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All Access: Coldplay

Interview with audio engineers and live sound crew on mixing audio for Coldplay 2008 tour. Tips, techniques and equipment applications from front of house (FOH) and monitor mix engineers

Coldplay performing live

Out in support of their latest, Viva la Vida, British pop/rock outfit Coldplay (Chris Martin, vocals/piano/guitar; Jon Buckland, guitar; Will Champion, drums; and Guy Berryman, bass) played a slew of dates in the UK before returning Stateside. The P.A. for the U.S. tour is being provided by Eighth Day Sound; Wigwam Acoustics supplied all the gear in Europe and continues to provide the front-of-house and monitor packages. Mix caught up with the band and crew at the HP Pavilion in San Jose, Calif.

Front-of-house engineer Daniel Green (on right with crew chief Tony Smith) is manning a Digidesign VENUE board, using a slew of onboard effects, including Waves, URS and Digidesign Smack!. “It’s great to hone each song night by night and have the same great results,” he says. “Plug-ins have also been a great help as their setting can also be saved. The only outboard gear I’m using is an Eventide H8000 for special effects and a Lexicon 960 on all reverbs.”

According to crew chief Tony Smith, the d&b J Series P.A. comprises 16 J8s (main hang) with four J12 down-fills, six flown J subs and another six J subs on the ground. The side hang includes 16 J8s. “We have a sell line of over 270 degrees, so we have 12 J12s to cover right around past the upstage edge,” Smith details. “There is also a selection of Q7s and Q10s for front-fill. The system is being driven by D12s using the R1 remote network. The signal is kept in the digital domain to the D12s via Dolby Lake in North America, but we will be experimenting with the XTA 448s in Europe for the overall system EQ, along with Smaart and Earthworks M30 for system analysis.”

Over at monitor world, engineer Chris Wood is manning a Digidesign VENUE board, where he creates the mixes for each bandmember’s Sennheiser in-ears. Onstage, Wood is also controlling the d&b M2 wedges.

The band performs two songs on the ramp (stage B) and another two songs out in the audience tiers (stage C). “Our RF tech, Stephanie Thompson, handles stage C duties: cables apart from the IEMs which are the Sennheiser EW300 systems alongside a power amplifier to ensure that the IEMs work, regardless of where the band is performing,” Green explains. “On stage B, the band is once again on Sennheiser EW300 IEMs. We use two radio Neumann KK105s for Will and Guy’s backing vocals, plus a radio Shure SM58 for Chris’ vocals. Jonny and Chris’ guitars are also on Shure wireless systems.”