Live Monitor Engineer Daniel Gonzales (Beyoncé, Frank Ocean, Gungor) is part of a growing trend of live audio professionals turning to tools from Waves Audio when working with some of the biggest names in music.
Gonzales has been using the Waves Mercury and SSL 4000 Collection SoundGrid bundles when mixing monitors for Beyoncé.
Gonzales notes: “I first started using Waves plugins while attending recording school in 2005. I was using Waves in my class projects, editing foley work and sound effects for movies. My first run with WavesLive was touring with Phil Wickham, where I was using classics like the SSL 4000 and API plugins, with an Avid Venue console or with MultiRack on other consoles.
“There is a great advantage in having more tools at your disposal. If you were mixing with a standard analog desk, you would probably like the onboard EQ and dynamics for some things but not for others, and you would probably supplement the desk with some outboard gear. Also, some of the tools Waves offers, like dynamic EQ/multiband compression and graphic analyzers, weren’t offered by most digital consoles at the time.
“The more tools you have in your toolbox, the better equipped you are to handle any job. It doesn’t mean you’ll be using every tool every single time, but at least you will have them when you need them.”
“My must-have plugins are SSL E-Channel, CLA 1176 and C6 Multiband Compressor, for starters. With the SSL E-Channel, you can load up to 20 instances of the plugin and use them on anything—EQ, Comp, Gate, it’s all there. It’s a beast plugin, and it’s my first choice for drums.
“The CLA 1176 is a killer compressor! I use it for snare and vocals. It puts the snap in my snare and levels my vocals on top of the mix. It has a great sonic quality; it’s very unique, and it has a magical way of handling the dynamics of an input. The C6 Multiband Compressor is usually last on almost every one of my output chains. I use it to create a ‘shape’ for the final mix. With the EQ/compression combo, I can massage the entire mix and make it feel just right.”
Gonzales adds: “The unique challenge of being a monitor mixer for Beyoncé is how to make the mix huge and powerful in the in-ears without being so loud that it would ruin your hearing after a two-hour show. Waves tools are indispensable for this purpose. I can compress things subtly and take the edge off many of the inputs; this way I can even out Beyoncé’s mix and create space for the ‘loud’ moments while keeping her vocal on top the entire time.
“With these great compressors you can do some major action on a dynamic input, without ruining it or bringing negative attention to it. The CLA 1176 and C6 do a great job on this!”