On the Road: Tony Blanc

Oct 1, 2003 12:00 PM


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Recognized for his work with David Bowie and Mick Jagger, Tony Blanc is on the road these days at FOH with Christina Aguilera.

Christina is co-headlining with Justin Timberlake. Does this create double trouble, in terms of logistics?

We work together, although there are time constraints. Given the windows of opportunity available, it's a luxury if we get an hour for soundcheck. My chronic concern is making sure that the P.A.'s tonality is correct. If necessary, I'll take most of my hour and make sure that's right and then just do a line check. Then, we'll let the band go up and do one or two songs. If everyone's happy, they jam a bit, and then it's showtime.

What do you try to bring to this show each night?

The crowd has to understand what Christina is singing, so I focus on making her voice as intelligible as if she were just speaking. The people come out to hear the star. Her vocal needs to be as clear, full and in-your-face as I can make it.

What's your choice for her vocal mic?

She's been a Beta 87A user, but in my opinion, she sounds better on an SM58 because of her tonality. She has a spike in her voice at about 2.5k or so that's useful for volume. The SM58 gives her what she needs naturally, and me, as well.

Is there one guiding principle house engineers should live by?

It's not for us to make music; our job is to report it. We're just layering things so the gain structure is correct and the tonality of the instruments doesn't jump out in any way. Our world is a question of balance. The best engineers I've ever watched at work know their proportions.

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