Brandi Carlile

Sep 1, 2012 9:00 AM, Mix, By Candace Horgan



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Engineer Alex Gardner

Engineer Alex Gardner

Gardner employs mostly Sennheiser mics and Radial active DIs. Fiddle player Jeb Bows uses an L.R. Baggs DI on his mandolin and an A.R.T. tube DI on his violin. Carlile has four DI lines for her different guitars, and uses a switcher to go back and forth. Tim Hanseroth also sometimes plays acoustic guitar, and Phil Hanseroth at times uses an acoustic bass. Despite the preponderance of acoustic instruments, Gardner has no issues with stage volume and integrating the electric instruments with the acoustics.

For vocal mics, Carlile uses a pair of Neumann KMS 105s, one at center stage and one at the piano. The Hanseroth twins use Sennheiser e865s to sing harmonies. On the kick, Gardner uses a Sennheiser e902, while the snare top and bottom are miked with Sennheiser e905s. For the hi-hat and overheads, he uses Sennheiser e614s, the rack and floor are Sennheiser e604s, and he has an e905 on a trash can lid. The guitar amps get Sennheiser e906s, and the bass mic is a Sennheiser e602.

At Red Rocks, Dowlen Sound provided an Outline GTO line array with 12 cabinets per side, plus one downfill and nine subs per side on the ground. All amps were Powersoft; GTO monitor wedges lined the stage.

“It’s the same P.A. that Bassnectar got noise complaints with in Morrison, minus a few subs, so I figure we are okay,” he laughs. “I came in and tuned it, but they hung it. We boosted the tops a little bit to get the throw to the top of the venue without killing the people down low, but as far as tuning everywhere, I just ring it out with Brandi’s vocal. If I can get that sounding good, I can get everything else sounding good, so that’s kind of the focal point.”

Often, a house engineer will handle monitors, but sometimes Gardner will handle monitor mixes himself. “Fortunately, Brandi is really easy on the monitors, so we don’t need a monitor guy,” comments Gardner, somewhat ruefully. “Basically, I’ll just get everything set with the vocal mics and our guitar tech will run through all the instruments, and I’ll catch it out front while they get basic levels set onstage.”

Most of Carlile’s backing band uses wedges, though Bows and cello player Josh Neumann are using in-ears. Gardner says he doesn’t think Carlile will ever use in-ears, as she likes to feel connected to the audience and hear the crowd. The monitor mixes are fairly simple, according to Gardner.

“Brandi gets a little vocal and acoustic in there, but very little,” Gardner explains. “I think she’s been mixing in some other stuff lately, like a little cello sometimes and maybe a little fiddle, and Tim’s acoustic.”

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