Jack’s Mannequin’s Andrew McMahon
Photos: Steve Jennings
Jack’s Mannequin is playing an assortment of venues, from large theaters to small clubs, so the tour is not carrying a system; the crew is relying on house P.A. at each stop. Mix caught up with the tour — out in support of their latest, The Glass Passenger — at San Francisco’s Warfield Theatre, which offers a Meyer Sound MILO rig. The system was installed by Pro Media/UltraSound (Hercules, Calif.), with which front-of-house engineer T “Quake” Mark has been affiliated since 1992.
Engineer Quake (Phil Lesh, Jane’s Addiction, Goo Goo Dolls, Primus, Tracy Chapman) is manning a Digidesign Profile as the band wants to multitrack each night, requiring the use of Pro Tools. “[The Profile] is very intuitive and sounds good, and the interface to Pro Tools is quite easy,” Quake says. “I’m using the onboard plug-ins, including Smack (kick, snare), gates, Bomb Factory TL 100 (bass) and Focusrite compressors (vocals). The only outboard I still carry is a Yamaha SPX-900 or 1000 for a pitch change. I like the grit it has.”
FOH engineer T “Quake” Mark
Quake had to come up with an effective miking technique for the Baldwin baby grand. “We have our two pianos — always carry a spare! — fitted with a MIDI kit, and it feeds a Kurzweil PC2R. I mike the inside with two Audix SCX 25s on a tape bridge just over the center of the piano. We also use the newer Helpinstill pickups. It was interesting figuring out the phase and time problems involved with multiple sources like that. But the result has been very stable and full-sounding.” Drums take Beyer M88 (kick), Sennheiser 421 (snare), Shure Beta 57 (snare), Neumann KM 184 (hi-hat), Audix D2 (toms) and CX 111 (overheads), and AKG 460 (ride). Vocal mics (two of which are for lead vocalist Andrew McMahon, depending on the direction he’s looking) are Sennheiser 945s.
Monitor engineer Greg Mahler works on a Yamaha M7CL, using all onboard effects. Half of the band is on IEMs; the rest are on wedges. “Andrew is on Sensaphonics 3D Active Ambients. The drummer, Jay McMillian, just switched from wedges to Sensaphonics 2MAX in-ears, which he loves,” Mahler says. “He also has a Meyer sub behind him for thump. We plan to change to butt thumpers soon. Both of them are using Sennheiser wireless IEM packs. The bass and guitar players are on Meyer MJF-212 wedges.
“Andrew requires constant attention to detail in his mix,” the monitor engineer continues. “It’s like mixing FOH just for him. It takes a lot of concentration watching for his little subtleties that tell you if he likes what’s going on in his mix.”