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Live Sound

Outfitting Audio in Fender’s In-House Venue

A training room-turned-private venue inside Fender’s Factory has been put through the paces by rock legends.

Corona, CA (September 4, 2019)—The Fender Factory—where the guitar manufacturer offers its standard and limited edition instruments—recently named a 120-capacity training room with a stage after Def Leppard guitarist Phil Collen, commemorating the multiple times the Rock and Roll Hall of Famer has stopped in to visit and even perform in the room.

Fender’s IT support supervisor Steph Maffei explained, “This all started when Fender gave me about a day’s notice to bring in my P.A. gear because Phil Collen was coming. We did it in this training room that holds about 120 and has a stage on one side. The show went well, and it inspired me to optimize the room for concerts, name it after Phil and surprise him the next time he showed up. Our other conference rooms are named for famous guitarists, and Phil lives nearby and comes over often.”

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Maffei felt a TouchMix-16 was a good match for the room, noting, “At our office, we often find ourselves doing guerrilla-style sound because artists drop in on short notice, so the input presets are key. We start by calling up a factory preset for the type of instrument or vocal on each channel, and between those and the Room Tuning Wizard, we do almost no tweaking from there. It’s easy to use for staff members who aren’t trained as audio engineers, and it really doesn’t take much effort to get a great sound.”

The room’s layout made the TouchMix’s ability to be remotely controlled from an Apple iOS or Android device essential. “I mounted the TouchMix-16 on the wall behind the stage in a lockable SKB case, so it would be easy to plug in mics and instruments without running a snake,” he explains. “Then, I could just sit in the back where the lighting controller is and mix from an iPad.”

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When Collen came to play, his side project, Delta Deep, came along for the occasion. “It’s a four-piece band,” Maffei details, “and I took direct outs into the TouchMix from the bass player (standard DI box) and from Phil’s Fender Cyber Twin modeling amp (using a Radial JDX), which is one we made years ago. Drums were picked up using the Yamaha EAD 10 (which is a kick trigger and X-Y mics that feed a digital drum brain), which also went direct to the TouchMix. Then, four vocal mics. Nothing was bleeding into anything else. The sound in the room was like being at a stadium show, only better because things were more intimate.”

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The gig was shot on video and Maffei captured a multi-track recording using only the TouchMix’s preamps and built-in features on a USB stick for the production. “Phil and bass player Craig Martini went back to his house and imported all the tracks into Logic Pro to do the ‘final’ mix. After listening to it a bunch of times, they told me, ‘We can’t do anything to fix this because it’s already perfect.’ It’s such a great compliment. Given the multi-platinum albums Phil has played on, if he says something is perfect, I believe him.”

Delta Deep, visit

Fender Custom Shop •