Kenny Kaiser, Front of House Engineer, The Killers

Live Sound Mixing

Kenny Kaiser, Front of House Engineer, The Killers

During sound check at the Mohegan Sun Arena, Front of House Engineer Kenny Kaiser takes time out to share wisdom from his years or experience in live sound engineering, and from life on the road with US rock phenomenon, The Killers.

Video Text:

0:00:04.6 –>
I think the same story with every live sound engineer they were in a band at some point right I mean everyone’s been in a band so high school was in a band I was fortunate to have a high school music teacher that had a recording setup ain’t dat membre that’s yeah dude started messing around with that after school got into a band band got signed was touring with my band and then when we were on tour I was working at clubs mixing sound and stuff like that started realizing I was making more money working at clubs and being in my own band so band dispersed started working a club start getting in the corporate scene a little bit then started posing on back to the music scene a little bit and

0:01:01.4 –>
started working for a bunch of companies down the south and New York worked for Selena Gomez hanging PA and then moved into the system Tech round with stuff just because I think that’s really fascinating to me about the system tech work for train when I was Billy Talent as an MLA tech the list goes on and on eventually started working for Foo Fighters for a little bit as their monitor tech audio crew chief for them on their Sound City stuff and then moved into this afterwards started as a system tech for these guys started as a PA tech actually hung PA for a little bit system tech left I’ve moved in the system Tech and then management over and a house engineer just part of ways and I got in the hot seat so killers we got six guys up there obviously we have the four members and then we have two auxilary players that pretty much just play keyboard pirates patches stuff like that piece of guitar

0:02:01.3 –>
every once in a while they’re the type of band where they like that like every other band they want to hear the album come off the stage so that’s why we have the auxilary players everyone’s pretty much on in ears which is nice except for Brandon we have a lot of wedges and side fills on the deck so it gets pretty loud up there it’s a rocking band can’t get away from that so the approach that we went for like 87 inputs something like that I think we actually trimmed it down to like 60 60 67 scammy closed mic everything I don’t even have a condenser on the stage I don’t like condensers on stage when you’re dealing with wedges and stuff like that they’re fine with if everyone’s on in ears but I don’t have that luxury so we have all dynamic mics on there I’ll take it back the only condenser we have is the beta 91 in the kick drum but I just it’s so loud and there’s so many speakers all over the place on the deck that for me to have a condenser and start bringing up the gain

0:03:01.2 –>
you just open up that that orb on the microphone even more once you start adding voltage to it so why would you do that just make it small you know I think it’s I think it’s you know he just causing trouble for yourself when you start doing that stuff we just switched over all the keyboards into digital processing we’re going Dante off the keyboard now Ronny’s kit standard – kicks – mics on the kick snare top bottom Tom’s we under huh under miked all the cymbals just to get a better stereo image for the ears we also do our own broadcast records on the festivals and stuff like that we keep everything in-house with this with this group we don’t like having the third party in it so just gives a better image on that guitar setup we just have three mics on the guitars who’s got two effects amplifiers left and right then a clean channel bass same thing dirty clean D eyes bass Mike a bunch of vocals you know so wash your microphones at

0:04:00.5 –>
1:00 don’t ah basically I have it so I primarily work off this tile right here I got all my VCA stems effects master groups and on stuff over here I got the majority of the instruments over here treat this section for vocals and keyboards treat this section for anything that has a microphone instrument microphone excuse me and that’s pretty much it the other thing I did basically it’s all identical so I could if I wanted VCS over here one day I can do that whatever I just basically copied everything so all the tiles of the same exact thing I got the three solo so I have a headphone solo I got my near-field solo then the third solo I have out it’s go into my smart rig so I can actually cue up smart see with actually the mics actually doing I have the near fields running off a matrix so the idea is the new fields are for solo showing queuing stuff up I hate headphones don’t like it Plus also

0:05:00.3 –>
sometimes you just it’s nice to he or something off of real speaker so I’m able to sell those stuff in traditional solo stuff when you solo you can’t hear talkback mics might be something important company I’ll by the way this happened or this guitars not working we need to meet something while I’m still in solo mode I’m able to hear all the talkback mics going on so basically I just routed my solo into a matrix and then off that matrix I have all the talkback mics going as well so that way I don’t don’t miss any important cues offstage or if there’s any issues going on we don’t lose contact we just kind of nice V CAS are controlling stems got a lot of stem stuff going on on the drums and the guitars and bass and stuff like that I tend to try to if it’s multiple microphones or multiple elements on one instrument I try to treat it as one fader or one instrument so I don’t necessarily EQ each individual mic I’ll high-pass it but then I send it to a

0:06:00.3 –>
group or the stem and then EQ that stem treati is one instrument so do a lot of work me and Marty have been very conscious of fixing it at the source I mean because I think we’ve lost that we’ve lost that touch we just basically deal with what we get dealt with and if you actually have a conversation with the ins with the artists and luckily for our guys they’re very in tune with that and they like hearing feedback of what sounds good what doesn’t sound good because ultimately they want to sound good so there you go okay the biggest one is uh Marty my monitor engineer has Brandon sitting at about 108 a way to peek Brandon talking in his wedges so that’s one challenge the other challenge is we do they do like to do a lot of club shows warm-up shows after shows and

0:07:01.1 –>
stuff like that just kind of change it up so I go from headlining a festival to an arena to 250-seat club with that you have to think of packaging how you’re going to get that rig in there how you’re going to actually get it upstairs because a lot of clubs don’t have elevators or lifts or Union help you know so keeping the package small and tight everything’s in this thing that I need so I don’t need to have any outboard gear which is nice I don’t have to deal with all that stuff and I mean there’s a lot of cool functionality on this console to help me get Brandon’s vocal up off the band and off the deck and all that stuff so when you have large racks of gear that’s more of a potential of things to fail tubes come loose lot of things happen on the road so everybody having everything on here it’s simple it’s safe the reverb sound awesome I’m using a gated verbs on

0:08:02.7 –>
the drums bring it back what’s up using a bunch of the buss compressors the delays one cool thing I’m using I’m actually using the phase scope on a lot of stuff have those set up as an ox and those are the only oxygens I’m using on the console so I’m able to send multiple mics it’s on one instrument to this be able to check phase time everything up just like what you use when you timing mains and side hangs we’ll use that all the time so I’ll be able to have that on every input it’s amazing the other thing I use on this is your audio mixer brandon has three vocal mics on stage that he jumps around back and forth and before I was playing the mute game where is he at it’s really hard to play the mute game when you have a complete blackout like word is going to jump out next I’ll be able to do this and be able to just to assign the mics into that and

0:09:02. –>
not have to worry about it’s one less thing I have to worry about on the deck which is awesome I wasn’t really happy with the other consequence had some issues here and there we did we just got off an Asia run or just humid things were starting acting up and stuff like that so I was a little just hesitant luckily for me I live in San Francisco and Louis over at hi-tech basically I guess he’s one of your partners something like that he had a bunch of them he has every single console and I was just sitting there and he actually just got this guy in there knows it can I ask him if I can play on it for a couple hours of yeah go ahead so I literally hooked up a little tiny with a little tiny fostex powered speakers hooked up in that and just tried to get signal going in and out of the thing I I got it going and just with some music and I literally tapped that two button on this thing and just with the music and it just off that little tiny fostex speaker just made it alive I

0:10:02.6 –>
want this so uh luckily after that happened there was like another class like class happening a week after that I joined the class Jane Fernando were there started messing around got more in-depth knowledge on the console and it just sold it sold it for me so took it out from there and it’s been awesome ever since I think there’s a huge advantage of being able to have a console that sounds good off the bat it doesn’t suck that should be the new slogan this thing doesn’t suck and it’s I think it’s it’s getting back to the way it used to be right I mean like the old minuses the old you know four KS and all that stuff the old paragon consoles this thing sounded awesome and because it sounded awesome you didn’t need to do a whole lot to it but again we settled for features for a very

0:11:01.6 –>
long time and I think we basically just kind of you know got fed up with it and put out this thing and it sounds awesome we’re back to the way it was like this thing sounds awesome and it has features okay it’s also got a cool cup holder one of the first shows we did or I did with these guys I think it was like some club in Quebec some like some tiny tiny club and we were in there and it was just me talking on a 58 and I actually had the front-of-house guy come in to me I was like what are you using on the vocal my question was like what are you talking about what do you what you have on this console it’s using well I have nothing I just nothing’s on this vocal and he said I’ve never heard an image that wide in this PA system before and this console just has this way of just making everything just open up and it’s so much easier to have everything have a place and everything sit a lot better because

0:12:00.9 –>
you’re you’re producing all that energy I mean like you can you put smart you put pink noise through this and actually cue it up and smart it’s it’s flat all the way past and I mean smart only goes to you know 20 to 20 but you got all that Low Energy you got all that high energy that’s still there that obviously I mean speakers won’t produce but it’s just it’s there you know so coming from a system tech standpoint dealing with other engineers and stuff like that I find that a lot of guys get stuck on a certain way that certain way to mix certain things like they have little tricks of the use for the other bands and stuff like that my approach is if you go on a date you want a fresh new pair of Underpants you know like you keep it fresh you know you don’t want to take it some things that you do with other X or on other consoles may not work for that act or for that console or even PA for that standpoint you know you

0:13:00.9 –>
should just clean slate start from bare bones start minimum don’t just automatically oh I need this I have to have this I have to have this start clean start building from there pretty much you know so I feel that a lot of front-of-house engineers don’t really get the system tech standpoint of it so I mean trick up my sleeve as I cata read up on new PA read up on new messes the method of tuning and just array processing whatever you need to do just the new hop bee’s knees the other thing too is like when I go into a festival situation I tend to lean on the system tech more because 80% of the time the system techs going to know more than you this basic he hung the PA he knows how it’s going you know I mean you got to put that to like there’s some there’s some dodgy stuff out there but pretty much 80% of the time the system tech

0:14:00.2 –>
knows more than you you I feel that like a lot of guys try to just have a lot of stuff going on try to just overcompensate for stuff and you just get a good console that sounds right you know we’re like just make it sound like it’s the post well what’s that you love the sound of the stereo breast compressor yeah yeah six eleven EQ is your favorite

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