Chris Cornell played San Francisco’s Warfield Theater at the beginning of a tour in support of his new solo release, Carry On. After concentrating on songs from the new effort, Cornell ended his set with the crowd-pleasing “Black Hole Sun” from his Soundgarden days. Front-of-house engineer Terry Pearson is not carrying a mixing console; he specs a Midas H3000, “but I have seen Yamaha 4ks and 5Ds, Soundcraft MH3 and MH4s,” he says. “The only outboard I’m carrying is my Avalon 737 and BSS 901. I need 10 comps, five gates, three ‘verbs and a dedicated delay.
Monitor engineer James Bump (left) and front-of-house engineer Terry Pearson
“Chris is a powerful singer, so there’s never an issue as far as input gain,” Pearson continues. “I generally will use an extra gain stage — such as routing him to a group — to give myself added vocal volume to get above the band. The BSS 901 is a good tool for smoothing out some of the spikes in the upper registers.” Cornell sings through a Shure KSM9.
While the tour relies on venue-provided P.A.s, Pearson is able to create a consistent mix. “Most of the comments I’ve gotten indicate I’m succeeding. I obviously look forward to a time when we can carry full production. We have a good crew who help make my job easier. [Cornell] seems to be really enjoying this freedom, and the crowds are really into hearing his solo material, as well as songs from his Soundgarden, Audioslave and Temple of the Dog days.”
Monitor engineer James Bump works on a Digidesign Profile; it’s the first time he’s used a digital console. “The learning curve is minimal,” he says. “I’ve had no formal training on it, but it’s very user-friendly.” The band is on Ultimate Ears UE7 ambient molds with Sennheiser G2 Series. “The volume onstage is intense,” Bump continues. “Pete [Thorn, guitar] and Yogi [Lonich, guitar] like their amps kickin’! Corey [McCormick’s] bass is more of an issue on wooden stages. Using IEMs, I have more issues with the variety of rooms we’re playing in than the stage volume.” Drummer Jason Sutter rounds out the band.