Strait plays in the round on a diamond-shaped stage. As he moves from corner to corner to connect with his audience, Strait’s monitor engineer, Josh Kaylor, provides a consistent monitoring environment with separate mixes for Strait, members of his band and any guests using a dLive S5000 surface and DM64 MixRack.
Kaylor says he fell in love with the dLive after a demo in Dallas. “Speed and workflow are critical when I do monitors,” he says. “I need to move in and out of each instrument and each person and get to everything quickly and I was able to do that with the dLive. It’s probably the fastest console I’ve been on and the latency is very low so it sounds really good. When I spoke into it for a mic check, it was very transparent. I didn’t feel like I was going through a bunch of processors.”
There are three wedge monitors and a drum sub on the stage. However, nine of the twelve musicians, including Strait, use stereo, in-ear monitors and Kaylor says, “Strait wants his ears to sound like a studio recording.”
To meet this goal, Kaylor mixes Strait like a front of house engineer pushing up solos or instruments and adjusting the mix for the house. Despite being an “old school” engineer, he makes good use of the dLive’s digital features. dLive layers help him keep track of his twelve separate mixes and nearly fifty mics and direct feeds and he uses dLive compressors on Strait’s vocal mic and on bass. As the system is rented in for each of Strait’s Las Vegas shows, Kaylor backs up the dLive configuration to a USB thumb drive after each show.
In Kaylor’s experience, dLive displays “vast improvements to quality and workflow”. He comments, “When I first got the dLive, it was easy to understand and I figured out most of it by myself. It’s fast, it sounds good and it just made sense.”
George Strait performs in Las Vegas