Live Sound

All Access: Mutemath

Mutemath, touring behind their latest release, Odd Soul, played San Francisco’s Regency Ballroom, a neoclassical former dance hall that was built in 1909. 3/01/2012 4:00 AM Eastern

Mutemath lead singer/keyboardist Paul Meany

Mutemath, touring behind their latest release, Odd Soul, played San Francisco’s Regency Ballroom, a neoclassical former dance hall that was built in 1909.

Scott Cannon, Mutemath’s front-of-house engineer, is currently mixing on an Avid D-Show Profile. He also brings along a Pro Tools rig to record every show. “We’re able to replicate a lot of what they accomplished on the record by using the same, or similar, plug-ins,” Cannon says.

Cannon mainly uses the plug-in bundles on the Avid console, including Joemeek EQs and compression on snare and toms, combined with the Bomb Factory compressors. “I am also using the LoFi plug-in for a little distortion on the snare, which we found has helped to emulate some of the recording techniques they experimented with on this last record,” Cannon says. “I use the SansAmp plug-in on one of our bass lines and some Pultec plug-ins as well. We turned to the Moogerfooger analog delay for some of the synth-bass parts that Roy [Mitchell] plays on a Voyager.”

For the lead vocal, both Nate [Dreger, monitor mixer] and I use a chain of Crane Song Phoenix, Smack, and LoFi plug-ins to work toward emulating the Focusrite vocal pre that was used on the last record and that we carried last fall.”

Nate Lampa, Mutemath’s stage manager and backline tech, runs Meany’s main keyboard—a Hammond CV organ—through Leslie 122RV. The high horn is stereo-miked with two Shure Beta 56s, and there’s one Beta 52 on the low horn. Meany also uses an Arturia 49 MIDI controller that triggers sounds from the Nord keyboard that is at stage right.

photo of Scott Cannon

Mutemath's front-of-house engineer, Scott Cannon

Drum mics on Darren King’s kit include a Shure B91/B52 combo on kick, B56s on top and bottom snare as well as on both toms, and KSM137s on hat and ride. All mics, apart from those on kick, are fixed to the drums with Shure A56D mounts.

photo of Nate Dreger

Mutemath monitor engineer Nate Dreger

Guitarist Todd Gummerman’s amps are a ’70s Fender Princeton Reverb and Fender Blues Deluxe. Each is miked with a Shure SM57.

“The band started doing a processional through the audience as their intro to the show last fall,” Dreger says. “Paul triggers samples from the Akai MPC500 during the processional and from a rolling B stage later in the show. I Velcro’d two Shure SLX body packs to the bottom of the MPC, and that’s worked out pretty well.” .

Lampa says that Roy Mitchell’s bass pedal arsenal includes a Boss TU-3, JHS Morning Glory, Boss Super Octave OC-3, MXR Classic Distortion, Boss Equalizer GE-7, Morley Volume/Wah, Boss Digital Delay DD-7, and Boss Tap. For the Moog Voyager he also plays, Mitchell uses a Boss TU-3 and a JHS Mini Fuzz.

Monitor engineer Nate Dreger also uses a D-Show. “The sound seems neutral and transparent,” he says. “That works well, given the electronic nature of much of the band’s inputs.” Dreger makes use of the console’s built-in channel strip EQ, compression and gating, as well as a few plug-ins.

“We travel with four Shure PSM900 wireless systems,” Dreger says. “Three are dedicated to Paul, Roy and Todd. I had to get a little creative with the input routing for the fourth. I wanted a dedicated Cue transmitter, but [drummer] Darren, who is normally wired, required a wireless pack for the show intro [a processional through the audience]. To solve this problem, I bused my Cue via AES through the Venue’s PQ mixer, then set up snapshots to allow Darren’s mix to be soft-patched to the wireless for the intro, then back to Cue for the duration of the show. The Cue Mode feature of the PSM900 is great because I can still listen to everyone’s mix.” Meany listens on Sensaphonics. Mitchell and guitarist Todd Gummerman are on ClearTune monitors, while King’s stage mix is fed through Shure SRH750DJ headphones.