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Tour Log: Keb’ Mo

Read Mix Spotlight on Keb' Mo 2008 Tour With Touring Engineer John Schirmer

Keb’ Mo performing

Keb’ Mo is filling halls across several continents — sharing the stage with Taj Mahal and Robert Cray — in support of his latest, Suitcase. Mix caught up with Mo’s longtime FOH engineer, John Schirmer.

How much gear are you carrying?

We were carrying everything except for racks and stacks. We carried two Digidesign Profile consoles — one for house and one for monitors. I also traveled with a Pro Tools HD rig to record 48 tracks of audio every night at 48 kHz straight from the Profile. We tried to keep our snake needs to a minimum by traveling with two Digidesign Stage Racks that both lived on the deck and were linked together by a Schubert Systems splitter, and then routed to FOH and monitors by BNC co-ax cable. We also carried a full in-ear rig (Shure PSM 700s with Ultimate Ears UE 11s) and some supplemental QSC-powered L-Acoustics HiQs for keys and Keb’s vocal position.

What is the biggest part of the mix?

By far the most important part is “feel.” There are aspects of every song that drive the performance to the audience; if you get it wrong, the audience lets you know.

Tell me about the recording chain.

Mic to cable to stage box to splitter to Digidesign Stage Rack to FOH rack to Digidesign HDX card to Digilink to Pro Tools HD. Other than the SM57 and KSM32 on both guitar cabinets, I also take a direct line pre-guitar amp and post-pedals so that if I don’t like the tone of the amps that day, my tracks are not completely shot and I can re-amp the DI tracks.

Where are you when you’re not touring?

Rock climbing in Yosemite or Joshua Tree parks [in California], riding a mountain bike or in the studio working on our live record or one of many other projects.