Front-of-house engineer Jon Schumann (Kashmir, Mew, Carpark North, Kent, Mercury Rev) is among the growing trend of live audio professionals employing tools from Waves Audio on tour with prominent acts. For live dates with MØ, Schumann chose the Waves eMotion LV1 live mixer, SoundGrid Extreme Server and various Waves plugins.
Schumann, who is running the eMotion LV1 at FOH, comments, “When MØ suddenly blew up with both Major Lazer’s hit ‘Lean On’ and her own songs, we realized that the kind of touring we had done in the past was about to change quite dramatically. Instead of the ‘classic’ long touring legs, we found ourselves jumping around the continents and doing all manner of shows from small club gigs to massive festivals, TV performances, showcases and sometimes 2-3 shows a day with very little time to prepare. At the same time, it was increasingly important for MØ that the quality and sound of the shows be consistent throughout our many types of gigs. So when I started doing my research for how to solve this challenge, I was lucky enough to see an early version of the eMotion LV1 and I immediately recognized that here was the platform that I would need in order to be able to carry my show with me anywhere we go. I was already a huge fan of Waves plugins and would always have them in my specs when I was setting up tours, but here was an opportunity to really design my sound from the ground up and still just pack it into two cases that go on the flight with us. It was a no-brainer.”
He continues, “The benefits of using Waves’ LV1 are almost too many to list. But obviously, there is the issue of portability. My entire FOH setup is 4U, a flight case containing two touch screens and my laptop for recording. And a crucial point is that it has incredible sound quality. I did a show in the U.S. recently where a 70-year-old engineer came over to me in the middle of the show, stared at my setup and shouted, ‘It sounds like a vintage console! It’s unbelievable!’ He then spent the remainder of the show sitting next to me, staring at my screens, checking out the plugins and surfing the Waves web page on his iPad. Also, I must stress the awesome flexibility of the sidechain of the LV1, which allows me a tremendous amount of interaction and control between sources. This may seem like a small thing, but it is absolutely vital to the way we mix modern electronic music shows, and the eMotion LV1 is easily the best mixer out there."
On using Waves plugins, Schumann adds, “I do not mix in the traditional way, meaning mixing on a classic FOH console with 64 of the same channel strips and then adding a few plugins here and there. I’m creating the sound for each source just like I would want it. I adore the new channel plugins. My must-have Waves plugins are the eMo D5 Dynamics, which I now also use in the studio all the time. The eMo D5 is just incredible! It’s like a handshake, a stern talking to, a slap in the face and a reassuring hug all in one. I never leave home without it. One channel will be just the SSL E-Channel plugin. This plugin has been with me since it was released and will always stay in my arsenal. The next one is the CLA -2A Compressor/Limiter, followed by numerous plugins to create exactly what I’m looking for. It frees up my creative brain and makes it fun again. I’m a ‘shaper,’ so the Waves C6 Multiband Compressor is always there for me to create the sonic fingerprint that will sit right with my other sources whilst letting me stay in control. My new best friend is the Waves PSE (Primary Source Expander). Karen (aka MØ) is always running all over the place, and she spends more than her share of the shows in front of the PA. The PSE is saving me a lot of headaches as it just cleans up her vocal mic without too much difficulty or dialing in. Lastly, because MØ’s songs range from quiet ballads to electronic beats and loud rock, the Waves Vocal Rider gives me a smooth way of floating the vocal on top of the mix without sacrificing dynamics or tone.”