Live Sound

On the Road: Dolly Parton

At Mix Nashville, we got the chance to sit down and chat with Dolly Parton's longtime front-of-house engineer/production manager, Mike Fechner. The Backwoods 8/01/2008 8:00 AM Eastern

At Mix Nashville, we got the chance to sit down and chat with Dolly Parton's longtime front-of-house engineer/production manager, Mike Fechner. The Backwoods Barbie tour (named after her latest release) is carrying a full system provided by Thunder Audio (U.S.) and Major Tom (UK). To view videos from our Nashville event, log on to mix online.com/ms/nashville08.

What board are you using to mix?
A Midas XL4 with all the goodies. It certainly takes up a bit amount of space, but it's just a great old classic, and with a couple of key analog pieces inserted here and there it works really well for us.

What's in your outboard goodie bag?
I have a bunch of Distressors, Alan Smart C2, some dbx — a lot of compressors; there's probably 20 in a rack. I use them on various things: vocals, drum fiddle, acoustic guitars.

What are you doing to ensure that Dolly is heard loud and clear?
One of the challenges I've had with her show is that [it is] 30 to 40 percent speaking and she uses a side-mounted cardioid mic, and you can imagine how difficult that is to put out to 18 to 25,000 people. And she can be very soft-spoken at times; the Meyer Sound MILO really helped us a lot in that department with the intelligibility and coverage. I have a Lake Contour that's right on her vocal mic and that helps out a lot in bringing out her vocals, and a nice Manley Variable-Mu on there, as well.

She's touring with an 11-piece band. How is that working out?
It's a full stage and there's a bunch of multi-instrumentalists, so a lot of inputs; there's 48-plus. I'm maxing out the board.

Are any of them on in-ears?
No, there's a row of 10 wedges on the stage. Jason Glass, our monitor engineer, makes sure it's not too loud up there.

January

2015 NAMM Show

Anaheim Convention Center, 800 West Katella Avenue , Anaheim, CA, U.S.

February

Grammy Awards

The Staples Center, Los Angeles, CA, U.S.

March