During a recent performance with Nonpoint, front of house engineer Angel Graves shared his first experience with the Bose Professional ShowMatch line array system. “Before that show, I wasn’t too aware of Bose as a live music brand,” Graves recalls. “I was working with Nonpoint on their Hellyeah Tour, which was a celebration of Vinnie Paul from Pantera, and it was the very last show of the tour. I remember the audio at soundcheck was phenomenal. The equipment was a Bose ShowMatch PA matched with a Soundcraft Vi Series console. Normally, I’m prepared to do some drastic EQ’ing at soundcheck, but as soon as we were running the test tracks, I knew that wouldn’t be necessary.”
Graves’ rich experience is the result of training that some might call “the best of both worlds”: intensive instruction at a top recording program (Full Sail University), as well as close mentorships with working engineers Bruce Reiter (Five Finger Death Punch), Eddie Mapp (Papa Roach, Evanescence), Eddie Oertell (GWAR) and others. This all led to Graves working front of house with rock bands From Ashes to New, New Years Day, Alien Ant Farm, Ded, P.O.D., Nonpoint and others. He has developed his own style as an engineer, and his ears are fully attuned to the intricacies of various venues and P.A. setups.
Graves has a unique way of mixing vocals for live rock bands. “I focus on vocals first and mix the band around it,” he remarks. “A lot of rock vocalists tend to ‘cup’ the mic when they hold it, which sound guys tend to dislike because it distorts the sound. Personally, I just work around it with some fine-tuning using a multi-band compressor and judicious microphone selection. This can still be a challenge when presented with a new system at a venue we haven’t played at before, but the Bose ShowMatch system really accommodated the experience we were bringing to the stage. The singer’s vocal sat nicely in the upper-mid range without clashing with the guitars, and I found no need to make any changes between soundcheck and showtime, when the room was full of fans. I look forward to encountering ShowMatch again.”