025 - MIXING IN THE TACOMA DOME

I had a really fun show last weekend - I was mixing a regular client, Haim, but we were doing a special benefit show for VetsAid. It was organized by Joe Walsh (guitarist for the Eagles) and raises money for veterans groups around the country. Of course, he got a bunch of great artists to come support the good cause, including Chris Stapleton, Don Henley, James Taylor and Ringo Starr.

Given all this star power, we were doing the show in a large arena. This is always tough for audio, especially for the venue we were in - the Tacoma Dome. It’s a pretty big place that is a perfectly symmetrical dome, which makes it sound like there’s a huge reverb on everything!

Side stage at the Tacoma Dome

Side stage at the Tacoma Dome

Fortunately, we had some really great audio techs from Clair Global, one of the largest audio vendors/manufacturers in the world. They had their new Cohesion PA system flown for this show, which sounded great! Modern line array technology helps a ton in arenas like these because it it keeps the sound focused on the audience while keeping it away from the roof.

I was using the same console I always use for this band, the Avid S6L. So, it was pretty easy to load the file and get it up and going quickly. I was also having some good results with the McDSP plug-ins I use, especially the AE600 on Danielle’s lead vocal.

McDSP AE600 in action

McDSP AE600 in action

Despite the reverberant room, once 20,000 people got in there it tightened up a lot. This is the same in SO many venues, big or small: soundcheck can be tough but things change with an audience in the room! I just made sure I didn’t over-EQ the system during the soundcheck to try and compensate for the empty seats.

Anyway, the show went really well and Haim definitely made a lot of new fans. Joe Walsh even caught part of the set and stopped me backstage afterwards to give me a compliment on the FOH mix. I’ll count that as a success!

-Scott