Clair Global Carries DiGiCo SD10s On Meghan Trainor's North American Tour
NASHVILLE, Tennessee - September 2016 - Two years ago, a catchy little pop ditty titled “All About That Bass” hit the Internet and radio waves. Although some might have assumed a quick, one-hit-wonder-fueled-by-YouTube ride for writer and singer Meghan Trainor, the video for that song has amassed a staggering 1.6 billion YouTube views and Trainor is now one of the most successful—and influential—women in the music business with six top 15 Billboard Hot 100 hits and a 2016 Grammy Award for Best New Artist. Monitor mix engineer Tony Luna has been with her since her first tour in 2015, and with the recent addition of FOH engineer Mike Fanuele, the two are both riding faders on a pair of DiGiCo SD10 desks.
“I was on a different platform before this tour,” Fanuele reports. “But from day one, Tony started to sell me on the advantages of the SD10, which he was already using. I had one question: could I put anything anywhere I wanted to? He assured me I could and I’ve been really happy with it.”
Pulling on a background that started in the recording studio, Fanuele approaches a mix in a way that might confound some live engineers with most outputs feeding more than one group. “Drums are a good example,” he says. “For instance, the snare and kick each have two mics. But those mics feed a snare group and a kick group, and the actual inputs do not live on the top layer of the SD10. And each of those groups becomes part of a larger drum group.” This approach allows him the flexibility to make minute adjustments to each input, but still grab one fader for snare or kick or even the entire drum mix on the fly. It’s a good illustration of his need to be able to “put anything anywhere.”
Even approaching the desk as a new platform did not put Fanuele behind and he reports a very little learning curve. “I was out last year with a different desk that had a very high learning curve,” he says. “But having Tony and Nathan McBee from Clair to give me a quick overview, within two hours I had a solid 54-input mix that looked pretty much like it does today.”
Both engineers are using the SD10s paired with a Waves Extreme server and Mercury bundle package. Luna also uses a MacBook Pro running Waves Tracks for virtual playback. The 54 inputs (full band with a horn section) go through Dolby processing, Lab.gruppen amps and Clair’s i3 rig.
Even with that full Waves package, neither engineer is using a lot of plug-ins. For example, Fanuele uses a lot of compressor channels, but most of it is DiGiCo’s onboard processing. “The drums are actually more layered than that,” he describes. “There is a snare group that is treated with just EQ and maybe 2dB of compression. Then the same two mics feed a ‘snare compressed’ group, and the sum of those two groups feeds an overall snare control group. But I’m only using plug-ins—in terms of inputs—on Meghan’s vocal. Everything else—all EQ and compression on inputs—is on the SD10.”
Luna, whose diverse client list includes everyone from Justin Bieber and Alicia Keyes to Five Finger Death Punch and Aerosmith, takes a more straightforward approach. “I’m not even pushing faders,” he notes. “My SD10 is so dialed in that I use two things: the Next button and the fader for the crowd mics. I hit the Next button per scene, rail the crowd mics, Meghan smiles and I know we’re good.”
“I started mixing on DiGiCo consoles in 2006 and never touched a plug-in until 2013,” Luna adds. “I love some of the Waves stuff, but if that server goes down, there is nothing on it that is a show-stopper or that is going to get me fired. It’s all on the console.”
And neither engineer sees this as a short ride. “When you see Meghan perform, you immediately realize that she’s the real deal,” says Fanuele. Luna concurs: “I started in February of last year and knew right away that she was going to be huge. Her range and writing—plus she's just a really cool person. I love the artist and tools we get to use—a big shoutout to Clair Global who has been with us from the beginning. It’s a great gig.”
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1) DiGiCo_Meghan_Trainor_1.jpg – Tony Luna (left), Mike Fanuele and Meghan Trainor at the tour’s DiGiCo SD10 monitor console
2) DiGiCo_Meghan_Trainor_2.jpg – (Left to right) Monitor engineer Tony Luna, monitor tech Nathan McBee, crew chief/systems engineer Markus Meyer and FOH engineer Mike Fanuele at the tour’s DiGiCo SD10 FOH console
I was on a different platform before this tour. But from day one, Tony started to sell me on the advantages of the SD10, which he was already using. I had one question - could I put anything anywhere I wanted to? He assured me I could and I have been really happy with it.
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