“I was always looking for a scalable mixer I could work on at home and then take out on the road,” says Adam Pendse, FOH engineer for UK’s Editors. We asked Adam about his experience mixing hundreds of shows with eMotion LV1.
With multiple #1 UK albums, Editors have risen to become one of Britain’s biggest musical exports of the last two decades. As the band kicked off their 2019 world tour to promote their latest album Violence, we caught up with their front-of-house engineer Adam Pendse to find out how his Waves eMotion LV1 software mixer setup has helped him control the band’s sound night after night.
Adam, when did you choose eMotion LV1 as your live console for Editors, and why?
eMotion LV1 has been my mixer for every Editors show since 2017, in every venue and festival and for most broadcast mixes. Hundreds of shows at this point.
I was always looking for a top-tier scalable sounding system, something you could work on at home and then take out on the road. So when the LV1 came across my radar, it immediately resonated with me—I liked the flexibility of the interface and the fact that you can configure it in so many different ways to suit the show you're doing.
One of the main things I like about the LV1 is the workflow: the speed of use, and how quickly I can get to a plugin. It’s very streamlined and laid out in such an intuitive way that anyone can walk up and start mixing with it within five minutes. The visual feedback of the LV1 is one of my favorite aspects. When I use two touch screens, I have access to literally everything I need instantly.
What else is in your rig? What do you take out with you on the road?
My LV1 rig is very compact. I take a case with two touch screens, a pair of DiGiGrid MGB interfaces for stage inputs, an I/O device for FOH, and a pair of Cisco SG300 network switches. I’ve got a few external hardware units I use on the mix buss—analogue EQs and analogue compressors.
Our monitor engineer Chris Barton uses a DiGiCo SD10 console on stage, where I take a MADI split from the SD-Rack to the MGBs to get my inputs from the stage. I then use optical to get the signal to front of house. So the local request for festivals is essentially two lines of optical, that’s it!
What plugins do you use for Editors shows?
I’ve found the F6 Dynamic EQ to be a really powerful plugin. I use it for so many things. I use the sidechain feature a lot. The classic trick of old was to sidechain the bass guitar compressor to the kick drum; and you know, that works. But with the F6, instead of killing the whole frequency range of the bass, I can just make it dark in that frequency area where the kick drum and the bass cross over. If you apply that way of thinking to all the other channels, you have so many possibilities. I find it invaluable—it's just opened up a new world of being able to tame specific frequencies or groups of frequencies.
I still have the C6 Multiband Compressor on some of the guitar channels. Being able to shape and tame the guitars with compression, expansion and equalization makes it one of the most indispensable tools for me. For compression, I mostly use the CLA Classic Compressor Series across guitar channels, and the API 2500 I use for bass.
For utility plugins, I use InPhase a lot, mostly to line up drums. But I also use it on bus outputs as a delay to line them up if needed. Occasionally, I use WNS Noise Suppressor to clean up noisy sources—having access to that in a live situation is amazing. To deal with some odd things in specific venues, I find the Waves GEQ to be a very helpful plugin. So for me, live mixing with the LV1 and Waves plugins running inside of it is just so useful. I wouldn't want to do a gig without them.
Frontman Tom Smith is famous for having a great vocal dynamic range. What plugins do you use on his voice?
For Tom’s vocals, there's quite a lot going on. I’m using external inserts for his vocal channel, as well as a lot of Waves plugins. He actually has three vocal channels and they individually have on them Vocal Rider and the F6 Dynamic EQ.
The F6 is doing dynamic EQ, side-chained with the drum overheads in order to tame some of the harshness depending on stage position. The visual feedback of the F6’s real-time analyzer is one of the best out there—so useful in a live environment.
I then send these three vocal channels to a vocal auxiliary group where I potentially have another instance of F6, Primary Source Expander, the Sibilance vocal de-esser, the CLA-76 compressor and the Vitamin plugin.
What kind of responses do you get when you take the LV1 out on the road?
The bands I’ve worked with have been very open to the idea of running the show with the LV1. When they look at the system, they see a PC with touch screens running some software—and they’re really open to that. They see that as something very natural and almost obvious, because that’s what they’re used to in the studio; they don’t see why it should be any different live.
The people who are most curious about working with an all-software mixer are those on the technical side—production managers and other sound engineers. The first time I took it out for a festival run, I was at front of house, talking for hours every day about the system because it sparked a lot of interest. At first, I was getting a lot of “How do you run the show on that?” It was something people hadn't seen before. Then every time, by the time the show is over, they appreciate how powerful it is.