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10 Tech Tips from Touring Pros

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10 Tech Tips from Touring Pros


Photo: Like many guitarists and techs, Buddy Guy doesn't leave mic'ing up to chance, marking the cabs with electrical tape.

Francis: ZZ keeps a low stage volume and Billy plays through two isolation cabs offstage—one with a Heil PR 30 at the edge straight on, the other with Heil PR 40 in the same position. Billy is old school, no in-ear monitors and just two small wedges on each downstage edge—he knows every day is going to be different and thinks that's what rock and roll is all about.

Termini: I leave the selecting of mics and their positioning to the sound engineers. However, I do work with them to try and figure out how to get my rig to sit well in the mix. It can sound great onstage, but won’t translate well out front. I will also ask how my levels are and if there any frequencies jumping out at them hard and are my patches balanced. With Mastodon we run a lot of cabinets, and it can get pretty huge. In some of the smaller places we cut down on cabs or move them around to not cream the sound guy with guitars.

Farmer: I don’t do a lot with the mics or mic’ing before shows, but one thing I see and appreciate from our FOH engineers and staff is that they don’t EQ the amp to the room really, but instead they just use various mics and move them closer or farther from the cone depending on the tone or brightness of the sound coming through. It’s definitely the hard way to do things instead of mic’ing it on the cone and turning down the Presence or Bass a little, but it really shows in the end product because Warren’s tone is so identifiable and we have things pretty dialed in.

Appleton: I haven’t used a mic in five years. Palmer Speaker Simulators have been the go-to audio connections for the artists I have been working with recently (PDI-03s and PDI-05s). But when I have to, it’s always a combination of the old trusty [Shure] SM57s and, if you have the isolation, Royer 121s.

Buffa: We used to run everything in the front of the stage—two 2x12 extension cabs, one for each amp, but now we run the cabs facing the back of the stage and the Divided by 13 is mic’d with a 57 and the Matchless Independence 35 is mic’d with a Royer R-121 and is controlled by the sound engineer and FOH. Tonally, it clears out a lot of the stage volume so the in-ear monitors can effectively work better for the guys when the show is happening.

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