More than 20 years of touring with such diverse acts as Rage Against The Machine, Maroon 5, Cypress Hill and Weird Al Yankovic has prepared FOH engineer Joel Lonky for a wide range of performance issues, but few are as chaotic as his current gig mixing FOH for Rob Zombie. “The show is unpredictable,” he explains. “I don’t have the luxury of knowing what will happen next, so I needed a console that would allow me to stay on top of any situation that might arise. The PRO6 turned out to be the ideal solution.”
One PRO6 feature that Lonky really appreciates is Area B, which allows him to keep one fader group ‘always on top’ at the right-hand side of the surface. “I use it for Mr Zombie’s mics and effects returns,” he says. “I can be all over the console, yet still have Rob’s priority channels at my fingertips in any scene. It’s incredibly convenient.”
The tour, which began late last year in the US, arrived in the UK in February. Lonky is using a PRO6 all the way, supplied by Clair Brothers. He’s set the desk using 28 scene presets, with POP(ulation) Group buttons for direct access to all the elements in each scene. “Several songs have multiple scene presets, which handle various duties,” he explains. “This allows me to automate things like effects changes, fader moves, dynamics changes, aux level changes and EQ settings, which are song-specific. I love the POP Groups, too, and use them in every scene, for video rolls, intros, solos, etc. It really makes life easy, if you could ever say that about a Rob Zombie show.”
While Lonky is a big fan of the on-board Midas effects engines, he appreciates the fact that the PRO6 is equally adept at connecting to outboard gear. “Rob has done all his releases using very specific effects, which is really critical to getting the real ‘Zombie’ vocal sound,” he explains. “So I carry two Eventide units to access specific pitch-shift algorithms. I also use the onboard Midas pitch shifter, which makes a wonderful doubler. I also love having four different styles of compressor per input channel. That’s an amazing feature not found in most digital desks.
“Signal routing is amazingly fast and easy. And the audio metering on the patching screen is fantastic. You can have the console muted, roll the cursor over the patch point on the menu and see if it is passing audio, plus the source and destination. It’s really well thought out.”
Overall, Lonky is extremely pleased with the move to Midas digital. “It’s really been great,” he reports. “The PRO6 has a great analogue feel and the navigation is fast and direct, with no need to go through menu layers. Learning it was easier than I anticipated; really, anybody can get on the PRO6 and be up and running in a minimum of time.”
But Lonky saves his highest praise for the analogue sound of Midas digital. “It’s like my old XL4: warm, smooth and full throughout the spectrum, without any digital harshness,” he enthuses. “The inputs can be driven hard like an analogue Midas without any of the audio penalties usually associated with a digital front end. The PRO6 has all the features I need for any live audio situation thrown my way, and the sound quality is beyond what I’d hoped for. I can’t put it more simply than that.”