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Caroline Polachek Wraps Up Spiraling Tour

Singer/songwriter Caroline Polachek wrapped up her Spiraling tour in style at Radio City Music Hall this past Saturday, with FOH engineer Mikey Weiland and monitor engineer Kaan Kurt behind their desks as they have been throughout the four-month world jaunt.

Caroline Polachek’s live audio engineers have moved up from DiGiCo SD11 mixers to a pair of SD12-96 consoles for her latest tours of Europe, the UK, and North America
Caroline Polachek’s live audio engineers used a pair of SD12-96 consoles for her latest tours of Europe, the U.K., and North America.

New York, NY (May 22, 2023)—It’s been a big year so far for singer/songwriter Caroline Polachek. On the road since February, she’s crossed Europe, the U.K. and now North America as she wrapped up her Spiraling tour in style at Radio City Music Hall this past Saturday, May 20.

Crossing the globe in support of her recently released Desire, I Want to Turn Into You album, Polachek’s tour carried gear from London-based Stylus Productions for the EU/U.K. run, and the same gear for the North American theatre/auditorium leg. Keeping an eye on that equipment were FOH engineer Mikey Weiland and monitor engineer Kaan Kurt, who each looked after DiGiCo SD12-96 consoles sharing a single SD-Rack loaded with 32-bit I/O and connected via Optocore.

Based in L.A., Mikey Weiland has worked with Polachek since 2021, as well as a long list of other artists in recent years, including Warpaint, The Church and Carly Rae Jepson. “We initially took a pair of SD11s, sharing a MADI-Rack, out on Caroline’s fall 2021 run, and I very quickly fell in love with the workflow and haven’t looked back since,” he said. “The jump to SD12 desks with an SD-Rack for this run was born out of necessity. Her show has expanded quite a bit on this new touring cycle, and the extra real estate and processing power has been a huge step up for us.”

Working with 36 channels coming from the stage, Weiland noted that he used some Waves plug-ins (“mostly a few C6 multiband compressors and S1 stereo enhancers, plus some song-specific FX chains that get punched in and out via snapshots”) but ultimately lets the SD12 “do the bulk of the processing and heavy lifting.”

“For Caroline’s vocal chain, I try and keep things simple and very intentional [as] her vocal range and control is truly amazing, so the goal for me is to do as much as possible to preserve and showcase that,” he said. “She gets some multiband compression at the top of the channel to even out jumps between her lower and higher vocal registers, followed by the onboard HPF, into two stages of very light compression with varying attack and release times. Her input channel is topped off with a side-chained outboard Neve 545 PSE on insert B to clean up stage bleed. That channel then runs into a group, where it’s joined by most of her vocal FX returns, sweetened up with some dynamic EQ, and sent off to a final stage of very light compression to glue everything together.”

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U.K.-based Kaan Kurt first joined up with Polachek for her 2022 summer festival tour, and further keeps busy with other artists like Jordan Rakei and The Hunna. Kurt noted, “Caroline has a lot of choreography in her performance and is constantly floating and dancing around the stage. Her vocal range is also insane! Having the dynamic EQ built-in allows me to keep her vocal at a consistent tonality no matter where she is.”

Including Polachek, there were four musicians on stage—including a drummer, bassist, and guitarist—all on Shure IEMs for minimal stage noise. “I’ve really harnessed the power of the macro on this run,” says Kurt. “I’ve managed to set one up that fires whichever band member’s mix I need into the spare transmitter literally at the click of a finger. Same with firing the input from the spare vocal into the main channel if needed. Thankfully, we haven’t had to use it, but it brings a lot of peace of mind knowing that in case anything happens, we’re quickly covered.”