The Decemberists Tour Profile

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



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Out in support of their sixth studio release, The King Is Dead, folk/pop artists The Decemberists made a pit stop at the annual Outside Lands festival, San Francisco, playing to sold-out crowds near the end of the last day. For the festival date, the crew—including front-of-house engineer Rich Hipp and monitor engineer Marcel Cacdac—brought in all their normal touring gear except for the Meyer speaker system, which was provided by UltraSound. For the rest of their recently wrapped 2011 tour, Portland, Ore.–based Horne Audio provided all equipment.

Both engineers are quick to say that the approach to their respective mixes doesn’t change that much for a festival situation. Cacdac says, “We’ve been lucky in that we are able to use our production at festivals: consoles and local racks, splitter, snake, power distro, mics, stands, cables, et cetera. This has given me the luxury of a consistent mix and confidence without needing a soundcheck. I usually recall a show file from a previous festival or similar-type outdoor venue, and away we go!”

Front-of-house engineer Rich Hipp

Front-of-house engineer Rich Hipp

It also helps that both engineers are working on compact setups: Avid VENUE Profiles at both stations, with no outboard gear. Some of Hipp’s go-to plug-ins include Echo Farm, TC Electronic VSS3 and ReVibe for ambience; and Purple Audio MC77, Impact, Focusrite d2 and d3, and Serato Rane Series for dynamics and EQ. Cacdac uses many of those same plug-ins, adding in Fairchild 660s for Jenny Conlee (accordion), Nate Query (upright bass) and vocalist Colin Meloy’s overall in-ear mix; a mono Fairchild 660 on John Moen’s snare top; and a few onboard gates/expanders for Leslie cabinet, glockenspiel and guitarist Chris Funk and Conlee’s vocals, “to reduce bleed as well as channel comps for various acoustic instruments,” Cacdac says.

In addition, Hipp’s VENUE system has an HDx card connected to a Macbook Pro with an HD Native card running Pro Tools|HD9 for multitrack archive and virtual soundcheck. “I can use the live tracks from the night before to check my workflow from input to output. It’s an amazing tool.”

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