Linkin Park – Front of House Ken ‘Pooch’ Van Druten
Linkin Park have been rocking for almost twenty years and are one of the best-selling bands of modern times.
Ken “Pooch” Van Druten at the Front of House and Vic Wagner as Systems tech create the Wall of Sound live.
The sound reinforcement system is a VTX system from JBL.
Read more about Mixing in the book “The Mixing Engineer’s Handbook 4th Edition“
you know mic placement gain structure EQ and high-pass filtering and if you give me all of those tools then I can make any desk work you know they’ve been around for 14 years their early music their early records were guitar bass drum stuff this the kind of their middle part of their career and also maybe towards the end of this what we’ve had up to so far is a lot of synth information low-end information and when
they play live they go from a new song to an old song to a new song to an old song and making that kind of lion together is the hardest challenge you have this you know a newer song that has tons of low end and all kinds of synth patches and it’s big and lush and huge and then the next song is just guitar bass drums and trying to make those two things connect with each other is pretty difficult so that that’s the biggest challenge that I have I think lots of changes as far as sound Department goes we’ve made lots of upgrades just recently in the last year we’ve upgraded a bunch of things in the sound Department consoles outboard gear has all been updated in the last year or so so yeah it’s it’s it’s been an
interesting year we’ve changed a bunch of back line things so yeah everything’s new and exciting they first came out I was working I worked with the d5 and then I worked a long time with the avid console profile but the last year I switched back to st7 mainly we wanted to have a 96k solution with more inputs and in monitor world have more outputs so that’s that’s why we went to the SD seven I think we’ve made a really significant sound improvement by all the changes that we’ve made especially going to the SD 7 I think a lot of that has to do with the the fact that we’re going in 96k and that the SD 7 has floating-point summing and and that kind of stuff which
which really makes the the the mix be significantly improved in my opinion you have to kind of get yourself in the mindset of how the manufacturer does things and once you kind of get in that mindset and see that oh this is how they decide to make snapshots or etc etc it’s relatively easy but I will say in the beginning it was you know you had to learn all those kind of things me and the monitor engineer did not go to any training or anything when we first started using these consoles on purpose we wanted to start with them and kind of learn it and poke at it and see what stuff does before someone said to us well this is how we do that and I think that was a really good decision on
our part because we got to see kind of the behold behind the scenes you know of maybe some things that we wouldn’t have explored if someone had said to us you know hey this is how we do it so you know once we did that then we brought someone in someone came and said oh I see what you’re doing here but you know really the faster easier ways this way and then we learned you know that way it is it is a complicated desk but when you’re talking about audio desks in general it’s all it’s all about mic placement gain structure EQ and high-pass filtering and if you give me all of those tools then I can make any desk work so if you have the fundamentals of audio already ingrained in you every desk is built around that so if you remember that the all the bells and whistles you could get caught up in you know I try to avoid that avoid
that trap and try to make it as simple as possible you know I’ve been doing this for 27 years and so I come from a place where we didn’t have the ability to have 300 parameter changes between songs you know and so I still think like that a lot in between songs I still want to do stuff I don’t them in my snapshot I still want to be able to mix I still you know because there are guys that do complete snapshots you know that maybe four or five snapshots in a song you know I that feels very confining to me I feel I only create one snapshot per song and it’s usually the things that are changing for that snapshot are like delay times and maybe some drastic if there’s something drastic that I just can’t do physically but for the most part it’s all you know stuff that I do manually so you know
that’s how I treat snapshots the other guys get lost it you know and and it is true this console will do anything that you want it to do you know so that’s exciting it lets you be more creative than you ever than I ever could be before this is kind of a bold statement but I think that the partnership between them is what makes this console great I wouldn’t don’t think that I would want to use an SD seven without the waste product I think they both complement each other in a way that makes this a complete tool if you take the waves away from me I would really feel like I’m missing something I think although a great console and it does great things having the waves on top of that really does some amazing things like warming up vocals and guitars and you know all
those kind of things mainly because you know total harmonic distortion that happens within their plugins and you know that kind of stuff it’s it’s really great stuff I’m very concerned about volume we have dedicated ourselves the band and myself to a place where you know no one should lose their hearing coming to a rock show so we we do a lot of measurement we make sure that you know we I mix right around 100 DB a weighted l eq over 10 minutes right here in front of house which is about 32 meters from the front of the stage so it’s about a hundred DB for the most time there are moments of 104 and there are moments of 90 but for for the most part it’s about 100 DB a weighted
we have two generations now of kids that wear earbuds in their ears all the time but they ride on the subway they ride on trains with these earbuds in their ears at an explosive volumes and I feel like we’re probably going to have a few generations of kids when they’re older are going to have some severe hearing damage when they’re older and I certainly don’t want to contribute to that by them coming to my rock show there’s a lot of people that mix a lot louder than I do but impact wise I feel like I can still it’s a challenge for me as a mixer to mix it 100 DB and still have impact and still have feeling behind what’s going on in your mix average we want every single seat in the house to sound the same so whether you’re up front right close to the band
or whether you’re in the farthest nosebleed seat our goal in life is to make sure that it all sounds the same and with the tools like the sb7 and the JBL BTX we were able to do that I think we’ve achieved the main reason was because of Paul Baumann Paul is an amazing designer PA designer I’ve used Adamson for me for years and he came from Adamson and moved on to JBL and so this new design in this box is his design and it’s it’s unlike any other JBL box before it it’s not very tech it’s a whole other different waveguide design along with this double compression driver that’s in the high end it’s really a whole other animal in
a good way so when I was asked if I would you know look into using the JBL product I said for sure if Paul ballons there I’m there we use se microphones we use audio technica microphones we use sure microphones we use Sennheiser microphones you’ll see a full array of different types of microphones up there but lately our favorite manufacturer has been actually been s e manufacturer from China and they make actually some amazing sounding microphones they make a kind of a AKG c 414 older model copy that we use on overheads we’ve got a matched pair of them they sound fantastic they’re really really great and we’re using a large diaphragm condenser microphone on the snare top
which is unusual and that’s a Nessy microphone as well well it’s funny because we did do that we did have microphones and we were using Palmer di speaker D eyes and also using ISO cabinets and miking those ISO cabinets but we quit doing that last year or the start of this year and we’re using fractal emulators now and only the direct signal from both guitar players so in a Lefton basically a direct to left and right straight out of the fractal as our guitar tone live we did a lot of amp emulation by listening going back to the multi tracks from original records and matching the tones that were on the original record and emulating
those tones using the fractal and so I in my opinion the guitar tones are way closer to what the records were and are than they were when we were trying to do it with just a regular kind of Guitar Rig so I think we’ve succeeded pretty well with the fractals and they they work very well.