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All Access: Slipknot

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

Vocalist Corey Taylor (#8) sings through an Audio-Technica AEW-T6100.

Photos: Steve Jennings

When “nu-metal” — a hard-hitting combination of metal and rap — first hit the airwaves, Slipknot was at the forefront of this “nu-wave” and made it all the more splashy as they only perform in costumes. Die-hard fans know them by their individual masks, while newbies can get to know each bandmember by the number on his sleeve: 0 to 8. Mix caught up with Slipknot’s Thunder Audio-supplied tour at Sacramento, Calif.’s Arco Arena, while they were out supporting their latest release, All Hope Is Gone.

Front-of-house engineer David “Shirt” Nicholls is mixing on a Digidesign VENUE with the Venue Pro Pack and Eventide Anthology Pack. “I couldn’t be without the VENUE,” Nicholls says. “Also, I have my trusty A-T 4050 microphones; they take a battering on a Slipknot stage. It’s not unusual to see one of the vocal mics (T6100s) go flying up into the seats only to be back up onstage the next day working fine — I’m sure they’re bullet-proof!” Thunder Audio is providing the Meyer P.A., which comprises 16 MILO boxes, six flown HP700s and nine Nexo CD-18 subs on the ground per side. Nicholls uses a tablet with the Compass software, a laptop running RMS speaker-management software and SIM for analysis. System control is via Meyer Sound Galileo. The side-hang features 10 MICA boxes per side, with four UPJs for front-fills.

Monitor engineer Ron Hurd is mixing the show on a Yamaha PM5D console. “I’m not using any plug-ins or rack gear except for an [Apogee] Big Ben word clock,” he says. “Six of the nine guys are on ears: Ultimate Ears with Sennheiser G2s.”

Stage-right guitarist Jim Root uses his signature Telecasters and a signature prototype Stratocaster. According to guitar tech Martin Connors, amps include two Orange Rockerverb 100s: one for stage and the other for his iso cab. The amp is miked with Audio-Technica 4050s.

Front-of-house engineer David “Shirt” Nicholls

Guitarist Mick Thomson plays his signature-model Ibanez (MTM1) electrics “loaded with Seymour Duncan ‘Blackouts’ active pickups and Ovation (MT37 model) acoustic guitars,” says guitar tech Drew Foppe. “Mick uses signature Rivera KR7 guitar heads with a custom-tailored EQ function and gain structure. These amps are three channels, each with a boost and played through custom Rivera ‘Seven’ cabinets loaded with Celestion G12K-100 speakers. Onstage, he uses Rivera’s new Silent Sister single 12-inch iso cabinet. An Audio-Technica AE2500 dual-element mic is mounted inside the cabinet.”

According to drum tech Sol Engelhardt, Joey Jordison’s kit is miked with Shure Beta 91 and Beta 52 (kick), Audio-Technica AT 350 (toms), AE 5100 (hats, snare bottom), AT23 (snare top) and AT 4050 (overheads, ride).

Shawn Crahan’s stage-left percussion setup is miked with Audio-Technica AT23s, says percussion tech Sean Kane. On stage right is percussionist Chris Fehn’s setup, which sees AT-35 mics, says his tech, James “Chief” Yepa.

Bassist Paul Grey uses Audio-Technica wireless going through all Peavey gear (Tour 700 preamp and 2600 power amp); mics are Audio-Technica AE 3000.

DJ Sid Wilson uses two Technics SL-1210MG5 turntables, DJ Starscream’s Full Metal Scratch-It glow-in-the-dark signature vinyl records, Mackie d.2 Pro mixer, Korg Kaoss Pad KP3 and Pad MiniKP, and DigiTech Whammy pedal. In addition, says tech Pat Williams, sampler Craig Jones’ gear comprises a Korg Kontrol49 MIDI keyboard, Akai Z4 rackmount sampler and Roland Fantom XR rackmount sampler/synth.