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A Classic Summer Sequel: An Engineer Takes Us Behind The Scenes On The Steve Miller Band-Peter Frampton Tour

Discussing tour reinforcement techniques with the crew of a summer tour mixing analog and digital technologies for two rock 'n' roll legends.

By Jim Yakabuski October 8, 2018

The audio team for the Steve Miller Band-Peter Frampton tour at front of house. Front row, left to right: Tom Martinez, Scott Boorey, Jim Yakabuski. Back row, l-r: Sean Brady, Kyle “Baz” Bazinet, Jamie Carter, and Matt Fitzgerald. (Credit all images: Steve Jennings)

“I’ve always enjoyed mixing on an analog desk,” Boorey tells me. “In my opinion, the Heritage 3000 just sounds right for an artist like Steve Miller. The board is extremely warm, especially in the bottom end. The mic preamps have an abundant amount of headroom, which enables me to push the channel into compression.

“I also like to run the guitars flat (no EQ). Over the last 12-plus years every fellow engineer that has been on the road with us has commented on how great we sound using this particular console. They relay that they’re envious that we’re able to continue to use analog versus digital.”

It stands to reason that if he’s “all about the analog” with his console choice, then he probably keeps that theme going when putting together FX racks. “My rack consists of multiple analog devices,” Boorey confirms. “On Steve’s vocal I use an original LA2A tube compressor, and an original dbx 160 compressor on bass. I like old school Drawmer gates on kick and toms, and have a half-dozen different reverbs/processing units on vocals, guitars, keys and drums.” There’s a digital component as well, with a TC (Electronic) 2290 digital delay on Miller’s guitar to spread his sound left, right, and center.

“My number one goal is to mix the show as close to the original album performance, in keeping with current day audio standards. I like to place the vocals as forward as possible by using my harmonizer as a vocal gain tool. This will accomplish a fat and wide vocal sound.

Miller band front of house engineer Scott Boorey with his Midas Heritage 3000 analog console.

“We don’t use any sampling to enhance the vocals; everything the audience hears is coming directly off the deck. My drum sound consists of different reverbs and internal tom miking, and very little gating.”

Boorey and system engineer Tom Martinez have developed a special relationship going back over a dozen years. “During my 40-plus years of engineering, Tom is by far the finest system engineer that I’ve worked with,” Boorey says. “His attention to detail on a daily basis is unprecedented. I’m the Steve Miller Band manager first, so Tom’s expertise enables me to handle my management duties and mix the show on a nightly basis. When I arrive for sound check, I make minor adjustments to the individual inputs, house EQ and levels. We mutually understand what we’re trying to achieve sonically.”

System Engineer Tom Martinez

Boorey’s FOH rack is “mostly” analog, although there are some digital influences as well.

As Frampton’s FOH engineer, I also enjoy the fruits of Martinez’s labors, as well as Clearwing Productions, the sound company for the tour.

They consistently present a finely timed and optimized main system headed by L-Acoustics K1/K2 arrays, and Martinez’s thorough process and experience makes all the difference to making certain each seat in the house receives the most consistent, pristine sound.

I asked him about any noteworthy tests he faced on this tour. “The first challenge was designing a system that would provide consistent results in a wide variety of venues/environments. The K1, K2, and Kara combination has been an excellent choice; we’re able to design just the right system at each stop,” he notes.

 


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About Jim

Jim Yakabuski
Jim Yakabuski

Jim Yakabuski has spent more than 35 years as a live sound engineer, working with artists such Van Halen, Journey, Avril Lavigne, Peter Frampton, and many others. He's also by author of "Professional Sound Reinforcement Techniques," which provides a collection of tips and techniques for mix engineers. It's available via Amazon.
http://yaksound.com

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