Guitarist Alex Lifeson, bassist/singer Geddy Lee and drummer Neil Peart of Rush maintain their composure onstage with Stephen Colbert.
Photo: Kris Long
Since Music Mix Mobile went online in 2008, the company’s super-group of engineers—Joel Singer, Jay Vicari, John Harris and Mitch Makentansky on the East Coast, and Mark Linnett and Bob Wartinbee out West—have provided remote recording/mixing/broadcast audio for scores of high-profile projects. When we checked in with chief engineer/partner Singer recently, they’d just come off mixing the CMAs, Latin Grammys and FUSE presents Elton John and Leon Russell. Singer was also getting ready for John Legend on The Colbert Report.
“We’ve been working with The Colbert Report for a few years,” Singer says. “Since they are not normally a music show, when they have acts requiring this, we bring in one of our flight-pack systems.” Performances have included Cee Lo Green, Pavement and a notable appearance by Rush back in ’08.
When they mix music for The Colbert Report or Jon Stewart’s The Daily Show, another frequent client, Music Mix Mobile uses a portable Pro Tools-based mix/record system with D-Command control surface, Waves plug-ins and Genelec 8250 monitors; this gets set up in an available green room.
“We’ve pre-cabled many things at the Colbert show, which makes it easier for the production and us. All of our connections to the stage are done using MADI. We’ve developed a great workflow with the Colbert crew, so we’re up and running within 45 minutes of getting in the building. About 3 or 4 o’clock, we do a line check/soundcheck; between 4 and 5, we do a real camera-block with the band, then the show anywhere between 6 and 7. Normally, it’s two songs: one for air and a second that’s stored for a ‘best of’ or Internet release,” Singer explains. “The A1, Todd Kilponen, does a great job mixing production and makes it easy for us to get our job done.”
Music Mix Mobile was also asked to handle music performances at Colbert and Stewart’s Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear in Washington, D.C., in October: “A quarter-of-a-million people showed up and there was a lot of music, and a short amount of time to get it all on the air,” says Singer. “It was a very hectic few days.”