and assurance to deliver the best sounding show possible.”