Waves SoundGrid Powers Twenty One Pilots’ Bandito Tour

The Bandito Tour is taking Twenty One Pilots to arenas around the world in support of their fifth album Trench. We caught up with FOH engineer Shane Bardiau to find out how Waves plugins power the popular duo’s live sound.

Waves SoundGrid Powers Twenty One Pilots’ Bandito Tour

From New York’s Madison Square Garden and the Forum in LA, through Australia and Europe and back to the US, Twenty One Pilots’ Bandito tour will see the Grammy-winning platinum act busy on stages around the world for the better part of 2018 and 2019.

The man behind the sound of the duo’s worldwide live trek is front-of-house Shaun Bardiau. “On this tour I’m running a DiGiCo SD5 at FOH,” Shaun says, “with Waves SoundGrid plugins accessible through the Waves MultiRack plugin host software. I have a Waves SoundGrid Extreme Server for processing the plugins, and two DiGiGrid MGB MADI-to-SoundGrid audio interfaces which allow me to track all my inputs at 96k; this enables me to use virtual soundcheck with a MacBook running Waves Tracks Live recording software.”

“This setup has been quite a game changer for me. I’ve got a vertical touch screen running my MultiRack, so I can easily access Waves plugins from my DiGiCo console. I like to think of it as a digital rack full of all the best existing compressors and channel strips, both classic and modern. Having access to these plugins in a live environment has taken my live mixes to the next level. The console alone is great, but when you add the whole Waves universe, you can expand your sound in so many different ways and really get creative with the mix. So much fun!”

Though Twenty One Pilots is a duo, Shane needs to handle a large input count: “Even though it’s only two guys on stage, we’re still at 78 inputs. The Extreme Server has enough power to run 28 rack spaces and all 33 of my plugins simultaneously, while staying under 70% capacity. This gives me confidence that I will not experience any issues during our show – something I absolutely need in a live environment.”

Regarding his go-to plugins, Bardiau comments: “Hands down, my must-have is the Waves C6 Multiband Compressor. I use this plugin on a lot of different inputs, but having it on my master bus in particular has been a huge advantage. Currently, I’ve got my vocal group side-chained to the middle band at around 1k, so that when [vocalist] Tyler Joseph sings, it punches a little hole out of the mix for his vocals to sit right on top, no matter how loud the mix is.”

“I am also really liking the sound of the Waves SSL 4000 plugins. I’ve currently got the SSL G-Master Buss Compressor on all my busses. Having it crush with quick responses on the parallel drum bus gives my drums a huge sucking sound, which makes them massive. I’m also extremely impressed with the Waves H-Reverb plugin. I’ve listened to a lot of different reverb plugins, as well as on-board ‘verbs, and nothing compares when it comes to this Waves reverbs.”

“And of course there’s MaxxVolume, which has done wonders getting my vocal to pop – not to mention its gate, which is so good for a vocal, so sensitive and accurate.”

“Thanks to these plugins, my mix has more dimensions than ever before,” Shaun sums up, “and it creates more space for me to work with. Vocals pop out and instruments are spread wider than I ever thought possible in a stereo setup. It makes my job easier and lets me be more creative, so I can focus on providing an unforgettable sonic experience.”

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