Los Angeles, CA — The Roland M-5000 OHRCA Digital Mixing Console has a lot going for it: 128 channels, up to 228 signal paths, 28 faders, multi-layer operation, a touch-screen display, 24-bit/96kHz resolution and more. From another point of view, what the M-5000 really offers can be boiled down to the top three things that count on the road: great sound, utter reliability, and the kind of flexibility that lets front-of-house and monitor mixers build the workflow that best suits them and their artists.
Here’s how three very different tours are taking leveraging the M-5000’s advantages:
The a cappella Vocalosity Tour is a touring show featuring ten members selected from televised singing shows like The Sing-Off, The Voice, national performing tours, a cappella groups and Broadway. The M-5000 is manned by touring veteran and Sonic Audio owner Tony Huerta, using it to mix FOH and monitors, even as he also acts as Tour Director and recording engineer, multitracking each night’s show through the Roland R-1000 48 Channel Recorder and using those tracks for virtual sound checks that make the pre-show process quick and efficient. As the vocalists reconfigure themselves into different groups on stage, going through a repertoire that spans from Gregorian chants to current pop hits, Huerta is able to keep up an engaging mix for the audience as he also keeps each singer happy with his or her IEM mix. “Mixing Vocalosity is like mixing ten guitar players on stage at once,” he says. “It can be tricky, but the M-5000 gives me plenty of ways to do what I need.” Huerta creates four stereo mixes through the M-5000’s nearly unlimited aux sends, letting each vocalist keep himself or herself in the center with adjacent singers panned left and right. “That way, they get plenty of themselves, which helps tremendously with pitch and timing, but also keeps them blending well together,” he explains. Huerta divides his work surface into three layers: the uppermost for the faders needed most often for the house mix; the second becomes a virtual monitor console, through which he also feeds some of the audience microphones into the monitor mix; and the third layer is reserved for the show’s opening act, which changes almost nightly. “I have a few settings saved there that let me get up and running quickly and give them a good mix, too,” he says. “Overall, the M-5000 lets me do it all from one position. I built the show on the console before we even went on tour. It’s like one of the performers.”
A/J Jackson (lead vocals, guitar, piano), Aaron Sharp (lead guitar), Dak Lerdamornpong (bass), and Greg Erwin (drums) are Saint Motel, an indie-pop band from Los Angeles. Their signature atmospherics make the M-5000 a dream out on the road with them for FOH mixer and Tour Manager Teresa Murray and monitor mixer Arend Vanderkam, each of whom uses a separate M-5000. “I’m very impressed with the M-5000’s versatility,” Murray says on a break between shows in Charlotte, North Carolina. “It’s super user-friendly, and it sounds great. But I especially like it because almost all of my processing I can do from the console itself. I also appreciate the patchbay versatility, the user-assignability, the ‘scribble strip’ with source and destination info, the REAC connectability, and the multi-screen capability.” Murray had prepared to use an array of plug-ins and outboard gear, but discovered that the M-5000’s EQ and dynamics processing are first rate. “I tend to be skeptical about built-in processing, but the M-5000 is not like other consoles,” she says. “I really like the sound of the reverb and other effects, including ‘space echo.’” In fact, Murray, who says she’s not a fan of gates on drums, says she’s actually found herself using the M-5000’s gates exactly for that. “They really are smooth sounding,” she says. “I’ve really fallen in love with the M-5000. It’s a great board.”
The M-5000 is also out with Sabrina Carpenter on her EVOLution Tour 2016, with one M-5000 console at FOH run by Karan “Kenny” Narayan, and one with monitor mixer Nathan Langford. The M-5000 was suggested to them by the band’s tour manager, and they spent time with it at Roland’s California offices before taking the consoles into a week’s worth of pre-tour rehearsals. Langford says the M-5000’s benefits became clear immediately. “On other consoles, there’s always one or two things that I wish I could do but can’t — some particular way of routing something, for instance — because the console just can’t accommodate it,” he says. “On the M-5000, that’s not the case at all. There’s nothing I can’t do.” Langford says he’s especially pleased with how the M-5000 lets him send his cue buss to a matrix and send all his talkback channels to an aux and then also send them to a matrix. “So all of my talkback mics are always live and always sitting on top of whatever I’m soloing,” he explains. In addition, Langford says that for his dual role as the tour’s Production Manager, he’s also able to route the comm radios through the cue buss and bring them up on his in-ear monitors. “That’s huge. I love that,” he says. The EVOLution Tour 2016 also makes use of a pair of Roland S-4000-3208 8x32 Modular Stage Units. Langford likes that he can connect the M-5000 to it with just a pair of Cat-5e cables, but he’s especially happy with the sound of the S-4000’s mic preamps, which have been specifically designed for live sound applications and provide superb audio quality. “During rehearsal, we were running at 96 kHz and the sound was simply incredible — it was hi-fi,” he recalls. “We took it down to 48 kHz for the tour so we could up the channel count for recording, and it still sounded amazing.” And the tour also uses the Roland R-1000 48 Channel Recorder, which Langford uses to give the band instant playbacks during sound checks, something he says is a great confidence builder for a young artist — Sabrina is 17 — on her first headlining tour. “Once we’re further along, we’ll also be able to use the R-1000 for virtual sound checks,” he says. “It’s been great working with a Roland system on this tour.”
Three very different artists, three very different tours, three sets of technical personnel, but all of them are finding the M-5000 and the entire Roland REAC family to be what they need to get their music across, loud and clear.
To learn more, please visit http://proav.roland.com/ohrca/.