Pearl Jam, now back on the road in support of new release “Backspacer”, is utilizing EAW MicroWedge MW12 stage monitors selected by the band’s long-time Monitor Engineer Karrie Keyes and provided by Rat Sound Systems of Oxnard, CA.
Among the challenges Keyes faces this tour are limited stage space, very loud stage volume and meeting the individual sound preferences of each of the musicians. The goal is to have no “pockets” on stage without sound, with lead singer Eddie Vedder being the loudest and the clearest, as he thrives on the volume.
She adds that monitor system is straightforward - devoid of gates, compressors and elaborate effects packages.
Meeting these needs led to Keyes’ selection of MicroWedge MW12 wedges, which she had previously used for Vedder’s and Ament’s mixes in 2008.
She has used previous MicroWedge models to a limited extent, but that’s changed given the significantly upgraded performance of the new EAW version.
“I am using the MicroWedge MW12 for Ed’s guitar mix,” explains Keyes. “They are wonderful and I can get them to sound very close to his guitar rig’s sound without much EQ or trouble.So far I have found no other wedge that comes as close. The small footprint helps as well, as we have limited stage space.
“We"re also using MicroWedge for Matt’s (Cameron) drumfill, with a left and right mix plus a sub. We have had challenges in the past with Matt getting his drumfill world right, so finding the right combo has been a crucial hurdle we have overcome. Large drumfills and in-ear systems left him fatigued and with ears ringing. They need very little EQ and the smooth high end does not add to ear fatigue. The band thrives on the stage volume, which provides the energy to rock.”
“There are two types of wedges: those that are loud, and those that sound good. Usually a wedge is not both, but the new EAW MicroWedge is the exception.”
Pearl Jam is just completing the U.S. and Canada tour legs and will soon be moving on to Australia and New Zealand, joined by MicroWedge MW12 monitors.