Mix caught up with the band Twenty One Pilots—Tyler Joseph on vocals/keyboards, Josh Dun on drums—at the SAP Center in San Jose, Calif., on February 11. Now on the third leg of an enormously successful two-year run that started in 2015 with the Blurryface Tour, TØP has continued with the Emotional Roadshow 2017 tour, running through April in the States before heading to Australia. The tour is supported by VER Tour Sound out of Nashville.
“On this tour I’m on the DiGiCo SD5,” says FOH engineer Shane Bardiau, seated with (L-R) VER systems engineer Kenny Sellars and P.A. tech Murphy Johnson. “For the past two years, I’ve been mixing TØP on a Midas console, first the Pro2 then the ProX, both of which are amazing-sounding. But for this tour I wanted to try something different, and my systems engineer pushed me toward the DiGiCo world. I was nervous because I didn’t know the console well at all. So far it’s been an amazing experience. The open architecture is mind-blowing, and having the capability to put whatever I want wherever on my console is great.
“Another great thing I have is the DiGiCo Digitube,” he continues. “It makes the input sound ‘colored,’ which gets me close to that Midas pre I loved. I use it on drums and piano, but not on Tyler’s vocal and tracks where I need more clarity. I’m hearing things in those tracks pop out more than ever. This console is so transparent; it really exposes my mix.
“For plug-ins I’m running the whole Waves universe—mainly just a few compressors like the SSL buss comp and API 2500 for flavor. I’m also using C6s, but with DiGiCo’s built-in dynamic EQ I find myself using less C6s than I used to. All effects are plug-ins, as well—H reverb and H delay. The only outboard gear we are using is a Chandler pre on our bass input because we don’t use an amp, as well as a Rupert Neve pre for ukulele. All processing at FOH is digital in the console. I’m a true believer in keeping things digital and avoiding converting back and forth.”
“I’m mixing monitors on the DiGiCo SD10,” says monitor engineer Lawrence “Filet” Mignogna, seated, with monitor tech Dustin Lewis (left) and stage tech Alex Martinez. “I love the DiGiCo lineup; they sound great and it’s the most versatile digital desk out there. A favorite feature is the bandwidth compression that can be used on every channel. The choice of the SD10 versus the 7, 8 or 5 is only based on input/output requirements.
“For plug-ins, I’m using a Bricasti M7 for Tyler’s vocal ’verb,” he continues. “The rest are just the stock internal effects for some instrument ’verbs and simple delay. I’m also using the internal Oscillator, gated for Josh’s drum Thumper—a cool little trick I learned awhile back when doing drum thumpers.
“Tyler’s ukulele runs thru a Neve 517 preamp and his bass runs thru a Chandler TG2-500. Both before hitting monitors and FOH. We’re using an in-ears Shure PSM 1000 wireless monitor system.”
Drum tech John “Father” Meyers at Josh Dun’s drum kit, miked throughout by models from Shure: Beta 52A (pictured on inset) and B91A on kick; B57As on snare; B98amp for toms (shown on inset); KSM 137 on hi-hat; and KSM32 for overheads.
“VER is providing sound, lighting, video and rigging,” says systems engineer Kenny Sellars, who has been with the company for a bit over three years. “Our P.A. system consists of the Meyer Sound Lyon for our main hang. 20 per side; Lyons for side hang, 16 per side; Meyer 1100 LFC for flown subs, three per side, in cardioid; Meyer 1100 LFC for ground subs and front fills, six stacks of two; then six Meyer Mina on top of the subs, and two Meyer UPJ-1Ps. There are also four Meyer Leopards for onstage fills.”
Drummer Josh Dun, with a kit captured by all-Shure mics.
“Tyler’s main vocal mic is a Shure KSM9HS capsule with the Shure wireless Axient transmitters,” says FOH engineer Bardiau. “The microphone that hangs down from the cable is a gutted Shure SM58. We replaced the foam with some LED strips for a cool glowing look as it slowly drops from the truss above. Sounds nothing like a standard SM58, but, hey, it’s cool looking!”