Regina Spektor's solo tour (before heading out with her band this fall) kept the audience enthralled with her vocal and piano-playing prowess. Mix checked in with front-of-house engineer Greg Duffin about his clean and vibrant mix — no easy feat when you're not carrying production. (At the San Francisco Warfield show, Duffin mixed on a Yamaha PM3000 using the venue's V-DOSC system.)
Front-of-house engineer Greg Duffin
“I prefer analog over digital, purely for sonic differences,” he says of the board. “If we were touring with a more elaborate setup — a small orchestra, brass and percussion — I'd probably use a digital [board] for the ease of recall. This is a solo tour, so there's not a lot of inputs going on — eight total.
“Regina's show is very dynamic so I try to let as much of that range come through for the audience,” he continues. “Regina is a classically trained pianist and is used to playing with the lid open, so this adds some issues, especially when touring with a full band. Also, with the piano facing the audience, I get a lot of crowd noise back into the mics, so I'm trying to find the fullest-sounding mics with the best rejection. So far, the winner is the Schoeps CMXY 4V. The other main ingredient in Regina's piano sound is a Helpinstill Model 120 [pickup]. It carries a good portion of the sound of the show and is great for the monitors because it won't feed back.” Spektor sings through a Shure SM58.
“My approach to mixing comes from my studio background: Make sure there's room for everything and then play the room for volume. With Regina, I mix as loud as the rooms dictate. Her show is meant to be a high-fidelity ordeal, so I try to make the mix as clean and cohesive as possible.”