Working for a band whose members are tech-fans that are willing to jump into new gear if they dig what it does is great – if the band likes it, it’s in. Proving that is a job that often falls to the engineers, and it’s how award-winning monitor engineer Kevin ‘Tater’ McCarthy got the new KLANG:fabrik 3D monitoring system on the rider for a tour with Linkin Park that will run through 2017.
“I can’t say enough about how great this thing is,” says Tater over his pair of KLANG:fabrik units, which reside in a rack beneath his DiGiCo SD7 mixing console. “And it benefits in ways you might not think of. I’ve been able to substantially lower levels in the in-ear mixes for the entire band—especially the click track. I just move that right to the front centre of the 3D field, like it’s right at their forehead, and then I cut its volume in half. The sound kind of sits there in its own little bubble and, since it’s not sonically competing with anything else, it does not need to be nearly as loud.”
Volume is an issue that Tater has spoken out about in the past, and the band members are all careful to protect their hearing from damage – especially Brad Delson, who plays with foam earplugs and over-the-ear, gun-muff style headphones.
The KLANG:fabrik is flexible in that the engineer can determine the best mix of inputs, outputs and sampling rate for the specific act or situation. “I’m running the KLANG at 96 kHz and can use all eight outputs and have enough processing for 27 inputs,” he says. The show is actually more like 95 inputs, so he’s running a mix of stems and individual channels.
Adding KLANG:fabrik to the system actually allowed Tater to eliminate some other gear. “We used to use a single Aviom unit for the drummer, and I was able to ditch that completely. The KLANG:app literally runs on anything. So instead of the Aviom, he’s got his iPad on a stand next to him, and now he has even more control than before.”
People might think of something like 3D audio as a novelty, but that’s not the case for Tater and Linkin Park. “We’ll be out for the rest of the year and we bought two units so we have a ‘just-in-case’ backup. It’s not an optional thing at this point. The KLANG:fabrik is now a staple part of the monitor rig for Linkin Park.”