Niles, IL--The 2010 touring season has been a busy one for rock icon Slash, who hit the road for tours of Europe, Asia, and the U.S. in support of his eponymous solo album, which was released this past spring. Slash, which has reached #3 on the Billboard 200 and #1 on its Rock, Hard Rock, and Independent album charts, features a variety of guest vocalists. After a successful world tour through Asia and Europe in support of the album, Slash began his highly anticipated U.S. dates in August.
Monitor mixing for the tour’s U.S. leg was handled by veteran independent engineer Monty Carlo for sound company Audio Analysts. Carlo, who is also president/founder of Book of Lies, a tour itinerary provider, remarks, “It’s basically an all-Shure stage, because Slash is a Shure endorser,” he notes, “and frankly, that makes my job a lot easier.”
Of course, Slash is best known for his distinctive guitar tone. Like many guitarists, Slash sticks with the tools that helped him make his name, maintaining a hardwired connection to his custom Marshall rig, which is miked with a pair of Shure ribbon microphones. “The KSM313 is very sonically neutral,” says Carlo. “What I like about these mics is that they sound like the guitar. It allows me to replicate the tone of Slash’s cabinets with virtually no EQ, typically just hi- and lo-pass filters. We’re using the front side of the 313 for the fuller, warmer sound.” The band’s other two guitars are miked with Shure’s SM27 condenser mics on the cabinets. In the final mix, all guitar mics are combined with a Palmer PDI-09 direct box.
Lead vocals for Slash’s touring band are handled by Myles Kennedy, who uses a Shure UHF-R wireless system with Beta 58A capsule. Backing vocals are hardwired SM58s. The only other wireless systems in use on stage are a pair of PSM 900 personal monitors, used by Kennedy and bassist Todd Kerns. Monitor mixer Monty Carlo and guitar tech Chet Huan wear them as well.
“Shure has a fantastic handle on RF these days. I’ve been a big fan of the UHF-R system ever since it came out, and now the PSM 900 has really taken in-ears to the next level,” says Monty. “It sounds fantastic, and it’s clearly been designed to make life easy for monitor engineers.” He calls out the ability to program all transmitters with a single bodypack as a great time-saver, and finds the menu layout very intuitive. He characterizes Shure’s new patent-pending CueMode feature as “a lifesaver. Being able to listen to all my frequencies and mixes on a single bodypack is a great tool. And checking all my frequencies right before the band hits the stage is a nice change from having to carry a handful of packs around.”
The drum miking is Shure from top to bottom. Brent Fitz��s kick drum is captured by a Beta 91A boundary mic, mounted on a soft pillow inside the drum for stable, repeatable positioning. The three toms are miked by the Beta 56®A, attached directly to each drum with Shure’s unique A56D drum mount. “Those mics are great on the kit,” says Monty Carlo. “Between the articulating capsule and the drum mounts, we get the mics in exactly the same position every show, and the Beta 56 can take an erratic stick hit better than a smaller capsule might.”
Of course, no drum kit is complete without the venerable SM57, and Monty Carlo uses three of them, for snare top, snare bottom, and cowbell. “Using two mics allows me to give each musician a little more choice in their snare sound without having to over-EQ a single 57 on top. So if someone wants a little more ‘crack’ in their monitor mix, I can simply bring up the bottom mic as needed.”
Cymbals are all handled by Shure studio condensers, with a pair of KSM32s overhead, mounted 8-10 inches above the highest cymbal. For the hi-hat and the ride cymbals, Carlo uses the KSM141. “Brent Fitz likes a fair amount cymbal in his ear mix, and he’s really happy with the combination of mics we’re using,” he reports. “They all have a clean, smooth sound, and the compact size of the KSM141 makes them perfect to squeeze into tight spots on the drum kit.”
With Slash being a Shure endorsing artist, Monty Carlo notes that the input list “reads a bit like a Shure brochure, but I wouldn’t change a thing. Being a monitor engineer is all about giving the artists exactly what they want to hear, and having an all-Shure stage makes that a breeze.” After an end-of-year break, Slash will hit the road again in 2011, starting with U.S. dates in January and February.