All Access: Taking Back Sunday
Photos and Text by Steve Jennings
Sep 1, 2006 12:00 PM
Coming off the success of their debut album, Where You Want to Be, Taking Back Sunday's latest endeavor, Louder Now, exudes the melodic, hardcore sensibility that the band takes to the stage. “Unbottling the lightning onstage” is a stellar crew that includes front-of-house engineer Eddie Mapp, monitor engineer Rob Smuder and drum/guitar tech Jeff Pereira. Mix caught up with the tour in late July at San Jose State University's Event Center Arena in San Jose, Calif.
The tour is carrying a Showco P.A., comprising 20 Prism cabinets and 12 subs per side, along with four front-fills. According to front-of-house engineer Eddie Mapp, “We went with this setup to allow more flexibility since flying a P.A. isn't always an option. During setup, I use SIA Smaart for alignment of front-fills to the main hang and then everything to the backline. This gives us greater coherency, which helps in the ‘musically unfriendly’ spaces we often visit.” For show time, Mapp switches between spectrograph (for softer sections) to spot feedback and then transfer function so that he can ensure that what he's hearing in the room is relevant to what's coming out of the Digidesign VENUE desk. “Normally I use the phase trace for sub alignment,” he says, “but due to some interesting internal processing, we're forced to go ‘old school’ and rely on our ears.”
For the board, Mapp is using 48 inputs and 24 outputs. “I had Clair I/Os sent out with AES inputs to minimize conversions — A/D into the stage rack and D/A out to the amps. All the processing lives onstage and is controlled wirelessly out front, along with the VENUE. This is the first time I've actually spec'd a digital desk for more than a few dates, and it's really been incredible. From the plug-ins to the Pro Tools recording and playback, this has really been a fun experience.”
Along with the installed plug-in bundle, Mapp is relying on a few of his own: Eventide Anthology II (reverbs, pitch-shifting), SansAmp (bass), McDSP MC2000 (multiband compression on vocals) and an EMI Abbey Road limiter (bass and overheads). He is also using a Crane Song Phoenix, which he employs on all drum channels. “It really helps to bring everything upfront,” Mapp says. “You can soften up instruments by using it lightly or really get things going by cranking it up.
“This has been a fun tour,” Mapp continues. “We've pretty much covered everything from 5,000 to 15,000-seat venues, and everything has held up pretty well. Being a summer tour, as long as the FOH cooler is stocked and fan power is on, we're ready to go.”
The Digidesign VENUE monitor screen on the left switches between Pro Tools for recording and playback, and SIA Smaart, while the other monitor on the right runs the D-Show software.
Monitor engineer Rob Smuder is using the first 24 inputs on his Midas H3000 for Taking Back Sunday, with the rest of the board being shared by the opening acts. “I use eight stereo outputs for the four bandmembers on ears, three mono in-ear tech mixes and a mix for stage-left guitar player Eddie Reyes, who monitors off of three Showco SRM wedges,” Smuder says, “and a mix for drummer Mark O'Connell's butt thumper.”
Lead singer Adam Lazzara, stage-right guitarist Fred Mascherino and bassist Matt Rubano are on Ultimate Ears UE10s; O'Connell uses Ultimate Ears UE7As.
As for outboard processing/effects, Smuder carries a dbx 160SL (vocals) and Lexicon 300 (Lazzara), a handful of Aphex 612 noise gates and a Klark Teknik DN3600 graphic EQ for Reyes' wedges.
Drum/guitar tech Jeff Pereira at his main rack: a new BadCat Lynx 50 head, a Mesa Boogie Dual Rectifier, two Sennheiser 172 Series wireless units, a multi-selector to make guitar changes between units and a Furman power supply.
According to Pereira, the drums are miked with Audio-Technica AE2500 (kick), ATM23 and AT4051 (snare), ATM35s (hi-hat and toms) and AT825 (overhead).
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