Funeral for a Friend’s FOH engineer Clem Bennett is using a Midas Heritage 3000 for the Welsh band’s biggest tour to date. The tour began in the UK and Europe in April before heading out to the U.S., returning to Europe for summer festivals and then continuing onto the Far East and Australia, after which they will wrap up the year with a headline tour of the UK in December.
Bennett has worked with the band for two years. “We recently came off the Warped Tour in the U.S. where I expected a digital console, but I was very pleased to see the main stage had an H3000 provided by Rat Sound for the duration of the tour,” says Bennett. “Those Rat engineers worked very long, hard days for weeks on end and stayed likeable and cheerful. I think they went for a Midas at FOH precisely because it is easy to get a bare-bones mix up and happening in a short time frame, as the H3000 is intuitive to work with and any engineer who has been around for a bit should already know it pretty well.”
Back in the UK, Bennett has been pleased to find that the festivals and summer appearances are also Midas-equipped. “The Rip Curl festival in Cornwall had an XL4 at FOH and, again, anyone can show up and operate that console,” he says. Meanwhile the band’s main stage performances at Reading and Leeds were mixed on an H3000 provided by SSE.
“The main thing with a Midas desk is how it sounds; I reckon the preamps and EQs sound superior to anything else available in a live console,” continues Bennett. “The XL4’s channel EQ is almost transparent. If you have to boost, you’re simply adding more of what was already there in the tone of the instrument rather than sounding like you’ve messed with the signal.
“One thing I really like about the H3000 though is that it takes up less space and has less knobs. I go for simple stuff because live you want quick results and nothing too fancy; you’re not mixing an album. At a festival, I rarely program VCAs; anything to save time at change-over. I’ll also ask for Klark Teknik graphics because they don’t color the sound and they work every time. I don’t like digital graphics, I want to move a fader.”
Bennett typically uses 24 to 26 channels of the console. “It’s meat and potatoes stuff: drums, bass, guitar, vocals, then three or four stereo returns for FX. The latest album has some ambitious arrangements, orchestras and a choir, so we now use a sampler to introduce some of those elements into the mix.”
As the band heads out for the next leg of the tour, again it’s Midas all the way. “For Australia I’ve spec’d an H3000, and in Japan even tiny clubs have XL4s,” says Bennett.