Maroon 5 Tour Profile

Dec 1, 2010 9:00 AM, By Sarah Benzuly



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The last time Mix caught up with Maroon 5 was last year when they co-headlined with the Counting Crows. Since then, there’s been a bit of a change: They’ve trashed the backing tracks, added a new keyboard player (PJ Morton), brought on a new monitor engineer and released their latest, Hands All Over.

“All the backing vocals are gone; they’re singing live and they’re playing very live,” says front-of-house engineer Jim Ebdon, who held the FOH position during the co-headlining tour, then headed off to mix for Aerosmith and is back with Maroon 5. “I didn’t know what to make of that because, for me, Maroon 5 was that really tight studio, Pro Tools-y track band. But now the band has evolved and become more of a live act, with more dynamics in the performance, and I’m really enjoying the mix. And the more they’re playing, the better it seems to be working. I’m really pleased with the way things have turned out. The two keyboard players [Jesse Carmichael and Morton] can manage pretty much most of the keyboard parts and sounds. Matt Flynn, the drummer, plays to a click track, of which he is in total control. There are a couple of songs on the new album that have loops, so he’ll play along to those, but all the backing vocals are gone; they’re playing very live.”

Monitor engineer Steve Walsh, who started with the band in March, agrees: “It’s much more of a band mix now. Back in March, when they were finishing the record [and playing one-offs and corporate gigs], they were trying to remember their parts; now, they’re playing together. I just try to help out with the solos and when certain keyboard parts drive certain songs—just make sure that everybody is hearing what they need to hear and paying attention.” Walsh mixes on a Yamaha PM5D, a board that has been a staple on past Maroon 5 tours; he previously used the 5D on the 2009 Blink-182 tour.

Front-of-house engineer Jim Ebdon at the DiGiCo SD7

Front-of-house engineer Jim Ebdon at the DiGiCo SD7

Ebdon mixes on a DiGiCo SD7, a board he’s used exclusively for the past two years. He says he was a D5 user literally from day one, “and that was my digital board of choice. They made the SD7, and it was the obvious choice to upgrade. It’s an amazing console; I can’t say enough good things about it. I like the sound of it and I get good results with it—well, I think I get good results with it. [Laughs]”

Ebdon is taking advantage of the plethora of onboard effects, using just a few pieces: TC Electronic 4000 reverbs (one on drums, one on vocals; both MIDI-controlled to the console), an SSL stereo bus compressor on drums, a de-esser on vocalist Adam Levine’s voice and a dbx 160x on Mickey Madden’s bass. “The rest is all within the console. I also use a Crane Song HEDD 192 on the master output. With all this digital gear, fantastic-sounding P.A.s and processing, it becomes difficult to listen to, I think. I get ear fatigue quickly so I’ve been using the HEDD since working on digital consoles—just to sweeten and take the edge off the mix and a break from the digital sound.”

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