Coachella 2011

Jun 1, 2011 9:00 AM, By Sarah Benzuly



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While Neuberger and crew were busy creating the audio and video mixes for the stream, those fans at the show were treated to a great-sounding set from Duran Duran, courtesy front-of-house engineer Snake Newton.

Eighth Day Sound supplied the Avid Profile for the festival. Newton had five DSP HDXs with his HD3 system; outboard gear included two TC Electronic dB Max units—one of the mix and one on the lead vocal. Newton mostly relied on onboard effects, including Waves Live, and plug-ins from Sonnox, Crane Song and TC Electronic.

While Snake didn’t have an opportunity to soundcheck with the band, he was already familiar with the festival’s L-Acoustics K1 system. “I’ve had many months of experience mixing on it, mostly in arenas but some outdoor [events],” he says. “It is my favorite large-scale system. The K1 is very ‘true,’ so I wasn’t worried in the slightest [about not having soundcheck].”

Newton miked vocalists with a Shure Beta 58, while a smattering of Sennheiser, AKG and Audio-Technica models dotted the rest of the instruments onstage. “I like to choose the mic for the job and not be limited by an endorsement,” Newton says.

When asked if he has a different mixing style for the band when they hit the festival stage as opposed to their arena run, he replies, “Duran Duran’s sound varies so much from song to song and era to era that everything is programmed to change from song to song. I have over 60 songs programmed into the console. The only things untouched by the automation is the kick and bass guitar and the lead vocal; everything else is in the snapshot. It doesn’t really change in a festival situation.

“Coachella was fun for me,” he continues. “It was an important gig for the band as they wanted to prove that they are a force still to be reckoned with musically. Their new album [All You Need Is Now] stands up really well, even in this day and age. Both band and crew really enjoyed the experience.”

Rawlings manned a Midas XL8 board during Coachella, saying that he keeps the board as analog as possible. “Only my effects and mutes are automated, and the occasional pan. All the effects are in the console, hence the automation of delay and reverb times.”

Rawlings was able to do a line check and soundcheck at the festival, and his previous knowledge of the L-Acoustics K1 array helped in those hurried times. “My style of mixing the Kings is simple,” he says. “It’s a rock band: Everything even with the vocal top. I crank the solos. The festival is kind of a freebie because there’s no walls or ceilings to reflect the sound, which makes my job a little easier.”

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