Mexican guitar duo Rodrigo y Gabriela are out on a 2017 summer tour, through the States and into Europe, to mark the ten-year anniversary of the debut of their eponymous first album. Playing to sheds, arenas, theaters and West Coast wineries, the flamenco-styled guitarists bring a joy and percussive energy to their instrumental live shows. Mix caught them in Seattle in late May.
“I would describe the sound of Rodrigo y Gabriela’s live performances like an explosion of dynamic energy, combined with sophisticated, in- tricate and varied moments,” says FOH engineer David Marchant. “It’s all about Rodrigo’s dazzling lead work and crunch sound, and Gabriela’s unique rhythm play.”
After ten years of recording and touring, the duo has assembled a tight audio touring package, provided by Brown Note Productions out of Thornton, Colo., and based around the DiGiCo SD12 with SD Racks at FOH and monitors and Waves SoundGrid Extreme Server package (with MADI-toEthernet DigiGrid interface at 192 kHz). The artists also carry sidefills, wireless systems, and power distribution. The venue provides P.A. and wedges.
FOH engineer David Marchant
“We are working with 24 inputs, which are connected to a passive splitter and are distributed to one DiGiCo SD rack with 1 to 24 for front of house and 25 to 48 for monitors,” Marchant explains. “This way we can use only one rack without sharing gains!” For plug-ins, Marchant turns to an SSL G-Master Buss Compressor and H-EQ Hybrid Equalizer for the left and right bus; an F6 Floating-Band Dynamic EQ and C6 Multiband Compressor for guitars; and Primary Source Expander for Rodrigo’s vocal.
Rodrigo y Gabriela listen through a Shure PSM-1000 in-ear monitor system, and guitars make use of a Shure UHFR wireless system (four channels for main guitars, plus four for backup guitars).
“The Yamaha guitars of Rodrigo and Gabriela have two outputs,” Marchant explains. “One corresponds to a group of six piezoelectric contact microphones, mixed and tuned through a Yamaha EQ-mixer preamplifier. The other output corresponds to an under-saddle pickup transducer with internal preamplifier. To achieve this sound, I found the need to duplicate these two channels with an active splitter three times. As a result, I have eight channels per guitar to work with dedicated frequencies and panning per channel, having the opportunity to create a guitar sound with Natural nylon strings and a low-end kick drum sound, and also a nice snare sound in the case of Gabriela’s guitar. In Rodrigo’s guitar, I have added two more channels, one for octave sounds and the other for distortion on the metal songs.”