All Access: Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band

Jan 1, 2008 12:00 PM, Photos and text by Steve Jennings

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Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band are touring following the release of Magic, their first studio album in five years. The album hit stores on October 2, the same day that the North American leg of the tour kicked off in Connecticut. Mix caught one of the sold-out concerts a couple of weeks later, at Oakland, Calif.'s Oracle Arena. [Eds. note: At press time, it was announced that Danny Federici is taking a leave of absence from the tour to pursue treatment for melanoma. Charles Giordano, who played with Springsteen as a member of the Sessions Band, will temporarily fill in for Federici until he is able to return.]

Front-of-house engineer John Cooper, who has been mixing Bruce Springsteen since the end of 2001, is manning a Digidesign 96-input Profile with a 128-track Pro Tools HD recording rig. Choice plug-ins for Cooper include BF-2As, BF-76s, Drawmer Tour Bus gates, McDSP multiband comps, Crane Song's Phoenix, TC Electronic D-Verb and Line 6 delay. Cooper also uses Neve outboard pre's for FOH audience mics

Springsteen's longtime sound company is Audio Analysts; Cooper's relationship with this company dates back to 1996 when he was mixing for Wynonna Judd. This tour's P.A. comprises 64 JBL 4889s for main and sides; 32 4880 subs, 48 4887s for the rear (four groups of 12), eight 4887s for front-fills and four 4880 subs on the floor. “I'm a bit old-school, so I do a lot of tuning with the primary vocal mic,” Cooper says. “Then with the Digidesign Profile and Pro Tools, I will roll the show back from previous days for additional tuning.”

Situated at stage left, monitor engineer Monty Carlo is manning a Yamaha PM1D set up with 128 inputs and 64 outs, taking about 80 inputs from the stage and sending out 30 mixes from the desk. “They include wedges and in-ear mixes for the musicians and backline techs,” Carlo explains. “My approach is to keep things fairly simple; I'm using only the internal effects and dynamics of the PM1D.”

In addition to mixing for Springsteen, Van Zandt, Scialfa, Bittan, Federici and Soozie Tyrell, Carlo also manages mixes that are fed to some backline techs and the teleprompter operators. “Most of my mixes are wedges,” Carlo says. “Roy and Danny are my only musicians using ear monitors, Westone ES-2s.”

Over at stage right is monitor engineer Troy Milner, who mixes for Tallent, Clemons, Lofgren and Weinberg; all of these musicians are on ears except Lofgren, who has three wedges hanging under the stage. “My console is a Yamaha PM1D, set up for 128 inputs and 64 outputs,” Milner says. “I'm using around 80 inputs from the stage, but with all the effects returns I'm running around 94 inputs on the console.” Milner relies on Midas XL-42s for drum input preamps, onboard effects, two TC Electronic M2000s and a Lexicon 480L. Effects on Weinberg include Empirical Labs Fatso Jr., “strapped across his hardwire ear mix to fatten it up a touch since he likes a big, warm mix,” Milner says. “Also, I have two double 18-inch subs behind Max to move some air and feel the kick drum. All wireless ears are Sennheiser G2s.”

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