Disturbed Tour Profile

Apr 1, 2009 12:00 PM, By David John Farinella



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Front-of-house engineer Scott “Skitch” Canady

Front-of-house engineer Scott “Skitch” Canady

Those sidefill boxes give monitor mixer Lightner a unique challenge, especially as the rest of the band is using Sennheiser personal monitors for their mixes. “He doesn't even need the sidefills with how loud he runs his amps, but he just likes it loud,” Lightner reports of Donegan's mix. “There have been times when David [Draiman, lead vocalist] has come over, and said, ‘You gotta turn his guitar amp down,’ but I'm just the monitor guy. Luckily, we're playing large enough venues to where the stage volume doesn't affect the front of house.”

The rest of the band made the transition to personal monitors back when Canady was running that side of things. Most of the mixes Lightner provides, working from a PM5D, are standard. Each gets a bit of everyone, including a click track. “There are a couple of songs where David will start with a vocal piece on 3 and the band will come in on 4,” Lightner explains.

One of Lightner's big changes during this tour was swapping out a Mackie board that drummer Mike Wengren had in his rack with a MOTU mixer. “It had been there for years, and it was distorting,” he says with a smile. “So we got rid of that, but he won't let me send him the kick drum trigger, the samples or the click.” In addition to personal monitors, Wengren has a pair of JBL VP powered subs that are suspended under the drum riser and pointing up at him.

That is a challenge for Lightner as he does not have a good reference for Wengren's kick/snare ratio. “So when I'm cueing up, especially during his drum solo, all I'm hearing are the subs under him for the kick. It's kind of weird for me listening to his mix without a kick drum in there.”

Monitor engineer Rob Lightner

Monitor engineer Rob Lightner

The subs under the riser setup caused a bit of consternation with Draiman, Lightner says, because he has a problem with low end in his monitor mix. “It has to do with his reference between the guitar and his vocals,” Lightner says. “So I EQ his monitors a bit and roll off some of the low end.”

Although Lightner hasn't measured stage volume, there's no doubt it's loud enough to impact the crowd mix. Canady, though, is nonplussed. “I've been in that role as the monitor engineer,” he says. “And everybody is nice and professional, so that if I need something turned down we work with whatever we can to get by.”

One of the ways that Canady and Lightner have worked together is on mic choices, especially for the guitar amp. “We have two Sennheiser 609s, and a [Shure] 57 and 81,” he says. “And because we're using a digital board, we can use the right track to get the guitar to cut through on his ear mix.”

Other than Draiman's 57 or wireless 87c vocal mic, Canady has moved the band into using the Audio-Technica Artist Elite Series. “It's been a benefit for me and I can hear the difference,” he explains.

It also allows him to better represent the band without the use of effects, other than what's called for based on the current release, Indestructible. The band and Canady's philosophies blend in this way: “They don't overdo something in the studio so they don't have to rely on it as a crutch,” he says. “There are no vocals or guitars [played in the background during the live set]. The things we play are electronic noises and hand claps.

“It comes down to this,” Canady continues. “If I went to see a show and felt I was cheated with all sorts of enhancements, then I would be highly upset. Even as an engineer, if I feel that something is too drastic or over-exaggerated, then I get upset. If it's obvious to me, then it's probably obvious to others and I would hate to cheat somebody who came to see this band because they love them. I have to say, though, this is a strong band with talent, and that's a benefit to any engineer.”

David John Farinella is based in San Francisco.

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