Roland Orzabal (left) and Curt Smith of Tears for Fears
Pop/rockers Tears for Fears recently played 17 shows on the East Coast, where engineer Doug Lemke mixed through house-provided P.A.s, trying to re-create studio engineer JB Blot’s mix.
“JB is a fantastic engineer,” says Lemke. “He’s got the ‘golden ears’ of a great studio engineer, which is where he spends most of his time. He uses a stereo pair of Genelecs above the Avid Profile to hear cued instruments for treatment, but when he went back to the house P.A., the tone was quite different.”
Lemke’s solution was to mold each P.A. system into a giant pair of Genelecs. He used Metric Halo’s SpectraFoo analysis software with an Earthworks M30 microphone, capturing traces of the Genelecs in SpectraFoo and then using a Lake Contour and Lake Mesa Quad EQ system to dial the house into the Genelecs’ response. “The real-time spectragraph and spectragram are so responsive and intuitive, I was very clearly able to discern what was happening sonically,” Lemke says. “I also found a lot of technical problems in the form of blown components or misalignments. Fortunately, I detected them early on so we could either implement a fix or a workaround in time for the show.”
Lemke kept SpectraFoo up during Tears for Fears’ performances to tweak the response as it was altered by the absorption of the fans. “We recorded every show,” he adds, “so there was a motivation to really dial in the perfect sound. I kept my eye on the FFT information, which has plenty of resolution to pick up room modes. Those modes often shifted in a packed house.”