Country artist Tim Rushlow and His Big Band performed a series of sold-out shows titled “Home for the Holidays” as they transformed the historic Nashville Palace into a 1960s Vegas-style Supper Club for a magical evening in a Winter Wonderland.
At the heart of the audio system supporting Rushlow and his all-star 22-piece big band was a Roland M-5000 OHRCA live mixing console at front of house position, a Roland M-5000C live mixing console for monitors and six M-48 live personal mixers. Additionally, the REAC (Roland Ethernet Audio Communication) protocol was used for primary audio transport, while Dante was used for recording each show and virtual soundcheck.
Front of house engineer Toby Caldwell, who began his career in Texas working for artists like Ray Benson and Asleep at The Wheel, Mac Davis, Joe Ely and the Flatlanders, Lonestar, Leon Russell and others, has used a number of consoles throughout his career but is particularly fond of the M-5000.
“I’ve used many different consoles over the years, but I’m extremely impressed with the audio quality and flexibility of the M-5000,” states Caldwell. “For Tim’s big band shows, it’s been really fun because there’s a lot of customizable features I’ve employed on the M-5000, like being able to create your user layers. It’s been really easy to deal with things like horn solos and things that move very quickly in his big band show – being able to jump across the desk really fast and get your hand on the fader you need to get to.
“When you’re mixing a big band it all can change a lot, and because there are ‘sub’ musicians on the gig, and also the horn players’ dynamics change also from night to night, you have to be able to jump around the console real fast, and you have to be able to get to the right knob you need real quick. It’s been very easy to get those things set up on the console. I also like the multi-band compressor plugins that are built in on it – they’re really sensitive and you can really use that feature to kind of hold the vocal where you need it to be held and really get the right stuff out of it.”
At the stage right position is Colten Hyten, who used the Roland M-5000C for monitors. “I’ve been using the M-5000 and M-5000C for about a year and a half,” comments Hyten. “I’ve used it for everything from big band to rock shows to a marching band. The desk itself is so flexible that you can use it for anything – it’s really versatile.
“For these big band shows we have a lot of musicians on stage, so we’re also running six M-48’s. Being able to give the players control of their individual mixes so they hear in their in-ears exactly what they want to hear is a blessing. A lot of them are studio musicians, so having that level of control in a live situation similar to what they would have in the recording studio has been amazing.”
Toby Caldwell echoes Colten Hyten’s comments on the M-48: “The M-48’s are pretty amazing. I was pretty astounded by the flexibility and the ability to make a group of that many musicians get exactly what they need in the headphones. The drummer is going to want something totally different on his box and have much more different control than, say, a piano player, and a piano player isn’t going to want ten tracks of drums on his rig; with the M-48’s, you can really set it up to where each person can have the exact set of sub-mixers they want and really get a comfortable mix on stage,” states Caldwell. “I think the M-48’s are probably about the most flexible system I’ve seen that enables a really large group of musicians to be able to really connect with each other on stage.”