The Latin GRAMMY® winner’s recent Coachella appearance was one of the festival’s most anticipated shows. Learn how the LV1 mixer helped Karol G’s FOH and monitor engineers deliver crisp, crystal clear sound.
Front-of-house engineer John Buitrago (J Balvin, Sebastian Yatra) and monitor engineer Robin Barrera (Ryan Castro, Piso 21, Maluma) recently chose the Waves eMotion LV1 Live Mixer and Waves plugins for Colombian artist Karol G, winner of the 2018 Latin GRAMMY Award for Best New Artist, who performed at the main stage of the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival.
“We did a very successful, solid and consistent U.S. tour, using the LV1 in 2021 with Karol G,” notes FOH John Buitrago. “Everyone was very happy with the mixer’s performance, so we continued using the LV1 throughout 2022 and for the Coachella show as well. There is no other console on the market which sounds bigger, punchier and more wide open than the eMotion LV1.”
“I started my career as a recording and mixing sound engineer,” Buitrago adds. “In the studio, we all produce and mix with Waves plugins, including the artists I work for. So, when I’m mixing on a big PA, eMotion LV1 makes me feel like I’m in a big studio, with all my plugins right there in the mixer. The mixer’s own sound is crisp and powerful, and the added plugins make it continuous with the studio experience.”
“eMotion LV1 is a game changer for me,” Buitrago adds, “also because I only need 15 minutes max to get ready for a sound check. You can’t waste time at Coachella, and this quick and easy setup allowed me to use every minute I had to polish and tighten the mix with my virtual sound check. Simply amazing! The networking with the LV1 is a breeze as well, and the flexibility is unlimited and simple.”
“Portability is another huge benefits of eMotion LV1. Everyone in the touring business knows how LV1 has changed the rules. The best is when you can work on your file with the console in the comfort of your hotel room. And most important is the Waves Live support team who are always ready and accessible, and that makes a huge difference. You can really work with confidence, which is something I really appreciate.”
Buitrago’s favorite plugins to use inside eMotion LV1 combine classic modeled gear and precision-control processing: “My must-have plugins include the Waves SSL E- Channel, which I use on all instruments because I love the sound and its dynamic tools that allow me to use everything in one plugin. The CLA 76 Compressor/Limiter is an essential tool for me – it is my favorite FET compressor. I use it in Bluey mode for kick drum and snare, and Blacky mode for vocals. I use the SSL G- Master Bus Compressor for parallel compression on drums, and also as an essential tool to glue the mix on my master bus. The F6 Floating-Band Dynamic EQ is my favorite tool for multi-band mid/side processing, one of the best on the market. I really love using it for vocals and my matrix outputs. If you learn to use the RTA it will become your lethal weapon. I use the Abbey Road TG Mastering Chain plugin as a mastering piece right after the SSL G-Master Bus Compressor, using the harmonics and limiter to warm up the mix and also using the MS to open up the stereo.”
Monitor engineer Robinson Barrera adds, “We chose eMotion LV1 because we always look for great sound plus consistency, and that is what LV1 gives us show after show. When choosing a console for touring, I always look for software stability, consistency, easy connectivity, and of course an intuitive workflow that makes me feel confident when mixing. Of course, the main objective is to find the best sound, and that is what the LV1 has. I think there are great benefits coming from this little giant.”
“At Coachella,” he continues, “setting up will always be a challenge. You only have 40 minutes for load-in and 20 minutes for load-out. At monitor, we were always ready in 20 minutes, which meant that the LV1 was our best resort to save time. Not to mention the great capacity of the Waves SoundGrid network, which is to assign an IP address to each device added to the network, creating a super stable connection for us, including the ability to communicate with other audio protocols. We can use this capability to extend our integration into other scenarios if needed. Furthermore, the LV1’s small size makes it one of the most portable consoles on the market, easy to take on a trip, especially when we have cargo and space issues; we can actually take it as carry-on luggage.”
Waves plugins are an integral part of Barrera’s monitor sound processing. “My go-to plugins include the SSL E-Channel, which is my favorite EQ because of its color and its great results. I use the C6 Multiband Compressor to have more control and definition of each band. It is also very versatile. For emulating color and adding harmonic distortion, I go with the NLS Non-Linear Summer – it's a great plugin. The Abbey Road TG Mastering Chain is perfect for adding more color and to get a pristine sound, and I also use its TG12412 Tone Module EQ in MS to widen the stereo of my mixes. The SSL G-Master Buss Compressor glues all my mixes, with that classic sound of the SSL 4000. And of course, the L3-LL Ultramaximizer, which I use as my peak limiter as it takes control of all my outputs.”
“I really love the crisp, crystal clear and punchy sound of this mixer”, Buitrago sums it up. “Honestly, I used to mix FOH on numerous other consoles on the market, and compared to the LV1 there is nothing I miss.” Barrera remarks, “The LV1’s sound is crystal clear and powerful, and no exception for a big and incredible festival like Coachella. When I set up my monitor mix, I feel confident and comfortable with the high-quality sound, wide stereo image, and variety of textures and tools that make the experience in my ears amazing.”
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