Linkin Park Tour Profile

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



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Linkin Park performing at San Jose, Calif.’s HP Pavilion

Linkin Park performing at San Jose, Calif.’s HP Pavilion

Linkin Park's Chester Bennington (left) and Mike Shinoda

Linkin Park's Chester Bennington (left) and Mike Shinoda

Linkin Park is a band that delivers—onstage, in the studio and just a few days post-gig. For the latter, front-of-house engineer Ken “Pooch” Van Druten and programming, playback engineer and keyboard tech Dylan Ely provide a fully mixed and mastered, pro-quality live album within two to three days after each performance. With a purchased ticket, each fan is offered a high-quality download of the live recording; distribution of the download is provided by Basecamp Productions.


Linkin Park Tour Gallery

Linkin Park 2008 Tour

“We have been releasing shows after the fact for about four years now,” Van Druten explains. “Dylan and I have mixed approximately 400 shows at this point. We were given the opportunity to mix a DVD release, Live at Milton Keynes, which was nominated for a Grammy [Best Hard Rock Performance, 2010]. It is one of the most fulfilling duties I have while working with Linkin Park. It is nice to know that any time you hear something that Linkin Park has done live, it is a mix that Dylan and I have done—minus a few things that their recording engineer, Ethan Mates, has done.”

For the live recordings, Van Druten and Ely spend about 24 work-hours per show prior to the release. As the band (Brad Delson, guitar; Chester Bennington, vocals; Joe Hahn, turntablist; Mike Shinoda, vocals; Phoenix, bass; and Rob Bourdon, drums) has mandated that they want “record-quality bootleg” recordings, Van Druten says that most of his and Ely’s time is spent shaping the sound of what is coming offstage with the sound of the actual room and making that work—creating a sonic landscape with the band’s full, rich sound with loud crowd response.

“Basically, there is a template that we have worked on now for about four years,” Van Druten says. “We insert that as a starting point and work from there. Dylan does most of the editing, I do the mixing and then it goes back to Dylan for more editing and mastering.”

For the recordings, Van Druten uses the HD X cards from his Avid D-Show Profile (96-input with five DSP cards) at FOH to record directly to Pro Tools HD at 24-bit/48 kHz (78 inputs total). The day after the gig, the two take the recording and import it into that template, which has inserts, sends and routing already set up. They then time-align the audience mics with the close mics (Audio-Technica models), edit any major mistakes and do some cleanup on tracks that aren’t being used for certain songs. “We then mix the cleanup tracks, treating them as a complete show, with no time in-between songs or cutting out encores,” Ely says. “The idea is to mix the show for the fan just as he or she would have heard it if they were attending the show. During the mix process, notes are made about any mistakes, then they’re addressed and fixed, and then it gets mastered. All songs are matched level- and EQ-wise within that show, as well as being compared and matched with previous shows. We then print as a 24-bit/48k WAV file.” That file is then converted to 320kbps MP3 files and uploaded to the Basecamp site via the company’s proprietary drag-and-drop software. “The whole process for a 90-minute show takes about 16 hours of post-production: a day of editing and a day of mixing,” Ely adds.

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