Monitor engineer for alternative metal band A Perfect Circle, Michael Mulé, has 22 years of hands on experience in live music. He's been working with a DiGiCo D5 Live digital mixing console on the band's latest tour, traveling around America, Europe, Australia and Japan. He only had one day prior to rehearsal to get to know his way around the console, but he found an almost instant affinity with the interface.
This is the band's second tour, and the shows have sold out all over the world. Their audio crew comprises front-of-house engineer Stewart Bennett, Jordan Zurr, system tech from Eighth Day Sound, and stage and monitor tech Joe Langholt.
"We started out doing a run of 13 small clubs in the U.S. to publicize the new CD," said Mulé. "We had a FOH package but were using existing racks and stacks in the clubs before we started headlining in the States. Then we moved on to larger 6,000 to 10,000-capacity venues where we used a V-DOSC P.A. from Eighth Day Sound. Very often I found myself mixing in small corners, but the D5 fits everywhere. It's perfect for that sort of thing.
"All of what would be my normal outboard is on the console—gates, limiters, graphics—so it cuts down the amount of space I need tremendously,” he continued. “I've been stuck in the smallest holes and have been able to keep out of everyone's way. It also saves on truck space and two people can lift it, so it's not a problem to take it everywhere."
Mulé has found that he saves a lot of time in production rehearsals because of the D5's pocket-sized USB key, which can store all the desk settings for an entire show: "I just load my session and I'm done." The console’s snapshot facility has been of particular value, along with panning configurations for background vocals that fire immediately, and all the opening acts can be put onto the D5 as well, which means there's no need to use another console.
"Having been around for a while, I have to admit I had some reservations about using a digital console, but Joe Langholt, the stage tech, had it before the tour and when he'd finished with it, it was prefect. It's easy to get around and I was able to turn it into a console that's user-friendly to me without any problems.
"It's seen lots of use since we started and has not gone down once. It's been very road-worthy and it sounds great. I've been having a lot of fun with it, and the thing I really like about the D5, as opposed to the other digital consoles, is the way it's laid out. Everything is right there where you need it: You call up EQ, there's an EQ section for each screen; you call up comps and gates, the knobs are right below it. You're not scrolling through screens to get to anything. The swap-ability of channels is just wonderful.
"Also some members of the band, like [James] Maynard [lead vocalist] are on in-ears. This console is great because you can configure it any way you possibly could ever imagine at just the push of a button. We've been adding mixes and halfway through the UK leg; Billy Howerdel [composer/guitarist] decided he wanted to try ears and now the bass player, Jeordie White, will be going on ears within the next few days. The console is easily configurable to adapt to anything I need to do at any given moment; it just takes a couple of seconds."
For more information on the board, visit www.digiconsoles.com/digico.2/overview56.htm. For more information on Eighth Day Sound, visit www.8thdaysound.com/open01.htm. For more touring news, visit mixonline.com/live_sound_tour_profiles/index.htm.