Pink Martini Tour Profile

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

PACKED STAGE KEEPS ENGINEER ON TOES

Polls


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Front-of-house engineer Pete Plympton at the Yamaha PM5D console, supplied by Sound on Stage

Front-of-house engineer Pete Plympton at the Yamaha PM5D console, supplied by Sound on Stage

Mixing for a 12-piece band can be challenging in itself—especially one that smoothly transitions from Cuban jazz to classical chamber music—but when Pink Martini throws in a full symphony orchestra, front-of-house engineer Pete Plympton’s board becomes quite full. Fortunately, Plympton isn’t about to break a sweat, having been one of the studio engineers on the band’s first album back in 1997 and having done their live sound ever since. Mix caught up with the crew at a July performance at San Francisco Davies Symphony Hall with the San Francisco Symphony.

The tour is not carrying full production; at the S.F. show, local sound company Sound on Stage augmented what was installed at the venue, including a Yamaha PM5D board. Keeping FOH ground control at a slimmed-down size, Plympton uses all onboard effects; when working on an Avid Profile, he employs Waves PS-22 on guitars, McDSP 2000 on brass and vocals, TC Electronic VSS3 reverb and a Tube-Tech compressor on the “unruly things,” he says. “I do love the sound and looks of a Midas XL4, but I would be thrilled to never use analog again.”

The house P.A. is L-Acoustics, with six V-DOSCs on top of a dV-DOSC sub on stage-left and -right. There are also two Sound on Stage MS28 front-fills, a house center cluster of three MSL3s with three UPS underhangs and, eight Meyer UPM2 to cover the second balcony. The last zone is a pair of Meyer MSL2s to cover rear-fill. “Like most symphony halls,” Plympton says, “there are lots of zones, so I just walk around, listen and talk to the house guy [Hal Soogin at the S.F. show] and then voice the system. Nothing fancy; there is never enough time. My preference of a P.A. is firstly, a good systems engineer—very important. After that, I like d&b and Meyer; I think I have used everything else and they all seem to be good.”






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