Tasked with mixing KYGO’s Worldwide Arena tours in 2017 & 2018, we catch up with Park Studios head engineer Eds John to discuss his techniques and workflow in the studio, as apposed to his skills in the high pressure ‘Live’ environment. To add depth and relevance to the interview we relate his experience back to how he mixed KYGO’s ‘Live at the Hollywood Bowl’ show in 5.1 Surround sound last year back at The Park Studios.
Mixing KYGO Studio vs Live
TPS: How did you approach the Hollywood Bowl 5.1 Mix in the studio?
EDS: Prior to starting the mixing myself and musical director decided that the multitrack recordings from the Hollywood Bowl did not have enough separation from the playback system so we imported all the individual stems from Abelton to replace what had been recorded.
Next as with any 5.1 mix it starts with getting the stereo mix correct first and then the client signing off on this version.
I also felt the crowd ambience had not been captured as well as it could have been so I added some extra crowd noise I recorded a few years ago from a gig at the Royal Albert Hall.
TPS: Do you have a particular workflow when mixing in 5.1 as opposed to a stereo mix?
EDS: As with any 5.1 mix it starts with getting the stereo mix correct first and then the client signing off on this version.
I then do a stereo instrumental mix and a stereo vocal mix.
From there I start building the 5.1 mix by importing these 2 stereo mixes and all the individual ambient microphones.
The stereo instrumental mix gets place in the left and right speakers and the sub, the vocal mix gets placed in the centre speaker with a small amount in the Left and Right
I place the rear ambient mics into the the rear speakers of the 5.1 system and the other ambience into the left and right.
This is my starting place,, the instrumental mix will probably get tweaked later on in the process.
TPS: Did you use any outboard or plugins during the mix down of Hollywood Bowl Live?
EDS: I mixed this album entirely in the box in Pro Tools HD, as always the Waves C6 was used across the mix buss, orchestra buss and vocals.
For general EQ and compression I’m a fan of Waves Audiotrack. RBass was used in liberal amounts on Kicks and special FX. Waves H Delay is another favourite of mine used throughout the album.
TPS: Which plugins are you using in the live show? Did you use any of these in the studio mix?
EDS: Waves C6 Stereo Buss
Waves Vox Doubler (general vocal duties)
Waves DBX160 on all Vocals which the runs into a vocal grip where the Avid multi band compressor gives the final gloss.
Waves True Verb For Vocal reverbs
Avdi Multiband Compressor across the string section
X2 Avid Dverb one long one short for dub fx
X2 Avid Mod Delay, one for tap delays and another for simple slap back fx
Avid Revibe 2 for strings reverbs
Other than the C6 i use totally different plugins in the studio verses live.
Live I use an Avid S6L console with x2 Waves extreme servers, this means I have pretty much any plugin I would use in the studio available live.
I guess certain plugins lend themselves to live work and others to studio work, just a matter of taste really!
TPS: What are the main challenges of mixing in a live scenario as opposed to mixing in the studio?
EDS: They are such different disciplines that you really need to put a different head on for each scenario, after a long tour I have to ease myself back into the studio over a few days however I’m always ready to jump in at FOH on a gig.
A happy balance of the 2 jobs has made me better engineer all round.
A certain amount of studio knowledge is important these days in the touring world, every tour I do has a pro tools or similar recording system so the studio skills come in handy for that.
TPS: What musical references do you use when mixing an EDM artist such as KYGO? Any particular tunes you like to play through the PA?
EDS: For tuning the pa I always start with a Shure Beta 58a and my own voice just to iron out any potential lumps in the pa.
Next I have a playlist of go to tracks,
Freeland Burn The Clock
Freeland We Want your Soul
These track are really for testing what I cant do with a vocal mic, the extreme highs and extreme lows.
Eds tech specs for the live shows:
Avid S6L 32 D Console
Pro Tools HD 12 128 tracks over AVB
X2 Waves Extreme Servers
MAC Mini Running Soundgrid
x12 D&B J Sub Flown
x60 D&B J Series Flown ( Main Hangs and Side Hangs)
x24 D&B B22 ground subs
x8 D&B Y7P Front Fills
x6 D&B Y12P Front Fills
Kygo Kids In Love European Tour
05/Feb Helsinki Finland Ice Hall Arena
07/Feb Stockholm Sweden Globen Arena
09/Feb Oslo Norway Telenor Arena
11/Feb Copenhagen Denmark Royal Arena
13/Feb Amsterdam Netherlands Ziggo Dome
14/Feb Paris France Zenith
15/Feb Paris France Zenith
18/Feb Cologne Germany Lanxess Arena
22/Feb Dublin Ireland 3Arena
25/Feb London UK O2 Arena