Howie Day’s front-of-house engineer, Brian Duffy, has had a busy year. He has been touring back and forth to Europe and through America since January 2004, when the band headlined with well-known acts Stereophonics and Barenaked Ladies.
Switching from a P.A.-of-the-day on their first swing around North America to club’s P.A. on their subsequent European adventure, one of the few constants on the gear list has been Duffy's Drawmer 1969 and 1968 Mercenary Editions.
When it came time to start tour production rehearsals, the band took a trip to Mercenary Audio (Foxboro, Mass.) to try out a few tools and pick up some necessary processing for the tour.
Duffy was quite impressed with the performance of the 1969ME on full program material, but only had enough room in his rack for one, which was relegated to acoustic guitar and vocal duties.
One side of the 1969ME was used for Day’s acoustic guitar, which came into the preamp, then saw about 6 dB of gain reduction from the compressor. Duffy explained, "I was holding that pretty heavily into the compression. I was also using the polarity-reverse switch on that. The phase reversal on the guitar was to correct some of the midrange problems that were inherent to those particular guitars. The problem is around 500 to 800 Hz. By reversing the polarity, the problem moved down to around 250 Hz, which was already pretty heavily cut with the channel EQ."
The second channel of the Drawmer 1969ME mic pre/compressor was employed for keyboard vocals. Using a medium attack and a fairly long release, while pushing about 6 dB of gain reduction, "I was more using it as a leveling amplifier than as a compressor," Duffy commented.
"The 1968 is probably the best stereo bus compressor I've never heard,” he continued. “The big function allows all the nuance of the low end of the program to get through, without compressing the vocals out. I love that thing. On underpowered P.A.s, you get those meters lit up until they're bright red, turn the output gain up till it sizzles and it seemed to look back and me and say ‘Hey, is that all ya got?’”
For more information on Drawmer, visit www.drawmer.com. For more touring news, visit mixonline.com/livesound/tours.