For many years now, iHeart Radio has produced a tour every November and December called the Jingle Ball. And somehow I often find myself working for one of the artists performing on the tour. And 2018 was no exception. While out on tour with DNCE, we did a few shows in Japan and Sabrina Carpenter was billed as the support act. I had worked with her management before and they had asked if I would mix her for those shows since I was going to be there anyways. And I happily obliged. So when it came time for Sabrina to perform on the Jingle Ball tour, I was asked to join the team. It was a fun couple of weeks bouncing around the US and hitting all of the markets Sabrina was on the bill for. Firehouse Productions is and has been the sound provider for the tour and I've developed a really good working relationship with Simon who is the audio lead for tour as well as the rest of the crew who for them has become an annual tour. It has become a sort of family reunion which has been great. Getting a chance to see everybody and get caught up and to know that you will be well taken care of on the tour. I can't say enough wonderful things about the experiences I've had on the tour historically with them.
Firehouse brings out a l'Acoustics K1 line array speaker system which is one of the best sounding and most preferred speakers on tour right now and definitely one of my favorites. They also provide Digico Consoles for the tour with SD10's at Front of House and SD7's at Monitors. Firehouse has really perfected the execution of this tour with how they plan for patching the stage which is a turntable style stage so while one artist is performing, the next artist to perform is undergoing their line check on the back side of the turntable so once the artist performing has finished, it's a 30 second turn of the stage and the next artist is ready to start the show. So this needs absolute precision and planning to execute flawlessly. They also handle all of the wireless RF management for everything from wireless microphones to in-ear monitors, to walkie talkies and other communication devices.
Sabrina is an amazing singer and excellent performer and so easy to work with. I decided to bring out my standard API 500 series lunchbox with all of the usual modules consisting of Shadow Hills Mono Gama microphone pre amp to get the level I need and to impart the tone of its Steel Transformer, API 565 Filter Bank which gives me high pass, low pass and band pass filters to control the highest and lowest frequencies as well as a potential problematic frequency in the middle of the audible spectrum, Rupert Neve 545 Primary Source Enhancer which has now become the most essential piece of gear for controlling live vocals and helps eliminate feedback while giving as much as 6dB of additional gain before feedback, SSL 611EQ to shape the overall tone, Inward Connections The Brute, which is a great optical limiter that musically compresses and contains the signal, Empirical Labs Derr Esser for taming sibilance, Rupert Neve 535 Diode Bridge Compressor which further tightens up the signal with variable attach and release rates, and finally a Maag EQ2 with its Air Band that finishes a vocal nicely.