All Access: Evanescence

Apr 1, 2004 12:00 PM, By Steve Jennings

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Evanescence is one of the hottest new bands to come out in a long time, especially with Grammy Awards for Best New Artist and Best Hard Rock Performance. After seeing the show at San Jose's Event Center in Northern California, we left impressed by both singer Amy Lee's extensive vocal range and the prospect that this band has a long career ahead of them. Mix spoke with the band's front-of-house and monitor engineers about the tour.

Front-of-house Engineer Eddie “Muscles” Mapp works on a Midas XL4 with Clair's i4 line array (10 i4s and eight Prism subs per side). “Clair's iO system helps keep everything consistent from venue to venue,” Mapp says. “The i4s can be a little harsh up top, but with the iOs in-line, it's never been a problem.

“We've been using several of Audio-Technica's new Artist Elite Series mics, including the AE2500 dual-diaphragm kick mic and the 5000 Series wireless with the 5400 mic. We tried a few combinations of mics throughout this tour and I've found the 2500 seems to give the biggest impact. It's shock-mounted internally just off the batter head, and brings out everything that's been missing from the kick without the use of separate microphones.

“Evanescence is primarily an in-ear band,” Monitor engineer Joshua Swart reports. “The recent addition of Terry Balsemo to the band brought the element of stage volume back since he's a wedge guy. Thanks to the advice of [Saliva monitor engineer] Kevin Goode, I now use downward expanders on several instruments to keep them out of the way until it's their turn to be heard. I love the downward expander for vocals, so whenever Amy's not right on the mic, guitars and drums will stay where they belong in her ears without just bleeding through her mic and mudding up her mix. It also works great for wedges and fills, so when she's jumping around and the mic is swinging around, I don't have to worry about feedback because her mic level has jumped down 6 to 10 dB. Expanders work great on overheads, rides and hi-hats. You won't see me going back out without a rack of dbx 166XLs or dbx 1066s.

“I also use Shure's DFR 22 for her vocal. I split her vocal for ears and wedges. On the signal going to the wedge, I insert the DFR.

“I use a Midas H3000 and it is the best-sounding analog console out there. The mic pre's and EQs make everyone's job easier. The H3000's routing leaves it flexible to do both ears and wedges simultaneously, and keeps my ear mixes away from my cue wedges, and vice versa. I love the Shure PSM 600 wireless transmitters and receivers. Although there are some frequency limitations, they just sound amazing and stereo separation is great.

“I use a Pro Tools|HD3 system to run all of our loops, strings, choir, background vocals and other little noises that we have going on. We actually took the original tracks and orchestra tracks and mixed them down for use with the live shows.”

“Keeping Amy Lee's vocal out front is definitely important,” says Mapp. With her vocal ranging from a faint whisper to soaring falsettos, Josh and I always pay careful attention to mic rejection. Since we began using the A-T 5400, we've noticed a drastic improvement: The vocals are much smoother and other problems (such as cymbal bleed) are nearly nonexistent. The use of the 5400 along with the i4 has allowed me to reduce my signal path out front to a BSS 901-II and a dbx 160SL. I use the 901 to help with intelligibility in her lower midrange during softer sections due to proximity effect and the 160SL to ensure that she stays on top of the mix throughout the night. Combined, it's a pretty efficient package, but still carries enough weight to let everyone know that we were here.”






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