Plug-Ins Live | The Digital Roadcase

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



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Joel Lonky

Joel Lonky

Do you find that you’re relying more on onboard plug-ins rather than carrying outboard gear?
Yes. However, the one piece of outboard gear that I’ve come to love and rely on is the Dolby Lake Processor. To my ears it is still the best-sounding piece for system EQ and delay, and the interface is very intuitive.

Dickie Chappell

Dickie Chappell

Young: Yes, most definitely. I’m averaging 100-plus shows a year with Tony, and most of the shows are fly dates in the U.S. or international. I can get a Yamaha PM5D everywhere—as I experienced this year in places like Istanbul, Turkey or Taormina, Italy. So being able to carry a Waves card or iLok key to get your plug-ins is very handy.

Chappell: I don’t carry outboard gear. I do wish I were though. But with time and speed as they are, Peter is a stickler for keeping things the same once they are established. He wants the Sonnox sound to be the same, and with the Profile I can bring back everything exactly as it was in the last show—brilliant.

Does the need for a smaller FOH footprint (to sell more seats, for example) come into play when deciding on bringing plug-ins vs. outboard gear?
Not really—possibly in a festival situation where there are lots of desks at FOH and no room.

Young: In some venues, eliminating an outboard rack is definitely a big plus. However, my decision on not specifying an outboard rack is based on the end results. I can achieve everything I need to by using the internal processing with the Yamaha console and plug-ins.

Lonky: No, not really. We play arenas, and the console is so small it doesn’t really matter what I carry. My footprint is still half of what it was.

Do you find that your mix is more about replicating the album and using plug-ins used in the studio?
I do get more requests these days to make it sound like “the album,” but often I have no clue what plug-ins were used in the recording and mixing process. If there is any time for pre-production rehearsals, I’ll take some time to really emulate certain sounds that I like from a record, like a particular distortion effect on drums or vocals, or a specific type of delay. And, obviously, if it’s something particular the artist is looking for, then I’ll work with them until we’re satisfied. I still prefer to make a live show just what it is—live!

Young: Not specifically for Tony Bennett, as the show is not designed around a lot of effects. The Waves plug-ins can enhance the whole experience by providing excellent-sounding reverbs and compression when required.

Lonky: Not at all. Rob wants a very live sound.

Chappell: Peter kind of throws that concept out the window—replicating the records. There is studio work, and there is live work. He’s now been comparing it recently to his film work and theatrical work. The live work is like theater and the studio work is film. The process of each is very different.

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