Foo Fighters Rely on Yamaha RIVAGE PM10 Digital Audio Consoles for North American Tour
Known around the world, the Foo Fighters are an American rock band that formed in Seattle, Washington in 1994. Founded by Nirvana drummer Dave Grohl, it began as a one-man project following the dissolution of Nirvana. Now 23 years later, they are hitting the road again; the band’s first stop was on Memorial Day weekend at the Bottlerock Festival in Napa Valley, CA, followed by dates in Europe and the North American tour picking up in September all the while using dual Yamaha RIVAGE PM10 Digital Audio Consoles. Hi-Tech Audio (Hayward, CA) provided Yamaha RIVAGE PM10 Digital Audio Consoles for the house and monitor engineer positions at BottleRock with audio production handled by Delicate Productions (Hayward and Camarillo, CA).
“When the opportunity came about to hear the PM10 in person, I heard from a few other engineers that I should go check it out,” says Bryan Worthen, front of house engineer for the Foo Fighters. “When the multi-track was playing I didn’t play with the desk, I listened to it. All the bells and whistles are great but would it get the sound I am looking for? Once we started playing around on the desk the choice was clear to take it on tour. The pre-amps sound unbelievably natural, with no digital saturation and was one of the biggest reasons for the change in console.”
Worthen has used Yamaha PM3K, 4K, 1D and 5Ds in the past. “The PM10 user interface took a little time to get used to, but once I got the menu structure, it became easy to navigate and mix, no longer having to play around finding a menu, I can just mix how I want. The console sounds great! The best part is being able to mix and get the sound I am looking for without having to use outboard gear or the taboo word for Phil Reynolds (front of house system tech) and I….plug-Ins! The desk should be able to spin a mix without using the extra ingredients before anything else. The onboard effects and compressors sound great so why add external gear? The routing and flexibility for being able to do upwards compression while keeping the native time of the desk phase coherent was the icing on the cake.” Worthen said they are using VCM and SILK on a bunch of channels to add sparkle or adjust a specific channel’s tone. “Just the desk without SILK sounds great, but it’s a whole other level when you turn SILK on.”
Long-time Foo Fighters monitor engineer, Ian Beveridge says his experience with Yamaha reliability, backup and support from his many years on the Yamaha PM1D that he used right from its release, was a determining factor on the decision to mix on the PM10. “The console sounds very articulate, clean, and detailed without any harshness. It feels like I am using a scalpel instead of a butter knife. In other words, I can do pretty much whatever I imagine and the console responds exactly as I want. The onboard EQ and compression is stunning.”
Beveridge says he mainly uses VCM and SILK processing on selected channels. “I use Blue SILK on anything too bright or distorted and Red SILK to add just a little sparkle for compression on vocal channels. Because of the flexibility of the PM10, I can make it as complicated as I wish; I’ve adopted a very simple layout and structure to begin which I am evolving on a daily basis as my workflow and the Foo Fighters set/show develops. I’m very excited to be taking the PM10 on the road.”
Reynolds adds that both desks are using two HY-Dante cards. “We are recording at both front of house and monitors. At front of house we multi-track the show for archive and virtual sound check. In monitors we have the option for Ian to do the same so he can listen and adjust mixes without having the band. Also, we are starting to use Talk to Stage and Talk to FOH channels via Dante so as not to use up Inputs on the stage racks. Once the inputs are on the desk, I just patch in the Dante controller to either desk. I also take all the PA sends, solo, and talkbacks to my drive system for distribution to the PA and have built a small tech mix for myself and the monitor tech so we can have another line of communication.”
Reynolds also notes that he has been using CL and QL consoles pretty often so knowing that menu set, the PM10 is very easy to get around. “The best is being able to setup a system tech page on the desk and grab my page so when Bryan is mixing I can jump to my page to check outputs, or adjust something for my end of the system. We use multiple matrix for sending to the PA. Bryan is only mixing Left and Right, but since we have so many matrix available on the desk, I send stems to my drive rack to route out to the system. We feel the least amount of processing between he (Bryan) and the PA is the best.”
Dante is also being used for multi-track broadcasting at festivals, with an analog split between the front of house and monitor PM10s. Instead of putting a third split on the inputs’ impedance, they use a MADI device to interface to broadcast trucks back stage.
“This is also cool since we can pick either desk to send to the truck depending on whether the broadcast engineer wants the monitor or front of house desk headamps,” adds Reynolds. “Not that there is a big difference between gains on the desk, but the backup plan is there. So if the truck didn’t get enough time during line check, I can just route last night’s recording to the Midi box and they can have however much time they need without having to keep the stage online.”