Front-of-house engineer Brian Duffy has seen Howie Day through long touring schedules supporting the likes of the Barenaked Ladies and The Roots, and anticipates upcoming shows with the Dave Matthews Band.
Remaining flexible on the road, using venue-supplied gear from clubs and tour locations around the globe, the band and Duffy have relied on Drawmer 1969 and 1968 Mercenary Editions.
Duffy has been quite impressed with the performance of the 1969ME on full program material, but only had enough room in his rack for one of them, 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 engineer used the polarity switch on the 1969ME to work around some problems he found with the guitar Day chose to play, saying, "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. With 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," Day commented.
Duffy commented, "The 1968 is probably the best stereo bus compressor I've never heard. The big function allows all the nuance of the low end of the program to get through, without compressing the vocals out." Day averaged around 3 dB of gain reduction, while employing a medium attack and a medium release time. "I love that thing," Duffy continued. "You get that on underpowered P.A.s, 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?'"