As a performer, Julian Coryell plays a wide variety of gigs, sometimes solo, often with his trio and other groups. He may play a small club today and a stadium tomorrow.
But a lot of his gigs are in intimate settings, and for these, his Mackie Reach integrated, portable, all-in-one Professional PA system has become a crucial tool.
Coryell’s musical odyssey began with his first guitar at the age of five. Growing up in a musical home (his father is guitar player Larry Coryell).
Coryell quickly developed his own style, adeptly fusing rock, pop, jazz, blues, R&B, classical, and more. A trained vocalist and multi-instrumentalist, Coryell has toured with the likes of Alanis Morissette, Aimee Mann, Leonard Cohen, Dave Brubeck, and Billy Cobham. He’s also an accomplished producer and co-owner of a busy full-service recording facility in Southern California.
“Reach is perfect for gigs where a lot of small PAs won’t cut it but a big PA with a separate mixer is overkill,” Coryell explains. “For a lot of gigs, I need more than two inputs but not dozens, and I have to be loud but not ear-blasting. Reach hits that sweet spot. It includes good-sounding effects, so you really do have everything in one unit.”
As Coryell observes, today’s musicians are asked to do more with less.
“Years ago, if you were going to a gig, you had someone to help haul your equipment,” he recalls, “but not anymore. So having a light, portable, loud, integrated, multichannel PA makes a big difference. I can just walk in, put the Reach onstage, plug in, and start playing-no hassling with a lot of wires, no delayed start times because a soundman took too long to get the PA together.”
Reach features Mackie’s EarShot personal monitoring system, which utilizes a side-facing, full-range speaker on each side, individually defeatable, with independent level control. “I usually leave the monitors on but I like that you can turn them off in some situations,” Coryell notes. “You also can use the monitor section to extend the main room coverage so you can reach more people.”
Coryell is a fan of the Mackie Connect app, which offers wireless control of Reach from an iOS or Android device.
“The app is great, and it’s easy to use,” he insists. “Once you sit down and start playing, you don’t want to get up to adjust the PA. Besides, things sound different out front. With Mackie Connect, you can sit or stand where you want, grab your phone, and tweak.”
He has found the Reach’s Bluetooth connectivity quite useful for streaming break music from his phone between sets. It’s also handy for teaching. “I often stream tracks to the Reach for students to hear and play along,” he relates. “Reach’s mixer lets me independently control the student’s level, my level, and the tracks.”
Of course, Reach’s convenience, portability, and features would be worthless without impressive sound quality.
“I recently did a jazz gig where I used the Reach just for vocals, and it was incredible,” Coryell relates. “It sounded like two large, high-quality speakers on stands. As a singer, I am very persnickety about the PA sound, and I did not want for anything that night-it was perfect.”
His band mates were impressed, too. “The organ player’s wife is a vocalist, and after the first song, he asked me about the Reach, then took photos and texted them to his wife, telling her the Reach would be perfect for her,” he recalls. Coryell also played his nylon-string guitar through the Reach for his improvisational trio, which features guitar, fretless bass, and percussion. “It performed beautifully,” he adds.
Reach is a valuable tool for today’s gigging environment, observes Coryell. “Musicians are increasingly expected to provide high-quality service without a lot of help,” he concludes. “The Reach can do it all, and I’m delighted to no longer have to haul and set up a lot of gear in order to get a great sound.”