Fall Out Boy Tour Profile

Jun 1, 2009 12:00 PM, By Candace Horgan



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Monitor engineer Mike Baehler has seven stereo mixes, one mono mix and four effects coming off the Yamaha PM5D digital console.

Monitor engineer Mike Baehler has seven stereo mixes, one mono mix and four effects coming off the Yamaha PM5D digital console.

“I have enough faders because I have a lot of stuff I have to do, and it's reliable as hell,” Baehler says of the board. “It's not very fast, but that's okay. I've been using it for a long time and it works. It's not huge, like the 1D, but it works.”

The band also made the switch from Ultimate Ears UE7 models to the UE11s, which Baehler says have a tighter bass. “The bass player loves them. Even me, I'm here two feet from the P.A. and I can tell the definition.”

Meanwhile at FOH, Chirnside mixes in stereo, using the Palmers to double up the signal, and runs without any compressors or gates, trying to make the music imitate what the concertgoer sees the performers doing. “When I first started with them, they were just a punk-rock band and their songs were all one level — all the same guitar tone, all the same everything,” he remembers. “For this album, they've added more dynamics to their songs so I had to adjust to them. The only mics I have onstage are the vocals and the drum kit, so I can get a real clear mix out there.”

All the vocal mics are Shure SM58s. The drum mics include an Audix D6 and Shure SM91 on the kick drum, a Shure Beta 98 on the top and a Shure SM57 on the bottom, and Shure SM137s on the hi-hat, overheads and ride. For the toms, Chirnside still prefers the Audio-Technica AE3000.

Up In the Air

This tour is being heard through a proprietary Clair line array; system tech Dave Coyle (who has worked with Chirnside for four years) is managing the system. The tour is carrying an i-3 system comprising 16 cabinets aside; when Mix caught up with the tour in Denver at The Fillmore, they flew eight per side. Rounding out the rig are 12 Clair BT-218 subs and eight Clair FF-2Hs for front-fills.

Powering the array is a new system from Clair. “We have a new amplifier system called a StakRack so we're using Lab.gruppens, and the Lab.gruppens actually have integrated processing in all of them, so we've eliminated Drive Racks; now, we just have one amplifier handling multiple speakers,” Coyle explains. Coyle tunes the system via Clair iO, and Chirnside will make any final adjustments.

“We're carrying enough to do small arenas and sheds, so you come in and find out what can actually fit in the room,” Coyle explains. “We shoot the room, take all the measurements and enter it into the Clair AlignArray program, and it will help me with the numbers I have to display on the cabinets, and from there on out it's using your ears. You see what the room has to offer and how loud you can actually get it before the room starts to fight back. In the morning, I do all the tuning and I hand Kyle what I consider to be a flat EQ for him to start with, and he'll tweak it from there. Since we're running with five bands, I usually tune the system a little bit bright and sort out what they actually need for the day.”

Sync It Up

For the majority of the tour dates, the musicians are getting a full-on band mix in their ears, but with The Fillmore date, they also got a click track to help with some of the video synching, as they were doing an HD video shoot for an iTunes/Live Nation release this year.

For that, Chirnside turned to a Midas DM9696 recorder. “It basically saves everything to WAC files so you can dump it into Pro Tools later or store it as archives,” he says. “Midas was gracious enough to send it out so we could check it out. It did glitch last night and shut down on us, but we were able to get it back up and we got the rest of the set, so hopefully we'll get everything tonight.

“The band always has me do their live stuff, which is cool. Patrick and Pete say, ‘You've been mixing us for five years; why would we want anyone else doing it?’ I mixed their Live in Phoenix CD/DVD last year and I've done most of the TV performances that weren't live. It's pretty fun; it kind of opens up my venue a little bit. I don't have to worry about super-loud kids screaming; I can sit in a studio and mix a show.”

Candace Horgan is a Denver-based writer.

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