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All Access: Chris Isaak

Mix magazine interview with audio engineers and live sound crew on mixing audio for Chris Isaak 2008 tour. Tips, techniques and equipment applications from Chris Isaak's front of house (FOH) and monitor mix engineers. Mix magazine January 2009

Photos: Steve Jennings

Chris Isaak has been touring since 1985 and burst into the rock stratosphere with his 1991 Top 10 hit “Wicked Game.” With more than a dozen albums to his credit, including a recent “Best of” collection and a live album, Isaak draws crowds of adoring fans with the help of longtime band Silvertone. Mix caught up with the artist at the San Francisco Fillmore.

Front-of-house engineer Eddie Cole is mixing on a Yamaha PM5DRH, preferring to run it in the Type-2 EQ mode for all of the inputs and outputs. “The console is easy to mix on once you pass the learning curve as with most popular digital consoles,” he says. “The big plus with digital boards is when you’re doing one-off shows, you order your console, load the mix off of a saved file, EQ the system and go. We didn’t bring in a P.A. system; we used the in-house Meyer rig.”

As for outboard, Cole brings along a Lexicon PCM81 reverb for Isaak’s vocal; everything else is onboard.

According to the guitar tech for Hershel Yatovitz, Mark LuBetski, the guitarist is playing five different guitars onstage, played through two vintage Silverface Fender Twins, rewired to black-face specs, a “common mod done to these amps from the ’70s,” LuBetski says. “There is also a Fender Deluxe Reverb offstage for a pre-echo send for FOH. All amps have Shure KSM32 microphones.” Yatovitz’s pedalboard offers Seymour Duncan Twin Tube for anything needing distortion. A Durham Electronics Sex Drive for boost, Line 6 MM4 for modulation, Nova NDY-1 compressor/gate, Roland RE-20 Space Echo, Visual Sound Visual volume pedal, Nova reverb pedal and a Peterson Strobostomp tuner are also on hand.