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All Access: Avenged Sevenfold

Five-piece Avenged Sevenfold (vocalist M. Shadows, lead guitarist Synyster Gates, guitarist Zacky Vengeance, bassist Johnny Christ and drummer The Rev)

Five-piece Avenged Sevenfold (vocalist M. Shadows, lead guitarist Synyster Gates, guitarist Zacky Vengeance, bassist Johnny Christ and drummer The Rev) were introduced to metal fans when they toured in opening slots for the Warped Tour and Ozzfest. Now, their nonstop, high-energy shows keep their own sold-out crowds rockin’. Culling a set list mostly from their latest self-titled release, the band also chose some crowd favorites from their previous three albums when they played San Francisco’s Warfield Theatre in December.

When Mix caught up with front-of-house engineer Nigel Paul during the first leg of the tour, he was manning a Yamaha PM5D-RH V2; on the second leg he’ll be working on a Digidesign D-Show Profile. With the Yamaha board, Paul keeps his mixes straightforward, using the desk’s onboard facilities: gates, comps, GEQ/PEQs and effects (a stereo delay and all three Rev-X programs).

“The only piece of outboard gear I’m using is a Waves Maxx BCL across the main L/R,” Paul adds. “I use it as the D-to-A converter for the AES output from the 5D and to add a little light compression to the overall mix. To my ears the converters sound superior, and while the system compression I’m doing is definitely subtle, it’s also totally transparent.”

The tour is not carrying its own P.A. system, but rather just FOH and monitor consoles, mics, in-ears, splitters, AC and all stage cabling. “As sound-critic-in-chief, I think we’ve been able to maintain a high level of quality and consistency across the many different systems that we’ve been provided with on this leg, but the T-polish has definitely been called for on a couple of occasions,” Paul says. “On this leg, we’re dealing primarily with in-house and regional sound companies’ systems, so it’s been a fairly eclectic selection that has included JBL VerTec 4889 and 4888, d&b Q Series, Electro-Voice X-Line and X-Array, EAW 850 and 750, Renkus-Heinz PN102, Martin W8LC, a QSC line array hitherto unfamiliar to me and a couple of proprietary systems. I consider a clean, clear, articulate, detailed, full-sounding, balanced, volume-appropriate mix to be my goal,” he continues. “Of course, I’ll always integrate into my approach any suggestions or guidance from the artists themselves, but I’m also mindful of the fact that ultimately I’ve been hired for the skills, taste and judgment that it is believed I bring to the situation.” Monitor engineer Rob Lightner is also manning a Yamaha PM5D-RH and only uses the onboard X-Hall and X-Plate reverbs. As for outboard, Lightner carries Shure PSM700 IEM units and a Pro Tools rack (two hard drives, two Digi 003 racks, two Furman UPS units and a Radial SW8 auto-switcher that runs on two MacBook Pro computers).

“The band seems very conscious about their hearing, so the stage volume is not that loud,” Lightner says. “They keep their IEM at a low level, which I think they are very smart about.”

For main (right) and spare vocals, Lightner switched from a Shure Beta 58A to an Audio-Technica AE6100 wireless. “The A-T seems to reject a little more noise onstage and is very durable,” he says. “Nigel [Paul] previously used this mic for a few shows, and we both agreed it was a good choice. There is also a wired 6100 for drum vocal, and we kept the Shure Beta 58A for backup vocals.”

ohnny Christ’s bass amps are miked with an Electro-Voice RE27 (clean) and an ND868 (distortion). According to Lightner, “I really like the ND868. I can mix it in with the DI and clean mic for Johnny’s ears, and it doesn’t give too much added attack.”

Drum tech Jason “Diz” Berry (below, right), says The Rev’s kit is miked with a Shure Beta 91 and Audix D6 (kick, stage-right and stage-left); AKG D22 (snare top) and 460 (snare bottom); 451 (hi-hat); Audix D2s (toms 1/2/3) and D4s (toms 4/5/6); Audio-Technica AT4050s (overheads L/R); and an AKG 451 (ride cymbal).

According to guitar tech Stephen Ferrera-Grand (left), guitarists Synyster Gates (lead) and Zacky Vengeance’s amps are miked with 57s and Audio-Technica 4050s; for vocals, they sing through Shure Beta 58As.

Additional Avenged Sevenfold Performance Photos