All Access: Dave Matthews Band

In late summer, the Dave Matthews Band kicked off a massive tour in support of their 2012 release, Away From the World. Mix caught them on their second night out, at Shoreline Amphitheatre in Mountain View, Calif.
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Dave Matthews returned to the Shoreline Amphitheatre in Mountain View, Calif., in 2012.

Photo: Steve Jennings

In late summer, the Dave Matthews Band kicked off a massive tour in support of their 2012 release, Away From the World. Mix caught them on their second night out, at Shoreline Amphitheatre in Mountain View, Calif.

Front-of-house engineer Jeff Thomas is mixing on an Avid Venue Profile using some standard VenuePack plug-ins, as well as Impact, Echo Farm, the Rane Serato Compressor, Waves C4 compressors, and Waves TrueVerb reverb. Thomas also employs a Metric Halo Mobile I/O 2882 to interface his laptop with the Profile for music playback and feeding Smaart’s RTA from the console’s solo bus.

The P.A. system comprises 14 Meyer Sound Milo 90s and two Milo 120s per side for most shows this summer, with 12 700-HP subs that are side-stacked on the floor. Sidefills comprise three MSL-4s hanging in a column, and frontfills are six UPJ1-P Compact VariO loudspeakers across the front of the stage. The system is being driven from two Galileo loudspeaker management systems.

Monitor engineer Ian Kuhn says, “I’m using an Avid Venue Profile for everyone in the band except for violinist Boyd Tinsley, whose in-ears are mixed by [Audio Crew Chief] Lonnie Quinn on an Avid Venue SC48. I’m particularly fond of the Serato Dynamic EQ feature in the Rane Series Compressor plug-in for helping to shape the lead vocal channel.” Kuhn works with Monitor Tech Greg Botimer and Recording Engineer Joe Lawlor. The wireless IEM system includes two Sennheiser eW300 IEM G2 transmitters, two Shure PSM900 Transmitter P9Ts, four Shure PSM1000 P10T Duel Wireless Transmitters, a Professional Wireless GX-8 antenna combiner, and a Shure PA821 PSM antenna combiner.

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Front-of-house engineer Jeff Thomas (left) and Systems Tech Tom Lyon

Photo: Steve Jennings

“Dave, Carter, Stefan and I all use Sensaphonics 3-D Active Ambient in-ears, which have microphones embedded within the earpieces that allow the users to dial-in the sounds of their natural surroundings in addition to their existing monitor mix at a level comfortable to each of them. A company called P.I. Engineering makes a series of products called X-Keys, which are programmable keyboards and/or button banks,” Kuhn says. “We took the 16-button X-Keys Stick, opened it up, broke the traces on the circuit board after the eighth key and rewired keys 9 to 16 to trigger events in our console using the Avid Profile’s GPI interface. The first eight keys are connected to our stage computer via USB and trigger macros we’ve programmed that do things like jumping from song to song in our cues database or switching between cues and Smaart.”

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Monitor engineer Ian Kuhn (left) and monitor tech Greg Botimer

Photo: Steve Jennings

Ian Kuhn mikes the drums with a Sennheiser e902 (low kick; pictured in inset photo at bottom-center), Sennheiser e901 (high kick), Sennheiser e905 (snare top), Sennheiser e905 (snare bottom), Beta 57a (timbale), DPA 4021 (floor and rack toms), Shure KSM 137 (hi-hat), AKG 414 (chime), Neumann KM184 (block), DPA 4011 (ride), and Shure VP-88 (overheads).

“[Horn players] Rashawn Ross and Jeff Coffin are both using DPA 4099 clip-on microphones through Shure UHF-R wireless systems for their primary instruments. We have an AKG C4000B on a stick for Rashawn’s bass trumpet and a Shure KSM32 on Jeff for his flute, bass flute and whistle.

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Bassist Stefan Lessard and the Fonz Foot Wedge (inset photo)

Photos: Steve Jennings

“A few years ago we built a device that we call the ‘Fonz Foot Wedge,’ named after bass player Stefan Lessard,” Kuhn says. “For the past few album recording sessions he’s enjoyed tracking while sitting on a drum throne equipped with a Tactile Sound Transducer. He asked if we could build a box that he could stand on during live performances. Monitor tech Greg Botimer and I built a wedge-shaped prototype while on tour, powered externally by a Crest 7001. Fonz took to it right away, so we asked our friends at MT Cases to build a couple shells for us to our specifications. We found a compact 250-watt switching amp and built it in along with the TST. On the side of the wedge is a 110-volt Neutrik power connector and a single female XLR for signal input. It’s treated as its own mix and gets bass, kick and toms. It excites the area of the stage around it so that Fonz can stand either on or near it, and feel its energy. Both Stefan and drummer Carter Beauford each now have a TST mix in addition to their ear mixes assisting them in locking-in both sonically and physically.”