On the Road with Maroon 5
VENUE Heads Out On The Road With Maroon 5 In Support Of The Band’s Sophomore Album.
Daly City, CA — The remarkable thing about Maroon 5 is that their 2002 debut release, Songs About Jane, not only garnered just about every award in the book—from Grammy® Awards to MTV Music Awards—it produced multiple hit singles that allowed the band to tour extensively throughout 2003–2005. And now their sophomore studio outing, It Won't Be Soon Before Long, released this spring, is expected to be just as fruitful. The band is already slated to appear on several major TV shows, including “Saturday Night Live” and the “Today” show, and the worldwide tour could potentially continue through 2009. For the latter, Maroon 5 engineer Ryan Cecil decided to take the VENUE system on the road to handle the band’s monitor needs.
For Cecil, it’s the VENUE system’s sound quality and usability that gets him excited. “The sound quality blows away any of the other console options out there,” he remarks. “I have used most of the other digital desks out there, and was not a fan at all. I found them to be very cold-sounding.”
When management wanted to switch from an analog console to digital, citing a number of reasons, Cecil chose VENUE. “I decided to trust what my fellow engineers were saying and took VENUE along for the ride,” he says. “I had only seen [VENUE] on a few gigs, but never got a chance to mix on it. I was given a chance by the folks at Scorpio Sound in Boston to come down and pre-program what I could on it. A week later, and with only about an hour of set-up, I had the band playing in rehearsals on it—fully satisfied. Being able to walk into places such as live sets with only a microphone package, and have [VENUE feel] like it’s the console I have been using for months—within minutes—is amazing. On this tour I am filling in as production manager, and that wouldn’t have been possible with an analog desk. It is easy to see why this is quickly becoming the standard by which all other digital consoles will be measured.”
For Maroon 5, Cecil runs 48 inputs from the stage to the FOH Rack, which houses the full five-DSP card complement. He also makes extensive use of the VENUE system’s PQ™ matrixes to provide an added level of flexibility (compared to traditional auxiliary busses), employing six PQ matrix outputs along with 24 auxiliary busses to drive effects and other miscellaneous items. “Having user-defined inputs on the matrix mixers is amazing when you need to send a number of sources to an effects plug-in, but don’t want to dedicate an aux or sub-group,” he says. “This has made [VENUE] able to do what I would generally need a 40-bus console to do—that and the ability to drive any effects plug-in from a channel strip direct output.”
Another major selling point for Cecil was discovering that the VENUE system’s onboard plug-ins could actually replace racks of his favorite analog outboard gear. “When I heard that the Smack!™ compressor was modeled after one of my favorite units, and that I could expect similar results, after trying it I haven’t looked back since.”
He also praises the VENUE system’s D-Show® software for its ease of use. “After growing up on computers, using the D-Show software is similar to using any other computer software. You want to copy a channel? Just right-click, paste—same thing. It makes dialing-in mixes a snap. The ability to move channels around proved to be priceless when our keyboard player changed his rig—and his approach for asking for things. What in the past would have been a confusing cross-labeling turned out to be a few seconds of ‘move this fader here,’ etc. It really is simple to use.”
Cecil, with the help of Avid, also created a rather unique talkback system for the band. “The guys all have switch mics that come into the console. I have that set up with a ducker plug-in on the cue bus. When the guys ask for something, it keys the ducker to lower the overall volume of the cue mix and keep their talkback on top. It keeps it from getting way too loud in my ears! I can’t really say enough about the support from the team at Digi—Sheldon, Lee, Chant, and Robert have all been very helpful.”
For more information about Maroon 5, tour dates, and other media, visit the band’s official website at www.maroon5.com.
VENUE live sound environment is revolutionizing the art and profession of live sound mixing with studio-quality sound, TDM plug-in effects processing, and direct connectivity to industry-standard Pro Tools® recording and playback systems. For more information about the VENUE line of products, visit www.avid.com/venue.