FOH Engineer Eric Friedlander Chooses the Waves eMotion LV1 live mixer for the Recording Academy Producers & Engineers Wing’s 13th Annual Grammy week celebration honoring Dr. Dre and featuring Anderson .Paak.
The Recording Academy Producers & Engineers Wing recently held their 13th annual Grammy week celebration at Village Studio honoring Dr. Dre, and featuring a musical performance from Anderson .Paak. We spoke to FOH engineer Eric Friedlander to discuss why he chose the Waves eMotion LV1 Live Mixer for the concert.
Friedlander’s workflow for the occasion included a two-screen up and down setup with one Waves Axis One custom-designed computer and one Waves SoundGrid® Extreme Server-C, mounted in the new OCD Labs LiteFly® housing system. His stagebox was the DSPRO StageGrid 4000, while running some local I/O (monitoring, record feeds) off a DiGiGrid D.
Discussing the versatility of the setup, Friedlander comments, “The band brought their touring engineers to help support the show, and we were able to set up the entire LV1 system in the corner of the green room, hours before our performance space was ready, in order for us to program and patch inputs and outputs. Additionally, the monitor engineer was familiar with the LV1 and after a quick call to bring in another server, he was up and running on his laptop, and with one connection of a Cat6 cable he was sharing the stagebox I/O with me to build IEM mixes for the band.”
Commenting on the sound quality of the LV1 Friedlander says, “With the audience being made up of some of the keenest ears in the industry, there's an obvious requirement for a fantastic mix – I can't put anything but my best foot forward for this show! Having access to the sonic tools from the Waves library, integrated seamlessly into the mixing platform, allowed me to open up and attack my mix from a variety of angles, both creatively and practically. I needed to tackle everything from removing noise and feedback on lectern microphones to building an impactful but not aggressively loud drum mix for Anderson .Paak, while mixing a variety of broadcast mixes and instrument inputs in-between. Also, having worked with FOH engineer Will Madera on his system with Pitbull and having significant prior experience with the LV1 platform, I've been extremely happy with the improvements in response and reliability of the Waves V11 release running on the Waves Axis One custom-designed computer.”
“One of my favorite parts of the LV1 system is having the onboard Waves eMo plugins processing to work with. As I'm building a mix (especially in a time-constrained scenario), being able to quickly touch and grab different elements of the EQ or compressor in the channel strip makes dialing in settings really efficient and accurate, and the onboard processing just sounds good – some inputs speak for themselves without needing me to shape them! I’m a firm believer that plugins are a great tool for engineers to have in their toolbox, but not every input needs every tool used on it.”
Discussing his favorite Waves plugins, Friedlander says, “As far as some of the tools I use when I dig into the toolbox... for building my mix and helping to gel things together with a bit of heft, I love starting with the Abbey Road TG Mastering Chain on my stereo buss, but with the settings (limiter, spreader, etc.) dialed all the way out. Then, as I build up my mix and get to a point where I feel it’s close, I start to dial in the limiter, spreader, and EQ portions of the plugin to help tighten things up and space my mix out a bit. On the other end of my workflow, I lean pretty heavily on the NLS Non-Linear Summer plugin. I enjoy using it to emphasize an instrument or input that already has a good bit of character to it and seeing what the plugin brings out as I dial up the drive. I’ll even throw it on busses sometimes, just to see what kind of punch it brings out in different instrument groupings.”
“I also utilize the CLA-2A and 3A Compressor/Limiters as a go-to tool for a bit more character and a dB or two of compression in a multi-stage approach. As far as problem-solving, one of my favorite tools is Waves’ Center. As an engineer, I'm trying to improve how I handle M/S information when I'm mixing, and Center has been super helpful in that regard. Even if I'm not emphasizing an instrument or buss on the sides, I use Center to manage my mid information, especially with a lot of stereo inputs that may conflict with the vocal in the middle. I also utilized Waves’ X-FDBK for the first time on this show, and it proved to be a big timesaver for me. It gave a really good starting point for me to ring out my lectern microphones while leaving plenty of gain to work with for mixing and a bit of touch-up EQ.”
Friedlander adds, “In addition, virtual soundcheck with Waves Tracks Live proved to be a lifesaver during this event. Due to the band's schedule, we had an extremely quick soundcheck, but thanks to the virtual multitrack, I was able to go back after they were finished to really tighten up my mix and optimize my gain structure. Being able to play back the live band performance with Tracks Live was super helpful for us setting levels and dialing all my record and broadcast feeds, as the entire event is broadcast over closed-circuit TV, and every studio in the venue has a pair of high-end studio monitors for attendees to listen to – so I really want to make sure my mix feeding all the broadcast sources is as well polished as possible!”
Concluding, Friedlander notes, “This was my fourth year supporting this event, and it's the first year that we had a full band performance using IEMs, as well as the traditional awards ceremony and a live, closed-circuit broadcast. Given the amount of I/O and mix control needed, as well as the small size of the main room and FOH area, the eMotion LV1 was really the only desk that could provide all the features I needed with no compromises, with the necessary footprint and a fast interface that the two-screen setup allowed.”
Want more on live sound? Hear about Waves on tour with Rosalía.
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