Pink Martini Tour Profile

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

PACKED STAGE KEEPS ENGINEER ON TOES

Polls


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With numerous years with the band under his belt, Plympton has his miking scheme down pat, but has switched up some of the mics, including a DPA 4081 on cello, “which is great. I’m trying a K&K pickup to isolate and enhance the low end of the piano alongside the trusty DPA 4021s on an ORTF holder; of course, the bass amp blows right into the piano. I’m also using an Audio-Technica AE3000 for electric guitars; AE5400 for timbale, overheads and vocals; and Beyer M88 for bass.

“I’m always trying to keep it [sounding] as natural and organic as possible,” Plympton says of his mix. “Sad, but sometimes the acoustics [in the venue] are so bad, I end up doing damage control.” To counteract the acoustic anomalies, Plympton will use or hang as many soft, good curtains as possible. “I try to lower the stage volume and use less reinforcement, or use a more active mix to bring vocals and instruments out of the muck.”

In addition to that “damage control,” Plympton also “schools” each house monitor engineer with the Pink Martini sound. “I tell the house engineer to sit back and enjoy the show. I will tune and set the vocals in the monitors. Then [backline/stage manager] Will Reischman helps them with any other minor additions or changes. We probably never will have our own monitor engineer. The house monitor guys are great, and Will knows all the changes.

“It is pretty hard to mix it to hear everything all the time, so I just try to spotlight instruments or sections while keeping the strings and vocals clear,” Plympton says of his overall direction in the mix. “Sometimes, they mix themselves well. It really is a challenging show.”

Pink Martini Performing Live in Portland

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