All Access: Jeff Beck and Imelda May Band

Jun 1, 2011 9:00 AM, Photos and Text By Steve Jennings

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Jeff Beck and Imelda May

Jeff Beck and Imelda May

Under the “Rock ’n’ Roll Party” concert line, legendary guitarist Jeff Beck and the Imelda May Band performed “How High the Moon” at the 2010 Grammy Awards, as well as at a tribute for Les Paul in New York City. Mix met up with the Schubert Systems–provided tour at their final stop at San Francisco’s Fillmore Auditorium.

Front-of-house engineer/recording engineer Ben Findlay

Front-of-house engineer/recording engineer Ben Findlay

Front-of-house engineer and recording engineer Ben Findlay mixes on an Avid Profile console. In the studio, he uses a Sony Oxford digital board and wanted to use the same EQ and dynamics algorithms for the live shows. “This naturally led to us using the [Avid] console, as they had implemented the use of TDM plug-ins in the [Avid VENUE] D-Show system and we were able to use what were then known as Sony Oxford [now Sonnox] plug-ins to process the shows,” Findlay says. “Around two years later, I was supplied with a Profile control surface, and found it a much easier environment to operate in. I am a fan of having a lot of faders at hand. It makes mixing more like playing an instrument. It’s a system that works very well for Jeff and Imelda’s show.”

As far as effects, Findlay employs onboard processing for drums, horns, keys and guest guitarists. Drums also take Avid Smack followed by Sonnox Inflator. A Bomb Factory LA-2 emulator and a Sonnox EQ are used on all vocals except for May, who has a Sonnox EQ, a McDSP MC2000 compressor and then a Sonnox Inflator on her pipes. Beck’s guitar takes a Sonnox EQ that is usually bypassed and a McDSP MC2000. “In some venues and through some P.A. systems, the guitar can become a little shrill, so I use it for containing that, but most of the time that is bypassed, too,” Findlay says.

To tune the house P.A., Findlay’s tablet is an iPad running VNC linked to the Avid Profile via Airport Express. “When I get to the venue, I ask the system tech to give me as many zones as they can,” Findlay says. “All my matrix outputs have Sonnox GML EQs across them. I tune the main hang from FOH, then I walk in front of the stage and blend the front-fills and any out-fills with the main hang. Then I will go upstairs and listen and, if possible, tune the balcony hang. The great thing about using the iPad is that you can react in real time to what you are hearing.”

Monitor engineer Shon Hartman

Monitor engineer Shon Hartman

Monitor engineer Shon Hartman mans a Midas Pro 6 with a Klark Teknik DN9331 Helix Rapide graphic controller. Onboard, he’s employing a KT DN780 digital reverb—no outboard gear for this run.

Beck’s wedges are Marshall and a d&b Audiotechnik M2 (below, right). He’s driving the Marshalls with a separate Marshall head. “It really helps on this run to provide Jeff with a low-profile direct source of his guitar without drowning out Imelda’s vocal onstage,” Hartman says. His footpedal gear comprises two B.I.S. Boxes, a Strymon BlueSky reverberator effects pedal, Strymon Brigadier dBucket delay pedal, H&K Rotosphere and a Snarling Dogs Addicted to Wah footpedal.

May has two d&b Audiotechnik M4 monitors. Hartman uses two L-Acoustics ARCs and a dV sub per side for sidefills and two ARCs as a mono-fill mix for May on the downstage edge, firing directly at her to give just a little more coverage as it competes with the volume of Beck’s guitar.

Drum/bass tech Andy McLaughlin (inset) says of Steve Rushton’s kit miking: Shure Beta 52 (kick drum) and SM57 (snare bottom); and Audix i5 (snare top), ADX 51s (hi-hat, ride), SCX 25As (overheads) and D4s (toms). He sings through Audix OM7s.

Guitarist Darrel Higham uses two Peavey Delta Blues amps miked with an Audix i5. He uses a Danelectro Reel Echo footpedal. He sings through an Audix OM7.

The horn section is, from left, Dave Priseman (trumpet miked with an Audix OM7), John Scarpulla (saxophone, Shure Beta 52A) and Chris Karlick (baritone sax, Electro-Voice RE20).

May sings through a Beyerdynamic M88. “When she opens up her voice,” Findlay says, “she has a lot of energy between 1.5 and 3 kHz, and this mic helps to subdue that.”

Bassist Al Gare (upright and electric) uses an Ampeg SVT-4 Pro and two Ampeg Classic amps. 






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