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Mixing Fall Out Boy On The Move

Perennially popular power-popsters Fall Out Boy are on the road with a Clair Global-provided audio system in tow.

FOH engineer Chad Olech at the tour’s Quantum5 console
FOH engineer Chad Olech at the Fall Out Boy tour’s Quantum5 console.

Chicago, IL (March 18, 2024)—Perennially popular power-popsters Fall Out Boy continue to pack arenas and amphitheaters with epic songs that sport equally epic titles. Careening across the U.S. through April 6 on the current 23-date So Much For (2our) Dust tour, the band is once again out with a tour package from longtime audio provider Clair Global. Manning the DiGiCo desks are Chad Olech at FOH and Rob Smuder in monitorworld.

Mixing through a Cohesion P.A., Olech oversees a Quantum5, along with a pair of SD-Racks with 32-bit mic pres that connect across an Optocore network loop with Smuder’s Quantum7 console at monitors. “The sound, the workflow—everything just worked perfectly for me on the Q5 for what I needed,” says Olech.

Those needs include the ability to interface with the two 18-space racks of analog outboard gear that he relies on to help reproduce Fall Out Boy’s punchy sound onstage. Those include a Sonic Farm Creamliner and API preamps and a Rupert Neve Designs 5045 Primary Source Enhancer. Fortunately, the move from the SD5 to the Quantum5 was seamless. “Basically, I just transferred my file over and took maybe three minutes to pop it all together,” he recalls. “It was such an easy transition.” He adds that he’s been experimenting with adding on some of the console’s Spice Rack processing options, such as Mustard for channel-strip processing.

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While the desk is a crucial tool to make the band sound great nightly, it is also the unlikely centerpiece of a sprawling comms network. “It’s gotten a little out of control over the years,” laughs Olech, who’s been with Fall Out Boy for 11 years. “It’s one of those things where you add this and then you add that, so now you got to add this, and so on. And I think that now we’re up to over 16 talkback channels, plus I have three talkbacks to the stage on my console. For a four-piece band! I don’t know that we could do it with any other desk than a DiGiCo.”

Monitor engineer Rob Smuder with the Quantum7 at stage left
Monitor engineer Rob Smuder with the Quantum7 at stage left.

Rob Smuder is one of those comms sources, as he mixes the band’s monitors from a DiGiCo Quantum7 console, along with the stage manager and backline crew lines. “The main reason that I use the Q7 out here, honestly, is the matrixes,” says Smuder, who has worked with the band since 2018. “We have a ton of talkback mics that are routed all over the place; each backline person has two talkbacks, one to talk to the crew and one to talk to their band member; and all the radios go through the console. Meanwhile, the front-of-house has three talkbacks to go to various places. There’s a pretty robust network of us talking to each other during the show. It can get pretty chatty! But the Quantum7 matrix helps me route all of that stuff so much more reliably and effectively, and that lets me focus on the stage mixes.”