Tour Profile: Keith Urban and Carrie Underwood

Jun 15, 2010 4:33 PM, By Gaby Alter



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At stage-left, Spence is mixing on a Yamaha PM1D dual engine with LMY4-MLF mic/line input cards with 5k preamps, clocked with an Apogee Big Ben. “It's the only reliable console that can handle the inputs and outputs that we're running,” he says.

“All the FX are onboard,” Spence continues. “I do have the [Yamaha] REV-X 'verbs installed in there. I'm running Version 2 on the 1D. There's a really cool 1176 emulator on there that I use on a few inputs; that works quite well. There's a tape-saturation emulator, which is great for putting on kick drums — it emulates slamming analog tape and gives you that punch.”

Sharing the Yamaha PM1D as a surface with Spence is Underwood's monitor engineer, Cam Beachley. “I have my own wireless rack and output cage for the PM1Ds so that we're not having to repatch,” he says. “Jason and I really thought about this, what would be most effective and speedy.

The band uses Future Sonics custom ear buds with MG4 drivers with Sennheiser EW 300 IEM G2 in-ear transmitters and receiver packs. The drummer uses a hardwired Shure PSM 600 pack. “[The Future Sonics] are probably my favorite of all the in-ears, because they don't scoop out the mids,” Spence says. “It's not an armature, it's a real driver. No dual-driver, no triple-driver: it's one driver, 20 kHz.”

“Everybody's wearing Future Sonics right now, and we're using Sennheiser G2 transmitters and receivers,” Beachley adds. “Everybody's in-ears; we've got two subs up on the deck, and the bass player's using a wedge as a faux bass amp.”

In addition to the in-ears, Urban listens to Showco Prism SRM wedges suspended underneath a center-stage grating. “He tends to pull one ear out and switches back and forth,” Spence says. “It started out just as feel, but as he started pulling an ear out to get the crowd, it started becoming more of a full mix in there.”

Spence also uses multiple pairs of mics to pick up the audience: Shure VP88 stereo mics and Shure 91s at FOH, a pair of KSM32s downstage and a second pair facing the back of the arena behind the B stage. “It's an interesting balance to try to achieve in the ears between getting the isolation you need, but then also not so isolated that your mix is just sterile,” he says. “So we use quite a lot of audience mics, and if it's a good-sounding room, often I'll leave the audience mics up in the mix all night long, and then I'll just ride 'em harder or in between songs just to get that crowd reaction.”

Urban's electric guitar rig runs through two Royer 122 ribbon mics and two Sennheiser MD 409s, which go separately through two pairs of Neve 1073 preamps to Universal Audio 1176s, and finally to an Apogee AD-8000 that converts the signal into AES.

Doing FOH duties for co-headliner Carrie Underwood is Rob Rankin, who mixes on a Midas XL4. “Everything is available to me, as opposed to a digital console, where lots of stuff is buried. I'm old school,” he says unapologetically. “It's mostly about her vocal and keeping up the band to support it.” Underwood's vocals go through a Shure SM57, and then to an Empirical Labs DL8 Distressor and an XTA stereo dynamic EQ to help with sibilance.

Beachley adds that there is no need for him to treat Underwood's voice. “Nothing on her vocals, flat EQ,” he confirms. “She's an awesome singer, has great microphone technique. No compression, no nothing. She's the real deal.”

Gaby Alter is a New York City-based writer.


Kick: SM91
Kick: ATM 25
Snare Top: SM57
Snare Bottom: SM57
Hat: AKG 451
Rack: Opus 87
Floor: Opus 87
Ride: KSM-141
O/H Stage Right: VP-88
O/H Stage Left: VP-88
Bass DI: Demeter DI
Synth L: Radial JD-6
Synth R: Radial JD-6
Nord L: Radial JD-6
Nord R: Radial JD-6
Piano L: Radial JD-6
Piano R: Radial JD-6
Recpt L: Radial JD-6
Recpt R: Radial JD-6
Whirly: SM57
Leslie Low:– 421
Leslie High L: SM57
Leslie High R: SM57
Ed Electric guitar Mic L: 421
Ed Electric guitar Mic R: SM57
Ed Acoustic: RF
Carrie Electric guitar: SM57
Carrie acoustic guitar: RF
Spare Vocal: UR2/SM58
Carrie Vocal 1: UR2/SM58
Carrie Vocal 1: UR2/SM58
Carrie Vocal 1: UR2/SM58
Carrie Vocal 1: UR2/SM58
Carrie Vocal 1: UR2/SM58
Carrie Vocal 1: UR2/SM58
Carrie Vocal 1: UR2/SM58
Carrie Vocal 1: UR2/SM58
Fiddle: RF
Mandolin: RF
Jim Acoustic Guitar: RF
Shawn Electric Guitar Mic L: 421
Shawn Electric Guitar Mic R: SM57
Shawn Acoustic Guitar: RF
Steel: SM57
Dobro: RF
Banjo: RF
Pro Tools Pad L: Radial JD-6
Pro Tools Pad R: Radial JD-6
Pro Tools Loop L: Radial JD-6
Pro Tools Loop R: Radial JD-6
Pro Tools Percussion: Radial JD-6
Pro Tools Click: Radial JD-6
Track Vocal: Radial JD-6
Click 2: 1/8-Mini Adapt
Mark Talkback
Jon Talkback
Aud SL
Aud SR
Monitor TB

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